The first image that comes
to mind when Brazil is mentioned is one of Rio de Janeiro and its statue
of Christ the Redeemer. That pretty much shows how appealing this city,
famous in songs, in movies and in books is. The Marvelous City, Cidade
Marvilhosa, has a magical hold on people.
Rio de Janeiro is enchanting. Legend
has it that Rio’s lovely coastline was made by the hand of God, but on
that day he was especially inspired. The Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer,
the beaches and, nowadays, even the shanty towns are big attractions in
Rio de Janeiro. This city
is, undoubtedly, the number one
Brazil travel destination.
Rio's Carnival - A Unique
Rio de Janeiro hosts what
Brazilians like to call “The Biggest Show on Earth”, and it might just be.
Millions of people invade the city
and its clubs of samba (escolas de samba) during
Culminating in a parade that is broadcasted live to the
It is a festival for
everybody. For the rich and famous like Barbara Bush and Arnold
Schwarzenegger - who have attended and enjoyed the samba - as well as for
the simple people of the hills who actually create, produce and perform at
The Cultural Heritage
Until 1961, when Brasilia
was built, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. The city still
carries the grand colonial architecture that can be seen in Museu Nacional
de Belas Artes (National Art Museum), the Biblioteca Nacional (National
Library) and Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theatre).
Plan on visiting the city’s famous landmarks on the first days so, after
that, you have time to enjoy the beaches, the sun and
Carioca(1) way of life. Take the tram
up to the Sugar Loaf, visit the Christ statue, and take a walk on Copacabana
Schedule a night to dance
samba in one of the escolas de samba of the city. A good choice would be
Estacao Primeira de Mangueira, one of the most traditional and popular
schools of Samba in Rio de Janeiro, located in a safe part of the city.
Subway - It is easy
to get around in Rio de Janeiro. You can use the Subway, that
is modern and fast. Subway and buses have a "integration system". You buy
one ticket and use it for one subway and one bus trip. Get a Subway map and information in any subway station.
Bus - Buses are also
good. Bus drivers usually go a little too fast, but so does everybody in
Rio. You just have to get used to it. Buses go by the numbers, not the destinations.
Taxi - It is not
expensive. There are plenty of yellow taxis around, they are cheap and
good alternative. Besides, this is one of your best chances to find a taxi
driver that will understand a little English in Brazil.
Renting a car - Rent
a car. If you are going to explore the outskirts, it is renting a car is a
good. It is not that difficult to drive in Rio. Remember that Cariocas drive
fast and you must pay attention to the cars ahead of you, most of all. Let
the ones behind you worry about you.
Get a map and you'll see
that it is not so difficult to drive around.
Besides, if you get lost, using the same argument that we used about the
taxi drivers, here is the place to ask for directions in English. Not that
everyone will speak the language fluently, but
some people know the basics.
Use paid parking lots to park. Rio is a big
city and, unfortunately, not very safe.
Walk - Walk. Rio de
beautiful and walking is going to be a pleasure. Walk along the coastline.
Yeah, that one that God was inspired when he created it.
What to do in Rio?
This is a difficult one. Too
many options. Lets start with the...
The only beach we actually
swmin in is Barra da Tijuca,
towards the south. Barra is what we call "open ocean beach" and away from
the city and its polluted waters. It is a great
and clean beach. So, that's the only place we go
into the water in the city and we love it.
one of the most classic views of Rio, with the Sugar Loaf and Guanabara
Bay. But it is polluted. Badly. So,
take in the view, take pictures, exercise your
legs and move on.
great for a Coconut water, a beer or a
on the calçadão
(sidewalk). There are a lot of kiosks along the beach, and many people
walking or just talking. It is great for a morning walk.
In Ipanema you are going to see lots of different kinds of people as
well as girls from Ipanema and from
many other places. It is a long beach so as
you walk along it, you are going to see surfers, foreigners, rich people
and not so rich also. Also good for walking.
Botafogo, Leblon is not good for swimming either. Between
two channels, it is polluted. But the bars and nightlife in Leblon are
This is THE PLACE to buy bikinis. Brazilians did not invent them but bikinis, just like the
Carnival and soccer, are also Brazilian masterpieces. No other city in the
world has a better beach fashion than Rio de Janeiro. So, go for it! Take
Brazilian bikinis to
every girl you know back home. They are going to love it!
Shopping Malls have sereral boutiques with lots of
choices. The most chic of them is the Sao Conrado
Fashion Mall, in Sao Conrado. The Barra Shopping Mall, in Barra da Tijuca,
is the largest in Latin America. There are a lot of stores in Ipanema and
Leblon that carry a great variety of beach wear in general. So... shop
option for shopping is Babilonia Feira Hype, in the Jockey Club,
on weekends. Lots of great articles in clothes and decoration. For craft
and leather objetcts, try the Feira Hippie (Hippie Open Fair).
Hanging out with friends in bars is
part of Cariocas' way of life. They don't go to botecos so
much to drink, but to talk, get together, relax. The bars' snacks are great
in Rio. And if you fancy drinks once in a while, try a
Brazil is the country of
And Rio de Janeiro is home to one of the largest stadium in the world:
Mario Filho, popularly known as Maracana. It was
especially built for the 1950 World Cup hosted by Brazil. Unfortuntely we
lost the championship to Uruguay. One of the
saddest moments in the successful
Anyway, where were we? Ok.
Maracana. Go and watch a match at this epic
stadium and feel the fire and magic of Brazilian soccer.
to visit in the Marvelous city
another tough one. We can give some suggestions and you can plan according
to what you have always "dreamed" of visiting and what your time
There are other options that
you can find out about when you get here. Maybe they will suit you
Some of the most touristy
attractions are crowded, like the statue of Christ the Redeemer and the
Sugar Loaf. But the view pays off. Again, it is all up to you.
Christ the Redeemer
Walk on Copacabana
Jardim Botanico (Botanic
Garden - a park)
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas -
(Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon)
Mosteiro de Sao
Bento (Sao Bento Monaster)
Go to the rehearsal of a
escola de samba
You are on vacation, right?
Rio is a beach city and people like to dress informally. With that in
mind, pack some shorts, very few jeans, T-shirts and when you get there
buy some Havaianas.
are the most comfortable flip flops on Earth. They are the official beach
sandals in Brazil. Take a light jacket because the air conditioner may be
too high sometimes.
When to go
It depends on what you want
to do. Carnival
is fantastic. New Year's Eve has one of the biggest fireworks display of
the date. And it is on Copacabana beach. It is so warm, you can go into
the sea. Wow! That's a way of spending New Year's Eve.
Summer is from December to
March, but it is hot in Rio de Janeiro from September to April. And warm during the
winter, from June to September. It is never really cold from Rio de
Janeiro and upwards in the Brazilian coast.
December and January are
school vacation months in Brazil. So the beaches are full of Brazilians
vacationing. Prices go up everywhere. Hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions get crowed.
to do in Rio after Rio?
The state of Rio de Janeiro
has other great destinations not very far away from the city of Rio de
Janeiro. Other appealing towns in Rio's state are
Paraty and Angra dos Reis.
And if you like action
during night time, take advantage of one of the best
cities in Brazil. Enjoy the Marvelous City.
(1) Carioca- native from the
city of Rio de Janeiro.
Traditional and popular Brazilian
drink made of Cachaca (Brazilian liquor produced from Sugar Cane). The
most traditional is Caipirinha de Limao (lime), but nowadays you can
pretty much drink a Caipirinha of any fruit. It can also be made
Vodka and then it is called Caipiroska and of Rum - Caipirissima.
These days, some places make Capisake, from the Japanese liquor Sake.