Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

May 27, 2016 Avatar  TravelStore

I left California for Brazil not knowing what to expect. What I found was a wonderful country with a lot of culture to offer. It was a short five-night trip which included Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Our first stop was Rio where we stayed at the Sheraton Grand Rio, a good choice for business and leisure travelers. With direct access to the beach, the views are beautiful. The rooms are pretty typical for a Sheraton and the facilities are comfortable. The hotel is just a short taxi ride from Copacabana and other local attractions.

While I liked the Sheraton Grand Rio, I would love to stay at the Fasano the next time I visit Rio. Located next to Copacabana, this hotel offers beautiful views of the beach. Their rooftop pool and bar are breathtaking. This hotel is truly luxurious and unique.

We saw a variety of attractions while in Rio de Janeiro, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado, Copacabana, and The Brazilian Soccer Team Museum. We took a cable car to get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Even though we had to stand on the cable car, the ride was quick and the views at the top were worth it. Watching the sunset was beautiful.

Next, we took a train a short twenty minutes up to see Corcovado. Along the way, we enjoyed gorgeous views of lush trees and glimpses of the city. It was supposed to rain so there was a lot of fog. As we were walking the many flights of stairs to get to the top where the statue is, the clouds parted and we had amazing views of the city and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Mount Corcovado provides 360 degree views of Rio de Janeiro.

The next morning, I strolled along Copacabana Beach. The sand was incredibly soft and expansive. If I had the time, I would have liked to have spent the whole day relaxing at this beach. Instead, we had a bus tour of Barra de Tijuca where we passed Olympic Park where the Summer Olympics 2016 will take place.

Still under construction, we were unable to explore the Olympic facilities but it was exciting to see where the games will take place. While in Barra de Tijuca, we visited the Brazilian Soccer Team Museum. The museum was so much fun. Most of the exhibits were interactive, allowing guests to learn while utilizing high-tech equipment such as virtual reality headsets.

Our trip to Rio ended far too quickly. We took a short flight to Sao Paulo where we stayed two nights at the Tivoli. This hotel has a very central location. The hotel is wonderful and I would stay there again. The suites are spacious, the design is charming, and the service is top-notch. The Tivoli is a great option for luxury travelers.

While in Sao Paulo, we visited Ibirapuera Park, Vila Madelena, and Batman Alley. We stopped briefly at Ibirapuera Park. We only visited a small section of the park where a sculpture garden and art museums are located.

This is a peaceful and cultural place to visit, worth exploring.

My favorite section of the city is Vila Madelena. Vila Madelena is a lovely neighborhood of Sao Paulo including a lot of local culture and art. This area is full of art galleries, cobblestone streets lined with shops, and Beco do Batman. Beco do Batman, or Batman Alley, has a beautiful display of graffiti. We strolled along the narrow cobblestone alleyway, watching artists at work. This alley is full of impressively creative graffiti. I would recommend visiting Batman Alley in Sao Paulo. The next time I visit, I plan to spend an afternoon exploring Vila Madelena and Batman Alley further.

Although my trip to Brazil was brief, I truly enjoyed the cuisine and culture. The Brazilians were friendly and helpful and the food was delicious. I hope to return to both cities and explore more of this large, charming country.

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Courtney Lavarnway