Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil with more than 6 million inhabitants. Rio is famous for Carnaval, football, Christ the Redeemer, breathtaking views, beautiful beaches and more. Rio de Janeiro was founded in 1565 by the Portuguese. From 1793 was the capital of Brazil until 1822 when the war of the Brazilian Independence began. The 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro.
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão De Açúcar) is situated in the area of Urca. Pão de Açúcar consists of two mountains, one smaller and one bigger. To reach you’ll have to go by two cable cars, unless you like adventurous mountain climbling. This is one of the top landmarks in Brazil and is absolutely worth a visit. Pão de Açúcar shows a spectacular mountain viewpoint of Rio. The view is best appreciated on a clear day so make sure to check the weather forecast. Don’t miss the attractive scenery of the coast and greenery, along with the cicade maravilhosa. Try to be there for sunset and it will blow you away.
Sugarloaf Cable Car is one of the oldest cable cars in world and the first one in Brazil. Opened in 1912, the invention was the brain child of Brazilian engineer, Augusto Ferreira. The car travels through three stations: Praia Vermelha, Morro da Urca and Pão de Açucar, which are interconnected together by four cable cars.
Corcovado is the top where Christ the Redeemer is located. To get there you can either go by the funicular train that leaves every 30 minutes. Pedro II ordered the construction of the railroad to Corcovado and, in 1885; a steam train brought the first visitors up the steep mountainside. Optionally get off at the station Paineras, from where a picturesque about 3km trail that passes by several waterfalls and the Dona Marta lookout. You can get there by taxi. Or for the adventurous you can chose one of the hiking trails that starts at Parque Lage.
Christ the Redeemer is a 38 meters high statue on top of Corcovado Mountain, for many this statue has become equal with Rio. The statue was completed in 1931 and is a part of the new edition of the Seven Wonders of the World, the elegant art deco statue was assembled on site. Initially one had to climb the 220 steps to reach the statue situated on top of the mountain. However, today visitors can get to the statue by a twenty-minute tram ride or by car. Christ the Redeemer offers superb views of the Zona Sul: Copacabana, Ipanema, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Botanical Garden; inland, the views beyond the Maracana stadium. It can be good to check the weather forecast before going as clouds sometime can cover both the peak and the view. More than one million visitors every years reaches to the peak so be prepared for a crowded space where you’ll have to wait to get the perfect picture.
Tijuca Forest (Tijuca National Park) is the largest urban forest in the world; Tijuca National Park is home to hundreds of Amazonian species of plant and animal life. What makes if even more special is that the forest has been replanted by man in the early 1900s after years of deforestation for coffee plantations. Tijuca forest is today visited by millions of tourists that want to discover the amazing wildlife.
Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botanico) are home to many amazing and rare species of plants both from Brazil and other countries. It is a place where man and nature reside in perfect harmony. There are more than 8200 different species of plants here. Also wild animals and bird are plentiful. There is a café within the gardens where one can admire the garden views.
Fiscal Island (Ilha Fiscal) is home to a small green castle that was once an important venue for the Brazilian empire. The Ilha Fiscal caste is today one of the main attractions in Rio. This neo gothic castle was designed by Adolfo Del Vecchio and one can find ten different types of hardwood used for the exceptional mosaics.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas) is commonly known as Lagoa. It is a lagoon and a district in Rio that is bordered by Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea, Jardim Botânico, Copacabana, Botafogo, and Humaitá districts. There are a number of sports facilities around the lagoon. Most visited by tourist is the lagoon around the Christmas season when a special Christmas tree is erected on a floating platform that moves about in the water.
Museu de Chácara do Céu was the former home of Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maysa. Today is exhibits a variety of modern art by artists such as Lygia Clark and Portinari. One can also find Brazilian artefacts dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The park, Parque das Ruínas is pleasing and known for musical concerts. The ruins are of the house of the Brazilian heiress Laurinda Santos Lobo.
Catedral Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. With its peculiar cone shape the cathedral has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people. The cathedral has 96 metres internal diameter — 106 metres of external diameter — and an overall height of 75 metres. The current Cathedral was built between 1964 and 1979.
Favela is the name of the slum in Rio. The original favela was built on the Morro de Castelo in Rio de Janeiro by the families of soldiers returning from the Canudos Campaign. The term favela underwent a first institutionalization by becoming a local category for the settlements of the urban poor on hills. While drug dealing, sporadic gun fights, and residual control from drug lords remain in certain areas, Rio’s political leaders point out that the UPP is a new paradigm after decades without a government presence in these areas. Be careful if entering any of these favelas. The movie Cidade de Deus is based in the favelas. Rocinha is the largest hill favela in Rio de Janeiro. Although favelas are found in urban areas throughout Brazil, many of the more famous ones exist in Rio.
Ipanema Beach has many times been nominated the best urban beach in the world. In summer the beach is packed with tourists that want to enjoy the clean waters, rough waves, play beach volleyball or simply sunbathing. There are many events on the beach that unites both locals and tourists, such as different ggames of beach football and beach volleyball. Ipanema is also a good place for surfing, body boarding etc, that is if you’re experienced as the water can be rough. Capoeira, Street Carnival and the Hippie Fair are favourites among the tourists. And who does not know the famous song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’.
Copacabana used to be a small fishing village until the 1900’s when the Copacabana Palace Hotel was built. The beach is filled with tourists all day long. What has made Copacabana famous is partly the Copacabana fort which dates back to 1914. The fort has been declared part of Brazil’s natural history, today one find the Army Historical Museum here.
Leblon Beach is the sister beach of Ipanema. The beach is quieter and more relaxed than the hip and trendy beach of Ipanema. Leblon beach is fronted by high-class hotels as well as gourmet restaurants, sophisticated bars, shopping malls and exclusive boutiques.
Joatinga Beach is not so frequented by tourist as other beaches in Rio, but those who want to relax come here. Joatinga is a 220 m long with sandy beach, it is also one of the most well protected natural reserves in Rio. A crossover between forests and virgin beaches, this beach is a dream come true for surfers.
Tijuca Beach is the longest beach in Brazil and stretches about 18 km from Morro do Joá to the Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighbourhood. It is a hotspot for surfers, wind sailors and body surfers. It is also a good space for the beginners of watersports and those that just want to have fun in the waves. It is a crowded beach on weekends so if possible, plan your visit on a weekday.
Brazil is the country of the samba. Most of the tourist comes in the Carnaval. A party that lasts for two weeks and is well known for the many escolas de samba (samba schools) that parade in Centro, on a gigantic structure called Sambódromo. But almost in every street of Rio one will find parades during Carnaval. During the rest of the year there are many samba shows playing around the city. Do today there might be a change going on as the Samba City (Cidade Do Samba) has been built. A fairly recent addition to Rio is Samba City that occupies an area of about 114.000 sq. meters. The reason for constructing the city in Gamboa was because the city is the sacred birthplace of Carioca samba. Its architectural design is geometric in shape and includes the districts of Saúde, Santo Cristo and Gamboa. The thought behind the architecture is of accepting and acknowledging the ancestral dance of Samba, which came from Africa.
2014 FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th of its kind, it will take place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014. This is the second time Brazil host the tournament, the first time being in 1950. A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil in either new or redeveloped stadiums.
Maracanã Football Stadium (Estádio do Maracanã) was until recently the largest football stadium in the world. Inaugurated during the FIFA World Cup in 1950 it can hold about 100 000 spectators. Major football clubs like Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama play their matches here. It will also be hosting the 2014 World Cup, and also the 2016 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies