One Week in Rio de Janeiro

Once we arrived in Rio, we found local transport to our home for the next week. Thanks to my dad, we were able to exchange his timeshare for an apartment on Rio’s largest and most southern beach, Barra de Tijuca. We’ve constantly been on the move every few days so were really looking forward to staying in one place for seven nights and taking advantage of the beach.  Thanks for the great digs, daddy-o!Top on our list of touristy things to do was to go see Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) which sits on Rio’s largest mountain overlooking the bays, ocean and city below. Chris hatched the perfect plan for our visit. To get to the top, you take a tram that leaves every 20-30 minutes. We caught the first tram of the day and as soon as we got to the top, Chris bee lined for the elevators which took us directly to the main viewpoint while the other tourists had to walk up several staircases. The result? We had the whole place to ourselves.A few minutes later, the place was crawling with tourists. We took this as an opportunity to take in the 360 degree views of the city and were able to take a few photos together.Rio is known for its beautiful beaches so we spent the next few days beach hopping around Copacabana, Ipanema and Barra de Tijuca. Every day the beaches were completely packed. Oh the things we saw…let’s just say the people-watching is prime.  During our week in Rio, we celebrated our three month travel anniversary by splurging on two gondola tickets to the top of Sugar Loaf. The views during sunset were gorgeous and as soon as the sun went down, Christ the Redeemer lit up the sky in the distance and the city sparkled.We were taking a few photos when we heard our names being called. We looked up and saw Kristin and Matt, two fellow round-the-world travelers from Texas, who we share mutual friends with back in the States. What a small world and a great surprise!To round out our three month travel anniversary celebration, we found a local joint that served a mean steak, pineapple and cheese sandwich. It was so good Chris has ranked it in his top three foods in South America.Afterwards, we went for drinks in the party neighborhood of Lapa. If you go out in Rio, you have to hit up Lapa which is filled with outdoor restaurants and sidewalk bars all playing samba music late into the night. We indulged with a few caipirinhas and a bucket of beer before heading back to our apartment.Bottom line – we love Rio. We felt safe the entire time. The people are friendly and helpful. The busy beaches are beautiful and incredibly clean. The food is cheap and delicious. It’s no wonder Rio will be the future home to the next World Cup and Summer Olympics. It’s absolutely an amazing place and our favorite city in South America.  We have one week left in Brazil and are heading south in search of more beaches!

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