My Bucket list is something I take very serious and It’s amazing how when you see things in person, it can really change your perspective on things. I got the opportunity to visit Brazil and had absolutely one of the best times of my life. I immersed myself into their culture in more ways than one and got a chance to explore and live amongst with the locals. It truly made it an experience I will never forget.
I planned to arrive in Rio de Janeiro first thing in the morning on a Friday so that I could really take advantage of the whole day. I coordinated with the airbnb host to check in a bit earlier so that we could drop our bags and get our day started. Prior to my trips I plan in depth so that there’s always something to do. Brazil fo me, wasn’t going to be one of those vacations where I lounged the whole time. It was time to explore!
Location is super important depending on what you have on your list of things to do! Copacabana was where we decided to make our base. From there, traveling to all of the places we wanted to visit would be convenient. AirBNB for this trip was more suitable because I knew I wouldn’t be spending much time in there, however the one I chose, was a luxury penthouse because while I was doing my research about the country, I noticed that US dollars go VERY far in Brazil. It was my first time in Brazil and when I was going to be at the place, I wanted to be comfortable. There are many hotels in the area, but this was the perfect stay for me. One of the very first things after we checked in, was eat ! Food is one of the BEST parts of any trip you take and it gives you the opportunity to try new things and maybe try things you never thoughT you’d try!
The Brazilian cuisine that I tried over the course of my stay was absolutely delightful. They focus on making sure that you are definitely satisfied after every meal and the service, at every restaurant, regardless of the type of restaurant it was, was amazing. Even things down to their fruits and some of their juices, they taste naturally different.
Fresh food at every place and made connections with people through just asking about what I was eating ! The waiters were always super excited to explain and introduce some of their common dishes and they did not disappoint. I jam packed our agenda so that there was always something new to see, something new to explore. At first it may seem a bit exhausting but when you’re done, it make every step of the way worth it. My idea for this trip was land, air & sea! I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate all three throughout my trip and used Viator and TripAdvisor, to help me make some of these things happen. We got lucky and found some amazing uber drivers from some of our rides throughout the city and did some really incredible sight seeing. At one point, we had booked a tour and ended up not taking it because the uber driver insisted he take us ! He wasn’t charging us a penny to do these things, he was just excited to be able to share his culture with us.
Some of the areas of Rio de Janeiro we explored were:
- Christ the Redeemer
- 30 min Helpicoter ride with RIOCOPTER over the entire city
- Pedra Do Telegrago
- Rio De Janeiro Botanical Garden
- CopaCabana Beach
- Tijuca National Park
- Pao De Azucar
And that is just to name a few! Regardless of checking things off of my bucket list, one of the most important and most memorable experiences of my trip was getting an opportunity to explore the Favela Rocinha which is Brazil’s Largest and most popular Favela. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the best reputation and this is exactly why I wanted to explore it. I come from a background where these living conditions are not uncommon, so I wanted to uncover the real favela and get a taste of how life is. I met a man named Carlos, who actually lives in the Favela himself. By the end of the tour with him, he was more than just a tour guide, he was my friend. I am so happy that he was able to show us the ins and outs of where he is from. It felt really rewarding to see him in that space - seeing how proud he was of everything and everyone was joyful. It really makes you look at life and think twice about some of the things we do on a regular basis. Supporting local businesses has always been a big thing for me but this experience in particular, made it all the more worth it.
Where is one place that you make a point to visit multiple times? I promised my self I’ll come back home every year. 2021 is getting kicked off by a trip back to Puerto Rico.