From the airport into the city, specifically to Copacabana, I found that actually taking a taxi was the easiest option due to a lack options and simplicity, and also the fact of the views you will be presented with on entering. The back-seat window views really gave you a feel of what Rio would be about, with the scenery made up of favelas, mountains and jungle.
The name ‘Copacabana’ actually came from Bolivia, meaning ‘view of the lake’, or so it is believed.
The beach is huge, 4km long actually to be precise and was exactly how the books said it would be, full of bronzened bodies playing volleyball, football or drinking from coconuts. Actually on the subject of bronzened bodies, it seemed to be some kind of unwritten law that ‘one must parade around in a thong or small swimwear’….. I swear I saw a 70 year old man getting his morning paper in nothing more than some red budgie smugglers.
On the corner in between the two beaches is the ‘Forte de Copacabana’ which is still used today as a military fort and also houses the ‘Army Historical Museum’. As I was strapped for time I didn’t visit inside the museum but read that it is worth a visit if you have time.
Around the corner is Ipanema Beach that is just as impressive with its mountain background and Portuguese themed pathway. Ipanema is the fashionable seaside area of Rio de Janeiro and in fact seemed to attract a younger crowd.
You may have heard of Ipanema before, in the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ sang beautifully by Joao Gilberto. In fact you can visit the bar of which this song was actually written. The bar in question is ‘Garota de Ipanema’, translating as ‘The Girl from Ipanema’.
Garota de Ipanema
Heading back into Copacabana with the light fading, the atmosphere began to change and more live music was being played in the bars along the beach. Also if you eat at one of these beachside bars, try the sardines and a Bramha Beer!
For accommodation, I stayed at the Pestana Rio Atlantica, which is situated on the famous beach of Copacabana. I booked this stay using Trivago firstly, which then in turn directed me to the cheapest place to book for this hotel, which was via Hotels.com.
On TripAdvisor, the Pestana is actually rated as the best value for money hotel in Rio de Janeiro and I only paid an average of £40 a night.
Normally I would never spend much time in my accommodation other than to sleep but with this hotel consisting of a great rooftop pool complete with a panoramic view of the Copacabana coastline and finished off with a good bar making ‘Caipirinhas’, I did spend a bit more time up here than I had originally planned.
So the next day would see me visiting Christ the Redeemer and the view that he has over all of Rio!