Day 5 – Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar) & H.Stern Tour
We got the bus from the same place as we went for Christ the Redeemer, we took bus 511 (512 return) to the mountain. It took about 30 minutes however it’s not the last stop, but it is an obvious stop as you can see the cable cars etc.
It took $70R to get in and you get the cable car to the intermediate mountain (Morro da Urca). We would have liked to rockclimb part of the mountain but due to time restraints (and seemed relatively high level) we ended up not doing this. Out of the two, this seemed like the better mountain to explore. First up we went exploring and walked partly down the mountain through the jungle paths.
Saw lots of monkeys (one even jumped on the guy in front of us for some food) and lizards but not too much else.
It was quite difficult walking along the paths, very humid and unfortunately there were no signs we so just turned around randomly and started going back up the hill as we didn’t know how far down the paths went. Once back at the top, Ricky lost his ticket, we had some (expensive) lunch and then walked around and took some photo. After lunch, thankfully they didn’t mind Ricky had lost his ticket and we went up to Sugarloaf. On Sugarloaf the view was amazing however there wasn’t much else to do on this mountain. After taking several photos and looking around, we headed back to the hostel.
Once back at the hostel, we ventured out to pick-up our washing. After picking up our washing, we were checking out the odd gem stones at the corner of the street in the H.Stern booth. After looking for about 30s, the guy came over and asked if we wanted to do a free tour of the factory, why not!
The tour was super formal with tour guides in every language. At each station we received a new tour guide to take us through the section like clockwork. Was interesting seeing the people actually working on the gem stones and the jewelry was magnificent however it was super expensive. At the end of the tour we were able to take one of the Mercedes back to our hostel however we decided not to as it was only about 1 km away and we were going to walk around. After cooking and having a nap, that night I went back to train at Crossfit Carioca, and Ricky went to Terere Academy, located literally at the bottom of the elevator to the favela.
After returning from the gym, we ended up meeting a group of Argentinians in the kitchen and played drinking games with them until the early hours of the morning drinking communal caiprinhas from a cut up coke bottle.
Day 6 – Shopping Leblon & Lapa
We went shopping at Shopping Leblon and another store. Ricky didn’t end up buying anything, but I bought a new bikini (yes the cheeky ones!). We did some grocery shopping, some cooking and then relaxing in the hostel. Uploaded photos to Facebook, replied to people and picked up washing which took a surprising amount of time.
That night we headed to Lapa with the Argentinians. Unfortunately the group got split up and we had a relatively lax night given the lines and expensive fees to get into places. Was interesting walking around and very busy. Ended up just getting a table at a restaurant and having a beer then heading home at 2 AM.
Day 7 – Copacobana Beach & Ipanema Beach
Sunday in Rio, the final day, we first took the bus to Copacobana (can’t remember the number) and ended up walking around the beach for about 30 mins. We had heard Ipanema was the nicer beach and less packed so we only went to Copacobana for some photos and to have a look around. As expected, the beach was insanely packed with people everywhere as far as the eye could see. Near the road (one side closed for beach) there were people playing volleyball and football in the sand, and then further down there were rows of chairs and umbrellas were everyone was relaxing. The waves at the beach were very intense and completely unexpected as they were only about 50 m from the shore.
After heading back to the hostel and dropping off Ricky’s phone we walked to Ipanema. Ipanema as expected had less people however it was still insanely busy. The waves here seemed even bigger than Copacobana, about the same distance out. Unfortunately the first wave Ricky got hit by he lost his Ray Bans, however continued to go out and enjoy the waves….until he got stuck in a rip about 45 mins later. Luckily he remembered to swim across the rip after trying to swim in twice and realising he was stuck in a rip (even though his feet could touch the floor). After that, it was time to head back to the hostel, pack our stuff, have some dinner and then get an early sleep for our flight the next day.
Being awoken at 4 am by the other people in the hostel was rather annoying, speaking loudly, banging lockers and leaving the light on. However bitter sweet revenge was worth it at 5 am when we had to get up and leave. The old locker slam by Ricky as we walked out the door woke them up nicely.
Additional Rio Notes
- For the gyms we’d take screenshots and leave google maps open on the page (so at least the GPS would still work) and walk there during the day so we’d know where to go and not have to use our mobiles too much at night. Seemed like a bit over kill in the end but made it relatively pain free for later that night (especially since some gyms are tucked away in buildings with no signs and on random floors).
- Che Lagarto was probably the worst hostel we’ve stayed in in terms of cleanliness and shit roommates. Surprisingly the woo girls were the best (although they were only there for one night) and Irish guy on the 3/4 night. First night we had shitbag with phone LED flicking all over the room and leaving the bathroom light on. The last group seemed alright until the last night. They also charge double for the rooms over the weekends.