I (yes, me! Not Andrew. Scary, I know) planned for us to go to Tijuca Forest. I got all of the "necessary" information to get us there, walk around and get back in time for us to go the beach. Details of our commute are UNnecessary, but just know that it took more than a few hours longer than we expected as our bus was hit by a taxi, we (I) got lost and we (I) wasn't aware of a three mile hike that went STRAIGHT UP.
Anyyyways, we get to the "top" after climbing an ultra steep road for an hour or so where there are boat loads of people waiting to jump off a cliff with parachutes and/or kites on their backs. The view was gorgeous, but it was just a sliver out of the forest and from what I remembered from my research, there was a lot more to see.
One of the guides overheard us talking about what to do next. He suggested that we take this "easy AND short" hike to where the real views are. LIAR!!! (Mister, if I ever see you again.... #smh) It was so far from easy that I have a tough time describing it without sounding like I'm exaggerating. Even though I haven't worked out in roughly 10 years, I'm certain that even an experienced hiker would have struggled. There were several times that I thought to myself, 'I wonder if I could get airlifted out of this nightmare.'
We finally made it to the top. It was an enormous plateau with a 300 degree view of the most stunning landscape I've ever seen. There were mountains, beaches, skyscrapers, lakes, islands and jungles. It was incredible. And then we walked down the super "easy AND short" trail.
I would recommend it to everyone I know, but I will never, ever do it again. It's three days later and my calves.. oh, my poor calves.
(Notes: Picture on the top-right was when we thought we were at the top because it was nice and flat. For about 20 feet... This is when I started cursing a lot. Also, we saw monkeys!)