My travels through Brazil – First stop: Rio de Janeiro!

Our trip through Brazil started in Rio de Janeiro. When you think of Rio de Janeiro, you think of carnaval, tanga slips, beautiful men, beaches and the statue of Christ. Coming to Rio de Janeiro for the first time we had high expectations, and I have to say, they all came true!

The first days in Rio we spent in a suburb, Cascadera, where a friend of mine lives. It is a poor neigbourhood where you don’t want to find yourselve walking the steeets alone at night. Because we were accompanied by a local we felt save. The first days we were burdained with a jetleg so we could spend the first days relaxing at my friends place and exploring the surroundings.

After a three days we visited another friend of mine who lived in the Jardim Botanico neighbourhood. This neighbourhood is located more to the center and is the more richer part of Rio. Because we spent the first days in Casadera, we could really notice the difference between rich and poor. This is something that is really typical for Brazil; there is nothing in between.


When we arrived in Jardim Botanico, we started our excursions. The first stop were the Botanical gardens. It was a beautiful place, but not too special. The park we visited after, Parque Lage, was more impressive. Special feature about this place: Snoop Dog recorded his video clip ‘Beautiful’ here! And this by itselve is a reason to visit the park. The park is incredibly beautiful, has all sorts of lianas, and has beautiful lookouts over the lake.

Copacabana, Ipanema and the Brazilian traffic

The days after we visited Copacabana and Ipanema by bike. It was a beautiful route along the Lagoa Rodrifo de Freitas Lake. We were lucky to be able to lent bikes, but of couse you can rent them as well. Biking is one of the most convenient things to do in Rio de Janeiro, because of the large distances. Of course you can also decide to take the bus, but be prepared for different bus rides than in Holland – it’s much more intense. The bus drivers drive like crazy and sometimes it’s even better to close your eyes! Besides, it’s hard to figure out where the bus stops are and when you have to get out! Best tip: tell the bus driver your final destination, so he can notify you when you are there. And believe me, no matter how loaded the bus might be, he will never forget to notify you! The brazilians are very thoughtful and helpful.


For partying we usually went with the friends and other locals I knew to birthday parties and house parties. But when we didn’t, we usually went to bars. The real clubs are quite expensive and are really up tight with clothing and shoes. When you are partying in Rio you should always wear closed shoes, then at least you know for sure you can enter the club or bar. The nighlife is the best in Lapa – the historic center of Rio. Unfortunately I can’t give you the best tips right now, because we were in Rio during a lot of political manifestations and we were discouraged to go there. But we heard some amazing stories about this neighbourhood!


For diner we usually just cooked at home and at our friends since this was a lot cheaper. My best place to go is the place BIBI for lunch and diner. The sandwich with salmon and pineapples is an absolute must! Besides they have the best Suco’s of Brazil, fresh, thick, and not watered! You should defenitely try it!  

Anne Oosterbaan.