Rio, The Good The Bad & The Ugly

We’re not gonna sugarcoat it, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have been a mess. While most of the athletes are performing admirably (to say the least), the city of Rio and the Olympic Committee involved have been performing nowhere near a perfect 10, to put it nicely.

As an international event, it is only natural that The Olympic Games draw in spectators from around the globe. However, considering the cost of air travel and hotels, the wait for visa applications, and the general issue of being able to take time off from life back home, most Olympic venues have historically been overwhelmingly populated by city natives and host-country nations (Makes sense, right?). Here’s the strange thing when it comes to this year’s games though Brazilians, statistically, don’t care much for the Olympics (Soccer being the exception, of course).

In case you haven’t heard this word enough already: Zika. The Zika virus seems to be this year’s “freak out” illness for the general public. While scientists have argued that, while it’s clearly not something to take lightly, the Zika virus is has become more of a fad – Think “swine flu, 2016.” Nevertheless, the virus is spread by mosquitos, who love water, which Rio just happens to have plenty of. There haven’t been any reported cases since the games began, but that hasn’t stopped people from worrying. The Australian team even came equipped with Zika-preventing shirts!

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And then there’s the Olympic village, the home for all the athletes who have traveled from around the world for the duration of the games. While you would think that such prestigious competitors would be provided with only the best accommodations (my mind goes straight to spas), Olympians have had to put up with some almost comically bad housing. From hanging makeshift shower curtains to avoid flooding to showers that either broke or didn’t work at all, Rio’s Olympic Village sounds far from a luxury getaway (especially when you think of how much sweating must be going on there). The Chinese team has complained about everything from sinks and beds collapsing to power outages, and in the weeks before the games, some structures collapsed! But don’t worry, Rio, those cardboard doors in the Sochi Olympic Village in 2012 aren’t exactly something to brag about either. As for the athletes, think of it as off-site endurance training!

In many ways, things aren’t sounding so good down in Rio, but don’t let the negative media coverage keep you from seeing the great things about this year’s Olympic host city!

White sandy beaches, tropical forests, and a unique and colorful culture have had travelers heading down to Rio for decades. Construction of the Olympic sites had to take place in an extraordinarily short time span, considering the scale of it all, but for spectators and vacationers alike, the city has retained its famed beauty.

Obviously, those who are competing in the games don’t have much of a chance to experience Brazil. But, unlike previous locations such as Sochi or Beijing (the latter having a notorious amount of smog that you basically have to cut your way through), international spectators have the traveler’s chance of a lifetime once their favorite events have finished. Rio is home to famous sites such as the Copacabana Beach (yes, it’s a real place!). The city is also a hotbed of live music, whether it’s in a bar or on the streets, it’s a place that will keep any visitor’s foot tapping. Restaurants serve dishes from around the country that you certainly won’t find any Olympian eating, or vegetarian for that matter (Brazilians love to incorporate meat into pretty much everything), but that are considered delicacies by chefs worldwide.

While we doubt that the competitors in the games will have the chance to take much, if any of this in, we have some serious travel envy of the fans that made the trip down to Rio!