Having missed out last year on a trip to Bali, this time when my friends mentioned Brazil, I made sure that I will get to see the Samba live from Rio De Jeinaro.

As a Swazi National, my Brazilian journey started way before my SA counterparts, I had to apply for a Visa. Thankfully this didn’t take long, after submitting all my required documents, I received my visa back in 3 days. Visa costs R1,360.

We left OR Tambo in the morning flying with Latam. Service on the first flight was really bad. Landed in São Paulo for our connecting flight to Rio De Jainero at 18:00 local time. We stayed over at Sleep Inn as our connecting flight was at 7am the next day.

We finally got to Rio and 8 days became too short!

First day we had lunch at Classico Beach Club, lunch became supper and the rest was us closing down the restaurant with the staff. This became a trend for the rest of the holiday because after all our daily plans we had to end the night at a place that had food, drinks and a vibe. This is why Copacabana was the best place for me. Always a party and always a vibe.

I also took time to go visit a few tourist attractions. Sugar Loaf, Christ The Redeemer, Escadaria Selaron, and Parque Lage.

After waiting for a few days for the weather to clear up so that we can go see Christ The Redeemer we finally managed to see it, I didn’t like the struggle of going to see Christ The Redeemer. The trip started with us taking an Uber from our hotel to the train station, from the train station we had to take a shuttle to the reception area at Mount Corcovado where you purchase a ticket to go see Christ. Once you have that ticket you wait your turn for when the shuttle will depart, which can be anything between an hour to 2 hours. when you finally get to the very top of Mount Corcovado, you take an elevator or stairs to get to where the statue is, and therein lies the problem, everyone is trying to get an angle to take a pic. The place is over crowded and gets very hot!

Parque Lage has a bit of order because there was a line for people to go take pics. I liked it there. Beautiful venue with tall palm trees that provide shade.

I’m a sea food lover, the whole time I was kind of disappointed with the food at the beach because everything was deep fried, also I couldn’t understand some menus because they were in Portuguese, but Giuseppe Grill!! Finally a place that had amazing food. I bought Oysters here, and although expensive, they were worth it.  Carretão Classic Grill is a must. The place serves bottomless Meat ( almost all types of meat ) perfect seasoning and the service is also amazing. Our tour guide, Paulo organised everything for us, contact him through his manager Felipe (+55 21 98271 4452) to book tours.

During the entire carnival week, everyday at various areas there was always a Bloco. A Bloco is a party organised by locals during carnival. I went to a couple of these however the best one was when we partied in the rain on the beach!

Plan and budget well for the trip, the exchange rate makes some things expensive. Literally everything you will do you will be charged for. Site attractions, being a beach bum, everything costs money.

Carry Cash. If traveling in a group, Stay Away from Uber and hire a car with a driver who can speak English. You will then get to do more things, see more places and you can negotiate prices and your overall travel experience will be so much greater.