A while back, I kinda bashed Rio.
My feelings about this crazy, contrasted city definitely aren’t all bad. In fact, there are a LOT of positives to this city.
I love Rio de Janeiro!
A walk down the street feels like the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast
Everyone says good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Whether you’re passing a casual acquaintance or a total stranger in the hallway, everyone greets you. If you share an elevator going up to your apartment, the other person will say goodbye or wish you a good day when you step out.
The whole city feels very friendly and welcoming.
There are snacks EVERYWHERE
Rio de Janeiro has dedicated snack shops on every street, called lanchonettes who sell all kinds of salty and sweet snacks, and usually juice as well.
On the short walk to the lanchonette, you’ll probably pass a few street vendors selling snacks as well. Popcorn, churros, soup, and even barbecued meat are everywhere on the sidewalk.
Nature is a big part of the city
this doesn’t look like a city view
Rio supposedly has the biggest urban forest of any city in the world. Almost anywhere you are in the city (especially Zona Sul) you’re just a short drive away from being completely immersed in nature.
From my apartment in Leme, Zona Sul, I can walk for 15 minutes and be in a trail on Morro do Leme that is surrounded by trees and peppered with monkeys. It feels like a complete escape from the city.
One word: Caipirinhas
get. in. my. belly.
The sweet, tangy, limey drink is absolutely delicious and refreshing, and best enjoyed at any of the beachside restaurants that line the seaside here in Rio de Janeiro. Nothing beats sipping a caipirinha and watching the waves roll in.
In Brazil, you can drink in public, so you can even take your caipirinha to go, if you prefer. Drink it while taking a stroll down the beachside boardwalk, or bring a blanket and sit on the sandy beach.
The most stunning cityscape in the world
Hands down, Rio de Janeiro has the absolute best skyline. Buildings and mountains give way to the ocean. You’ve never seen a more dramatic sunrise or sunset, and the city from every angle is ridiculously picturesque.
Top that off with Christ the Redeemer peering down from Corcovado and viewable from almost any point in Zona Sul – wow.
Constant vacation weather
Pretty much year round, the weather in Rio de Janeiro is great. When the mercury sinks to the low 70s, people will start to complain of the cold.
In the low season, “cold” weather will be accompanied by rain, but it usually only lasts a day or two before being broken up by sunshine.
90% of the days, year round, feel like the ultimate vacation.
Super dog friendly
yes those are capybaras
Moving from what seemed like the least dog-friendly city in the world, Rio feels like some kind of dog heaven. Dogs are welcome almost everywhere (sometimes even in the mall), and I swear even more people say hello to Mickey than to me.
You’ll see all kinds of older folks babying their dogs by pushing them in baby carriages, and talking earnestly to them. They even have full conversations with Mickey and I never have the heart to tell them that he only speaks Thai.
There’s always something going on
I’m taking him down so fast his face is blurred!
Whoever you are and whatever your interests, there’s a way for you to get involved in Rio. With an overflow of volunteer opportunities, interesting classes (Portuguese is one of the most popular, Jiu Jitsu is one of my most favorite), and events, you can have the busiest social calendar you desire.
It even seems like each month there’s some kind of holiday, from the obvious like Carnaval and Reveillon (New Year’s Eve), to Kid’s Day and Teacher’s Day, and in November All Saint’s Day.
Transportation game is on point
Rio de Janeiro is super easy to get around. The metro is probably my favorite method, as it is clean, air conditioned, inexpensive (around $1 per ticket), and safe. During peak hours, there are several cars JUST for women.
Rio also has buses (though those tend to get stuck in traffic, aren’t always air conditioned, and can be pretty gropey), and minibuses.
If you’re more of a private transport kind of person, the taxis in Rio are reliable, safe, and cheap (the meter starts at about $1.50). They ALWAYS use the meter, and sometimes the drivers even speak English.
And least but certainly not least – the beaches are insane
the beach a few blocks from my apartment that I’m heading to right about… meow.
Living in Rio makes it hard to go anywhere else on “vacation”. Seriously, the beaches in Rio are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. And it’s pretty ridiculously awesome that I can get to the ocean from desk as I type this in less than 10 minutes.
Actually, I think I’ll do that now! (Caipirinhas are calling my name)
Necessary Details: Rio de Janeiro