When traveling to South America, one should not miss the fascinating country, Brazil, particularly Rio de Janeiro. It is a primary tourist destination because of the friendly people, distinctive cuisines, joyous festivities, beautiful beaches and exotic scenery.
Rio de Janeiro
Although no longer the capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is still considered an important asset of the country. It is the second largest city of the country, and the sixth largest in America. The state is considered a major port. It provides great revenue to the country because of its business, recreation, education, trade and tourism. As a matter of fact, it is noted as one of the most visited cities in South America. It has a unique appeal that attracts foreigners to come and visit over and over again.
Rio de Janeiro is located at the southeastern section of Brazil. It is bounded by the Bay of Guanabara on the east. Also on the eastern side one could see the so-called Sugar Loaf, an important landmark in Rio. On the south, the city is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean wherein a beautiful coastline could be seen. To the north and western side are land masses – hills and mountains.
Modes of Transportation
Before travelling to Rio de Janeiro, make sure to have your passport and visas ready. If travelling to deeper parts, have your vaccine shots updated. It is best to convert dollars to their monetary unit, “real” pronounced as “hay-al” at legitimate currency converters. Learn their national language, Portuguese, to be more in touch and conversing with locals. Only a few locals could speak and understand English.
The main point of entry is by plane. There are three airports within Rio. The international airport, Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport is located north of downtown. It has connecting flights to 19 different countries. The domestic airport, Santos-Dumont domestic airport is located downtown. It is used as a service to Sao Paulo. Another airport, Jacarepaguá-Roberto Marinho Airport is used by Brazil Flying Club and located near the city center.
Aside from catering to cargo and shipment, the port of Rio de Janeiro is used for cruise vessels. Usinhg a cruise vessel, one could reach the states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo.
And of course, one could always travel by land. The neighboring state, Santo Cristo has a bus terminal that travels to other states.
Getting around is also very simple. There are taxis almost everywhere. Just take note and be cautious that from 6am to 9pm every Monday to Saturday the reading on the meter should be “1.” A meter reading of “2” means the rates are higher.
To save money, one could also take a bus. There are a total of 440 municipal bus lines that travels through all parts of Rio. There are air-conditioned buses and non-air-conditioned buses.
Another option would be the newly improved and updated trains and subways. There are currently two subway lines operating. There is a plan to add another train system in the near future.
Best time to visit
Foreigners could visit the state any time of year. The temperature ranges from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius during summer and 15 to 25 degrees Celsius during winter. It is usually densely populated during summer, from December to March.
What To Do at Rio de Janeiro
Enjoy the Festivities
The Carnival is an extravagant, joyous and colorful celebration prior to the Lenten season. During the festivity the Sambódromo Marquês de Sapucaí, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue, is opened. The venue is also called Apoteose Square. Approximately 90,000 people participate in the festival. The street is filled with music, dancing and costumes. A popular dance and beat that is heard during this time is samba. Dancers from different samba schools gather and perform a dance to the tune of their respective school’s samba anthem.
Enjoy the Man Made Structures
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer
This is the most famous landmark in Brazil. The Statue of Christ the Redeemer stands atop of Mount Corcovado with arms extending on both sides as the image looks down on the citizens of Rio. The statue was sculpted and inaugurated in 1931 with a height of 2,310 feet. One could see the statue from any point. But if you want to have a magnificent view of the whole Rio and neighboring areas, a climb to the top of the mountain is recommended. You could also book a cog train and see another tourist attraction, Tijuca Forest National Park.
This statue was been named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Tijuca National Park
Tijuca National Park, also known as Parque Nacional da Tijuca covers approximately 32 square kilometers. It is an urban forest at the heart of the city of Rio. This park was made to compensate coffee plantations. The most attractive part of this park is the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer which is located at the park’s peak.
Candelaria Church, also known as Igreja de Candelaria was built in 1775 to 1811. It followed the Baroque style architecture on the façade and a Neoclassical and neo-renaissance for the interior. The church started from a simple chapel and grew to what it is right now.
The people of Brazil love football that is why a large stadium was built. Maracanã Stadium also known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho or Estádio do Maracana has a seating capacity of 200,000 people and is considered as one of the world’s largest football stadiums. It was inaugurated in 1950 just before the World Cup. In 2014, the stadium was the venue for the World Cup. And in 2016, it would host the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens or Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro was built and designed in 1808 by Dom João VI as the habitat of Amazonian flora and fauna. Examples of plants found here are large Victorian water lilies and Japanese plants.
Enjoy the Sceneries
Sugarloaf Mountain is also known as Pão de Açúcar. This mountain is located at Guanabara Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. It stands 395 meters tall and gives a unique view of Rio and its beaches, the statue of Christ the Redeemer and the luscious green forest. For adventure lovers, they can always go up for a hike. But there are also cable cars for easy access to the top and bottom of the mountain. The best time to visit the top of the mountain is during sunset.
A trip to Rio is never complete without visiting its beaches. There are two famous beaches that must be seen: Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach. The former beach stretches 4.5 kilometers and an ideal place to play beach soccer, have a tan under the warm sun, dance and party until early morning. They also offer water sport activities such as snorkeling. This area has nearby hotels and restaurants that cater to the needs of tourists. On the other hand, the later beach is more expensive and luxurious. Nonetheless, it is a perfect relaxing spot.