It only took me two months to write my first blog post. Just been been having too much fun!!
So after leaving Ireland on the 5th of February we were looking for a complete change in scenery and we certainly found it in Brazil. Oh I should probably start by saying when I'm referring to 'we', I mean myself and my boyfriend Andrew. We are doing this world trip together... Well at least we are starting it together. Supposedly travelling is very testing on relationships. We will soon find out.
Things you need to know about Brazil.
1. The first thing to know about Brazil is that it is MASSIVE!! Seriously overwhelming in size so don't try and do too much because it won't happen.
2. It is also the most expensive place in South America so it's probably not a good idea to spend too long here either unless of course you have the money to spare and in that case go wild!
3. Oh and if you are going during Carnival (which we did) prepare to be ripped off but it's almost worth it - the whole city goes mental during Carnival so get involved!
4. Don't expect anything done quickly, Brazilians by nature are not in a rush everything is done to their own pace. For instance a job that would take one person to do back home takes about three people to do here (you will see what I mean when you stop every hour on a long distance bus journey). Words of advice - be patient.
5. Start loving ham and cheese or else... Seriously everything has ham and cheese in it.. EVERYTHING!! I'm surprised they haven't invented their own chocolate yet with ham and cheese.
6. Brazil is dangerous. You'll hear many stories of people being robbed/attacked/pick pocketed etc. We were fine but we were also careful! Just don't be stupid in big cities especially when you stick out like me being a tourist. They obviously target tourists so just have your wits about you, don't go walking late at night on your own and try not to carry expensive belongings with you. Also the further North you go in Brazil, the more dangerous it gets. You will notice this, it's less developed as the South.
7. You will never eat better fruit than that in Brazil so eat it up. I hated mango back home but being on holidays decided to give it another go... Best decision ever. The fruit is seriously delicious, so fresh and juicy. Also try Acai and Cocunut Water.
Rio De Janeiro
It's hard not to fall in love we Rio, it is such a exhilarating city. There is nowhere else in the world quite like it. Most of the time you are only a few blocks away from the beach or just look up and you can be pretty sure you'll either see the Sugar Loaf, Christ The Redeemer or some sort of rainforest.
We stayed in Ipanema and it was perfect. The beach is much nicer and far quieter than the famous Copacabana. It's a nice neighbourhood too, definitely the safest in Rio. There is plenty of nightlife and good places to eat around here but if you're looking for a really good/mental night out, go to Lapa!
We stayed in a place called Casa6Ipanema. Really nice hostel which serves breakfast until 3pm (breakfast becomes a huge judging criteria in hostels after travelling for a while... Trust me). Another great thing about this hostel was that they were a tour operator too and offered really good tours of the city.
The 4 must do's of Rio
1. Favela tour: great experience and a really interesting tour if your lucky enough to get a good guide. You'll drive up to the very top of the favela and walk all the way down with your guide, make sure you bring a camera as the views/pictures are amazing!
2. Christ The Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, Santa Teresa & Rainforest and National Park: Most tours will include all these five things, expect to be out for about 7 hours. You can't go to Brazil and not see Christ, it's sacrilegious.. It will be packed with people but hang on a while until you get a good picture. After that make sure you get a Cable car up to the Sugar Loaf where you'll see the best views of the city.
3. Lapa by day, Lapa by night. Do both, you have to see the stunning Lapa steps but also party under the Spanish arches. It's a crazy place day and night.
This is an experience in itself. The beach is stunning, five miles of pure white sands and unbelievable views. You can forget you're in a city. Expect to see plenty of posers and fake everything. Just walking down the beach and looking in itself is great fun.
Everything else in Rio is a plus, if you are here for Carnival which we were, live it up and go see the show. Wait until last minute before you buy your tickets as there is always plenty left and are usually only a third of the price.
The micro centre is like any other city centre so unless it's your thing, I would miss it, the much more to see than old buildings.
Also getting around is easy - the subway is brilliant and pretty safe during the day so use it as much as you can. Taxis are also cheap but also ask for the Meter.
So now it's a 24 hour bus journey up North to Itacare. Yes 24 hours. It's a difficult thing to come to terms with when you can get from one side of the country to the other in about 4 hours in Ireland. Well I suppose it's all part of the experience.
I'll keep you posted!