Thursday, 27 January 2011

Around Brazil – Praia do Pontal, Macumba, Prainha & Grumari: Rio de Janeiro

 The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are possibly the most famous in the world, Copacabana and Ipanema especially. The city does have many more miles to explore as well though, principally those heading south and west along the coast. There are more beaches to explore heading up the north-east from Rio too, although these belong to the city of Niteroi across the bay.

Praia do Pontal, Recreio dos Bandeirantes
After passing the Dois Irmaos mountains at the end of Ipanema, you reach Sao Conrado, landing point for hang-gliders from Pedra Bonita above. The beach is also known as Praia do Pepino, after one of the pioneers of the sport in Brazil. Around more rocks and you come to Barra da Tijuca, the start of Rio’s longest stretch of sand at 20km. The first 5km of it are backed by the high-rises and condominiums of Barra, the next 10km known as Praia da Reserva by the nature reserve of Lagoa do Marapendi which makes it the quietest beach in Rio. Another 5km and you arrive at Praia do Pontal in Recreio dos Bandeirantes. The beach is named after the Gibraltar-like Pontal headland, which can be climbed reasonably easily for stunning views down the beaches and to the mountains behind. The headland also helps provide wonderful conditions on at least one of its two sides for some of the best surf in Brazil.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Are You Ready For – The Rio de Janeiro Marathon

There are many ways to see a country or a city. Rio has a whole host of different places to see and different ways to see them – cable cars, trails, wings, boards, kites, helicopters, planes, trains and automobiles.  Perhaps one way not considered by many people though is to see Rio on foot, or at least a good deal of it anyway. The Rio de Janeiro Marathon is a wonderful way to do this. You can also combine it with a first visit to the city and perhaps some time relaxing by the beach in Buzios or on Ilha Grande afterwards.

Rio de Janeiro Marathon
If a whole 26 miles/42km of running in the tropical heat of the world’s most exotic city doesn’t appeal to you, there is also the Half-Marathon and a 6km Family Run. They all take place on 17 July for the 2011 version. July is the middle of what passes for winter in Rio, and although it may still be anything up to 30˚C on a clear, sunny day, there is never the humidity of January or February, so even the hottest days are bearable. Temperatures on a cool, cloudy day can drop considerably, well below 20˚C especially if the weather comes from the south.