Rio de Janeiro
This iconic place is Brazil's number one city and the starting point for many travelers to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro – or just Rio – IS exactly the spectacular and magnificent place that its reputation has made it out to be. There is a good reason this city is called Cidade Maravilhosa – the marvelous city. Rio is full of entertainment, relaxation, action-packed adventures, sun, heat, shopping, passion, and warm people with a lust for life. Best of all, Rio offers the perfect combination of a big city and a beach vacation. Furthermore, the view of the city and its surroundings is so wonderful that you almost can’t believe it's real.
As with certain other outstanding cities in the world, there is something very true about Rio: the city is a condition. After a little while here, maybe just a few days, the city will get under your skin and you’ll begin to live like a carioca, as the people from Rio are called in Brazil. The Rio condition is a comfortable one of ‘no need to worry’ and euphoria over the small and great joys of life. You will feel both in abundance as the Rio sensation spreads through your body and mind. In other words, you will soon grow to love the many picturesque bays and beaches, the lush mountains, a cup of coffee or a caipirinha in the pleasant shadows of a beach bar, the beautiful people (yes, there really are beautiful in Rio), the never-ending soccer games on the beaches, the charming chaos of this exotic metropolis, and the walks along long promenades with the bustling city all around you. This, and much more, is Rio: one of the most fantastic cities in the world.
Yes, the contradictions are evident in Rio. The same way that the lush mountains fall dramatically into the ocean, the society's fortunate and less fortunate people live side by side in this pulsating city. In many of Rio's countless neighborhoods, you’ll see oversized and luxurious villas next to favelas, which cling to almost every mountainside in the city. These favelas are shantytowns with a life of their own. Many of the rumors and prejudices about Rio's social and criminal problems can either be confirmed or denied here – but never go on your own! If you choose to go on a tour with a local guide, which is highly recommended and very safe, you’ll get a taste of the fascinating and challenging life in these mini-cities within Rio. Seeing and understanding this part of Rio is equally as important as experiencing the pleasures of the beaches and promenades.
When it comes to parties, Rio is in a class of its own. The world famous carnaval needs no further introduction, but New Years Eve is also a very big celebration here. On this night, the enormous Copacabana Beach and others nearby are completely filled by cheerful and partying cariocas. The fantastic atmosphere, paired with the giant rockets exploding over the sea at midnight, make for a completely euphoric and outstanding experience. You’ll get hugged, kissed, and cheered for by large numbers of friendly Brazilians, you’ll dance in the sand until sunrise, and you’ll never again be satisfied with New Year's Eve at home. Aaprt from that, a party and joy-filled atmosphere constantly hangs over Rio. At all times, samba and bossa nova-music flows from street corners and beach bars and the city’s great soccer stadiums are filled with happy fans when one of Rio's four big teams play their matches. In Brazil, soccer is a mind-blowing experience, even if you don’t care about the game. No matter what, there is always a party going on among the spectators – and what a party!
Copacabana is the most famous and touristy beach, but you should also try the beach in Ipanema, which is Rios upper class neighborhood. Here you will find stylish people, streets, and shops. The beach in the neighbourhood of Botafogo is arguably the most beautiful in Rio, especially when seen from the top of Pao de Azucar or Sugar Loaf. These views of Rio and its surroundings is simply humbling. To reach the top, you must brave the thrilling experience of traveling by cable car, which is not to be missed. The same goes for the trip to Rio’s famous Christ The Redeemer on the top of the impressive Corcovado mountain. There is not shortage of beautiful views, beaches, and happy people in Rio!
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