Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rio Getaway - Niteroi & Itacoatiara

Rio de Janeiro sits at the mouth of Guanabara Bay and Ipanema beach faces south on the Atlantic ocean. Directly east across the bay from downtown Rio sits the city of Niteroi. It is full of towering beach condos, just like Rio, and has the added benefit of enjoying a beautiful view of Rio. Beyond Niteroi are many more beaches separated by jutting mountains that rise several hundred feed above the sand.

Some of these beaches access relatively clean water and some of them look just as beautiful but are never used because the water is too polluted. During the 2016 Olympics you will hear a lot about the polluted water conditions here. It's quite sad. Rio has this amazing resource of beaches and ocean, but they've been pouring sewage directly into it for years and the health hazard is now quite high. It's weird to see these huge, long, beautiful beaches right in the city with zero people using them.

Last week Debora and I took a few days to visit friends of hers who own a Bed & Breakfast in the charming beach community of Itacoatiara. The scenic route took us about 90 minutes to drive in light traffic from Ipanema (the blue dot on the map) to the red pin placed at Itacoatiara.

Niteroi, Brazil

Me enjoying the view of Niteroi from the plaza of the contemporary art museum.

Debora and I outside the museum

The surf was quite strong and turbulent when we arrived at Itacoatiara. I've seen bigger waves before (north shore of Oahu, Hawaii), but have never seen waves this intense. I felt like I could have sat and watched/listened to them all day long. This photo is Itacoatiara beach. You can hike to the top of the mountain or rock formation on the right.

Here's a photo from on top of that mountain/rock formation. Just as I got up there this paraglider was getting ready to take off. That's Itacoatiara beach below.

It was a chill coupla days for Debora and I -- lounging at the beach, walking along the beach, checking out a couple other beaches nearby, and hanging out with our wonderful hosts, Laura and Rodrigo. Alas, I forgot to get a photo of them or their nice B&B. This is the next beach over, a fishing beach.

Beyond the fishing beach is another beach that's more built up with fancy houses and small beach-side restaurants. It was also very enjoyable to walk along and just sit and watch the waves roll in. Does it ever get old to stare at the surf?

NEXT UP:
Tomorrow Debora and I are heading for another weekend getaway, this time to Paraty, Brazil. Paraty is a cool, colonial city four hours from Rio by bus. 
And in two weeks the Olympics will be here. I have tickets for table tennis and track & field (the day when they do the 4x100 finals for both men and women). Once the schedules come out and I know what teams are actually playing on what days, I'll probably also go see some volleyball and maybe some cycling. It turns out I'm really not that interested in the actual contests of the summer games. Winter Olympics are more my style and I had the pleasure of witnessing them in Salt Lake City in 2002. 

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