Why Rio De Janeiro Captivates Everyone Who Visits
The statue of Christ the Redeemer who with its open arms stands guard over the green mountains, white beaches and millions of people of Rio could not have been placed in a better place. With a divine view of the city, it is easy for the traveler to feel blessed in this fun, decadent, beautiful, rich, poor, cultural and artistic metropolis. The city has it all, from the carefree rich, who spends the day on Copacabana beach and party in the vibrant nightlife, to the homeless street children and the poor multitudes in the slum.
Rio is a dream of a city, where people return again and again – and some chose to stay. But for others the dream has become a nightmare – the part of the population who are hopelessly shipwrecked in poverty. Rio is rich and poor. It is past and present. It is fun and sad.
Rio De Janeiro Attractions
As a traveler the statue of Christ is a natural starting point. At the peak of the Corcovado Mountain, 2,329 feet (710 m) above sea level, the statue rises a further 125 feet (38 m). It is seen as a symbol of the faith and kindness of the city’s inhabitants, the so-called Cariocas. For most people however, it will probably be the amazing view of the city, the lush surrounding hills and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean that will make the greatest impression on a visit to mountain top.
For those wanting more fantastic views, a trip on the cable cars to Pao de Acucar, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, is another must. The trip takes you 1,300 feet (396 m) above Rio, and remains one of the city’s big attractions.
Besides the statue of Christ and the Sugar Loaf, nothing is as synonymous with Rio as the Copacabana Beach. And the beach is veritable firework of activity: beautiful women in string bikinis and well trained men in tight Speedos, people of all ages who play, swim, sleep, read, talk, flirt and eat. And all of this entertainment is completely free. Copacabana is a place where it is easy to forget time, and days fly by.
The Pistachio green neo-gothic palace Ilha Fiscal, which originally was constructed to keep an eye on the harbor activities, is located on a very small island in the Guanabara Bay and looks more a fairy tale castle than a customs building. The building is surrounded by tall palms, and every Thursday to Sunday there are several daily guided tours from the harbor.
The Catedral Metropolitana is a fez-like construction, and is well worth a visit. One of the trademarks of this modern church are its four almost 200 feet (60 m) high glass windows in bright colors. During the day the light inside the church changes along with the strength of the sun light, creating at times a mystical atmosphere.
Soccer fans do not want to miss a game at the legendary Maracana Stadium, which was built for the World Cup of 1950 (where Brazil lost the final to neighboring Uruguay, a defeat which still stings today), which houses 114,000 spectators.
Bairro de Santa Tereza, a historic neighborhood, loved by artists and with old mansions all around. You will find a lot of galleries and studios there. Also it´s right beside Lapa, the famous bohemian neighborhood. A ride on the little tramcars is also a must.
Botanical Garden. With over 6500 species of plants, this huge garden was created by the prince-regent Joao de Bragança in 1808. Nowadays its also a research center and its open to visitation. There´s a small fee and you can ask for guides there to help you enjoy even more this great place
Floresta da Tijuca (Parque Nacional da Tijuca). One of the biggest urban green areas of the world with over 3972 hectares. This place is a huge source of entertainment to the population, there are trails for trekking, mountains to climb, areas for barbecues (churrasco) and much more. Just be careful not to get lost there, its a huge forest and from time to time a group of tourists gets lost and spend a few days wandering around until someone rescue them.
Rio de Janeiro Beaches:
Praia de Ipanema: One of the two most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful and easy to get to, just one block away from metro station General Osorio.
Praia de Copacabana: As famous as Ipanema, it´s even easier to get to, there are three metro stations nearby, Cardeal Arcoverde, Cantagalo and Siqueira Campos.
Praia do Recreio: One of the favorite spots of surfers in Rio.
Praia do Leblon: Leblon is known as the rich people neighborhood. This beach is a good alternative to Ipanema, since it´s near it, but it´s not as crowded.
Praia do Arpoador: Situated between Copacabana and Ipanema, has one of the best views in the city.
Rio De Janeiro Hotels
- Le Meridien Copacabana – 37 floors, located over the famous Copacabana beach, it is a Rio de Janeiro landmark. Situated at only ten minutes from the main business district, cultural and shopping center, the hotel offers almost 500 redecorated guest rooms that offer all the comfort in the world. The exquisite public areas unite the refinement of the Brazilian zest and warmth with the European tradition.
- Sheraton Rio Hotel and Towers – situated near the upscale Ipanema and Leblon neighborhoods, it offers access to beaches and pools with complimentary transportation to surrounding shopping spots as well as beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The 27 floors offer basketball, tennis, volleyball, and aerobics to vacationers and business professionals.
- o Caesar Park Rio de Janeiro – located on the Ipanema beach, this hotel has earned the designation of the best hotel in Latin America, given by the Latin Finance magazine. Offering services for both tourists and businessmen, this is the ideal place.
Other alternatives would be: Marina All Suites, Pestana Rio Atlantica Hotel, Luxor Regente Hotel, Portinari Design Hotel, Copacabana Palace Hotel, and Marina Palace Hotel, you just have to take your pick. Of course, there are many websites on the Internet that offer online guides of hotels, resorts, restaurants with just a few clicks away. Finding the best offer that suits your tastes is very easy to do, by entering your requirements these guides will list the most suitable hotels for you.
Rio De Janeiro Nightlife
One of the many reasons why Rio de Janeiro is considered by many tourists as an incredible city to visit is without any doubt the nightlife the city offers. Only here you get a wide variety of bars, discos and other places where people have the possibility to come, have a drink, dance and basically have a good time, evading from their own problems and worries for just a couple of hours of ultimate relaxation. With this article we will offer you a small image about what the nightlife in Rio is all about.
