Hot all year round and with a tropical rainforest extending down to the sea, it’s easy to understand why Rio de Janeiro is known as “Cidade Maravihosa” (“The Marvellous City”). Where better to enjoy the scorching Brazilian sunshine than on the beach? Zona Sul is the area in which you’ll find Rio de Janeiro’s most famous beaches, including Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. All three are great places to swim, sunbathe or participate in water sports. When you need a retreat from the heat, sip on a Caipirinha in one of the area’s pubs or grab a fresh açaí smoothie from one of the many juice shops to be found on street corners throughout the city.
Ascending to the peak of the beautiful Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) should be on every visitor’s trip checklist. Standing at 1,299 feet (396 metres) above sea level, the mountain offers stunning views of Niterói, Copacabana and Santa Cruz Fortress. Take a scenic cable car ride to the top or hike up if you’re feeling up for a challenge. Either way, you’ll enjoy the view of a lifetime.
The famous Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue can be seen from most districts in Rio de Janeiro and is said to protect the city with its wide, open arms. An impressive 30 metres tall, the statue sits atop the Corcovado Mountain and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. For a closer look, take a cogwheel train or minibus to the top of the mountain, where you’ll also enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of the city.
Famous for its colourful carnival and fabulous beaches, as well as the dramatic entry to its cruise port, Rio de Janeiro has plenty to offer visitors to the city.
Did you know?
- What do the Sugar Loaf, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and Copacabana beach postcards have in common? The Guanabara Bay is in the backdrop of all of them. Going through no less than 15 different cities, the bay is the second biggest in the country, with 53 beaches and more than one hundred islands.
- Rio is home to the eighth biggest library in the world.
- Rio’s wonderful mix of nature and urban life can be seen in the Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest forest to coexist with a city. Though it was once destroyed by local coffee plantations, its 32 square kilometres (12 square miles) were repopulated with millions of seedlings at the end of the 1800s and it eventually grew into an enormous forest teeming with wildlife.
- Rio de Janeiro has the largest Carnival party in the world. In 2004, over 400,000 foreign tourists flocked to the city for the celebrations and to join the 5 million locals who already participate in the famous parades and street parties.