Oi Gators! After six wonderful weeks in Brazil, the best way to describe everything I have experienced is to compile a list of my greatest experiences. The most important experience was to learn about Brazilian culture and history and to expand my Portuguese language skills. However, this list shows my favorite trips or places I visited in the state and city of Rio de Janeiro. The list is in no particular order because ALL of these experiences hold great value in my study abroad journey. I hope you find some enjoyment and inspiration to visit Brazil after finishing this list!
10. Escadaria Selarón.
Chilean-born Jorge Selarón created the world’s most beautiful staircase by adding 2,000 pieces of colorful tiles, mirrors and ceramics to the staircase that sat across from his house. The staircase located between the neighborhood of Lapa and Santa Teresa. Selarón’s project was meant as a form of tribute and honor to Brazil, the country that had become his second home. This is why he began by adding green and yellow tiles that represented the Brazilian flag. The staircase is definitely a sight to be seen and explored.
9. Morro da Urca and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain).
These are certainly two of the most famous morros or mountains in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Making an ascent 396 meters above the city in the cable cars will guarantee a beautiful view of Guanabara Bay, Copacabana, Cristo Redentor and other parts of the city. I decided to go up to watch the sunset and it was a breathtaking sight.
(View from Morro da Urca)
(View from Pão de Açúcar)
8. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
Definitely one of the most relaxing and picturesque spots in the city, I spent a Sunday walking around the 7.2 km walking path around the Lagoa. Walking through, I observed some of the platforms and structures for the future aquatic Olympic Game activities that will take place in the Lagoa. I had lunch at a near restaurant called Via Sete that offered a great selections of meals, especially for two hungry Americans. The service was truly great and attentive.
7. Copacabana and Ipanema Beach.
Of course, I couldn’t make a list without mentioning the beauty and unique experience of spending a day in either Copacabana or Ipanema beach. It is important to notice that these are two different beaches with their own touch of Carioca life. These two are definitely a “must” when expending time in the city.
(Copacabana Beach view from a Kiosk restaurant)
6. Museo do Amanhã.
My favorite museums in Rio, Museo do Amanhã explores the reality of global warming, overpopulation, lack of water and many other ecological outcomes of an evolving Earth. The museum structure itself is truly captivating and so are the exhibitions within it. Lines for the museum are out of this world too so if you plan to go inside the museum, I suggest getting there early.
5. Gilberto Gil Musical, Aquele Abraço.
While in Rio, I had the opportunity to attend the Gilberto Gil Musical which serves as a tribute of the 50 years of career of the musician. Gilberto Gil is one of the most famous Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter. His style is unique thanks to its mixture of rock music, and Brazilian genres such as samba, African music, and reggae. The musical encompases the life and legacy of Gilberto Gil with incredible performances from outstanding actors.
4. Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Opera Orfeu.
A night inside the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro is a pure dream. Besides watching a beautiful opera for the first time, being inside the exquisite structure was truly a privilege. I truly recommend anyone who visits Rio de Janeiro to spend a night exploring the beauty of a show inside the Theater.
Better known as the Imperial City, Petrópolis is a municipality in the southern region of Brazil. The city was the summer residence of Brazilian emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century, and was the official capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro during the First Brazilian Republic. The town is truly enchanting and filled with historic memorabilia, museums and palaces. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about Brazilian history and spend a day off from the busy streets of Copacabana.
(Catedral de Sã0 Pedro de Alcântara contains the tombs of the last Brazilian emperor, Dom Pedro II, and his family)
(Palácio Rio Negro, one of the official residences of the President of Brazil, used mainly as a country retreat)
(Crystal Palace, built for the crown Princess Isabel as a gift from her husband, the Conde d’Eu)
2. Corcovado and Cristo Redentor.
Probably the most iconic and famous of all, Christ the Redeemer on top of the Corcovado mountain was probably one of my most desired experiences in Brazil. The statue is as breathtaking in person as in photos. You also get an amazing view of the city and an encounter with the clouds. Truly an unforgettable experience.
1. Armaçao de Búzios.
Probably the favorite place that I visited during my stay in Brazil. Búzios is a popular getaway from the city and a worldwide touristic site. Located around two hours away from the city of Rio de Janeiro, Búzios is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend. The town has around more than 20 different beaches and a fun night life. I spend the day at the beach and did a boat tour that showed me the entire peninsula. At night, it was great to walk through Rua das Pedras and enjoy the restaurants options that the town has.