South America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil)

South America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil)

After Southeast Asia it was about time to shift attention to South America. Friends of the family live in Chile. Starting with the goal to visit them we planned our trip through South America. The result is a tour through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. To be more precise, we visited Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Easter Island, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Santiago de Chile and Rio de Janeiro. The trip was going to be three weeks long and our planning- and preparation capabilities were seriously tested.

That we were about to overcome a total distance of approx. 34.000 km, we only realized when we returned back home (just for reference: the circumference of the earth is 40.000 km). The starting signal to our trip was on Christmas Day in 2019, and we were about to experience an adventure of a lifetime on our trip through a part of South America.

Enjoy the following travel report which was written with blood, sweat and tears,

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

We mastered our first challenge, the 13-hour flight, successfully and touched ground in Buenos Aires early in the morning. Beforehand, we booked an airport shuttle via Booking.com that dropped us off at our Hotel Tango de Mayo. This hotel did not leave anything to wish for and is recommendable for a city trip. Two more positive arguments for a stay at this hotel are the restaurant and the rooftop bar.

Buenos Aires - Tango de Mayo
Buenos Aires – Tango de Mayo
First walking attempts

While waiting for our rooms, we used the time to walk that long flight out of our legs and get to know our neighborhood. A short walk from the hotel led us to the Plaza del Congreso and we took a first deep breath of Argentinian air. Meanwhile, we started to get comfortable with the summerly temperatures. We had left winter behind.

Plaza del Congreso
Plaza del Congreso

Further to the east we reached the Plaza de Mayo. A key spot in regard to Argentinas independence and also home office of Argentinas president in the Casa Rosada. Already after a few meters you start to notice the impressive architecture of Buenos Aires. Actually, it looked very similar to European cities, like Paris. The contrast to our “home planet” was not that striking in that moment.

Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo

After a short break we continued northwest, across Avenida Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña. Taking this route, you cannot miss the Obelisco of Buenos Aires, a 70m high monument erected to commemorate the 400th existence of town. The Obelisco is located on Avenida 9 de Julio, the main road of Buenos Aires. When crossing this huge road we counted 22 lanes of the entire road structure, which is composed of multiple streets. Technically, only the middle lanes form Avenida 9 de Julio.

Avenida Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña
Avenida Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña
From La Boca to Palermo

Our first full day started out with a taxi-ride to the south-western district La Boca. In general, taking a cab to get from one place to another in Buenos Aires is highly recommendable – it is safer and also affordable. To be honest with you guys, the planning of our day in La Boca was pretty much lacking all imagination. Other than the fact that we knew we wanted to go to La Boca, we did not have any further plans. Luckily, our hotel lobby was full of advertisements and so we discovered an ad for a walking tour by Buenos Aires Free Walks.

La Boca
La Boca

For 10 US Dollars (600,- ARS) per person we went on an amazing tour through that colorful district with many explanations and additional information on the history of Tango, Immigration and the culture of the city and the country. Also, as a herd, we felt kind of protected in this poorer district of Buenos Aires. It was not the first time that the threats of town were mentioned. However, we can spoiler at this point, that we had not personally encountered crime on our entire trip.

Buenos Aires Free Walks
Buenos Aires Free Walks

The walking tour ended in front of the gates of La Bombonera – the imposing Bocca Juniors soccer stadium. We skipped an extra tour of the stadium and waved a cab over. It was time to eat and we wanted to that with style. So, we drove to Café Tortoni. A tourist must do, what a tourist has to do, and with that, we had to wait in line for 30 minutes before we were even able to enter the café. Let me tell you though, it was definitely worth it. Not just the chic atmosphere of old coffee houses, also the dishes are worth a look, or bite for that matter.

La Boca
La Boca

Well strengthened we continued on to the northern part of town. The cemetery La Recoleta was next on our agenda. A fascinating composition of mausoleums. The most famous spot is probably the resting place of Eva Perón (Evita), the former First Lady of Argentina. Many more famous people of Argentina have found their resting place on this cemetery. However, by listing names now, I would just pretend to know.

