Brazil is never boring. There is always someone dancing somewhere or drinking Ciapirinhas. There is always music in the streets and pick-pockets to watch out from. Brazil cannot be taken for granted.
Our first stop in Brazil was Sao Paulo. We were very fortunate, because a couple we are friends with offered to host us and show us around.
Sao Paulo is a very chill city, with lots of activities and artsy installations. We stayed in Pinheiros, a colorful & hip neighborhood. The Brooklyn of Sao Paulo, if not Brazil.
Our friends were very kind taking us around the city. we were around the Carnival time (mostly around the end). So, we witnessed a couple of festivities in Sao Paulo and Rio.
Since most official Carnival festivities are taking place in Rio, each neighborhood or university in SaoPaulo organize their own Carnival Bloco (And apparently, these mini organic carnivals are more fun than the real deal in Rio).
Things we did in Sao Paulo:
The Municipal Market of Sao Paulo: this place is so vibrant and full of Brazilian produce and goods. The perfect place to taste Brazilian flavors.
Santa Theresa Quarter: This place is more colorful than a bag of Skittles. Graffiti is covering the walls of this neighborhood, and the themes featured are psychedelic. The Quarter is close to many great bars & restaurants. Loved wandering around and loading up on ice-cream!
China Town in Liberdade: This place is straight out of a movie. Very interesting and paradoxical. The contract & fusion between the Chinese culture and Brazilian one is intriguing. This place is full of snack bars & restaurants, and leads to the Liberdade Street Market.
Liberdade Street Market: This open air market is full of traditional crafts and authentic Brazilian street food. If you want woven items or fresh sugar cane juice (flavored with lime!), you came to the right place. I had a delicious fried Galette filled with local Cheese and it was out of this world.
The Sao Paulo Cathedral & Banco Central in Sao Paulo: The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful and so close from all the places listed above. The Banco Central is within 5 min walk from the Cathedral and has an interesting theme going on on its facade; furniture is hanged on its walls, and it is quite a sight!
Rio De Janeiro:
In Rio, we stayed in the Miramar hotel in Copacabana. The hotel is in front of the Copacabana beach and great value for money. Through the hotel we booked tours & restaurants, since it is much easier to have it done through them.
Copacabana is not known to be safe, so we had to be careful when walking around. No jewelry or phone are to be displayed on the street or the beach, if you want to remain safe. Naturally, I couldn’t take lots of pictures because I had to leave the Camera in the hotel room.
Copacabana beach: This beach is lovely, with a view on the Sugar Loaf mountain. This beach is an icon. I got to observe the locals, and what they say about Brazil is true. This the land of thong bikinis and Caipirinhas. This coast is filled with kiosks selling all kind of cocktails, and beautiful girls parading in their Bikinis and Havainas. I felt so awkward in my one-piece, but I upgraded later!
Ipanema Beach: This beach is known by the locals to be more fancy than Copacabana. Mostly because the restaurants and buildings around are more high-end. I loved this beach too and loved the kiosks around it. On the corniche, I recognized many Brazilian influencers trying to get that perfect shot. There is a big rock that you can climb by the beach to get the best views of the city. We just sat there and soaked the moment (the reason why Alladin (hubby) got a sunburn).
Selaron Steps: These steps are known to form the most beautiful staircase in the world. We went there as part of our Rocinha & Christ the Redeemer tour. It was booked through the hotel, and we had a guide and a bus with us. That’s why we were felt safe. The guide recommended that we all stay together. Maybe it is paranoia, but we wanted to avoid getting into weird situations.
Favela Rocinha Tour: We booked a Jeep tour via the hotel to explore Rocinha. The guide was very friendly and took us around the community but also inside the community. Rocinha is one of the biggest Favelas or communities in Rio.
Our first stop were the art merchants at the entrance of the Favela. I bought a few paintings. Then the guide took to the inside of the community were we saw what houses looked like from the inside. At the end of the tour we walked through the commercial street in Rocinha. There were banks, shops, Snack-bars…
The guide took us to an orphanage were we witnessed the traditional Capuera dance. This wall in particular caught my attention.
I loved every bit of this trip. And I loved creating this diary. I would love to hear from you in the comments!