Why You Need to Visit the Islands of Angra dos Reis (Guest Post by Rdj4u)

We love Rio de Janeiro for its exuberance, lively people and fun but chaotic city life, but, let’s face it, it’s not always relaxing. Luckily the perfect escape lies just a few hours south of Rio: Angra dos Reis and its 365 islands.

This is the ultimate beach escape if you’re looking for quiet tropical islands and undeveloped coastlines. Here are 5 reasons why you need to visit the islands of Angra dos Reis.

  1. Close to Rio

Angra dos Reis, meaning the Bay of Kings, is just 168 km from Rio, along the very scenic BR 101 road which runs along the Costa Verde. The distance makes it doable for a day trip, or a weekend getaway – although you may be tempted to stay longer! To get there, you can book a transfer from Rio to Angra.

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  1. Island Paradise

Did we mention it has 365 islands? That’s right, one for every day of the year. Plus, there are around 2,000 beaches. That means a lot of beach time on idyllic stretches of sand that are significantly less crowded than Copacabana on a sunny Saturday.

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  1. Ilha Grande

The largest island in the bay is Ilha Grande. The island was once a pirate’s lair, before being used as a quarantine for sailors with cholera, then it was turned into a penitentiary for Rio’s most dangerous criminals. These days, its main business is tourism and the preservation of its diverse section of the Atlantic Forest.

Ilha Grande has an incredibly laid-back vibe: there are no roads, and no cars. To get around, you can make use of the endless hiking trails. The last few years have also seen a boom in accommodation. You can now extend your stay on paradise in your choice of hotel, hostel B&B or pousada.

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  1. Outdoor activities

While you have plenty of opportunities to simply laze on one of the many beaches and soak up some sun, there is more to offer if you’re willing to get a bit more active. Ilha Grande offers prime hiking and diving spots off its coast. For snorkelling, head to the second biggest island: Gipóia. Gipóia also has some great beaches for surfing.

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  1. One of the best beaches in the world

Lopes Mendes beach on Ilha Grande frequently makes it onto lists of the best beaches in the world. One look at the fine white sand and aquamarine water will tell you why. You can reach it by hiking from Ilha Grande’s main town Abraão, or hopping on a boat, which will leave you at Praia do Pouso, another beach a short walk away. A tip: take snacks and refreshments with you, because there is only the occasional vendor at this remote spot.

If you don’t have enough time to spend a few days here, don’t leave it off your itinerary! Book a day tour to Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande and spend your day on a classic schooner boat exploring the clear waters and beaches of this beautiful bay.

All photos in this post by Daytours4u

Written by Nicole Eberhard, English Content Editor for Rdj4u.
Rdj4u is a  friendly and professional network for tours & activities in Rio de Janeiro! It is the “carioca”side of Daytours4u . To learn more about RDj4u click here.

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4 Places where I still feel safe in Rio

Everyone who has been reading my blog for the last year has been following how my concerns about personal safety had increased and how that has affected my life style.

I definitely stopped doing certain things, as carrying my DSLR camera, in certain places or certain hours and being alert all the time is something that I can’t avoid even if I’m just going to the bakery.

But there are still some few places where I feel a little safer,where I can relax a little bit, where I can turn my “Alert-mode” to “Stand by” . Well, that doens’t mean that those places are immune to violence, but I would say that in those places the chance of living a violent event is a little lower or even improbable comparing to other places. So I found relevant to share them with you.

1. Forte de Copacabana –  The Historical Museum of the Army and Copacabana Fort

In the very right side of Copacabana beach, the location called Posto 6 by locals  lays Forte de Copacabana, a military base, once a fort to protect Guanabara Bay, now a Military Museum and an open Fort to visitors. The Fort constructed in the piece of land that limits Copacabana and Ipanema beach provides a breathtaking view of all Copacabana beach, from Posto 6 to Leme, at the other side of the shore. The two café/restaurants located at Forte are great options for taking a coffee or a whole meal, while feeling the breeze of the sea and enjoying the beautiful view.

