6 Hours in Rio de Janeiro ” Governador Island”

My original plan on spending my 6 hours in Rio this trip was to visit Corcovado, the famous statute overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. Upon arriving at the airport in Sao Paulo and getting the local weather for Rio, it was soon apparent that my chances of seeing the statue of the Christ Redeemer this trip were not looking well, Rio was calling the weather overcast skies with drizzle.

Descending into Rio we broke out of the clouds at around 2000 feet, the visibility was great under the overcast skies. Off to the west we were able to see Sugar Loaf Mountain, yet looking back up the mountains it was noticeable that where Corcovado stood was well into the base of the clouds. Standing at 2300 feet, Corcovado would not be a good trip to make with the way the weather was today, oh well another trip, another day.

OK how then to spend another 6 hours in Rio? I decided to spend the afternoon checking out the Governador Island “Governors Island” that Rio’s International Airport is located. Having seen the area as we have made approaches into Rio’s Galeao runway 28, I decided with the way the weather was today, overcast skies and a chance of rain, there was no sense spending the cab fare to go into the heart of Rio.

Change of clothes and out to the cab stand, tried to find someone that speaks English so I could explain where I wanted to go, it was not happening, reverted to my limited Spanish once again since that is closer to Portuguese than English. Tried to explain that I wanted to be taken to a typical restaurant overlooking the water close to the airport, I even showed them on a map where I was looking to go out on the island. The driver kept telling me Copacabana, I kept telling them I did not want to go that far today, a 45 minute ride in traffic with a good chance of rain, I could not see spending the $80 round trip taxi fare today.

Praia da Banderia,  Beach of Flags, Governador Island, Rio de Janeiro,Finally they said they understood and put me in a taxi, well off we went and very soon I realized we were not headed where I wanted to go. With help from my Google Maps on my Iphone I could tell the driver went past the road that would have taken me out into the Island. Questioning the driver in Spanish, I was told we were headed to Copacabana, no, showed him the map once again on the phone and told him I wanted the other direction. A long response in Portuguese, that I did not really understand, yet we ended up turning around. Next thing I know the driver is pulling up to this fancy restaurant, we are only about a mile from the airport, once again I tried to tell the driver this is not where I want to be , I want farther out on Governador Island, I want a typical restaurant looking overlooking the water. He’s telling me this restaurant is looking out over the water. This is not what I had envisioned.

In frustration in not being able to communicate in Portuguese, I decided to get out, asked how much for the ride, was told 30 Reals, wow, almost 15 dollars just to go 1 mile from the airport, they saw gringo on this face. I paid and got out and headed out of the parking lot to the street. Spying a bus stop about 1000 feet down the road I headed that way. As I am walking the taxi driver pulls up along side of me, pointing or trying to tell me he will take me somewhere else. Not happening, you rip me off once; you won’t get me a second time.

First bus comes along I jumped on, on my way; figure I will take it to where it takes me. The bus passed through the town of Portuguesa, what I would call a typical Brazilian working class neighborhood of shops, restaurants and banks. Portuguesa was nothing fancy, so I stayed on the bus which then proceeded to the far end of the island, just where I wanted to go. I ended up getting off at Praia da Banderia “the Beach of Flags”, located right on the Bay of Guanabara. I found the water I was looking for, the small town with restaurants and shops of Paria da Banderia surrounded the main park and were bordered by the bay. I decided to walk south along the water’s edge where there was a nice sidewalk following the contours of Guanabara Bay. The scenery was nice but I would say this was not one of Brazil’s better beaches. There was a lot of trash in the water and no sand or beach to sit. I passed quite a few drink stands as I made my way to the next little town of Ribeira, a small fishing village.Riberia, Governador  Island, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

From Ribeira I walked down a tree lined neighborhood of condominiums and houses to Praia do Iequia located on a small hamlet bordering the military installation of Moro do Matoso. Again many small drink shacks lined the water’s edge, yet at this time most were closed, think it being a Wednesday and not many people around it was probably more of a weekend place. Not finding a decent place that was open to eat, I decided to catch the next bus that came by, off again back to Portuguesa for lunch.

Full from a good lunch, I again caught a bus and headed back to the airport. All said and done, it was a good way to spend a couple of hours rather than sitting at the airport all day. Weather threatening yet no rain, I still think it was a good choice of not going to Corcavado. I have come to the conclusion when I get back to Orlando I will have to pull out the Rosetta Stone lessons for Portuguese.
Explore more of Rio de Janeiro with Beachcomber Pete


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