Today I’m going to share with you a very long overdue review of my travel to Brazil. I mainly stayed in the two most well-known cities in Brazil, which is Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It was my first time visiting South America and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I feel like there’s a lot of stigma or general concern associated with countries in South America. Before I went to Brazil, I kept hearing about how unsafe the country is and the problem with the Zika virus. I’m not going to lie. It did make me feel hesitant to go there at first. After much thought, however, I decided to go anyway. And I didn’t regret it one bit. I think Brazil is no different to anywhere else in the world. You just have to be smart about how you carry yourself in public and be aware of your surroundings. For instance, don’t draw attention to yourself wearing flashy jewellery or be careful walking late at night.
My impression of Brazil was very positive. The people I met in Brazil were very friendly and kind. There’s lots to see in Brazil. So, here is my feedback:
São Paulo vs. Rio de Janeiro
Both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are beautiful cities on their own. Apparently there’s a cliché that São Paulo resembles New York and Rio de Janeiro resembles Los Angeles. “The stereotype goes that Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro) are friendly, easy-going, lazy and always late (probably because they’re on the beach), while Paulistas (people from São Paulo) are colder, fast-paced, workaholics and perpetually stressed.”
Since I visited both cities, I can definitely say that these two cities are very different. I thought it was interesting how there is a difference in cultures and atmospheres. Obviously São Paulo has the big city kind of flair and Rio is more laid-back.
São Paulo- the melting pot city
I do agree with the stereotype that São Paulo has a strong resemblance to New York. São Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil. It exerts strong international influence in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment, which explains all the tall and fancy buildings in the city. I also noticed how multi-cultural this city is, basically São Paulo is a cosmopolitan or melting pot city.
What I also love is the great selection of foods São Paulo has to offer. There are so many cuisines to choose from, since there are so many different nationalities living in São Paulo. Whether you want to go to Liberdade, home to the largest Japanese community outside Japan in the world, for some authentic asian food or just try some traditional Brazilian Steakhouse. And you can even visit the food markets, where you can see and taste exotical fruits.
Before Brazil, I never got to try an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse, so it was definitely exciting for me to finally get to experience it. On our first night in São Paulo, we went to a very good churrascaria or Brazilian Steakhouse. The servers there came to our table and gave us a selection of a variety of great meats that had been roasted with charcoal. It was sooo good!
I also noticed that São Paulo is the place to go shopping. It offers 30 shopping malls, where you can international and local designers. Some of these shopping malls look so beautiful inside. I don’t think I ever seen such beautiful designs in shopping centres before!
Rio de Janeiro- beaches and natural landscapes
Rio de Janeiro was definitely my favourite city from the two. I really enjoyed the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. This city is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and is one of the most visited cities in South America. It’s known for the many beautiful nature landscapes and beaches and famous landmarks.
We stayed at the Windsor Atlantica, which is right on the Copacabana promenade. During the day we would go relax on the beach, which is just a few steps away from the hotel. And in the evenings, we would go for some drinks or coconuts on the promenade.
As I said before, Rio has this relaxed vibe which not only shows through the people but also through the food scene. There are so many bars and restaurants on the beach, where you can easily grab some snacks or cocktails. Also, there are a lot of fruit juice stands- in particular açaí smoothie bowls.
In Rio is where I got to try a very popular Brazilian dish called “Coxinha”, which “teardrop-shaped fritter based on a mixture of shredded chicken that is wrapped with dough, then battered before being deep-fried.” It’s always fun and exciting to try and explore new and interesting cuisines from different countries. Though I have to admit, I wasn’t a big of Coxinha.
I also tried the famous Caipirinha, which is Brazil’s national drink made with cachaça, sugar and lime. I had Caipirinha’s before, but drinking it and get to watch the sunset on the beach is unbeatable!
If you haven’t visited Brazil yet or South America in general, you should definitely go!
Have a great day!