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Rio/Iguassu trip report-- Part 1, RIO

Sarasota, Florida
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Rio/Iguassu trip report-- Part 1, RIO

(I will post part two under Iguassu forum).

I read many posts here prior to trip and found it very helpful- here is my contribution:

One of the few positives of a long layover in Sao Paulo is I worked on my trip report! We spent 5 nights in Rio and 2 nights in Iguassu.

We made our arrangements thru 4 Star South America online travel agent. Everything went smoothly.

FLIGHTS: TAM-- ok except for VERY cramped seating in coach. I will also try to never fly into/out of Sao Paulo GRU again. We arrived 2hrs+ late, had people waiting in check in line 30min just to be told to get on TAM bus to the domestic airport for Rio flight (seems could have had an agent at beginning of line to tell people this, give a pass and send directly to bus).Spent about 30min waiting for bus, then about hour to domestic airport. When all said and done, we got to Rio at 2pm instead 8 am--- at least it was still daylight and sunny! And miracles of miracles, our guide Bebel (arranged thru the travel agency, she was also with us the next day for a day tour)--- had tracked us down(she had been calling TAM to locate us since 8am) and was waiting for us at the airport to transfer us to our hotel. On return, had long layover at GRU, very gloomy and boring there, and we left out of the gate 4 abc area--- along with about 6 other flights all scheduled around same time--- what a mass of humanity, could not hear announcements well, just poor organization I felt.

Enough of a rant--onto the fun stuff.

RIO HOTEL: Sol Ipanema- loved the location, across from beach, rooms and service were fine. More 3 star than 4 star room quality.


1.Beach: People watching on Ipanema quite interesting--beach goers, sports players, vendors selling all types of merchandise/food/drink. Ocean water was too cold for us to go in. We were only there on weekdays and not too crowded-- can only imagine the crowds on a sunny weekend.

2.On our day tour with guide, went to the Christ statue, the futbol stadium, the Sambadromo(hard to imagine it swollen with people at Carnaval), and Sugarloaf. We were blessed with clear blue skies at the Christ statue-- views were stunning. Road the train down with a local school group, and got to learn some of their songs. For some reason, on the Sugar loaf cable cars, I always felt a little sick--kind of stifling on them.

3.Tropical Islands tour:

Agent booked this with Grayline. Drive in shuttle van about 1- 1 1/2 hours outside Rio to village of Itacuruca and cruise on a schooner type boat. We were lucky it was not full, only about 30 people, so had room to move about.Bar on board and samba players for part of the time. Cruise the bay, stop for swimming, then docks at another island for lunch at a small hotel. Beautiful day and very relaxing to do absolutely nothing.

4. Tijuca Forest Jeep tour:

Agent booked this thru Jeep Tours.They you pick you up in an open jeep, you sit in seats in the back bed (open air, we had 7 on our tour, room for maybe 10)--- not really pleasant driving streets of Rio open air (windy and fumes)-- but once in park was fine. In the forest you really do not feel you are in the city anymore, so quiet and fresh smelling. Saw monkeys, Brazilian racoon ( I don't recall name), brilliant blue butterflies, water fall, and stopped at Chinese view point for more great views of Rio, and had a walk through the forest.

5. Plataforma Show: I liken it to going to a tourist luau in Hawaii-- cheesy and touristy yes--- but also entertaining.

6.Bossa Nova at Vinicius--located in Ipanema- liked the atmosphere, and no smoking. Maria Creuza was wonderful.

SAFETY: I was surprised by how safe we felt (had heard so many bad things prior to leaving). We stayed in Ipanema. We never had any trouble or even felt threatened. Beach promenade was well lit, and many people out walking, even after dark until about 10pm. Only bad experience, was we took a walk to Copacabana to check it out, and while sitting at one of the beachside kiosks having a drink, a young boy came up to my husband was kind of aggressive--- pulling on his arm, insisting my husband buy him chips, and would not go away when told to do so in Portuguese (funny he only pestered my husband, not me), but he seemed to be alone, and did not follow us when we got up and walked away.

Thats my Rio story.

Great to relive the trip

Cinnaminson, New...
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21. Re: Rio/Iguassu trip report-- Part 1, RIO

Well, since I've never been to Rio and I'm taking my 10 year old son their next month with my younger cousin Angela, I certainly appreciate ALL of the discussions about Rio. Good or bad, funny or serious. I'll make my own judgments when I get there, but the open, honest discussions will give my some insight and know what to prepare for.

Some of the fear of crime I don't take too seriously, but I'm also not going to take unnecessary risks. And I'm certainly not going to let the talk of crime stop me from taking my son. As far as I'm concerned, we have just as much of a chance (if not more) of getting mugged in Philadelphia or Camden, NJ as we do in Rio. Life is too short to live in fear that keeps you from trying new experiences.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you ALL for your insights and opinions! I can't wait to go and see it for myself!

Brasilia, DF
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22. Re: Rio/Iguassu trip report-- Part 1, RIO

Coco, I think I've never praised your participations, but I think you really got a 10! on your last one. Nice that you still keep up with the Forums.

I've been chided for some of my remarks in the past, but I've just been thinking about this whole issue of Rio and the disadvantaged - RIo is just a reflection of this world as it is right now. Most people in the world do not have the opportunities we posters have, they are just trying to survive. Of course we also are just trying to survive, but we got some stronger armour. Often, when one is in Finland, for example, and never leaves, then the world is really wonderful - and why shouldn't it be??? It's just quite cold, but then there is the wonderful sauna. And yet, suddently a kid there goes on a shooting spree.

Well, that sort of situation occurs a bit more often in Rio and often we Brazilians get so used to it from the news that it seems natural - and the fight for survival has been around for thousands of years and it is actually more of a world reality than the experience in Scandinavia. I really wish we had a Scandinivian experience in Brazil, but I just have to make sure that, even in relatively safe Brasilia I try to not hang around the outside of my car for too long in a parking lot at night and I will find myself looking around as I walk around my middle-class neighborhood, though nothing even close to a mugging has happened to me (and I walk around a lot, day and night).

Going to Rio is part of accepting that part of reality which includes an obvious fight for survival and participating in a life-experience with over 15 million other people who have chosen to live there (for everyone does have a choice, even the ones whose starting point in life is worse than ours - Brazil is a huge country and they could try their luck in thousands of other municipalities). And if you do make that choice, as the intrepid world traveling mother will do, you will have an experience of truly stunning beauty and cultural enrichment that is second-to-none!

And if the person is looking for a vacation with guaranteed safety - Indonesia or Thailand? No, there could be a tsunami. Egypt or Maldives? There could be a terrorist attack. Mexico? Hurricane season is starting soon. Japan or California? Could be around for that earthquake they've been preparing for. I'm sure there are places that are close to perfectly safe and there is no reason people shouldn't choose those. If you want a little bit of tension, then by all means, come down to Rio ASAP!

OK, enough ranting on... just wanted to share in the intensity that the Internet permits.

23. Re: Rio/Iguassu trip report-- Part 1, RIO

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