La Boca
La Boca

I‘d rather continue to pretend my broad worldly horizon and report on our next stop. We arrived in the neighboring neighborhood of Palermo. This is best described as a hipster-like neighborhood with many restaurants, bars and boutiques and solidified our impression of a European city. Thus, we strolled through the “sub-neighborhood” of Soho past Plazoleta Julio Cortázar and Plaza Inmigrantes de Armenia, among others. We spent our dinner and the end of the day at Caldén del Soho. A recommendable Argentine restaurant.

La Bombonera
La Bombonera
Once to Montevideo (Uruguay) and back

In our youthful recklessness, a day trip to Montevideo seemed quite plausible when we were already in Buenos Aires. So we booked a ferry in advance without further ado and hoped for the best. As is well known, the best comes at the end and until then we had to earn the happy end hard. But one after the other.

Café Tortoni
Café Tortoni

We experienced the first irritation when booking our ferry through Direct Ferries. The local Buquebus Ferry required us to be at the terminal at least two hours before departure. Since we wanted to max out the day, we booked our ferry for 07:15. According to the logic of the ferry, we had to be at the terminal at 05:00. However, stupid only if the terminal opened only starting from 06:00 o’clock. We decided to listen to our instincts and hit the terminal shortly after 06:00. Listening to your instincts is generally a good tip in South America.

La Recoleta
La Recoleta

The second irritation we experienced in Montevideo after the two-hour crossing. Because after our arrival not only the sky was gloomy, but also the weather forecast. Whatever, we said to ourselves. We have only a few hours to explore the capital of Uruguay. Off we went on the next hop-on hop-off bus (Bus Turistico) and let’s go (booked in advance via GetYourGuide). After a downpour that threatened to flood the bus and the streets, the tour was canceled.

Palermo
Palermo

Bummer, we thought to ourselves. The tour provider’s offer that we could redeem our tickets on another day didn’t help much either. Okay, keep calm and first of all compose (as well as halfway drying) was the call. And so we went to the next bar. Coincidentally, Bar Facal was the oldest bar in Uruguay and a traditional coffee house with a simple tourist magnet in the form of the Locks Fountain. Tourists could attach locks to a fountain. A mind-blowing idea – never seen anything like it before…

Plaza Independencia
Plaza Independencia

After some beer, coffee and beer, the storm cleared and the sun broke through. We were able to continue our hop-on hop-off tour and had a wonderful day in Montevideo. The tour went over 11 stations once across the city and past the coast. Starting at the Mercado del Puerto, Puerta de Montevideo, Puerta de la Ciudadela (Gateway of the Citadel) and the Monumento al Gaucho; passing the Palacio Legislativo and the Parque del Prado; continuing at the Estadio Centenario and the World Trade Center as well as the Playa Ramirez.

Palacio Legislativo
Palacio Legislativo

Montevideo was for us as we had actually imagined Buenos Aires. With the charm of Havana, but not as rundown. It is almost picturesque, at the same time rough, but with a characteristic recognition value. This day trip had been worthwhile in any case – despite the arduousness. At around 11:00 p.m. we arrived back at our hotel in Buenos Aires and fell happily and contentedly into our feathers.

Montevideo
Montevideo
San Telmo and Puerto Madero

On this last day in Buenos Aires we explored the neighborhoods of San Telmo and Puerto Madero on our own by foot. In San Telmo, a kind of artists’ and trendy district with many listed buildings, we were especially interested in the Feria de San Telmo on this Sunday. A flea market, mainly for antiques. Nevertheless, a variety of stores, restaurants and tango shows can be found along the Defensa. True to the motto “Go around the proper corner in San Telmo and you can find everything”. A quivering neighborhood with thousands of visitors. Definitely worth a visit – especially on Sundays a must.

Montevideo
Montevideo

A contrast to San Telmo is the Puerto Madero neighborhood. A newly built port district in the east of the city with a lot of new construction and luxury. Skyscrapers, marinas and restaurants were built. On the one hand, it is quite impressive what has been built at the port in the last 20 years. Unfortunately, everything seems too generic and shows little charm. At least that’s not how I imagine Buenos Aires.

San Telmo
San Telmo

And so ended the first act of our journey through South America. We realized that as Europeans, Buenos Aires is better visited in Paris and Montevideo is the real Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, Buenos Aires is impressive and offers much to explore. Of course, the low entertainment costs make it easier for tourists to have a steak or two. To our vegetarian friends: if you order a vegetarian dish in Argentina, don’t be surprised if you get chicken.

