We got up early this morning as we had a tour booked, we wanted to see the tourist highlights but also get a view of the city from a local. We found our tour guide Manu on Trip Advisor, he is a Brazilian American who is extremely passionate about his city and knew all the best places to take us. We headed up towards the Christ the Redeemer statue – probably the biggest tourist attraction in the whole of Brazil! He has been running tours since 2006 and estimates he has been up to the statue about 1000 times!
On the way up he took us to a few view points that looked down over the city, the views were spectacular and showed us why Rio is such a popular city to live in. It is definitely the most beautiful city I have ever seen – it has everything a normal city has but is set in the most lush green mountains, surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches and islands popping up out of the sea all around. 7% of Rio de Janeiro state is National Park/Rainforest with wildlife (such as Monkeys) up high in the mountains, we saw a family of Monkeys as we were leaving one of the view points.
We made our way to the very top of the statue, it was boiling hot and my feet were burning so we didn’t stay up there too long but we did manage to get some good photo’s. The statue is 30m high and 26m wide set up on the highest point in Rio so it looks over the whole city. At night time they light the statue up so you can always see it on a clear day.
Manu then took us through some of the smaller towns of Rio, we stopped at a famous staircase called Escadaria Selaron in Santa Teresa – a paved street staircase that was transformed by a Chilian artist called Selaron. The story goes that he spent his life searching for a Brazilian woman he fell in love with but never found her so he decided to stay in Rio and put his passion into art of the city. He has collected tiles from countries all around the world and people now send him tiles to add to his masterpiece. We then visited the Lapa arches and the cathedral that was looks nothing like a cathedral but is an extremely famous building due to its strange appearance and clever structure that keeps the air constantly cool inside.
At about 6pm we got a taxi over to Sugar Loaf mountain, a 400m peak that looks over the city. There is a cable car that takes you half way and another that takes you all the way to the peak. We sat at the top while the sun set and watched the whole city light up as the day turned to night. The city looked good in the day but at night it is breathtaking.