Rio de Janeiro An Incredible City of Beauty and Expense

Rio De Janiero really is an incredible city and well worth exploring for a few days!

Why are we here in the incredible city?

We have been staying out of Rio de Janeiro, about three hours out by bus – mainly as the traffic is so slow? Our house sit is secluded and relaxing, though we have had some upsetting news from Australia whilst being here.

Finally, we have arrived at our housesitting after traveling for quite a while.  We are so pleased to have flown in from Campe Grande in Brazil, and can’t wait to be in one place for a while.


incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – passing one of the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro

We were up at around 5:00 am, packed and left on the 7:00 a.m. bus. We pass a favela – where the poor live in.

Suburban Streets

incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – one of the suburban streets

We pass regions where the buildings are coated in graffiti, and rubbish is all through the streets.  It is very unappealing.

Crossing the Bridge

Finally – around 10:00 a.m. we hit the road leading up to the bridge over the river. It is about now that I am contemplating getting off as I desperately need a bathroom stop. It is the biggest regret I think I will ever remember is not getting off that bus!  However, since I can see Rio ahead, we stay on.

Stuck in Traffic

I am beside myself when we get stuck in traffic over the bridge. We sit on the bridge and there is no place to go. This takes two hours and you can’t imagine the agony I am in!  To make it worse, we are in the middle lane of a bridge and this only means that there is no way I can come off the vehicle to relieve myself. The door is within inches of the next vehicle and we would have to weave through traffic and I’m pretty sure for safety the driver wouldn’t have let me out even if I’d begged!

I sit, I go red, and I contort, and apart from giving birth, I cannot remember an agony like this.  Surely I won’t have a public accident but I don’t know what to do.  As we finally crawl over the bridge I beg the driver to stop immediately and anywhere he can, and I have my son get ready to get off the bus.

I have already tied my jacket around my waist just in case I don’t make it. It got so bad at one stage, my son had checked out the under the surface of the seat to see if it was plastic. I didn’t think I would hold on.

So we queue for the door and jump off the bus. We crazily make our way over 2 lanes of wild traffic and I can barely walk, let alone run.

No one Understands Me

Brazilians are a bit like the French. I notice that they are always willing to help if you try speaking their language.
However, today they have no clue of what you are saying if you use the wrong pronunciation.
So with desperate pleas for “sanitario”, “Banos”, “toilet”, “toilette” and any other word that we could think of, we fail to be understood and I am in so much pain.

Eventually, my son says “Caca” and then “poo” and they get that. We are directed to a public hospital. We go through the whole shemozzle again trying to get someone to direct us!

The guard saunters along and I tell him “urgent” and we dash. The toilets are busy and so we dash again. We finally find some handicapped toilets that are free and the pain is over.  However, we can’t leave the cubicle room for 20 minutes!  Both my son needs to go time and time again.
It is actually dangerous for you to hold urine for extended periods of time.  Once the bladder is full the urine travels back and can cause kidney and other internal infections.

Getting Into this Incredible City

incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – one of the old Rio city buildings

So far it costs us $35 to get into Rio but we still are not in the city yet. We now have to pay another $10 as we get into a luxury vs local bus, of which, I have no idea of the difference.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason on the bus – he is quite stressed after the toilet incident

Fortunately, there is a man on the bus who speaks English and he says he will guide us to where we want to go when we get off. The buses have entry turnstiles inside which we also find interesting as larger people and those with bags can’t enter that way.

He points out places of interest in this incredible city too as we go along but by now my whole insides just ache and I find it hard to concentrate.

Sugarloaf Mountain Marina

Since we are going to Sugarloaf Mountain, he walks us to the place where buses are picked. We stop and have lunch at one of the many ‘self-service’ restaurants.


Brazilians have a fabulous way of dining. You get a docket and a plate when you enter. You then choose all the food and sizes you want. They weigh the plate and serve you a drink. Soon you learn that mash potato weighs more than smoked salmon slices and you pick wisely.
incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – the memorial at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain

We catch the bus and find our way then hop off where we guess is right. We wander and start to enjoy the marinas with the local fishing boats.

