Rio is a crazy metropol. Full of contrasts. Extraodinary beautiful and extremely scary. We started our Brazil trip in Rio and decided to spoil ourselves with a great hotel after an exhausting flight and to be safe.
So we booked a hotel room in the amazing Hotel Miramar, which I can highly recommend to anyone planning to see the area. The beds were one of the most comfy beds I ever slept in and overlooking Copacabana from the pool on the roof top was breathtaking. It might actually be the same Hotel, which the German broadcasting companies ARD and ZDF chose to present their daily moderation and analysis after every world cup match. (Booking.com usually has some great offers).
Even from the rooftop bar you can see the vast contrasts of the city, which are the main reason for its danger. Looking at on the on side of the roof top you can see Copacabana, looking to the opposite direction, you see a huge favela. At first, I did not realize what I saw, since I did not picture a favela that huge, illuminated and close to a 5 start hotel. But that is exactly, what Rio is about. There are many favelas in the city causing drug and kid gangs walk through the streets of Rio and Copacabana at night and daytime. We learned to leave money, camera and even our bags at out Hotel room and to never pay someone in the streets. You will find great restaurants and bars downtown and you will feel super safe, forgetting that weapons are involved in most robberies. So if you travel Rio, take some time to get to know the place, keep your eyes open and start going out at night, once you know the area.
Copacabana is the most famous beach and I have never seen a beach where there are more people playing any kind of sports. People are crazy for sports. They run along the beach during midday heat, play soccer or beach volleyball everywhere in larger groups.
The view from the Corcovado hill (Christ the Redeemer) north west of Copacabana and Sugarloaf Mountain north east of Copacabana is amazing. We were quite unfortunate with clouds covering the sky. But as soon as there was a little gap between them, we where overwhelmed by the views over the costal area of this giant city.
Did you know the name Rio de Janeiro is actually a mistake. When the Portuguese arrived at the harbor of the Guanabara Bay in January, they thought, it was the end of a river and named it “River of January” – in Portuguese: Rio de Janeiro.