Tornado Tour of South America – Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil
Touring Rio de Janeiro in a day.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in South America. It is the capital of the region and part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the cultural landscape. Famed for its carnival festival, it will be hosting several important events including the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympics.
Coming from Foz do Iguacu with a layover in Sao Paolo, I had a day to visit and enjoy the city. The travel over was awful due to the fact that my clothes were wet from that rainstorm. Arriving in the evening I settled into my hotel, the JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro. The guards and reception probably thought I was a homeless person with my wet clothing.
That evening I wet out to sample the bar scene near Copacabana. Nightlife in Rio was not to disappoint.
The next day after breakfast, I headed to my main objective, the icon of the city.
Walking down the boardwalk I arrived at Lido Square where I purchased tickets from a booth for a bus to the top of the mountain including entrance. I also got a perfect tourist shirt featuring the statue.
Christ the Redeemer
Once the largest Christ statue in the world, this Art Deco piece was built in 1922 -1931 out of concrete and soap stone. It was voted a New Seven Wonders of the World and remains a symbol for Rio.
To get to the top of the mountain, there is a cable car or the road. Buses leave from the Lido Square, but you have to wait for them to fill up before they make their way up. It took mine a good 25 minutes. Driving through the city, the narrow road winds up the mountain.
At the top we passed the regular entrance and drove to the very top. Then the passengers are free to explore the park.
At the statue, the majority of the crowd was taking pictures.
The views over the entire city were magnificent. It was slightly overcast but still decent visibility.
In the back of the base of the statue is a small prayer area.
Buses leave regularly back to the pick up point.
The popular beach is a landmark of the city. I strolled the boardwalk and had a terrible lunch at one of the random restaurants on the beach.
After lunch I changed and enjoyed the end of the day on a beach chair absorbing the atmosphere. It was actually a bit chilly but fun just watch the waves crashing.
I haven’t had a chance to just relax on the Tornado Tour and this was a great way to conclude the trip.
And hour later the wind picked up and umbrellas were flying through the sky like javelins. I relocated to the pool on the terrace.
Soon it was time to head to the airport to catch my flight to New York.
At Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport I discovered a robot scurrying around holding a touch screen with airport information and had a woman’s face on a screen in the ‘head’. It had a camera so it knew where to go and when to stop. Funny.
There was also some protest about the government in the middle of the airport. This didn’t seem to be out of the norm.
After I was airside, I relaxed in the American Airlines Admiral’s Lounge. I couldn’t believe the trip around South America was over and I was extremely grateful that the scheduling, timing, and activities all worked out.
What an adventure! I can’t wait to return to explore more of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.