The famous Sugar loaf consists of 2 peaks. The higher peak is Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) and the lower one is Morro da Urca (Urca Hill).
The peaks are accessed by cable cars which were first commissioned in 1912 and were renovated in 1972.
My first visit here was in November 1999, I was to return again in February 2000.
As we reach the top the view just gets better and better, the cable car passes through a layer of dense cloud and the air becomes chilled, as we emerge the heat from the sun returns once more, a few more moments and we will be at our destination.
As so many others have done before me I carved my name on the trunk of a small tree, one day I will return to check if it is still visible!
Night time in Rio and a whole different look and atmosphere emerges, with the bright lights and the sound of music and laughter all around. Although there is a reputation for violence, I felt at ease walking at night.
Inaugurated in 1931 this is maybe Rio's most famous landmark: the Statue of Christ blessing the city with open arms. It can be seen from most South Side neighbourhoods. The statue stands on the hill of Corcovado, which is 710 m tall (about 2,400 feet). The Statue of Christ, the Redeemer was a gift of France to the city, and it stands 30 meters high (100 feet). At its base is a chapel big enough for 150 people. This spot offers a 360° view to Rio.
After a train ride up the mountain side the final ascent to the peak is made by foot, climbing what feels like 1000 steps.
My first visit here was during November 1999. The first time I stood beside this amazing statue I felt a strange feeling and I knew that I would return again.
My second visit was in February of 2000.
I have plans to visit Corcovado again in the not too distant future.
This is the area I used as my base whilst in Rio, it's location makes it a good choice to explore from, being close to all the main places to visit, including the Sugarloaf, the stue of Christ and if you're feeling really brave it is just a stones throw from Rio Rochinha favela, the largest hill favela in Rio, and the second largest "shanty town" in Latin America .
Da Lagoa Roderigo de Freitas is approximately 8km (5 miles) around, and is the heart of Rio's Zona Sul (south zone), of which Leblon and Ipanema are two neighbourhoods. This is a great area to explore as there are many interesting places to discover.
The Claridge is where I made my base during my visits to Rio, it is located in a residential area of Lower Leblon surrounded by restaurants, bars and fast food outlets, the Zona Sul supermarket is right beside the hotel and the aroma of freshly baked bread is always in the air. Designer shops, banks and movie theatres, are also very close by. The beach is just three blocks away. There is a covered pool, hot tub, sauna and showers, post-sauna rest area, coffee shop, bar, squash court and game room. all with a panoramic view of the sea and the Lower Leblon district.
The island of Santa Catarina, has to be one of the places that I will remember for all times, a tranquil place that I would love to make my home.
There are a great many excellent hotels to choose from all of which will make your visit a truly memorable experience.
With its beautiful beaches and friendly people this is the place to visit if you require a peaceful getaway.
Florianopolis, the capital of the State of Santa Catarina, is located on the west coast of the Ilha (island) de Santa Catarina and is linked to the mainland by the longest suspension bridge in Brazil, the Hercilio Luz Bridge. Spaniards first settled the city in 1542, but by 1675 the Portuguese took control of the island. The captaincy of Santa Catarina was created in 1738 to serve as an outpost in the Portuguese-Spanish territorial wars. During the 19th century a considerable immigration of non-Portuguese peoples occurred. Germans arrived as early as 1829 and came in great numbers during the 1850s, settling not only in Florianopolis, but also along the valleys in the mainland. Anita Garibaldi, wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi fought in the Farroupilha Revolution of 1839, an unsuccessful separatist rebellion in the early days of the empire. Later other waves of immigrants from Italy, Poland, and Russia arrived in Santa Catarina to build new lives. Today Florianopolis is a busy commercial centre. Industries produce metallurgical and electrical communications equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and perfume. The area around Lagoa has some of the best seafood restaurants that I have ever seen, if you visit here I would definitely recommend a meal at 'El Gran Comilon' where Paella is a specialty!
