Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil and third largest in South America. Despite common misconceptions it is not the capital of Brazil but is certainly it’s best known city internationally.
Think of Rio and images of beaches, wild and intoxicating celebrations and bronzed bodies come to mind. The image of the enormous statue of Jesus standing atop a spectacular mountain, overlooking a huge urban area, ideallic beaches and lush jungles, is one of the iconic and distinctive scenes defining any city on earth. Rio is justifiably renowned for it’s Carnaval celebrations, wild and rhythmic music, stunning beaches and life loving population.
The city resides in one of the most impressive settings for any major city on earth. Surrounded between sandy surf beaches, verdant rain-forests, and truly spectacular mountains, this is a place that is truly special. The population are fun loving and have an enviable way of life where life is there to be lived, and worries are best left behind. it is little wonder that Rio de Janeiro is commonly known as the cidade maravilhosa (Marvellous City).
The southern part of the city is where most of the big attractions for tourists can be found. Copacaban Beach is located here along with several of it’s less famous counterparts including Ipanema beach, Leblon beach as well as many others. Beach culture is an important aspect of life in Rio. While totally normal for the locals, the beaches are a lively experience for visitors – beautiful girls in tiny swim suits, dozens of vendors selling tasty snacks, iced tea, sunglasses and everything else, body conscious men prancing the sand and impressive waves will leave most in need of a rest by days end.
Added to the beaches are plenty of opportunities to enjoy other aspects of this great city, hiking the nearby rainforest of Tijuca, enjoying the local rum based favourite – Caipirinha, or dancing till the early hours in a Samba club. Do not miss a trip to the top of Corcovado and Cristo Redentor (Statue of Jesus), the views will blow you away and the nearby Sugar Loaf mountains (Pao de Acucar) should also be near the top of your list if you have a bit of time. Brazil was once a Portugese colony and there are plenty of impressive colonial buildings to see around the city as well as dozens of art galleries, museums, theatres and palaces.
Carnaval is perhaps the world’s most famous party. Held in Rio prior to easter each year, it is a non stop indulgence of music, dancing, food and drink which lasts for two weeks. The main attraction is the Samba musicians which parade the central streets and these days also setup throughout much of the city . It grew from traditional celebrations of the Roman Catholic tradition as a time of indulgence prior to the forty days of lent leadin up to easter.
A trip to Rio de Janeiro will be one you will never forget, life may never seem quite the same again.