Just in time for the 2013 edition of the Billabong Pro Rio, here’s a local’s view to the city of god, Caipirinhas and some of the hottest parties in the whole wide world… Not to forget the surf of course!
Words by Taylor Barnes
The beach is only the gateway to festive and beautiful Rio. Tropical rainforest abuts posh scenes fit for a novella set and refurbished dance halls from Rio’s colonial quarter lead to the characteristic favelas on hillsides around the city, which take you full circle to the under-construction 2016 Olympic Park and downtown soccer stadium Maracanã. A walk along the black-and-white sidewalk grants turquoise Atlantic views whereas a hike up into a favela offers competitively stunning views of what happens when urbanisation and the tropics meet. And all of this is under the watchful gaze of the Cristo statue, who lights up at night and appropriately occupies the city’s highest point.
A walk along the black-and-white sidewalk grants turquoise Atlantic views whereas a hike up into a favela offers competitively stunning views of what happens when urbanisation and the tropics meet.
Visitors congregate in the “Zona Sul” of the city, where beachside neighborhoods like Ipanema and Copacabana offer views of the open ocean where intimidatingly strong waves and beer vendors are never far away. Skaters and cyclists can enjoy rounds on the ramp of the city’s lagoon. But to stay just in the Zona Sul would be a mistake. The grungy downtown party neighbourhood Lapa always has a live show and street vendors, while the dilapidated Port Zone of the city is getting a facelift and hosts outdoor samba called Pedra do Sal. A new policing program has made outsiders more comfortable than ever to explore the city’s favelas, be it the beach views from steep Vidigal or the cable car that cruises the peaks of Complexo Alemão. Far-flung beaches like the recluse Prainha or Itacoatiara are paradise on the edge of a bustling city.