Tango in San Telmo
Tango in San Telmo
Raise your hands – end of the year

The next day can be chalked up as a transfer day. We flew from Buenos Aires with a stopover in Santiago de Chile to Easter Island – Rapa Nui. In total, we traveled 13 hours that day. We have already learned about Easter Island, almost 4,000 km from the Chilean coast and located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a trip through Scandinavia in the Kon-Tiki Museum. Now we had not only the possibility to take the island on our journey through South America like once Thor Heyerdahl, but even to spend New Year’s Eve on this island.

Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero

After landing, we were welcomed by our host with flower necklaces and taken to our accommodation. Our hotel Cabanas y Hotel Te’Ao (Tea Nui) was located in the only town on the island – Hanga Roa. Basically, you get better camping at 5-star prices on Rapa Nui and should not expect too much if you don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodation. For our purposes, the accommodation has met its target.

Rano Raraku - Rapa Nui
Rano Raraku – Rapa Nui
The 101 of Rapa Nui

Some rules of the game have to be followed in order to have fun on Easter Island. First of all, to enter Easter Island you need the name of the hotel where you are staying. Without a booked and registered hotel there is no entry (check was done before departure in Santiago de Chile). We had the difficulty here that our hotel had a different name when booked via Booking.com than locally. But after a few anxious minutes we could pass the counter.

Rano Raraku - Rapa Nui
Rano Raraku – Rapa Nui

Since the island is in the end all a single national park, you need an entrance ticket for this national park (part of the UNESCO world heritage). This applies regardless of whether you have booked a tour or not. You can buy this ticket as soon as you land. Provided that you have cash with you. It doesn’t matter if you bring US dollars or Chilean pesos. You should have 80,- USD or 54.000,- CLP per person.

Rano Raraku - Rapa Nui
Rano Raraku – Rapa Nui

There is the possibility to buy the ticket in town and also to withdraw cash. But it is not cool if you have booked a tour on the other side of the world, get into the crowded bus and tell the guide that you neither have a ticket for the national park nor cash. Luckily, the people on Easter Island are pretty laid back, so the bus headed to the ticket booth in the center. The other tourists on the bus were less forgiving about that. So purely hypothetical. It didn’t happen to us in any case. Who would fly to Easter Island so unprepared?!

Rano Raraku - Rapa Nui
Rano Raraku – Rapa Nui

You can buy the tickets for the national park in a side entrance (!) between the drugstore Farmacia Cruz Verde and the bicycle rental Tahux Bicycle Rent on Atamu Tekena Street. The Banco Estado Sucursal Isla de Pascua ATM is located down Tu’u Maheke Street. However, it can happen that not all ATMs work here; the only working ATM is occupied with a queue all the way to the street and everything is in Spanish. However, people do help helpless tourists with the guide breathing down their necks and a crowded bus of tourists getting visibly more impatient. So purely hypothetical.

Rano Raraku - Rapa Nui
Rano Raraku – Rapa Nui
Easter Island Rapa Nui – like a day on the moon

Basically it is recommended to know Spanish in South America (or at least to have a Spanish dictionary or app). In addition, you should be well covered with sunscreen on Easter Island. Due to the partly strong wind, the solar radiation is hardly noticeable. At the latest in the evening in the hotel, your own glow will tell you that you have forgotten something.

Ahu Tongariki - Rapa Nui
Ahu Tongariki – Rapa Nui

But enough of the instructive words. We had 24 hours on Rapa Nui and we wanted to use them wisely. To do so, we booked ourselves an all-inclusive day tour through GetYourGuide with local tour provider Maururu Travel. The tour included a tour of the island with the main attractions. Of course, the Moai were the focus of every stop. The stone figures, around whose origin and sense the scholars still argue today, exude something mystical and mysterious.

Ahu Tongariki - Rapa Nui
Ahu Tongariki – Rapa Nui

Be it their creation beaten directly from the rock or their transport across the island. Be it their purpose and worship with huge ceremonial platforms or even the reason for the downfall of a culture. Those who are a bit fascinated by history will quickly get absorbed in the topic of Easter Island and Moai. Recommended is www.osterinsel.de with all the information about the island and the myth.