After about half an hour walking (we were told 10 minutes by a local), we find Sugarloaf Mountain. We enjoy the military area and picturesque setting.

Heading Up

wooden dolls

©Exploramum and Explorason – old wooden dolls

I find Sugarloaf Mountain unusual as you head into the area where you buy tickets to go up the mountain.

The souvenir shop is before the mountain at the base entry point. It should be as you walk out, but we do enjoy these lovely old Brazil wooden kids they have on display.


incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – about to ride the Teleferico up Sugarloaf Mountain

It is quite expensive to go up – in fact – so far, the most expensive Teleferico we have been on, but then it is actually two each way.

On Our Way

We line up and our tickets are scanned. The cars run after every 20 minutes so this is a positive point to remember.

Educating With Worldschooling

At the first landing level, there is an education area. My son lines up and enjoys the English version of the history of Rio tourism. The young guy that works there is fantastic, and we enjoy interacting with him.

Incredible View

We meet some lovely Americans who take our photo, and we chat.

The views of the bays are incredible. No ‘wonder’ it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.


The first level has lovely restaurants where you can get fresh coconut water too.

The View from Sugarloaf Mountain

We then head to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The views are just incredible up here. They are mind-blowing and almost impossible to fully describe.

Sharing Memory Making

We meet a few lone travelers and we share cameras. We happily snapshot for each other.

This is a dream come true to be in Rio and is one of the ‘destinations of a lifetime’. We realize that it is getting late in the day and we have no accommodation booked, and we head down to the mid-level.

Teleferico Traffic

incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – The view from the Teleferico

The first carriage on the Teleferico is full. It takes another 20 minutes to wait. It is unfortunate that once one carriage is full, you have to wait for another 20 minutes before another carriage is brought but it is a good safety feature.

Catching A Bus


©Exploramum and Explorason – the bus has a tiny turnstile

Finally, we head down in the Teleferico and walk a distance to the bus. They have a strange turn style system on entry but no one can get their shopping through. 

We have to take two buses, but we get to explore this incredible city which is a bonus.

We were going to go to Christ the Redeemer, but the clouds are rolling in, so we decide to go to Copacabana / Ipanema for a hotel or guesthouse instead.

Seeking Accommodation

We love seeing where we will stay first, after a few of the recent challenges we have had booking online. We end up trying about 10 accommodation places in this incredible city. Fortunately, we only have one backpack to lug around with us. The prices are crazy and so we keep on walking, block after block not liking anything much we have seen.

None of the hostels, for example, will accept a child. Finally, I am directed to a gate nearby and inside, there are six tiny guesthouses all in a row.

We find one eventually – yeah! It is called ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. A perfect place to stay in this incredible city.

Ipanema Beach

We do a quick change in our Guesthouse and then leave for a walk to see the Ipanema Beach.

We love this incredible city but my son comments that nothing looks much like the ‘Rio’ movie and he is right.

Girl From Ipanema Song All Started Here

We then go for a drink at ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ or Garota de Ipanema restaurant where Vinicius de Moraes and Antonio Carlos Jobim, famous songwriters wrote the famous song here called ‘Garota de Ipanema’ or the ‘Girl from Ipanema’.


incredible city

©Exploramum and Explorason – self service restaurants are everywhere in Brazil

We end up having dinner at a ‘Self Service Restaurant’. It is nice though. However, our joy is that they have a Sauvignon Blanc wine.

The day was wonderful, but the stresses of travel sometimes get to me. Thank goodness for a nice meal, great wine, and a wonderful son. Not to mention – we are in Rio de Janeiro. It really is an incredible city!

Garota de Ipanema Restaurant – Address: Rua Vinicius de Moraes 49 – Ipanema

Questions and Comments
  • Have you been to Rio?
  • How did you find their culture?
  • Were the residents hospitable?
  • Did you experience any language barriers?
  • What precautions do you take to ensure you do not experience language difference challenges?
  • Do share your opinions and comments with us below.

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