When to go? If you can choose, visit it during the week, as during weekends the restaurantsare usually crowded and with long waitings line. I personally like to go for a complete breakfast at Confeitaria Colombo.

Praça Coronel Eugênio Franco, nº 1 – Posto 6 of Copacabana Beach                                           Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Adults – R$ 6,00/ Over 60 years old – R$ 3,00 /Students with Student ID – R$ 3,00

Sugar Loaf View from Forte de Copacabana

Sugar Loaf View from Forte de Copacabana

2. Barra da Tijuca Beach

It doesn’t matter how many beaches I visit , Barra da Tijuca will always be on my top list places to relax in Rio. The beach is quiet, even during weekends (well, I’m mean besides from summer time it is also crowded, but not as much as Copacabana or Ipanema), a totally family friendly atmosphere, cleaner water and sand than in any Zona Sul beaches and less or I would say almost “none” cases of “arrastões” during summer time or along the year. There I lay down my “canga” and can relax under the sun while watching my boy playing, or while my husband surf without being paranoid that my things are gone be stolen, as I would be in beaches like Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon.

Although reaching it can be a little difficult (Barra is around 15 km far from Zona Sul), and getting there by bus can be quite an unconfortable trip and going by taxi or booking a transfer can be very expensive, it is something that you should definitely consider if your looking for a little bit of relaxing moments while visiting Rio.

The distance from other neighborhoods is exactly what makes Barra da Tijuca beach less busy and less touristy than the South Zone beaches, like Ipanema and Copacana, which can easily be reached by anyone by bus or subway.

With the expansion of the Subway lines to reach Barra da Tijuca, that is said to be ready before the Olympic Games next year, Barra da Tijuca Beach will be a neighborhood that must be considered by tourists looking for relaxing moments in Rio.

When to go? Anyday will be a good day to go to Barra da Tijuca beach, but if you plan to do during the week avoid the rush hours ( 7-10am and 4 to 8 pm) or otherwise you can hit a lot of traffic. Go to spend the day at the beach or to watch the sunset on a beautiful sunny day.

Barra da Tijuca Beach, Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca Beach

Barra da Tijuca Beach

3- Praia Vermelha

A small beach with a short strecht of sand, quiet sea,  located between two mountains, Morro da Urca (the first mountain to the Sugar Loaf) and Morro da Babilonia, and surrounded by Military buildings, which makes it a safe place to visit, that’s Praia Vermelha  (Red Beach, translating to English).

It is a perfect place to go with kids,practice Stand up Paddle, Kayaking, or just walk by the short sidewalk and have a coconut water while watching the view. I like to enjoy a little of the beach and go to walk along Pista Claudio Coutinho trail for some exercising.

From Praia Vermelha sidewalk you will be able to take a great photo of Sugar Loaf mountain, like this one I already shared here.

When to go? Everyday is perfect to visit Praia Vermelha, but keep in mind that on weekends Praia Vermelha tends to be busier.

Praia Vermelha view from Pista Claudio Coutinho

Praia Vermelha view from Pista Claudio Coutinho

4.Jardim Botânico

I never get tired of writing or talking about Jardim Botânico (The Botanical Garden), I’ve written about it before, as you can see here, but it is one of my favourite places in Rio, not only for being a safe place, specially if you like photography like me, and the only worries you want to have is with the perfect shot, but also because the place is clean, well preserved and with a great variety of botanical species. When planning your trip to Rio, don’t forget to schedule a day for visiting Jardim Botanico. You won’t regret it!

When to go? Only check the working hours and plan the best day for you.

Rua Jardim Botânico, 1008 – Jardim Botânico – Monday – from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m /Tuesday to Sunday – from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Admissions: R$ 9,00 (cash only) (Gratuity: Children and seniors over 60 years old)

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The Fountain at Jardim Botânico

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Happy Anniversary My Little Rio!!!

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I can’t believe, exactly two years ago I was starting this blog (check here). In that time I didn’t know very well where this blog would take me, I just wanted to practice my english, share my photos and show a little bit of the Rio I live in!

