You don’t leave Rio without experiencing the crazy night life in Lapa. Streets are over packed with party lovers sipping ciapirinhas for as cheap as BRL5 from colourful pop up bars, dancing to the rhythm of the ever inviting samba.
Ian and I teamed up Katrin, a German girl we met at the hostel, and made our way to Lapa around 11:30pm (Brazilian parties start late!) to meet up with my good old friend Marjory who I’ve known for a long time and had partied with several times back in London. She recently moved to Rio to work on the World Cup preparations and had been there long enough to be considered our “local” tour guide.
After grabbing a couple “caipis” from a street stall under the huge old Aqueduct, we made our way down the main party streets where people were spilling out of the bars and clubs onto the streets making it one massive party! We walked a bit to find one of the recommended clubs but there was already a queue around the block so we settled for another with a live Samba band that was just getting ready to play. And this around 2:30am!
And there we danced till the early hours of the morning…
On our last day in Rio (the Saturday after the Lapa night…) we decided to take a city tour as we were stuck in the hotel room for the previous couple days due to heavy rain and couldn’t visit half of the places we wished to.
First stop was the Corcovado Mountain to see Christo Redento (Christ the Redeemer). As it turns out we happened to visit the statue on the religious holiday weekend of Corpus Christi so the queues were massive! However, it was well worth the 2 hour wait as the statue is very impressive and the birds-eye view of the city from the top is truly magnificent.
Since the wait to get in to Corcovado was much longer than expected, our tour guide had to rush the next few spots on the agenda. We made quick stops at Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao, the conical shaped cathedral which is believed to give proximity to God, and the Sambadrome. Here the world famous Rio Carnival is hosted. The final stop of the day was The Selerón stairs – the crazy colorful tiled stairway created by Chilean artist Jorge Selerón connecting the areas of Lapa and Santa Teresa.
After all the horror stories we had heard and read about the city we started off quite skeptical of others and naturally avoiding dodgy scenarios. But to be honest, at no point did we really feel unsafe. We also made extra sure to not wander into any Favelas! Most evenings we were catching buses home after dark from Ipanema or Copacobana and didn’t have any problems. That said, on the day we took our city tour, 2 German tourists were trying to be adventurous and walked into one of the “safer” favelas without a guide. They met someone, couldn’t understand what the guy was saying to them in Portuguese, tried to run away and got shot. Not fatally but bad enough to spend a few days in hospital.
Rio certainly lived up to all our expectations and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to our epic journey. Leaving her behind wasn’t easy even after staying an extra 2 days. We really would love to come back here again one day…