“New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach – how does that sound!” I exclaimed. “With 2 million others…” Geoffrey ruefully replied. But the fireworks display were something to be behold and easily surpassed anything we’d ever seen previously. We’d walked from our hotel on a balmy still night with our bottle of champagne and savoured the festival atmosphere to find our spot on the beach. Just about anywhere on the beach is fine to sit yourself. The fireworks are launched from boats so everybody gets a perfect view. There seemed to be dozens of cruise ships also anchored out to sea so the many thousands aboard were also getting perfect views. The night probably could have done with a slight sea breeze as the fireworks went on for so long, the resulting smoke ended up obstructing some of the display. But of course it’s also all about the atmosphere before and after midnight – sharing in the New Year with so many others in a celebration on a massive scale.
Geoffrey’s a keen runner and rose early the next morning to jog the 20kms along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches and back to the hotel again. I was a little worried as the mercury starts to soar after 10am. However he had lots of drink stops along the way topping up with the very refreshing Guarana Antarctica local soft drink which we had both taken a liking to.
Rio is not one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere for a reason. It has something for everyone. Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; and Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; the Samba dromo are obvious must sees. A tip – if you have limited time, book tours to the major attractions to avoid the huge crowds (or go early).
We especially enjoyed the Dona Maria Favela tour made famous by Michael Jackson’s famous song “They Don’t Care About Us” and other walking tours away from the main attractions.
If the heat finally gets to you, there always the sanctuary of the beach or cocktails by the pool or the fabulous air-conditioned shopping malls!
The Carnival before Easter is possibly the largest in the world – now that’s got to be high on the bucket list!
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