Rio - capital of carnival, samba and football
Rio is the place of dreams for many in the world. The Rio Carnival with music and dancing into every aspect with samba as the most famous dance, the white sandy beaches Copacabana and Ipanema, the giant statue of Jesus Christ Redeemer atop Corcovado, the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the giant football stadium Maracena.
Rio de Janeiro, Rio, A Cidade Maravilhosa
(The Marvelous City)...
The city is usually divided into the historic downtown (Centro); the tourist-friendly South Zone (Zona Sul) with all famous beaches; the residential North Zone (Zona Norte); and the modern West Zone (Zona Oeste).
The city has over 6 millions habitants, while the metropolitan population reaches 12 millions.
The citizens of Rio de Janeiro are called cariocas. Among famous cariocas you will find composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, writer Paolo Coelho, architect Oscar Niemeyer and footballer Ronaldo.
Time zone: UTC (GMT)-3. Daytime saving is observed.
Climate: Tropical. Warm all year long. Hot and humid summers (November - March), in December and January the temperature can reach 30 degrees Celsius. Dry winters June - September with average temperature of 20 degree Celsius.
Currrency: real (BRL)
Rio is samba and football
The four major football teams in Rio de Janeiro state play their games at the Maracena stadium, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.
Rio was founded by the Portuguese explorers in 1565 and was named São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro 20 (St Sebastian of the January 20th River). The city was the capital of the Portugese colony; when the independence of Brazil was proclaimed in 1822, and when Brazil became a republic in 1889, Rio de Janeiro continued to be the capital - until 1960, when the new and modern capital (Brasilia) was built.
Rio has excellent infrastructure in terms of accommodations. It offers luxurious hotels, some of them are ran by international networks, and also smaller inns and low cost hostels. The majority of hotels are located close to the beaches along the southern and downtown areas of Rio.
The international airport of Rio is Galeao. There is also the Santos Dumont Regional Airport, beautiful located below Corcovado, where you find the air-shuttle service Sao Paulo-Rio de Janeiro.
Beside those most famous - Ipanema and Copacabana - there are beaches suitable for sports like biking (Leblon), wind surfing (Prainha); places where hang-gliders land after lifting from Gávea Cliff (Pepino) and beaches that offer great views - from the stones of Arpoador beach) or from Botoafogo, an urban beach with beautifull view over Corcovado Hill and Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The Flamengo Embankment
(Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes Park) is a vast green area by theh sea designed by Brazilian artist Roberto Burle Marx. It offers sports courts, bicycle tracks, cooper trails and aero-modeling courts.
The famous statue that weighs 1,145 tons and is 38 meters high can be now reached by car (fee is to be paid first), but the 3-km long walk from Paineiras car park up the 710 meters hill is most recomended. Going up by a small train that goes along the Corcovado Railway takes about 20 minutes. As an alternative, accredited vans can be hired.
The Sugar Loaf Mountain Cablecar
This over 90-years-old cablecar is one of the most important icons of tourism in Rio. Access from 520, Avenida Pasteur, at Urca.
Tijuca National Park
This largest natural preservation area in an urban area in the country is situated 20 km away from downtown. Tijuca Forest has trails, waterfalls etc; in the area of the Carioca Hill - with the famous Corcovado - there are attractions such as Dona Marta, Vista Chinesa and Mesa do Imperador belvederes.
The Nossa Senhora da Candelária Church
This grandious church, located in the financial downtown district (on Praça Pio X), is one of the most beautiful churches in Rio de Janeiro.
The Copacabana Fortress
The fortress, built in 1914, offers visitors many historical curiosities, among them collections of guns.