Ahu Tongariki - Rapa Nui
Ahu Tongariki – Rapa Nui

Our tour led us past Akahanga, an almost completely destroyed platform. Then on to the largest ceremonial site, Ahu Tongariki. Not far from there is the extinct volcano Rano Raraku, from which the moai were carved. In the north of the island, we stopped at the Te Pito Kura site with the fallen and badly damaged Moai Paro. Near it, towards the sea, we also find the “Navel of the World” (Te Pito Te Henua). An arrangement of stones that is said to have magical effects. At least compass needles are influenced by it and turn randomly.

Te Pito Te Henua - Rapa Nui
Te Pito Te Henua – Rapa Nui

A special highlight are the ceremonial sites Ahu Nau Nau as well as Ahu Ature Huki in Anakena Bay. According to legend, the founding father Hotu Matua landed in this bay and thus settled Easter Island. Today the bay offers a beautiful palm forest and a dreamlike sandy beach. Here something like a Caribbean vacation feeling arises.

Anakena - Rapa Nui
Anakena – Rapa Nui

Our tour included lunch and our guide, who had already shown a lot of patience before the tour, did a great job. It was just a blast for us to be able to experience the allure of the island up close. It also had something surreal and even a flight to the moon would not have been more exciting for us at that time.

Anakena - Rapa Nui
Anakena – Rapa Nui
The last hours of 2019 or: New Year’s Eve on Easter Island.

After the successful tour, we visited on our own the Ahu Tahai and Ahu Ko Te Riku complex on the west coast of the island, not far from the city center. Here we enjoyed the sunset and quickly made our way to the hotel to be fresh for the evening.

Anakena Rapa Nui
Anakena Rapa Nui

It proved once again that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. As soon as New Year’s Eve approaches, you are forced to make restaurant reservations and eat an appropriately expensive New Year’s Eve dinner. We, of course, made no reservations and marched off after snacking on beer, wine and painkillers. Children and drunks are known to do no harm, and so we stumbled upon the Mamma Nui restaurant.

Rapa Nui
Rapa Nui

Here we enjoyed an excellent New Year’s Eve meal and plenty of Pisco Sour (more on that later). After that, we headed toward Playa Poko Poko, where the crowds were gathering. A concert was going on here and the party mood was gradually rising. We were tourists ourselves, but it was wonderful to see no other tourists and to mingle with the locals. They welcomed us into their ranks, fed us some kind of cabbage and made toasts with us.

Playa Poko Poko - Rapa Nui
Playa Poko Poko – Rapa Nui

The pisco tank was filled (this time with cola) and the countdown began. Then, just in time for the new year, all the clouds broke and it poured like cats and dogs. This led to a brief power outage. But this did not irritate the crowd and the party mood rose all the more. The fireworks and the party open air were in full swing. So we celebrated until the morning hours on our own planet called Rapa Nui.

Playa Poko Poko - Rapa Nui
Playa Poko Poko – Rapa Nui
Valparaíso and Viña del Mar

Our fantastic dream ended with the alarm clock ringing the next morning just a few hours after the rush. There was not a single person in the hotel. Instead, a tour guide came and wanted to take us on another excursion. We declined with thanks, left the hotel keys at the scene, and marched toward the airport. Never before did 500 meters seem so long as it did that morning. Fortunately, we were given a ride by a local for the remaining 500 meters to the airport.

Valparaiso
Valparaiso

We also logged this day as a pure transfer day. So we flew over four hours to Santiago de Chile (including a 2 hour time difference); picked up our rental car (booked at RentalCars.com via Mietwagen-Check.de) and drove just under two hours to Valparaíso to visit family friends.

Ascensores de Valparaíso
Ascensores de Valparaíso

Half of our tour through South America was now over and we could first sit back and enjoy the hospitality. For the next day we gave up the reins and let ourselves be guided through the picturesque waterfront town of Valparaíso with its cable cars across the hills of the colorful city. Furthermore, we let ourselves be seen on the popular beach of Viña del Mar and explored the coastal road.

Palacio Baburizza - Valparaiso
Palacio Baburizza – Valparaiso
Charming Chile

Of our three weeks in South America, we could have easily spent five in Chile. This country along the western coast of South America is so diverse. The multifaceted landscape from north to south alone is impressive and worth a round trip of its own. For us it should be this time the exploration from west to east.

