A hostel in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Contemplating the leap off the edge - Hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro © Craig FastTwo nights ago we made the switch from an artists’ haven in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Teresa to a backpacker hostel in Ipanema.

Our two dormitory beds in Ipanema Beach House cost R$30 more than our double room with en suite, and it felt like quite the regression; I hadn’t stayed in a dormitory for five years. Waking up in the middle bed of a three-tier set of bunks yesterday morning, I felt like I was back in the penny-pinching days of my first overland trip (Holland to Singapore in 2004). Five years of working hard and saving harder and suddenly I’m reduced from flashpacker to scrounging backpacker. Damn this expensive Brazil!

Unfortunately our limited budget demands that we take the communal (read cheap) option in the more expensive areas of South America. Despite the keenly felt loss of our excellently priced, comfortable private room, I think it was a good move.

The wireless internet didn’t work in Santa Teresa and the owner was in Paris meaning there was no-one to offer us advice on where to book experiences, how to get around, or give us insider tips. The other people staying there were artists, uninterested in what Rio has to offer aside from its no-doubt excellent galleries. We wanted to meet other travellers who could offer us titbits of information on our route. We needed internet access. Above all we needed a receptionist to tell us as soon as the weather conditions were right for hang gliding!

Our move across town paid off. Yesterday we went hang gliding, and I’m still buzzing from the experience. Read more about hang gliding in Rio here.

On top of that, we’re staying next to one of the most famous beaches in the world, getting advice from travellers who have been here a lot longer than us, drinking cheap caipirinhas in the hostel bar, eating in a wider range of restaurants and experiencing life in another district of Rio. Not too bad for an extra R$30!

After a splash about in some ferocious waves this morning, we’re moving on again today. After being advised on the best way to buy bus tickets by Ipanema Beach House’s excellent receptionist, we’re heading southwest to the world’s largest freshwater wetland, The Pantanal. Rio de Janeiro has so much more to offer but we’re keen to start our overland journey and get some miles under our belts. It’s the lure of the open road!

2 Responses to “A hostel in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro”
  1. foserious22 says:

    Sounds like your in a good location. What is the best activities to enjoy in Rio de janeiro such as swimming, rock climbing, hang gliding, etc?

    • Emma says:

      There are so many activities to choose from in Rio! I recommend, above all else, hang gliding. Read about my experience of it here. You’ll also find plenty of other activities in Brazil, like river swimming, seeing Iguazu Falls and touring the Pantanal. Incredible country! Let me know what you think.

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