Mika Stefano / Mika Stefano Travels

My Rio De Janeiro holiday…

Mika Stefano

So I recently returned from the super sexy Rio De Janeiro… I was in Brazil for almost two weeks on a self funded holiday… Why, because I can… Rio has always been somewhere I have wanted to visit. And that’s exactly what I did. I can safely say I did everything one can do in Rio over a week. And here are a selection of pictures (in case you dont have Instagram) so you can see exactly what to do, when in Rio.

Above, was my first stop in Rio. Luckily when I arrived the weather was amazing. So I headed on down to one of the most famous beaches in the world, the Copacabana. It was a Sunday afternoon and it was busy… They block off the road closest to the beach and people cycle and jog along the promenade. There are various beach cafe’s all selling the Brazilian famous cocktail, Caparinia. (You need to try it out of a coconut, then you know you are on holiday) In between the cafe’s are street vendors. They sell everything from Popcorn to corn on the cob. I took a stroll up Copacabana and linked up to the second most iconic beach, Ipanema.

gay beach ipanema

Ipanema has a gay beach, and this is where I got comfortable, for obvious reasons… There were tons of hot bodies walking around…

girl from ipanema

Even some that my straight guy friends would enjoy.


Feet in the sand and soaking up the sun…

ipanema thought

When in Ipanema, you cant help but stare out into the blue ocean and get lost in your thoughts. There are small islands on the horizon and this all adds to its beauty…

ipanema ray ban

The beach was packed and people wait until the sunsets to move back home or to their hotels. Their are tall green mountains surrounding the shore line and this makes it look like a tropical slice of heaven.

sunset on ipanema

Watching the sunset on Ipanema beach had to be the 1st of many magical moments of my Rio holiday. As the sun gets close to setting, people stand up and face it. And as soon as it lays its bright head down to rest, people start cheering and clapping and giving thanks to the sun. This was amazing, sitting on the beach and watching 100’s of different people all clapping for the sun as it does its final curtain call for the day. Even though the sun has set, it still takes another 30 minutes or so to get dark. I then took a walk up to the ‘gay’ street and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant…lol… In Rio having Mexican…


The next day I went on a tour to the largest Favela in Rio, Rocinha. A favela is an informal area where people who cant afford to stay in the city live. Almost like a South African township. In fact, I think it is just as colourful and lively. The tour group I went on are also a DJ school for local kids in the favela who like to DJ.

soul candi brazil

When I found out, I knew I had to bring a South African gift. And obviously it had to be some Soul Candi music… Just so that when we visit the Brazil for the world cup, we may just hear some local music… This is one of the DJ teachers and goes by the name DJ House..

favela tour

The group who went on the tour came from all over. Canada, America, Australia, Mexico and me, South Africa… We went to a famous brazillian buffet restaurant as well as to a market. We saw how people live in the area as well as got to meet a few local hero’s… I was hoping to see gangsters and thugs but it was pretty chilled…

rio de janeiro teatro municipal

Tuesday I visited the Teatro Muncipal in the city. This is an old theatre over 100 years old. It was huge and grand and just recently was revamped. There is a huge golden bird on the roof.

rio de janeiro teatro municipal

I can just imagine how grand it was attending big concerts there 100 years ago… And even today… They have made it more cost effective, so general public can also attend. When I visited they were rehearsing for their festive production…

national museum of fine arts rio de janeiro

I then visited the National Museum of Fine Arts and saw some of the most amazing artworks ever. This painting was huge…

Brazilian Cultural

I then visited the Brazilian Cultural Centre. And they had a Performance art piece on. It was amazing to see a Cultural centre full on a Tuesday afternoon. People waiting in the rain to get in… People in SA dont support the arts like they do in Rio (and I am sure the rest of the world)


Whats amazing that in the city they have high rise buildings, but tucked in between them, they have old Cathedral’s and buildings. Its as if they go hand in hand. The old and the new…

Escadaria Selarón

The following day I visited the world famous steps, designed by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón, Escadaria Selarón. I was lucky enough to see Jorge. If you didnt know what he looked like, you would think he was a homeless person. Yet he has created one of Brazil’s most iconic landmarks. The steps lead to a small little road, but the journey up the steps is magical. Each step has a story of its own.