Palacio Baburizza - Valparaiso
Palacio Baburizza – Valparaiso

So we went with our rental car to the city and the harbor. Here we parked our car in the underground garage (Estacionamientos, Errázuriz 595-625) near the Monumento a Los Heroes de Iquique. We continued on foot to the Palacio Baburizza. This former mansion of businessman Pascual Baburizza from the earlier 20th century now serves as a museum and exhibition space for art. There are paintings from the Art Nouveau, Art Deco or also from the modern age. Interesting are always the references to the city itself.

Casa Cervecera Altamira - Valparaiso
Casa Cervecera Altamira – Valparaiso

We took our car again and drove a few meters up to the Parque Cultural de Valparaíso. This former prison complex now serves as the center of cultural activity in Valparaíso. No other place in this city unites the past and the present as strikingly as this cultural park.

Ascensor Reina Victoria - Valparaiso
Ascensor Reina Victoria – Valparaiso

On foot, we made our way down and through the many colorful streets of the city. At the Ascensor Reina Victoria, one of the famous elevators of this city, we stopped for a short break. At Casa Cervecera Altamira, a great place with its own brewery, we fortified ourselves with Papas Fritas Rusticas as well as Chorrillana and the matching beer.

Cerro Concepción - Valparaiso
Cerro Concepción – Valparaiso

Afterwards we used the Ascensor Reina Victoria to enjoy our picturesque (and world famous) view over the Cerro Concepción neighborhood. Once at the top, another neighborhood opens up above the city with fascinating alleys and stores, cafes and bars. Here we could have already spent a day exploring the streets and features. Basically, Valparaíso is perfect for hiking tours for the wanderlusty mountaineers among you. The various alleys and mountains and hills on which the city was built are virtually predestined for explorations on foot.

Valparaiso
Valparaiso

Anyway, we got back into the car and drove the 10 km long coastal road through Viña del Mar. At Playa del Deporte, we marched along the busy promenade toward Playa El Sol. The mix of street vendors, bathers, sun and wind was unique. Still, we felt like the only tourists, as everything seemed to be occupied by locals.

Valparaiso
Valparaiso

The coast and the beaches in Viña del Mar differ depending on the section. So it starts with the mainstream section for vacationers and families and changes the further north you go into sections for surfers and for wellness and party people. We left the coast with great impressions in the direction of our accommodation and drove home with the sunset in our backs.

Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar
Santiago de Chile – a day experience

We wanted to spend our last day in Chile duly in the capital Santiago de Chile. So we went by rental car to our first destination, the Cerro San Cristóbal. The city’s own, almost 900 m high hill not only characterizes the cityscape, but is a must when visiting the city.

Funicular - Santiago de Chile
Funicular – Santiago de Chile

You can climb the hill from two directions (independent of the two-hour walk). One is by cable car (Teleférico) from the east and the other is by funicular from the west. Those traveling by car should arrive from the east. Here, public parking is available on Av. El Cerro.

Cerro San Cristóbal - Santiago de Chile
Cerro San Cristóbal – Santiago de Chile

Since we were focused on the funicular and didn’t know about the public parking option, we had to find parking on the west side first. Not easy in a residential neighborhood. After several rounds we found a gap. Promptly a nice fellow was there, smiling and confirming that we were allowed to park here. Just as prompt was his open hand in front of my nose for a little courtesy. Some would call this a tip. To us, it’s nothing more or less than protection money.

Teleférico - Santiago de Chile
Teleférico – Santiago de Chile

From our parking spot on Monitor Araucano, it took us a few minutes to get to the Funicular station. After that, we could finally climb the mountain and enjoy an outstanding view of the city. On the mountain are many sanctuaries of the Catholic Church, such as Santuario del Cerro San Cristóbal with the statue of the Virgin Mary, among others.

Santuario del Cerro San Cristóbal
Santuario del Cerro San Cristóbal

We let our amazed eyes wander over the city several times and took the cable car down on the east side. There are many opportunities for activities here in a park setting. We skipped these, as we still had activities planned ourselves, and took the cable car and funicular back to the starting point.

Palacio de La Moneda
Palacio de La Moneda

After a good two hours, we drove on to the next station. We parked our car in the underground garage (Saba Estacionamientos Plaza de la Ciudadanía) at the Palacio de La Moneda – the seat of the Chilean government. We explored the center on foot and arrive at the Barrio Paris-Londres. The intersection of Paris and Londres streets is more reminiscent of a movie set than streets of a South American city. Very surreal and recommended for a visit.

