I kicked off my Brazilian adventure in style, spending my first night at the decadent Copacabana Palace, which I was lucky enough to see it in all its glory, after the recent renovations. Although my second time to Rio, I enjoyed a completely different perspective of the city this time, by enjoying a sunset cycling tour around the lagoon and along the beaches of Copacabana, and Ipanema. The views were breath taking, particularly with the floating Christmas tree lit up on the lagoon, backed by Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The next morning, I continued my journey eastwards to the bohemian fishing village of Buzios. Reminiscent of the Greek Isles, with its white washed buildings and beautiful small islands dotted amongst the sparkling turquoise sea, Buzios is perfect for those in search of a sophisticated retreat.
Here, you can shop ‘til you drop in the vast selection of upscale boutiques, and you are spoilt for choice with a wide range of fashionable restaurants to dine in; many with live music. Activities here focus around the beach, with schooner rides available to the many secluded beaches, where you can enjoy hiking, swimming, sailing or simple relaxation.
Moving on from here, I traveled south of Rio to the charming UNESCO town of Paraty. It felt as though I had been transferred back in time when I arrived to find quaint cobbled streets, complete with horse and carts and beautiful colonial buildings, each with brightly coloured wooden doors and shutters. I spent my time enjoying the many art galleries and fine boutiques, and even tried my hand at paddle boarding, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
There are around 65 tropical islands accessible by schooner from Paraty, so well worth taking the time to explore. At night, the historic center comes alive with live music, most of which can be enjoyed for a very small cover fee. Diners can be seen propped up on tables on the cobblestone pavements enjoying their food by candlelight, whilst listening to the mellow live Brazilian music. A true gem!
Read more about our vacations to Brazil