At the end of our trip we spent 3 days in Rio. Needless to say, Rio has a totally different vibe than Salvador. It is a much bigger city, one that has thrust itself into the 20th century. It is a center of banking and business, home to Petrobras and the former capital of Brazil. It is also home to some of the iconic symbols of Brazil, Sugarloaf, Corcovado and the beaches of Copacabana and Impanema. Going to Brazil without stopping here is like coming to NYC without seeing Times Square.
Windsor Plaza HotelOur hotel (The Windsor Plaza) was just 2 blocks off of the beach in Copacabana. This is a large hotel that is oriented to both vacationers and business people. It was a nice place to hole up, convenient to to ocean, the subway, restaurants and markets. On it 15th floor the hotel has a nice, if small pool and sun deck.
|The beach at Copacabana|
The Windsor Plaza also has an excellent breakfast spread included. The staff in the restaurant, at the front desk and in housekeeping were friendly and helpful.
Copacabana BeachI am not sure what I can say about Copacabana that has not been said. It is a beautiful beach with loads of sand and water. It stretches 4 km (add 1 more kilometer for the beach of Leme, just to the north). Copacabana is surrounded by a ring of small mountains that almost cut it off from the rest of the city.
|Leme beach, just north of Copa|
|The length of Copa|
|The beautiful water at Copa|
|Walking the beach at Copa|
|Sugarloaf peeking over the hill|
|The Copacabana Marriott Hotel.|
The beach is also lined with restaurants. On the beach side they have recently built kiosks with shaded seating. a great place to stop and have a beer and tapas. On the hotel side of the street are restaurants. One I can highly recommend is Martinez. Excellent food and service at reasonable prices.
CorcovadoCorcovado is a 2300 ft tall mountain that sits in the city of Rio. It is best known as the home of the "Christ the Redeemer" statue. You can drive to the top of the mountain, but I strongly recommend taking the Corcovado Railway up to the top. Corcovado sits within the Tijuca Forrest, and urban tropical rain forest and the views from the train are wonderful.
|Tram do Corcovado|
|Tijuca Rain Forrest|
|Christ the Redeemer through the clouds|
|Christ the Redeemer|
|everyone trying to get "that" photo when the clouds break|
|Through the clouds|
SugarloafSugarloaf is the famous 1300ft peak of granite the sits on the Rio waterfront. The trip up to the top is by cable car and starts near Prâia Vermilion (Red Beach). The first leg of the trip ascends to the top of the Morro de Urca.
|Cable cars traveling to and from Morro de Urca|
|Looking towards Flamengo from Urca|
|Looking back towards Red Beach|
|Corcovado from Morro de Urca|
|the Urca neighborhood|
|The Amazing Ms. D with two of our companions|
|Out traveling Group in front of Sugarloaf|
|Looking up at Sugarloaf|
|Your author on Sugarloaf|
|Your author with Copa behind me|
|Traveling back to Urca|
|One of the permanent residents of Morro de Urca|
Downtown RioMany visitors might not make to downtown Rio, but there are some really beautiful and interesting sights there. Walking around felt a lot like walking around the center of most modern cities. Crowds of office workers out for lunch. Modern office buildings. However there are some jewels here that are worth seeing.
One is the Municipal Theater:
|Rio de Janiero Municipal Theater|
|Rio Municipal Theater corner rotunda|
|Rio Municipal Theater - rotunda detail|
|Rio Municipal Theater|
|Rio Municipal Theater side entrance|
|Rio Municipal Theater side balcony|
|Rio de Janeiro City Hall|
|The St. Theresa neighborhood|
Sâo Sebastian CathedralNo description of the center of Rio would be complete without the Sâo Sebastian Cathedral, know by locals as "The Volcano"
|Cathedral Sâo Sebastian|
Inside there are 4 huge stained glass pieces that reach from just above the entrances to the top of the nave.