Powdery white-sand beaches. Verdant rainforests. Stylish, rhythm-filled metropolises. Charming colonial towns. This captivating country enraptures. Stunning biodiversity. The greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth. On our trip, we were lucky enough to experience a bit of all of the above.
Our adventure didn't stop. One minute we were ascending rocky cliff tops to panoramic views, the next we were bodysurfing stellar breaks off palm fringed beaches.
Rio De Janeiro
We will start with Rio, where our trip began. Looking out from the 710m peak of Corcovado, we saw why Rio is called the Cidade Maravilhosa. There is a cinematic quality to this scene- lushly forested mountains fringe the city, shimmering beaches trace the shoreline and a string of tiny islands lie scattered along the seafront.
Standing atop Corcovado (which means âhunchbackâ), Cristo Redentor gazes out over Rio, a placid expression on his well-crafted face.
Rio's Famous Beaches
âThere is the classic Copacabana Beach- a magnificent confluence of land and sea- the long, scalloped beach extends for some 4km. Then there is Ipanema Beach, its fame and beauty unabated since bossanova stars Tom Jobim and VinÃcius de Moraes introduced the world to its allure in the 1960s. We like both- don't ask us to choose.
Tijuca is the exuberant green 39-sq-km tropical-jungle preserve, with beautiful trees, creeks and waterfalls, mountainous terrain and high peaks. We could even see monkeys and toucans among the foliage.
The spirit of the people is what also sticks with you. There is a lust for life. A woke-up-on-the-good-side-of-the-bed vibe.
Brazil is famous for its festas, and we opted for a taste of the old world, by hitting up
PetrÃ³polis' beer- and schnitzel-loving Bauernfest. Petropolis and the surrounding region are packed with breweries, including Cervejaria Bohemia in the heart of town (Brazil's oldest brewery, with its own beer museum). The fantastically shaped peaks of Parque Nacional Serra dos ÃrgÃ£os are just a short drive out of town. Drink up!
âThere is a reason why this city is known as the "marvelous city". It will truly surprise you and take your breath away from the mountains to the sweeping coastal views. We hope you get a chance to visit Rio De Janeiro very soon!
One of my favorite ways to explore a city is with the Free Walking Tour groups. Before visiting Rio de Janeiro, I had seen images of Corcovado, Sugarloaf, and the world-famous beaches, but hardly ever the city center. I was curious to know what Rio is like outside of the touristic areas, so I booked a walking tour. I was surprised to find European style architecture, colorful street art, many city improvements since the Olympics, and much more.
Here are the top places to visit in the Rio De Janeiro downtown:
Lapa is a neighborhood in the downtown with a bohemian vibe, buzzing with nightclubs, street art, and music
One of the most touristic and recognizable sights in Rio is the "Seleron Stairs", a sweeping staircase made up of tiles from the colors of the Brazil flag. It was created by Chilean born artist Jorge Selaron in 1990 who started renovating the dilapidated staircase in his neighborhood.
Today, there are over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries,. The line to take a photo on the steps is buzzing with tourists and locals, and can last for over 20 minutes long. This work of art is proclaimed to be a tribute to the Brazilian people and is admired by people from around the world.
This two story coffee shop was ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world, found right here in Rio Centro.
Centro features European architecture inspired by France and Portugal, with a unique Brazilian flair. It is mostly a commercial district and much of the area is closed on Sundays, so be sure to visit during the week to catch the downtown during its liveliest moments.
This stunning Art Nouveau opera house is a highlight of Rio De Janeiro's classic architecture. The theater was created during the early twentieth century with a luxurious facade. The interior is just as grandiose, and features nightly dance and musical performances.
Selina Hostel and Coworking Space
One of the best ways to enjoy the city center is from a rooftop. Check out the top floor of Selina for an epic view of Centro, where you can spot Rio's most unique architecture highlights all in one place, including the Petrobas Building, Carioca Aqueduct, Rio Cathedral. You can even grab a caipirinha at the bar and catch a musical performance.
Our Brazil Tour: https://www.latinescapes.com/country.asp?country=3
What are your favorite places in the Rio downtown? Comment below! Stay tuned and subscribe on YouTube for more Rio travel videos.
Cartagena is one of Colombia's most vibrant cities, located along the Caribbean coast. The city is an hour flight from Bogota, and 30 degrees warmer and 100x more colorful. As soon as we landed, we were greeted by tropical humidity and rain.
We drove along a scenic coastal road with the Caribbean Sea right outside the window and epic cumulous clouds along the horizon. The beach was packed with tourists and locals alike, many oblivious to the rain as they continued their beach activities. To our left was the Old Town, a UNESCO site noted for the historic fortress walls that span blocks, if not miles. Ahead, we saw towering clusters of glass skyscrapers which reminded me of Hong Kong on the beach. Cartagena is a city of contrasts, excitement, and culture and we couldn't wait to dive in and explore.
Welcome to Cartagena!
Top places to photograph in Cartagena:
1. Bocagrande - The modern metropolis, filled with hotels, beaches, and restaurants.
2. Isla Baru - The beach getaway, 40 minutes by car from Cartagena.
3. Cartagena Old City - Colorful doors, old walls, and cobblestone streets.
4. Catedral De Santa Catalina De Alejandria
5. Cartagena Old Town - The Old City is walkable and filled with Spanish beautifully preserved colonial architecture.
6. Castillo San Felipe de Barajas - The old city walls span the perimeter of Cartagena and offer amazing views of the city.
The castillo is one of the best places to photograph and enjoy the ocean views.
7. Plaza de San Pedro Claver - Historic plaza filled with Spanish architecture.
8. Calle San Andres - Beautiful street filled with colorful flags.
9. Musica - A trip to Cartagena is not complete without music and dance! If you hang out in the Old City long enough, you are bound to encounter talented musicians and dancers.
10. Street Art - Cartagena is filled with street art around the city. The best way to see it is via the Biking Tour.
What is your favorite thing to see in Cartagena? Comment below!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.