At that time, we were considering to explore by ourselves or using Tour Guide. There are advantages and downside from both side. If we choose to travel by ourselves, we may not get the story and everything and just sightseeing. Although, the cost will be relatively lower. Or, we can get a tour guide and we can enjoy the trip and get the stories about the city. Since we only two days and a lot of places we wanted to see and experience, we finally decided to have a tour guide with us. We chose Rio Roots day tour since Henrique, the owner was able to accommodate our needs with reasonable price.
Henrique pick us up at our Accommodation down in Ipanema, Mango Hostel. The hostel is only 5 minutes from the beautiful beach of Ipanema and the room is pretty clean with complete facilities. We were picked at 7:30 am with his humble car. From there, we went straight to the top of Corcovado Mountain where Christ the Redeemer stood tall.
The drive was quite far from Ipanema. It was around 30 minutes passing the Tijuca National Forest before arriving at the entrance. From the outside entrance where the car is parked, there’s a shuttle that bring us further ascending to the entrance of the Statue. Once we enter the main gate, there were escalators and few stairs before we reached the main level. Since the first entrance the statue of the Christ could actually be seen.
Christ the Redeemer (Christo Redentor)
While the statue itself stands so majestic, the surrounding view is just as outstanding. The statue is built on top of Corcovado Mountain, 700 meters above sea level. So from the outlook point on the foot of the status, we can see the Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay. I was just so blown away by the view and the atmosphere.
Although i had seen many photos of people who actually climb onto the had/top of the statue, it's a special case. Not everyone is allowed to climb to the top, and the access to the top was forbidden/closed.
The situation on the area at that time was not that crowded. Henrique took us there quite early and we were able to steal some photos. The trick that Henrique taught us to get a full picture with the statue is to lay your back until you touch the ground and aim your gear up. That way we can get the full picture of the statue. Many people did that, especially when it’s not that crowded. We stayed there for about 1 hour before departed to our next destination.
São Conrado Beach
We went to Rocinha, one of the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Favela in Rocinha has grown in a more modern way than a Shanty town, slum area where most houses are built from metal roof, woods, or plastic. Rocinha is actually more of a packed small housing with three to four stories. It is also the most populous Favela in Rio de Janeiro. The area is somewhat developed as well where you can find a quite fine house, sanitation, and electricity. It wasn't like as i imagined it would be.
To guarantee the best experience in Favela, Henrique park his car quite far from the Rocinha. From where he parked, he took us for a walk to a bus stop where the bus took us to the heart of the Favela. It was actually quite cool to be able to experience living in Favelas. After a long ascending ride inside the Rocinha, we finally stopped to a place where there were local paintings and art were sold by the locals. Those arts and paintings were made by themselves. We then continued our walk to a hostel where it’s located at the one of the highest building in Rocinha. From there we could see the other array of houses in the surrounding area and it was a pretty sight.
Different with how he took us up, Henrique lead us through a maze in favela (which I’m pretty much admire him for remembering all those turns and alleys in beautifully sophisticated Rocinha) on our descending walk back where his car was parked. So overall, it was such a great experience where i could feel the uproar and colorful Rocinha. The area has such a great energy than dynamics that pulls you in.