Carnival’s Grand Parade

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After four days of using Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival block parties to warm up for the big celebrations, it was time for two of the main events: One of the two nights of Sambadromo parades from which the annual winner would be chosen; and The audacious, traditional finale to the Carnival season, the Gay Costume [Read more …]

Why Buenos Aires is our Favorite World-Class Latin American City

Why Buenos Aires is our Favorite World-Class Latin American City We have not yet visited all of Latin America’s largest cities, but we have been to many–Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio, Lima, Quito and Santiago. Although we were awed by Mexico City’s history and by Rio’s magnificent scenery, social life (especially the over-the-top week of [Read more …]

The Gay Costume Ball—Carnival Season Finale

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Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival consists of hundreds of different events, scattered all across the city. There are block parties, neighborhood parades, huge blow-out main Sambadroma parades and a number of celebratory balls. The Gay Costume Ball is a ticketed, high-profile event is always one of the highlights of every Carnival and a fitting culmination (the [Read more …]

Carnival Block Parties

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Carnival season offers party options morning, noon and night for almost a full week. There are hundreds of block parties and small parades all over the city, about a dozen major street parties and parades, open rehearsals for many of the samba schools that will be competing in the big events, plus thousands of smaller, [Read more …]

Historic (and not so Historic) Central Rio de Janeiro

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Our Central Rio experience was defined at least as much by who we met, as by what we saw. After seeing a couple of the major sites and having a snack at the wonderful Cocinelle French Bistro along the restaurant-lined, table-filled Travessa do Conercio, we went to the National Theater and the Museo Nacional de [Read more …]

Copacabana, Ipanema and Nearby Neighborhoods

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Rio’s south coastline is the playground for the rich, the sun worshipers and increasingly the physically fit. The area is limed by three beautiful beaches, each with soft white sand, gentle surf. Although all are lovely, Ipanema is the most fashionable and popular, filled with sun worshipers in various states of dress and undress. [Read more …]

Copacabana Hotel and Restaurants

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Although our Rio exploits took us all around the city, we chose to stay in Copacabana. Although we spent zero time on the beach, it is a great walking area, close to other beach towns like Ipanema and Leblon and close to shopping and the Metro, which provides convenient access to much of the city [Read more …]

Humanizing Rio’s Favelas

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Marcelo Armstrong believes that his city’s favelas get a bad rap, as dens of dire poverty, drug usage and gang violence. So, back in1992, he created his Favela Tour to help demystify and humanize favelas and show locals and tourists alike that favelas, while poor and suffering from often violent crimes, are generally communities of [Read more …]

Sugarloaf–the Hard Way

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It is one of the most dramatic and iconic images of Rio. When we learned we could hike it, we had to take advantage of the opportunity. After all, it is only a 2.5 hour, 1,750 feet elevation hike. There were only two slight drawbacks—it is straight up and it requires some technical climbing. so [Read more …]

Iguazu Falls

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Absolutely amazing!!! Iguazu Falls is a huge waterfall, consisting of dozens of cascades, that span the Amazon River between Brazil and Argentina, touching a corner of Paraguay. The falls, which are spread across 1.6 kilometers and reach more than 100 meters high, are awesome, They can be seen from either–and should be seen from [Read more …]