"Rio is Rio," or so says a friend of ours who grew up in the city... But to us, Rio is magic! An incredible destination with so much on offer, we soon realized that it is a place that definitely requires multiple visits.
On our maiden voyage, just before Christmas 2008, we managed to see quite a bit in a relatively short amount of time. Of course, we indulged in some expected tourist attractions (Pão de Açúcar, Copacabana Beach, Corcovado), but we also managed to get a glimpse of Rio from a local's point of view, thanks to friend of ours who is a native of the exquisite city. This glimpse offered us a peek behind the well-traveled curtain which was truly inspiring.
Aside from the astounding beaches and sumptuous foliage all around, the views in Rio are truly hard to fathom. While the city certainly has elements of Paris, Hawaii, and New Orleans - ultimately, Rio de Janeiro reminded us more of San Francisco, another city that is surrounded by tremendous natural beauty and engulfed in devastating views.