Life Travel

Come as you are to Rio de Janerio

By Hannah Schadel, Camrose Canadian Travel Writer

Oh Rio, Rio de Janerio. It’s the location with golden, captivating beaches, lush mountains, samba-fueled balmy nights and incredibly entertaining football matches. Rio de Janeiro has got everything to satisfy many types of travellers.  

Walking through the parks inside the city will leave you confused as you witness toucans and monkeys roaming around as if it’s the jungle. You’ll spend your nights dancing away, or trying to learn the Brazilian Samba, to live bands. Whether you’re an early riser or you’re just coming home, enjoying the sunrise on Copacabana Beach will allow you to take a moment to really appreciate this bold, lively and enthusiastic country and city.  

Now I’ve heard mixed opinions on Brazil and most of the negative opinions are from people that have never been before. Yes, it can be dirty. Yes, it can be busy. Yes, you can get your wallet stolen. But Mexico can also be the same, yet according to the Global Affairs website, more than 1.9 million Canadians choose to travel to Mexico every year. So next year, I encourage you to go a little further south and enjoy some culture that you may have not experienced before. I am here to tell you that Brazil is worth the visit.  

If there were a time of the year I would recommend to visit Rio, it would be in February. Rio Carnaval is one of the most famous parades and festivals in the world. People come from all over the globe to witness the incredibly large and elaborate floats, experience the dancing and party for days. Carnaval began in the 1830’s as a continuation of the Portuguese tradition of celebrating and indulging on the day before Lent begins. Lent is the 46-day period where sacrifice and abstinence takes place in preparation for Easter. The celebration includes dancing, floats, extravagant costumes, street performances, live music and food. This celebration became a tradition and has become larger than life.  

If you’re more into of the beach scene and want to relax by the shore, Copacabana Beach is where you’ll want to go. It’s not just a beach, but a hub for fresh juice stands, live bands playing from homemade instruments in the sun and extremely fit, envy-worthy volleyball players enjoying a competitive game. Copacabana Beach rises and sets with the sun, as the days conform in to the nightlife and then as the sunrise emerges, the silence of the early birds kicks in. 

Although Copacabana beach is beautiful within itself, it’s the people it brings that really made a huge impression on me. The relaxed and confident mantra of “come as you are” trickles through the beach as you have men and women assertively walking through the crowds dressed in anything that expresses their personality. Beautiful, curvaceous women wearing tiny bikini’s, men wearing large, extravagant homemade hats and people dressed in ways that allow them to express who they are, allows you to leave any insecurities at the edge of the beach, as they welcome you with wide open arms.  

Christ the Redeemer is an absolute must-see when visiting Rio. Handcrafted and built in 1931, Christ the Redeemer is 30 metres tall and 28 metres wide. The statue was built as a symbol of Brazilian Christianity after a Catholic priest first suggested the idea in 1850, although it wasn’t until 1920 that the idea was approved and became a reality. Today, the statue has an estimated worth of approximately $3.2 million, so it is certainly worth the visit. Not only do you get to see the incredible statue itself, but also surrounding it, you’re immersed within jaw dropping panoramic views of mountainous terrain and turquoise water of Rio.  

With over 2,000 tiles that originate from more than 60 different countries, the Escadaria Selaron steps situated in Lapa must not fall off your ‘to-do in Brazil’ list. This magical staircase sprawls for 250 steps and measures approximately 125 metres long. With each tile made up of little mosaics, it’s almost impossible to have a duplicate of anything. The ‘stairway to heaven’ site sits amongst one of the rundown and dirtier sides of town, only forcing the eyes to the see absolute beauty in this work of art. The abundance of colour and art of these steps leave a beautiful rose, smack bang in middle of thousands of thorns.  

Regardless of your interest in Brazil, researching more about this culturally diverse nation will leave you intrigued.

With the origination of Brazilian barbecue, Samba music and Havaiana flip-flops, I think it’s safe to say the Brazilians have already done so much for us. 

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