RIO DE JANEIRO, March 11 – 14 – Our evening arrival in to Rio made for some beautiful sparkly-lights city views as we flew over the city. This is a big sprawling city all along the southern equatorial warm waters of the Atlantic coast. As usual, one of our guests enjoyed the experience of being on the flight deck of our private Boeing 757 for landing, as we can do for all take offs and landings on this unique trip.
Rio is an expansive city of contrasts – in places sensuous, sophisticated, beautiful, while chaotic and frantic. Extraordinary wealth runs alongside crushing poverty. Always Rio takes its place as one of South America’s city gems with vibrant city life, magnificent sandy beaches and towering green jungle mountains. The iconic Sugarloaf Mountain as well as Christ atop Corcovado are both world known emblems of Rio. Discovered in 1502 by Portuguese explorers, the small enclave of Rio de Janeiro was settled in 1568. In its recent history modern Rio recently hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup (soccer or ‘futebol’ as the locals say). In 2016 Rio will host the Olympic Games. The city is undergoing major infrastructure improvements.
A gift of evening arrival is that gridlock city traffic had subsided. Our group was quickly delivered to the majestic ‘history book’ Hotel Copacabana Palace, overlooking the Copacabana beach that leads directly into Ipanema Beach (the most expensive real estate in Rio). The photos explain that seemingly every “who’s who” of the world has stayed here. On a Lakani luxury jet journey our guests stay in only the very best places, accommodated in large luxurious Suites – at this hotel all of those with magnificent beach and ocean views. This grand palace hotel impressed all.
Of our two days in Rio, our first day included the ‘must see’ sights of the city. Traveling, we split into smaller groups for sightseeing. We enjoyed our cog-train ride from the city up the steep mountainside through the tropical Tijuca Rainforest headed for 2,500 feet higher (and cooler!) and the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer, arms outstretched, atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking the city of Rio. This is one of the seven manmade wonders of the world. The statue was built in the early 1930s, taking 3 years. From atop Corcovado one gets that expansive ‘eagle eye’ 360-view of the city, the beaches, as well as across the great Guanabara Bay, over the lakes to the surrounding tall mountains. From such manmade wonder a most impressive overview of natural wonder. On descent, a fun and lively lunch at a local ‘churasscaria’ in Copacabana let us experience some of the finest bar-b-que dining in the world.Later in the afternoon we ascended by cable car up Sugarloaf, this rock coming 1300 feet high right out of the sea. Here we enjoyed a private sunset cocktail reception, while the sprawling glimmer of lights twinkled on in the city. To round out our exciting day, we indulged in a leading local restaurant in Ipanema for a delicious Brazilian dinner menu of Brazilian beef steak and Amazon fish along with other local speciality dishes like flan.
Our second day in Rio was for a more personal choice. The Art and Architecture tour traveled over the long 7 miles bay bridge to Niteroi, Rio’s neighboring city across the bay. Here guests got to visit various Oscar Niemeyer architectural projects. Brazilian born and bred, Niemeyer – a leading key figure of developing modern architecture – showcases some of his local architecture in Niteroi including the Art Museum, the Teatro Popular, and the Oscar Niemeyer Foundation.
Alternatively, several clients chose to experience Samba city – next to downtown Rio – and the ‘behind the scenes’ warehouses of Rio’s greatest annual festival, Mardi Gras. Visiting one of the competing Samba teams vast warehouses, our clients wandered between the various large floats of the recent parade. Crazy fun costumes were also on view. Upstairs some dancers and musicians of this team were on hand to teach our enthusiastic guests why Rio is renowned for the “biggest party in the world”.
As with any major city we visit in Lakani’s Around The World our VIP guests are invited to experience ‘Dine by Choice’ … choosing any excellent restaurant for their a la carte dining experience. Most chose the hotel’s good restaurants for fine dining convenience – some ventured out into the neighborhood to dinner.
We bid farewell to Rio and Brazil and take our exclusive ‘speed bird’ all the way over to Easter Island in the same day. In daylight hours, crossing all the way over the continent of South America and out over the Pacific Ocean to that renowned “navel of the world”, Isla de Pasqua, Easter Island. Enroute our sky chef serves a delicious snack of canapes and grilled chicken salad and later a full luncheon incl. petit filet mignon and a baked filet of sea bass. The petit chocolate cakes are irresistible too. Catching up on time all way flying westward we land on to this remote island at dusk, and head over to the nearby exclusive EXplora Lodge. All of us anticipating our intriguing adventures in the land of the ancient Moai …
Check out some photos from our excursions in Rio De Janerio… Click any photo to enlarge.
Click here to follow our journey to Easter Island.