For some, a 13 hour flight is a long way to go just for a week. For me, the flight is all part of the fun! As usual, my destination choice started on United’s website looking at several different options, and I was fortunate to come across some well timed flights from Vancouver to Rio with a 1-stop in Houston that I could apply my upgrade certificates to and get a comfortable overnight ride down south on their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Miramar Hotel by Windsor
My flight got me into Galaeo International Airport around 9am, so perfectly timed to make the most of the day. The car ride from the airport to my hotel was about 40 minutes, but coming from the Canadian autumn I was just excited to be in the sunshine. I had booked Miramar Hotel by Windsor on Copacabana Beach not through any suggestion, but because it was a featured property through my credit card. Unbeknownst to me, it also happens to be the #1 ranked Rio hotel on TripAdvisor – and for good reason. Not only is the location great, right on Copacabana beach, but it has fantastic staff, fantastic rooms, and fantastic food. My room wasn’t available when I arrived, but I was promptly provided with a glass of Champagne and directed to the rooftop pool bar which had some fantastic views over the bay.
Copacabana & Ipanema Beach
My favourite aspect of Copacabana is that it felt real. Yes, there were lots of ‘hotel exclusive’ sunloungers, however there were also large groups of Brazilian families relaxing, hanging out, and playing games. It felt like a true focal point for the city, where people would meet up and enjoy their city. On the southern end is Fort Copacabana, one of the forts that would protect Rio in days gone by. It is an interesting headland to scramble around, and has several exhibits worth looking at.
From here, Ipanema beach is just around the corner – an equally as impressive stretch of white sand bound by tall buildings and majestic green mountains.
Angra dos Reis