Barrio Paris-Londres
Barrio Paris-Londres

We continued to the Plaza de Armas. The central square in the city center with impressive and imposing architecture all around. Leaving the plaza to the north, one arrives at the Mercado Central de Santiago. A market with an emphasis on seafood. Here we settled down at Donde Augusto and processed the impressions of the city. Santiago de Chile is insanely crowded, impressive and will stay in our memories for a long time.

Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas

In the evening we ended the day at Sol Restorant. To find in the beautiful neighborhood Providencia in the east of the city. Afterwards we went to the airport and to the return of the rental car. We then spent the night in the airport lounge before leaving at 05:00 for Rio and Brazil – our last act of the tour through South America.

Mercado Central de Santiago
Mercado Central de Santiago

The second act of our tour of South America was maximum-diverse and as colorful and flashy as the houses in Valparaíso. The trip to Easter Island was a complete success and perfectly sized with one day. We have seen only a fraction of Chile, that is clear to us. But this fraction already makes us want to see more. Also through our local, very private tour guides, the time in Chile will remain very special in memory.

Donde Augusto
Donde Augusto
Rio de Janeiro – Copacabana, Caipirinha and Cholera

We survived the night and the flight without any major losses and arrived at our hotel by the previously booked shuttle bus. The Windsor Excelsior Hotel on the Avenida Atlântica, located directly on the Copacabana, was optimal not only in terms of location. The pool on the roof and the possibility of reserving sunbeds on the beach rounded out the complete package. The food for breakfast was also more than rich and varied. Furthermore, from the roof you had the perfect view on the statue of Christ, the Sugarloaf Mountain and the Copacabana.

Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro

The only drawback was the high traffic and the feeling of a train station in the lobby area. Moreover, you had to be lucky which hotel employee you approached. Because customer service is not necessarily taken very seriously in Rio. Especially since English is not seen as the number one foreign language. This makes communication difficult and represents a first hurdle in interpersonal interaction.

Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro

We spent the first day with a walk along the Copacabana, the first Caipirinhas and relaxing in the hotel. In the evening we went to the promenade and to one of the many restaurants. Vacation feeling and a really good time were reflected on our faces. We were ready for Rio.

Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro
Off to the favelas – off to Rocinha

We spent our morning quite relaxed, because we had booked a tour via GetYourGuide to the favela Rocinha for the second half of the day. The favela in the western part of the city is one of the largest structures or settlements that have grown and developed in themselves. However, Rocinha is more famous because of its proximity to Leblon and Ipanema as well as to the wealthier neighborhoods.

Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro

By bus we went from the Belmond Copacabana Palace near our hotel towards Rocinha. To do this, we had to climb a few meters in altitude. Once we arrived in Rocinha, our guide Martin led us through the streets of the neighborhood. It is just pure madness how some structures develop and how people can live. It was fascinating to wander through this microcosm and experience the hustle and bustle of the streets and alleys up close.

Rocinha
Rocinha

For us, this tour was a must as a start in Rio. The tension and excitement in the tourist group was noticeable. Nevertheless, we never felt unsafe or endangered at any time. Our guide himself was a resident of the favela and knew his way around brilliantly. The rules of the game for tourists were also clearly communicated. Those who know the movie City of God will recognize many things. After about three hours we were back at the hotel and could approach the evening as relaxed as the morning.

Rocinha
Rocinha

On the subject of safety in general, it should be mentioned that we were advised to be careful practically everywhere on our trip through South America. Be it cab drivers in Buenos Aires or young people in Rio. If possible, you should use the cab and not carry your cell phones or cameras openly. In the metro in Rio (so much for only using cabs) you feel really strange when without exception all passengers carry their backpacks in the front. We witnessed thefts on the beach, but we had the luck of the brave on our side for more than three weeks and were spared.

Cristo Redentor
Cristo Redentor
Day tour through Rio – all of it at once, please!

On Monday we went on our day tour through Rio de Janeiro (GetYourGuide). We booked this tour for two reasons. First, we wanted to see the main sights of the city in one day. Second, we didn’t want to travel through Rio on our own and felt more comfortable in the herd this time. So we got to see everything a tourist should see and experience in Rio in about eight hours – compressed and tightly timed. Exactly how we love it.