Two years later, after almost quitting this blog this last month, I realised how important this blog is to myself. My Little Rio Journal is my little space where I can share my thoughts and express myself, not the Cristina Mom, not the Cristina wife, nor the Cristina daughter, but just the Cristina.

In this two years I just have to thank everyone for contributing with this blog in a way or another, with photos, guest posts, comments ,likes and inspiration!

If it weren’t you, there wasn’t a point to keep blogging!!! Thank you all !!

Hoping to be sharing with you great posts and beautiful photography in this next year of My Little Rio Journal!!! : )

 

 

 

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After a break

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After staying offline for a whole month, I’m back to the blogging business.  I needed to take a breath and think a little bit if I was keeping the blog or not. After my last post, I think it got clear for everyone who reads my blog how I have been feeling a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to keep writing about Rio after all the violent events we have been  facing lately.

If once I was proud to share with you how beautiful things Rio has to offer, now my “carioca” self-esteem is quite low at the moment and I started to feel that writing about this city was something that I just couldn’t do it anylonger.

The idea of quiting this blog started to come over my mind. Stop blogging on My Little Rio Journal started to seem the right thing to do as I felt unable to do what I most like doing in the streets of Rio, which is taking photos. I don’t feel confident to go out with my camera and capturing with my camera what I see with my eyes.  I started to consider that maybe this blog wasn’t making sense anylonger to myself.  At the same time, new personal projects started to demand me more time and blogging was always on my last priority.

But, meanwhile I was living this existential blogger crisis,  I kept receiving emails from many followers giving me support to keep blogging and to have hope in a better Rio. People from different parts of the world kept asking me tips and some advice about Rio and I started to evaluate how many good opportunities this blog brought to me.

Being interviewed by BBC UK during the World Cup, meeting personally the great travel blogger Annie from Annie Anywhere, sharing my articles with different audiences as guest blogger in travel blogs and travel sites, meeting virtually so many incredible people that I can’t even mention all of them  and having the feeling of sharing useful information with anyone interested in coming to Rio were just some of the awesome experiences I lived only because of the blog. Quiting this blog would mean closing a door to the World!!

So, after a lot of thinking I decided to keep My Little Rio Journal!!! Althought my tone may change a little bit from now on, becoming less optimistic thant once I was, I will try to keep sharing My Little Rio with you!!!

Maybe I won’t be blogging so frequently as once I had done, but I will be here to share with you the way I see Rio.

By the way, thanks everyone for taking your time to read this blog, comment my posts and send me emails !!! You are definitely the reason why I decided keep blogging!!!

Hoping to share good news from Rio soon !!!!

 

 

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mourning

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I’m extremely sad while writing this post. What happened last Tuesday night could have happened to anyone, including myself or someone of my family. Mourning! That’s the word that define what all of us, cariocas, are feeling this week!

Last Tuesday, a man cycling along Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas cycle path at 7.30pm was attacked and robbed. Criminals stabbed him and get away with his bicycle and wallet. The man, a doctor, got seriously injured and didn’t survive (check here).

This is just another case of the wave of violence we’ve been living in Rio lately. It is not a question of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, there isn’t any longer the right place or the right time not to be robbed and eventually attacked or killed by those cruel criminals.  Violence is everywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been posting so little lately. It is difficult to get enthusiastic about Rio those days! The natural beauties of this city are not enough to smooth the fear when walking down the streets.

If once I used to say, “well in case you get robbed, just give everything the thieves ask and everything is gone be fine”, now this is not truth anymore. Lately what we have seen are criminals attacking first and then taking your belongings. We are living a very difficult situation!!!

I’m so disappointed that this is happening to Rio, and I really don’t see light at the other side of the tunnel. Unless  Government take urgent steps to prevent violence I really don’t know how the future of Rio will be.

Sorry for such a negative post, but I had to share with you guys what I’m feeling about Rio. And I’m just being realistic. And I know that this is not simple!

In case you are in Rio right now, avoid walking or cycling along Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, as well as in Aterro do Flamengo. It is just not safe.

Hoping to share with you guys good news about Rio soon!

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