Since we were pretty exhausted on New Year’s Day, we all slept in and headed over to Ipanema Beach for the afternoon. It was so hot that I spent solid 4.5 hours in the water (day 4 and, yes, still 114 degrees). We watched the sunset from the water and it was outstanding, even though we were getting tumbled the entire time. We were at the mercy of the waves, unable to withstand their power, yet enjoying every moment of it.
We woke up early the following morning, our last day, to head to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). We took the cable cars up and were greeted with stunning views of the beaches dotted along Rio’s coast. After a bit of looking around, we headed down and went to Santa Teresa – the old part of Rio de Janeiro with cobblestone streets and cutesy shops. Unfortunately the intense heat prevented me from doing some pretty wild hikes, although now I have yet another reason to go back sometime soon! We wandered for a while, stopping along non-touristy parks and beaches, and it was the perfect ending to my South American adventure.