Cristo Redentor
Cristo Redentor

As it should be for a Monday, this one started early and we were picked up in front of our hotel at 08:00. The first stop was Cristo Redentor, the Christ the Redeemer statue. The city’s trademark is located on Corcovado Mountain and watches over the city from its 30-meter high size. The crowd of visitors was accordingly insanely large. Well, stretch out your elbows and fight your way through. Then enjoy a terrific view across the city to Sugarloaf Mountain.

Maracanã-Stadion
Maracanã-Stadion

Our next stop was the Maracanã Stadium. Once the world’s largest stadium with nearly 200,000 spectators, we enjoyed the outside for a quick photo stop. Today the stadium is the home ground of Flamengo and Fluminense.

Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião de Rio de Janeiro
Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião de Rio de Janeiro

We continued on to the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro (Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião de Rio de Janeiro). Designed in the style of modernism, the cathedral impresses with the open design of the facade and the resulting indirect cooling of the interior.

Sambódromo
Sambódromo

Not far from the Catholic church is the Sambódromo. At Carnival, the world-famous parade takes place right here. On a length of about 700 meters the different samba schools compete and have one hour to present themselves. This is how long the parade lasts inside the Sambódromo.

Escadaria Selarón
Escadaria Selarón

At the next sight we had about 20 minutes to explore. The Escadaria Selarón by artist Jorge Selarón, tiled steps, is a fantasy come true and invites you to explore every little tessera. Due to the crowds and the short time we had to act here bit in time-lapse. Still, a great station worth seeing.

Pão de Açucar
Pão de Açucar

The sun was burning like hell and the heat was almost unbearable. The air-conditioned bus was here again and again a pleasant recovery. The upcoming lunch in a Churrascaria restaurant (tradionelles restaurant in South Brazil) was very welcome to us then. The Cruzeiro do Sul Churrascaria in Botafogo was an experience. Side dishes and salads were served at the buffet. Drinks were ordered from the waiter and the meat – the center of the whole event – was always presented fresh on skewers. The supply seemed endless. Unfortunately, our capacity was not. So at some point we had to turn down the delicious grilled meat.

Pão de Açucar
Pão de Açucar

The finale of the day followed at the Pão de Açucar – the so-called Sugarloaf. We took the cable car via an intermediate station to the actual almost 400 m high rock. Here we once again became aware of Rio’s impressive panorama. We strolled around the site and got useful information from the guide. At the end of the day, we felt happy about this day in Rio. This killer program was a blast because, among other things, the organization was top notch and we didn’t have to worry about anything, like buying tickets at the individual stops or the logistics.

Leme
Leme
The last act

After the two days of excursions, we enjoyed the following day with extensive beach time. As mentioned earlier, the hotel provided a limited contingent of sunbeds for free on the beach. For €12 per day, you get two loungers and two umbrellas at any time in addition. All hotel loungers were occupied. So we were now really at the Copacabana and enjoyed the pure sun, which burned down mercilessly on us. The water was perfectly temperatured despite high waves and a strong current. In the evening we went to one of the many beach bars for the perfect end to a perfect day.

Ipanema
Ipanema

After so much rest we had to stretch our legs the subsequent day. And so we marched in crisp temperatures the neighborhoods of Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon each along the beach. Along this nearly 10 km long stretch there is more to discover than just sand and sea. Many sculptures or monuments are reminders of the history of the city. So we strolled for a good four hours before taking the metro home.

Leblon
Leblon

The third act of our journey through South America ended on this day – two days before the actual departure. We were hit by a nasty stomach virus of the South American kind. Nevertheless, we experienced an incredible journey in 16 days in South America, which we will never forget until the end of our lives. South America will remain in our memories as an adventure, which brought us to our limits. But above all, it took us beyond limits and that is, after all, the reason why we travel.

Posted in VacationTagged , , , , , , Leave a comment
Alternative Text

Anni & Wladi

To see the world – that is our goal. Through creative and efficient planning we try to cope with our budget- and time restrictions. Both of us work full-time and we are trying to use our spare time effectively by travelling. You can follow the results on tripination.com and get inspired, true to the motto “our trip, your destination”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *