I loved Rio. I found the main tourist areas (like Copacabana, and Ipanema) to be quite commercialised, so it lost its “real feel", but, that happens in a lot of cities. However, I stayed in Lapa “downtown" and although it isn’t considered a rich area, I was able to experience the true "Rio De Janeiro" and all its culture. First day was spent walking the streets, checking out the street art (which I’m LOVING in this country), sampling local food, and tackling those really fun stairs “Escardaria Selarón". I found the streets to be always coloured in beautiful art (not just tagging), the food to be EVERYWHERE, and the people to be loud – even into early morning on a school night. Lol. Very cool atmosphere.
I spent ALL of the next day at Copacabana. It was a beautiful beach with soft, endless sand and COLD waters! Expect to be able to buy drinks, food, hats, sunnies, clothing and even hammocks from sellers walking up and down. Not cheap, but convenient. And when told “no" they respectfully kept walking, so it wasn’t too bad! Last day was “touristing” with driving through the largest urban forest in the world to "Christ the Redeemer", then Sugarloaf Mountain, and finishing with more local food.
Choosing to take the next few days nice and easy on the coast, I enjoyed hiking Ilha Grande (an island off the state of Rio), and beach hopping from a town called Paraty. Natural rock pools, clear water, snorkeling, and wandering through the UNESCO old town in Paraty, it was nothing but the easy life.
A combined 6 days, 80,000 steps, 6 beaches, and I could live my life like this!