Rio, in my mind, was the personification of Brazil. Unfortunately, there was little that reminded me of Brazil. Sure, Rio has Samba, the Sugar Cane and the Christ - but does it impersonate the colorful, bubbly spirit of Brazil? Not really ...
First of all, I think I spent more time on a bus stuck in traffic than actually walking around the city. Traffic is INSANE and people that live in Rio told me that they spend - easily - four hours a day on a bus. Amazing?? Only if you love car watching A LOT.
Second, Rio is pretty gray. Sure, you can see some cool graffiti but a playful explosion of colorful buildings? Nope.
Third, the beaches are disgusting. Who, I mean, who started the rumor about Copacabana being Brazil´s most beautiful beach? If you go on the wrong days, it´s so much trash lying around, you cannot even walk along the beach. I saw pants, flip flops, candy wrappers, pants, broken umbrellas and beer cans. I did not see white sand and blue water (also because looking around is somehow impeded by trying to avoid getting hit by a ball from the herds of soccer players hanging out). Dream beach? Ehm ... hell no!!!!
Forth, Rio does not have any personality. If you are looking for a city with personality in Brazil - go to Olinda. If you are looking for a colorful city full of music and culture - go to Salvador. If you are looking for a charming, cute city - go to Ouro Preto. If you are looking for amazing beaches, go to Joao Pessoa. If you are looking for a big city with nothing special - go to Rio!
Yes, Rio is a nice city and, maybe, if it´s you´re first stop in Brazil it might even be lovely. I also won´t deny that I heard some GREAT Samba and met wonderful people there, but is Rio my favorite Brazilian city? Definitely not!