Summer is here. I was so excited for my first trip of the summer. My friends and I had the opportunity to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was an amazing experience we traveled for 5 days and 4 nights. We traveled American Airlines, plane ride was a little bumpy but they had all the good movies. I believe most flights into Brazil leave in the evening landing you there in the AM so be sure to get early check in.

Weather and Environment 
During this time of the year, we have our  summer in NY it is winter in Brazil. No of course there is no snow, it's more like a NY spring weather, some days hotter more than others. But yes it is their winter, I should have did my research because I packed a lot of skimpy or summer time gear where at times I wanted to be wearing jeans or even a light jacket. The first day in we ending up shopping and getting light jackets. Which wasn't needed much the rest of the trip as the days did get warmer. 

We stayed at the Royal Tulip in São Conrado. The hotel was very clean and simple. I would say it's more for corporate/adults. We were the youngest people there and everyone seemed stiff lol. But it was beautiful they have a beautiful pool with a bar, with an amazing view great for photo opps as you can see.
They also serve food their so a day near the pool with a drink in the sun is definitely recommended to add to your itinerary if you ever plan to visit this hotel. During our stay we had free breakfast every morning from 6-11am. This was the best part of the day beside it being free but it was actually really good. They had a cool on site making waffles and omelets and a buffet with pastries and fruits. It was beautiful to actually wake up and food prepared no rushing no running to a train. Just wake up enjoy the beautiful morning.
I also find the customer service to be great. Most of the staff spoke a little English and they were very nice when they greeted us. They had a room ready for us even though we didn't request an early check in and also allowed us to have an early check out being our flight was late in the evening. Against must say that maybe the time we went the business was slow so they were able to accommodate for us more than usual. Either way they customer service was hands down excellence. 

Fun and leisure 
It maybe winter in Brazil but it's still beach weather out there. Where we was staying, Sao Conrado is further out, or should I say isolated for where most of the things were located. So a lot of the things was private around there, we had a private beach area. It had beautiful street art and it was quiet which is a plus. Now this beach goes along each "town" goes to Ipanema, Copacabana and so on. One day we went to Copacabana which is more in the city where the
sun seems to be hotter. The only thing about this most popular beach in Brazil it isn’t private meaning, every two seconds someone will come to you trying to sell something and it may be crowded. 



This was my first trip where I ventured outside of a resort. Most of my vacations we didn’t do so much commuting so this felt like we became locals by the end of the trip as we became familiar with the roads etc. 
We traveled mostly by taxi on average costing $40 Brazilian money for local trips keep in mind we stayed far out from like everything. So we noticed the taxi
trips were adding up so one day we decided hey let’s take the train. Despite the language barrier we made it. We took the train to Lapa to see the Steps and it was cool.

The City, and the Culture

Brazil is filled with places you must visit and go. During our time there we just had to visit the 98ft tall statue, Christ the Redeemer, located at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio. It’s known to be a symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. You have to be sure to go a day where there is clear skies. Our first attempt we went a foggy day in midafternoon where the statue is so high in the sky that you barely can get a good photo. We also got to the famous stairs. That's where Pharrell shot his video, “Beautiful”. It's one thing to see it in pictures but in person the art work is crazy. In Brazil the call the steps Escadaria Selarón, also known as the 'Selaron Steps',. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as "my tribute to the Brazilian people" It is lovely, so vibrant and great place for amazing photos. There are 215 steps measuring 125 metres long which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. We also got to go to The Tijuca Forest (Portuguese:
Floresta da Tijuca) is a trop
ical rainforest in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is claimed to be the world's largest urban forest. If you are a nature lover you would love this. We jumped in a jeep tour with about 7 other tourists and went up the mountains where we had the best seats in the house. Along the way we made a couple of stops, one of them being the “Vista Chinesa” (Chinese Belvedere) where you can even see the Christ The Redeemer statue from there as well but its seems very tiny from there.  We got see this beautiful waterfall which they called the “Taunay cascade” I loved this tour it was a great addition to our trip. Now for the food. I must say I enjoyed most of the food there wasn’t a time I can say I didn’t eat. First thing first. LOVE LOVE LOVE bobs burgers haha, get their chicken sandwich its pretty good. That’s for those on a budget. Other than that expect to spend at least 75-100 Brazilian money for food. Brazilian style of restaurants was different. Most restaurants had many servers some taking orders and others that walked around consistently with platters and options of food that you can get right away. No need to wait for it to cook or look at menu. One restaurant actually gave us a pass one side was green and other side was red. Servers would come around with all sorts of meat and if you want more you keep your pass with the green side up if you were done you put the red side up meaning no more meat. Another restaurant called Rio Scenarium Pavilhão da Cultura gave us a ticket with all the items beforehand and whatever you ordered they checked off and when you leave you handed the ticket and paid your bill. I enjoyed the different methods of styles of serving. Kept it fresh and fun. Rio Scenarium Pavilhão da Cultura is a restaurant and lounge and nightclub all in one.
The security is heavy and there is a cover to get in. But it is a beautiful venue. I enjoyed the scenery and the décor very vintage and so much culture in there. It was three floors each having something else going on it was just gorgeous. I enjoyed the samba music there, that’s what they say is the most popular type of music they listen to there. This restaurant is located in the town of Lapa. Now Lapa according to our taxi driver is a bit dangerous a night so be careful. But it was definitely a must, the nightlife was crazy felt like the entire city was in Lapa so many people each crowd having their own parties in streets with their music and their style of dancing. It was fun and the street drinks where inexpensive.

If you didn’t know having an open container is legal in Brazil. Drinking publicly is legal and socially accepted. So cheers to that. That being said you can find a lot of bars everywhere and in some city’s there’s many random stands or booths. One of Brazil liquor that you must try is Cachaça (Portuguese pronunciation: [kaˈʃasɐ]) is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice. They have a dark version that has a hint of honey in it and a light version. I preferred the dark one. Cachaça it is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. Outside Brazil, cachaça is used almost exclusively as an ingredient in tropical drinks, with the caipirinha being the most famous cocktail. On the non alcholoic side like the Caribbean, Brazil has a cola. Its really good, they have a pineapple version that reminds me of my country Haiti.

Shopping seems to be a big this in Brazil because there are alot of malls and most of them where filled with top brands so yea if you want the latest Gucci this or Versache come to Brazil. For a average budget we went to the Barra Shopping mall where they had Forever 21 but it still felt pricey compared to our stores back home. There are a alot of street malls too. On Sundays in Ipanema there is what they call a hippie festival. Its basically a street shopping center for temporary with different salesman and different products. Great inexpensive goods there.

I loved my trip to Brazil and enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely go back again soon.