“Desde a janela se ve o Corcovado, ah, que lindo!” (Tom Jobim>
Whatever your feelings about Rio de Janeiro, it can’t be denied that it has a spectacular setting and maybe, just for once, it’s worth going to see the sights. Pull out your camera, your goofy baseball hat and ill-fitting shorts and be a tourist in Rio.
First up is Christ the Redemptor, O Corcovado. This enormous statue of JC himself overlooks all of Rio de Janeiro and you can even orient yourself by it at night. You can stand up right by the Christ and look down on Rio from any angle you want. The hills, beaches and islands all spread out in a fairytale panorama and you might think of living in Rio de Janeiro for the rest of your life.
To get there you can either catch a bus or a taxi to the far end of Laranjeiras and then catch the service up the hill – naturally, this costs you a few bucks. Or else you can go the hardcore way and actually hike up the hill to the Christ. This is cool because you arrive there all muddy, torn and sweaty and you can frighten all the clean cut tourists snapping photos.
The next thing on the list is the Sugar Loaf, God’s gift to Rio’s picture postcard industry. You’ve never seen a hill and a beach look so scenic and you even get to scare yourself shitless in a cable car as you take in the view. Ok, so maybe you are braver than us…
Lastly, whether you’re a fan or not, you should head to the largest football (no, no one else in the world calls it soccer and it’s been around for a lot longer than American football) stadium in the world, Maracana. The local team in Rio is called Flamengo and if you know what’s good for you you’ll support them. Football is a religion in Brazil and especially in Rio de Janeiro.
Get a taxi to Maracana as the area isn’t so safe and if it’s a busy game then you’re best off arriving a bit early to get your seat before the crowds arrive outside.