This is the showcase of Brazil, the languorous city of carnival and of world-famous beaches. An ideal destination to join a holiday of relaxation to discovery, Rio is a visit with a variety of charms, to be chosen without hesitation if you are going to Brazil for the first time. Stay in a hotel on the seafront at Copacabana: you will be in a good position to enjoy the famous sand coast (which covers as much as 2.5 miles), as well as the city, day or night! You can also opt for the seafront of Ipanema, the chic district of Rio, which is full of shops, crafts' markets and other souvenir shops. On foot, by taxi (numerous and inexpensive) or by bus, you can go everywhere, both on the many beaches and to the city centre. But prefer the subway: faster and easier, it is also the safest place for tourists. You can also opt for an overview of the city by helicopter... an unforgettable experience!
Among the essential trips in Rio, take the cable car up to the peak of the famous Sugar Loaf (a summit which rises to almost 1,300 feet). Beautiful views open onto the Guanabara Bay. Continue with the discovery of the typical market in Ipanema and the beautiful beach which borders the neighbourhood. Do not miss the Corcovado, the emblem of Rio, which lies north of the city, at 2,300 feet high. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer rises no less than 100 feet. A monument that you can reach with by cable car. Then discover the historical center of Rio. Finally, the tropical forest of the Tijuca natural park and of the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa (covered in cobbled streets paced by trams and lined with small houses with flowers) is worth a visit.
For a colourful stay in a place that has an incomparable attraction, be sure to visit the outskirts of Rio. For that purpose, you should plan a few days to stay there, because the most interesting sites are a few hundred miles away from the city. But do not worry, roads are good and once there, there are delightful inns, called pousadas, where you can spend a night or two in a completely and pleasantly different setting.
Among the inevitable places to see, it is worth mentioning Paraty, the colonial city located 150 miles south of Rio, whose colorful façades with glazed tile and wrought iron balconies are true pieces of art. Then go to the port to board a schooner. Set off on a mini-cruise in the Gulf of Paraty, which abounds in islands scattered with deserted beaches. You should also see Trindade whose belt of sand beaches stretches over 19 miles south of Paraty. This site is a fantastic natural wonder. As magnificent as the Guanabara Bay where Rio was founded, the Bay of Trindade alternates with forested mountains, emerald water and fine sandy beaches. A true Robinson's destination where you can swim, sail and enjoy grilled fish in small restaurants dotted along the seaside.
Find your flights Rio de Janeiro at the best prices
Nothing is comparable to an overview of Rio by helicopter to apprehend the beauty of the location where the city is built. From the heliport based on the western side of the lagoon, you can fly for six to sixty minutes. A good choice is to opt for a trip of 10 to 15 minutes. You will fly over the major sites of Rio.
Do not miss visiting the sites that have made the city famous : the Corcovado, the Sugar Loaf and the Maracanã stadium. In the surroundings of Rio, the city of Paraty is to be discovered first, with its pousadas dating back to the 17th century in a privileged natural environment. The Bay of Trindade, like that of Rio, is also worth a look.
Surface area : 3,287,612 sq mi km2
Population : 190,732,694 inhabitants
Sunscreen and anti-mosquito products are needed. For excursions around the city, walking shoes are strongly recommended, as well as light and comfortable clothes (cotton or linen).
A word of advice: do not leave your things unattended on the sand. It is best to do as all Cariocas do : just a bathing suit, a towel and a pair of flip-flops. By all means, avoid walking around with jewellery or cameras, particularly at the end of the day and in the evening.
There are two Brazilian dishes, the "cozido" and the "feijoada" based on beans, rice and manioc flour and meat. In the region, the latter is prepared with black beans, orange and dried meat. To be noted, the culinary contribution of Italian restaurants, often of good quality... If you need some change!
Numerous clothing shops, with more or less affordable prices, rub shoulders with vendors of hammacs, jewellery, pareos and other souvenirs on the beaches. The"Havaianas" flip-flops worn by all Brazilians no matter what class have increased in value... Often sold up to £12, which is quite expensive, you can still find them for £6.
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