I am FINALLY getting around sharing my photos and stories from this most recent visit to Rio de Janiero, Brazil’s bustling and diverse major city. I had been there before in 2011, without Rob, and he had been there just one night in December, 2012 while I sat on board, stuck without a visa (suddenly Brazil wouldn’t let a handful of crew from specific countries off the ship, US included), so this was the first time we would have the opportunity to enjoy it together. We were lucky enough to spend three days, two nights docked in Rio during Carnaval 2015 (click here to see my film from the whole contract featuring clips shot in Rio)! What excitement! I wish I had known a bit about the tradition prior to our arrival, but oh well, I’ll be set for next time now. We were very fortunate, however, to be led around by a local! Our friend’s parents sailed with us, and their friend is from Rio, so we latched on to their tour to see it from a local’s perspective. Back to what I wish I had known:
- I wish I had known not to worry about bringing my DSLR out in the city. I was a little concerned for the safety of it on our first day out and about (and I had just purchased my first smart phone. The quality of those photos look far higher on the phone than after you upload them to the computer…). I regret not bringing it out, because as you can see, Rio was very photogenic for us. I did take it out on the third day though and it was A-OK.
- I also wish I had known to dress up during the day. As you can see, everyone else sure did! We reserved our crazy dress for the evening festivities. And by festivities I mean dancing and drinking in Lapa, a Rio neighborhood famous for its nightlife.
- I wish I had known that the parades featuring the floats only took place at night, in the Sambadrome. I suppose I could have figured that out if I had researched it more…my bad. But in the daytime you may find the floats out on the streets, waiting for their time to shine.
We did, under the direction of our faithful guide, check out the alley accredited as the birthplace of Samba, so that was pretty cool. And enjoyed lots of great street art along the way: We also were shown around Ipanema and its beach, which was bustling in the lovely weather! And finally, we stopped at a Brazilian Steakhouse for lunch…luckily there were plenty of options for my meat-free self. AND there was a gorgeous view of Sugarloaf Mountain outside. We spent the rest of that evening getting fed and ready to go out for a nighttime of ruckus in the pouring rain. We had a great time in Lapa, but it was CRAZY – the streets were packed and covered in garbage and watered down puddles of human waste. We made the most of our time there, but I wish we had spent the money to go to the Sambadrome to experience the festivities at the heart of Carnaval… Our second day in port I spent working, but we proceeded to go out that evening as well, avoiding the busy bars and sticking to the more chilled out ones. But during Carnaval, nothing is really my definition of ‘chilled out…’ Still pretty crazy. Ladies – watch yourself! Even though I wore spandex shorts under my skirt, wandering hands tried to get a feel. The streets are so packed, that you would never know whose hand it was. Gross. Anyway, on our last day in port, we went out with a couple friends to endure the tram ride up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. If I’m honest…I was a bit nervous. I’m not afraid of heights, but tram rides make me uneasy. Saying that, I am happy to report that the ride was quick and painless. And surprisingly smooth. The view is well worth it!
Our last stop in Rio was at the famous Copacabana Beach. If you take a look at the bottom photo, you’ll notice the pattern on the walking path. That wavelike pattern was imprinted on shirts, hats, etc. so I’m guessing its kind of a symbol of the area FYI. I was very impressed by the intricacy and span of the design, all along the beach. Having done this last time I was allowed off it Rio in 2011, I feel that I’ve seen a great deal of what is has to offer. That said, I would absolutely go back for more! And FYI, my elementary knowledge of Spanish helped immensely, even though it’s Portuguese that’s the official language.