This thread is for the state of Rio de Janeiro, but I thought I would start off with the city. These are from May 2010 when I traveled to Rio a week after I graduated university. I did this trip with a tight budget, but it is an incredibly affordable region filled with friendly people. And I even booked my flight with AA miles (my first reward redemption). MCI-MIA-GIG-MIA-MCI. ipanema beach as seen from its rocky, eastern edge. This is the area in which I stayed, it was a great neighborhood to come home to at night. It felt safe and I stayed in a hostel. the view out of the hostel window. I stayed at the Lighthouse hostel, which is super small (1 dorm with 8 beds and 1 private room). Breakfast and wifi was included and they booked a few things for us at great prices. (like hang gliding!) this was my first time hang gliding and it was AMAZING! After a super long car ride/hike straight up a seemingly never ending mountain, we ran and jumped off, flew over the rainforest (and some really expensive homes) and landed on the beach. I was terrified, but I can't recommend it enough. view from midpoint of Sugarloaf. it is as far as you can hike and there is a cable car that can take you all the way to the top. It's a pretty good hike straight up hill, but the nice part is that when you reach the top, there is a full visitor center with food, drink, and wonderful seating to take in the view. this is another angle from the hike up Sugarloaf. I went up once by cable car and once hiking. If you feel up to it, I highly recommend the hike. I can't wait to see other photos!