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Rio de Janeiro City Guide
Rio de Janeiro is a city that makes your heart beat faster, due as much to its spectacular natural setting as its fast-paced whirlwind of urban life. The city is nestled in the midst of white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and an infinite stretch of blue where the ocean meets the unclouded sky. It's hard to compete with this natural splendour, but Rio de Janeiro tries its hardest with its sultry samba beats and gorgeous residents. The city is the second largest in Brazil, located on the South Atlantic coast. Any Rio de Janeiro city guide mentions the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado Peak, and Ipanema beach. The outdoor setting makes it ideal for surfing or hiking through the rainforests on Tijuca, but there's also plenty to see and do within the city's sprawling streets. Rio's nightlife is legendary, and you can dance the night away to samba music.
Photo copyright: Cesar Okada
Things to do in Rio de Janeiro
Rio is best viewed from above, and you have several scenic points to choose from. Climb to the top of Corcovado, located in the lush vegetation of Tijuca National Park. At the top of this mountain you can not only see panoramic views of the city, but also visit its most iconic statue: Christ the Redeemer. This statue of Christ with his arms outstretched measures 38 metres high and is lit up brightly at night. For a romantic ride around the city, take the bonde streetcar that clatters through the cobblestone streets of bohemian Santa Teresa, the favourite neighbourhood of local artists. One of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro is visit Copacabana Beach, with its tanned crowds enjoying the social scene.
Things to see in Rio de Janeiro
The city has a vibrant art scene, which you can see in a number of museums and art galleries. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts to see neoclassical works from Brazilian artists and copies of European sculptures, or head to the Museum of Modern Art for a glimpse at complicated modernist works overlooking the sea. Parque Lage is an attractive green space for more things to see in Rio de Janeiro, including opera, concerts, and theatrical performances. The Jardim Botanico was also designed in the 1800's, like Parque Lage. It contains well-tended gardens, and if you look up you may even see small monkeys swinging through the trees. If you're intrigued by the spectacle of Carnival, why not visit Museum of Carnival to learn more?
Rio de Janeiro Transport
Most flights arrive at Aeroporto Galeao, which is 15km to the north of the city centre. Some domestic flights will arrive at Aeroporto Santos Dumont, however. Buses and taxis run regular service into the city from both airports. Many travellers arrive by bus, particularly if arriving from other Brazilian destinations. The central bus station is Rodoviaria Novo Rio, where you can take a taxi to your final destination. There's a wide range of Rio de Janeiro transport options within the city. Ferries provide service to Niteroi, while buses are swift and run frequently. There is also a well-organized subway system.
Rio de Janeiro Events
There's no doubt that Rio de Janeiro's premier event is Carnival. Thousands of revellers travel from around the world to take part, with street parties, fanciful costumes, samba performances, and parades. Yet there are other Rio de Janeiro events worth experiencing, such as the Bonfire Festival in June. During this festival, residents build bonfires and set off fireworks in public squares. The city's marathon also takes place in June, with spectators cheering on the runners in a jubilant atmosphere. Learn more about the city's oral traditions and legends on Folklore Day, celebrating stories that have been passed down for generations.
Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian cuisine uses fresh, flavourful ingredients and draws from a range of culinary influences. The most famous dish in Rio de Janeiro is the feijoada, which is a Portuguese-inspired stew of black beans, sausage, and colourful side dishes such as collard greens and rice. Try fresh squeezed juice from tropical fruits including Brazil's own acai and guarana, both rich with antioxidants. ¶ Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro are everywhere. Particularly popular are the rodizio, or all-you-can-eat buffets. Many of these include an abundance of grilled meats. You'll find excellent seafood restaurants near Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, often with ocean views.