I visited this wonderful place for the first time in October 2000 and my initial impression was of a very relaxed way of life. How different it is to the busy lifestyle of Rio. Local laws there prohibit the building of factories and large industrial developments.
The choice of beaches is a difficult one (there are so many, 42 I believe), although my favourite would have to be Praia Mole, with its expanse of golden sand it is a perfect place to spend a day relaxing with friends.
As with most other beaches in Brazil, good quality food is never far away, freshly prepared snacks and meals are readily available from a choice of outlets at the top of the beach.
Up north is where the most famous resorts are located, Canavieiras, Ingleses and Jurere. To the south, there are beaches such as Armacao, Campeche, and Pantano do Sul these are the beaches of the laocal fishing villages.
For more adventurous types, there are wild beaches, Lagoinha do Leste and Naufragados acessible only by following steep trails around 5 miles long.
Other beaches such as Santo Antonio de Lisboa and Ribeirao da Ilha, preserve architecture from Acores, an heritage from the Acorian immigrants from 1748.
Its natural beauty and quality of life attract people from major urban centres such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The most visited tourist attractions in downtown are Mercado Publico where the famous Box 32 is located and Alfandega where you will find handcrafted articles.
The local artisans produce articles for the kitchen and decorative objects representing local tradition, religious events and its people. The typical food is fish and seafood, although the variety of food is truly cosmopolitan.
Praia Mole, my favourite beach and a beach I know so well, I enjoyed many wonderful days there, and on one occasion was very nearly arrested (for swimming in front of a red flag). It's not a wise thing to argue with the Brazilian military police!
June 2001, and once again I travel to Brazil.
This time my trip begins in Salvador in the state of Bahia, unfortunately I am not in the company of my very special friends, this time I travel alone, ahead of me lies a two week package vacation, which was booked through Airtours an English company using the hotels of the man made Costa do Sauípe resort to the north of the city of Salvador.
Once again I am in my favourite country, the place that I have dreamed of making my home, a place that holds special memories for me. I have enjoyed many wonderful times here amongst the Brazilian people, all of whom have treated me with respect and kindness.
Three long months have passed since my last visit, although the memories I have make it seem like only yesterday.
My last trip was much further south on the island of Santa Catarina, this time I am in the north of the country where the original settlers first discovered this magnificent land.
During my stay I have seen the historic city of Salvador, with its mixture of the colonial buildings and also the modern high-rise “giants” of the “new” Salvador, I have experienced "capoeira" dancing (a form of martial art) originally practised by slaves and used as a means to settle their grievances. The dance of the “Forro” (for all) performed to the traditional music of this area, which is so very different from the music and dances I witnessed in Rio and Santa Catarina.
My trips took me to inland areas where the main crop is still sugar cane, this is sold in large open markets where locals go to purchase many varieties of produce and local crafts,
During my stay celebrations were taking place to honour St. John, each evening and well into the night the streets were full of music and dance.
There are many experiences I would like to share and it is hoped that I will include these in a later update but for now I will leave this page as is.
All that remains to be said is a big thank you to two guys I met there, namely "Carlos" and "Roberto", without whose help it would have been a struggle communicating (my Portuguese is still very basic)
In closing this page I would like to add that I honestly believe that this will not be my last time in Brazil and I leave here with many pleasurable memories.
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Once upon a time, Varig Airlines was a household name in South American aviation. For Brazil, it was as big a deal as Mexicana was for Mexico or Pan Am for the US. It was the largest B747 operator in the region and flew to now-forgotten destinations (for Latin American airlines) like Bangkok and Cote D’Ivoire. Nevertheless, like both of these carriers, it disappeared.
A useful site for general information about anything in Brazil, whether you're looking to learn about Brazil's business, climate, entertainment hotspots or just want to know about Brazil's carnival, this is the site to use if you are planning a trip to this wonderful country
The first Japanese restaurant in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Sushi Leblon opened its doors in September 1986. Located at Rua Dias Ferreira, it is known for the mixture of tradition and innovation in its cuisine, cool atmosphere, and has been awarded several times for be the best in town.