Rio de Janeiro

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Without a doubt Rio de Janeiro is the most photogenic, dramatic, beautiful city I have ever visited, the views of the city itself are one of its biggest draws. It used to be the capital of Brazil until the purpose-built Brasilia showed up in the 60s, and it is the second largest city with something between 7 and 12 million inhabitants, depending on when you stop counting.

Rio is also one of the most dangerous cities I have visited, we took plenty of precautions and managed to stay out of trouble, but the proliferation of weapons, drugs and poverty means you have to be on your guard. We stayed for three nights in Ipanema, and had a blast.

Pao de azucar

Sugar Loaf mountain and Botafogo district, as viewed from the top of Corcovado. The cable car takes you to the top of the mountain, about 400 metres high, where we sat on the terrace, drank beer and watched the sun go down.

Cristo Redentor stands on top of Corcovado watching over the City of God. City of God is actually a district of Rio, which we steered well clear of! This statue was built in the 1930s to give Rio a distinctive international landmark.


Cable car

The cable car which takes you up to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain, as ridden by James Bond and destroyed by Jaws. For some reason there was a Vauxhall Corsa hanging from one of the redundant cables, you can see it about halfway down. Copacabana Beach is on the top left of the photo.

I was really pleased to spot this ring-tailed lemur on Sugar Loaf, until I was reliable informed that it couldn't be a ring-tailed lemur, as they only live in Madagascar. So I have no idea what it is, but it was having fun hopping about the trees.

Ring-tailed lemur?!


The view from Sugar Loaf towards Botafogo, Corcovado is the highest peak in the background.

Brazil's shanty towns are notoriously dangerous, there is only one which you can hope to venture into and come out in one piece, with a guide of course. Rocinha is home to over a quarter of a million people, and is the only favela to be officially recognised as a district of the city proper.


La musica

In Rocinha we had this cheery chap play "The Girl From Ipanema" for us, and then he sold us his CD.

Close view of some of the narrow passageways in the favela - there is only really one road which snakes up the hill, everything else is carried by mule or by hand.

Stairway to...?

View over Rocinha

At the top of Rocinha we could see right down to Sao Conrado, one of the richest districts in the city. Quite a contrast.

In order to get a better view of Sao Conrado, we leapt off a 550 metre cliff and glided over the top of it!


Flying high

This is about the only half-decent snap I managed to get from the hanglider, of Sao Conrado beach, with Rocinha stretching up the hill in the distance. I managed not to drop the camera.

Ipanema beach, four blocks from our hostel, with one of the many Rio mountains in the background. The mountains are big, Corcovado is nearly 2500 feet.

Where's the girl from Ipanema...?

Lago de Ipanema

View from Corcovado down to Ipanema, the stretch of land between the water. Ipanema is the safest place to stay in Rio, much more so than Copacabana which is a favourite spot for muggers due to the large number of tourists who go there!

Again the statue of christ the Redeemer, who kept fading in and out of view with the cloud. It was a lot colder up here than the warmth of the beaches, and there was always some clown doing the arm thing infront of the statue! Myself included.

Cristo Redentor

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2006