Escadaria Selarón

People from all over the world bring tiles and he always adds new tiles to the steps… (So if you are planning a trip to Rio, pack a tile with your country flag on it, so he can add it to the steps…) I think every flag was there, except South Africa…

acros lapa

I then visited the Arches of Lapa. This used to be a bridge, but is now just a land mark. On Friday night, they have an outdoor market and just behind the arches are two or three streets filled with bars, pubs, restaurants and samba cafe’s… Make sure you are here on a Friday night, it is a PARTY… I went to three clubs and got a bit tipsy off their famous beer called Skol. The music is a mix, depending on the club. One club was playing old school hip hop and next door, there was a club playing axe (Brazillian uptempo music).

Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

I then visited the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. It looks like a Myan temple. It is huge… Seats over 2000 people. I could just imagine being in it for Christmas service.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

The inside is amazing. With four sides designed with the most amazing stained glass. And on the roof a giant cross.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

It is an amazing, holy space…

lagoa rio de janeiro

Thursday I then visited Lagoa and took a walk around Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. One thing about Rio, people are health conscious. People always jogging and cycling.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

They rent out swan paddle boats, but this seemed way to romantic for me to do alone…lol…

genova rio de janeiro

Friday I went out with my Brazilian friend, Amanda. We had lunch at a well known grill house / buffet. It seems like Brazilians love buffet’s. A lot of the restaurants are buffet restaurants.

siqueira grill

This was my lunch from Siqueira Grill. Some fillet (yummy) and sushi and pasta and salads.

Sugar Loaf
On Saturday I went to Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is a have to visit spot in Rio. The views over look Copacabana and Botofogo and the sea and even Cristo. Basically most of Rio…

sunset on sugar loafI was lucky to watch the sunset on Sugar Loaf. This is something everyone should add to their bucket list…

VivaAVidaI also got a tattoo in Rio at a cool tattoo parlor in Ipanema. The tattoo I got is Viva a Vida. It basically means, celebrate life. It seemed as if everyone had tattoo’s in Rio, so I thought getting a tattoo would be pretty gangster…

cristo redentor rio de janeiro

On Sunday I visited the most iconic statue in the world, the Cristo Redentor. It was a long weekend and it was the first day of clear skies and it was a Sunday, so you can imagine how busy it was… But all the queues were worth it…

cristo redentor rio de janeiro

Even when coming up from the back, you are just left speechless.

cristo redentor rio de janeiro

People sit and pray in his shadow. It was an amazing moment… When you get a moment to take your eyes off the statue, you will see the amazing views of Rio. from the statue, you can see everything…

Rio Gay Pride

And then the main event for my holiday to Rio, was Rio Gay Pride… The parade takes place on Copacabana. Apparently over 1 million people attended. The vibe was festive and people were all in a good mood. However, I was slightly upset to see so few people dressed up but, apparently they dress up for the Gay Carnival in Feb…

Gay beach Rio de janeiro So I guess that means I need to return for Carnival… But first I need to save up…

Honestly it wasnt THAT expensive. I mean, for a coke you would pay maybe R15 and a full plate of food, like mine above, would be R180-R220. (Thats how much you pay in Sandton)

I would so go back in a heart beat. The people are friendly and always seem to be in a good mood. The life style is healthy, people gym, walk their dogs and jog every day. There fruit juice stores everywhere (Must try Melancie / Watermelon juice. Its so refreshing). There arent many MacDonalds or KFC’s, but rather buffet restaurants, so you can eat healthy home cooked food. There public transport situation is amazing. They have a subway, busses and even taxi’s, so getting around isnt hard.

My only problem was EVERYONE spoke Portuguese  And yes, I knew that, but I was hoping people at the airports, hotels and restaurants people could understand English… Nope… Only Portuguese. Honestly, I don’t know if they will be ready for the World Cup. Hopefully they will be… But the language barrier is a problem…
My advice, if you plan on visiting Rio or any other spot in Brazil. Learn basic Portugesse… Once you have that in the bag, you will fall in love with this city… Like I have…

Thanks to SunglassHut for the stunna’s


One thought on “My Rio De Janeiro holiday…

  1. Your picture in front of Christo Redento could win you R500 with Sunday Times’s Been There Done that, Travel Section! Why not e-mail your name & surname , address and name of the place where the pix was taken to: travelpix @sundaytimes.co.za

    Good luck…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s