Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
is the most visited city in the Southern hemisphere, and after even spending a short time there, it will be easy to understand why. It´s famous for its annual Carneval
celebrations and beautiful beaches, but there is a lot more to discover about Rio than just these well known attractions. The city offers sharp and fascinating contrasts between densely populated areas and a tropical jungle full of exotic wildlife, as well as run-down shantytowns neighbouring beautiful upper-class areas. It also is home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the statue of Christ the Redeemer
. Whether you’re there for a laid-back beach vacation, a party-hard Carnival or just to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Sugar Loaf mountains, Rio de Janeiro’s unique and vibrant culture is sure to impress you. When it comes to accommodation, there is plenty to choose from, be it an airy beachside apartment rental or a glamorous villa, or perhaps a private room with bed and breakfast if you are on a smaller budget. renting one of the many beachside apartments there is a popular option during the summer. Samba and Bossa Nova can be heard all over this wonderful city, and lessons are readily available.
Half a million tourists join one million Brazilians to celebrate the Rio Carneval, which originally started out as a masked ball with waltz and polka dancing sometime in the 1700s.
Rio de Janeiro means “January River” in Portuguese, The bay was mistaken for the mouth of a river by the explorer who discovered it.
The stars on the Brazilian flag represent the night sky over Rio on the night that Brazil was proclaimed a republic, on November 15, 1889.
The rich in Rio like to dress up their pets (especially poodles) in full outfits of clothes, hats and shoes, some even having a different outfit for every day of the week.
Rio is a cycling-friendly city with over 46 miles of bicycle pathways.
Things to Do
The beaches of Copacabana
are beautifully white and long, and attract Brazil’s most beautiful people, who you´ll see playing beach volleyball, football or just parading up and down in all their bronzed splendour. Grab a coconut water, a pair of Haviana flip flops (the original Brazilian flip flop sold at stalls all along the promenade) and go for a splash in the breakers. A visit to one of these beaches is a must, if only to have fond memories every time you hear “The girl from Ipanema” or Barry Manilow´s “Copacobana”.
One thing that should definitely be on your itinerary is a visit up the Sugarloaf Mountain, It is a fairly steep climb for about five minutes but the view at the top makes up for any exertion. You could also take the cable car but the hike that begins in Pista Cláudio Coutinho in Urca is well travelled by locals, and you can get the cable car back down for free after 6pm. Another must-see is of course the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, the second largest representation of Jesus in the world.
There are a number of tours offered to the favelas, Rio´s shantytowns, either in safari-like tour buses behind barred windows, or else on foot. The largest and most visited of the favelas is Rocinha, and the best way to see it would of course be with a local. To make sure you get someone trustworthy, it´s best to ask either your Wimdu host or research online.
Eating and Drinking
This city has plenty of unusual and exciting food and drink options, from chocolate covered pizza to the empada
(a pastry filled with meat or cheese); from the indigenous and delicious caipirinha
to the dark purple sorbets of the local acai fruit, there´s something here for everyone. Every 100 yards along the main beaches you´ll find a bar selling cheap beer and refreshing coconut water, and there are thousands of vendors selling everything from sunglasses and bikinis to a variety of filling pastries.
Bars stay open all night and have a great atmosphere, and there are plenty of underground clubs such as “Fosfobox” in Copacabana, “Dama de Ferro” in Ipanema and “Casa da Matriz” in Botafogo to keep you entertained well into the next day. Rio also has a reputation as one of the most gay-friendly
international destinations in the world.
Accommodation and Apartment Rentals in Rio de Janeiro
Beach-front apartments are the perfect place to enjoy the nearly 250 days of sunshine that Rio receives each year. Wimdu
has a great range of accommodation rentals in the city, such as holiday apartments, villas and bed and breakfasts. Travelers who dislike staying in busy hotels will be fans of the personal touch that comes with staying in a locals private home, plus your host might even offer up a few insider tips of where to go and what to do in this great city.
The airport, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport
, lies to the north of Rio. The best way into town is to take one of the four bus lines servicing the main beach fronts, the central bus terminal and the other smaller airport Santos Dumont
. Once in Rio it´s not that hard to get around. Most of the interesting sights lie to the South of the city. As the buses are rather hard to figure out, your best option is to either take a taxi
(they´re cheap!) or the safe and clean subways
, especially for getting from Copacobana beach to the Downtown area. There are plenty of bike lanes in the city and it´s also easy to get around and explore the neighbourhoods by foot.