The illustrious locals tend to gather in neighborhood bars called “botequins” which are known and treasured for their rather unique combination of unkempt decor and perfectly drawn draft beer and basic yet very tasty snacks. Of course, Rio is not all about these bars; here you get a bundle of movie houses, theaters that offer all the much needed diversity to satisfy all kinds of tastes. Rio hosts many shows in the famous Maracana soccer stadium that has welcomed names starting with the Rolling Stones and ending with Frank Sinatra. The Municipal Theater features many classical music concerts as well as operas and ballets for people with refined tastes.
As far as the music domain is concerned, the Brazillian traditional dominates – choro and samba. The syncopatic beat of the latter cannot be confused with any other genre in the world. However, the beats of samba’s erudite cousin – choro, might be less familiar. Choro has its roots in the 19th century salon dances and later on emerged when original keyboard compositions were arranged for guitar, tambourine, flute and cavaquinho (a relative of the ukulele).
Downtown, tourists can find gafieria clubs. The term “gafieria” was invented at the beginning of the 1900s in order to describe the dance halls of the city’s working class neighborhoods. If you happen to be in Rio, it is advisable to go to an “ensaio” – literally rehearsal, but actually a party at one of the many samba schools in Rio de Janeiro. Though generally located in poor districts, these places are generally safe for visitors on ensaio nights. The most accessible logistically are Vila Isabel and Salgueiro.
Moving progressively south with the middle class for decades, the epicenter of the fashionable Brazilian nightlife has returned to the old city center where the roots have been established many years ago. The main concentration of clubs and bars can be found in the Lapa district, which is located in the vicinity of the distinctive “Arcos,” the former aqueduct that looms with its arches in white over the neighborhood. Roughly almost 40 neighborhood clubs feature Brazilian music, says Plinio Froes, who owns a club called Rio Scenarium. Most clubs welcome an eclectic mix of patrons of all ages. In Ipanema, the area around the Rua Garcia D’Avilla has a lot of nightclubs and bars that cater to various demographics.
All things considered, Rio de Janeiro has plenty to offer to the tourists looking for an exciting nightlife. Only here you get a wide variety of bars, restaurants, clubs, music halls and other places that bring together people from various classes in a special unity of friendship and peace.
Safety in Rio De Janeiro
Safety has always been among the biggest concerns of tourists visiting Rio, and sadly those concerns are not without foundation. But that doesn’t mean that Rio is like a war zone, it is just that in any area where you have great wealthy living alongside great poverty, trouble tends to rise. Even though there are risks, if you are careful traveling to Rio is as safe as any big city in the world. I’ve been living here for over two decades and I have never been mugged, robbed, anything like that.
You just need to use some common sense, avoid risky areas, you should always inform yourself with trusty worthy people on your hostel or tourism agency about what areas are safe, and that’s true in any big city of the world. Right now the visits to the Favelas (Brazilian slums) are a new trend, and everyone is doing those, that is clearly an example of bad areas you should avoid, a few weeks ago two German tourists decided to visit the biggest favela on Rio by themselves, they got in the place, took a wrong turn, and got on an alley where they ran into a armed drug dealer and one of them got shot. I don’t recommend those favela visits at all, but if you decide to go at least search for an agency, cause going alone its just crazy.
Also always remember, a guy wearing just a shirt and bermuda shorts, with no fancy jewelry, and no money or electronic equipment showing will rarely get mugged. On the other hand, if you have a huge golden necklace showing, a big Nikkon camera hanging from your neck and a notebook handbag on your side while walking around a city where a huge amount of people live in poverty, you may be trying your luck.
Do Stay in Zona Sul. Trust us on this: most of your day and night life will revolve around the Ipanema neighborhood. Try to stay as close to it as possible.
Don’t Walk Around With Jewelry. Ladies and gentlemen! This is not your turf, so no matter how much clout you have at home, it is not worth shit here. Necklaces, rings, expensive watches, bracelets etc. are not to be worn except when you are off to a swanky event or club. Otherwise, keep it down low.
Don’t Argue With Cops. The cops here have the IQ of a mango and the integrity of a daffodil. It doesn’t matter who is right, who stole what from whom, or if you didn’t know she was under 18. If they want to arrest you for anything, let them, then call your consulate. If they want to fine you for something you did, usually for a driving offence (another reason for not driving), then it is up to your bargaining skills to negotiate them out of giving you a ticket. They won’t suggest it, but will make it easy though.
Don’t Try To Do Cultural Stuff In Barra. Barra is a nice neighborhood in Rio. It is modeled on American suburbs, with wide avenues, malls and strip malls, yet with skyscraper residential buildings instead of houses. Most of the businesses have names in English. It is, in summary, a taste of American life. If you are American, this is not what you came down here to explore. So the only 2 places in Barra we recommend are Praia do Pepe, a beach spot where the hot women are (usually waiting for their surfer boyfriends to swim back in) and Nuth, one of Rio’s most exclusive clubs.
Don’t Stay Far Away Because It Is Cheaper. Okay, you have a Brazilian connection that you met back home or on the Internet. He is the one who begged you to come and you did. After arriving , you realize he lives in bumble fuck. What to do? Stay at his place and please him rather than enjoy the practicality of staying in Ipanema, as this Guide suggests? Or should you tell him that you want to explore Rio by yourself during the day (while he works or goes to school) and that you two can hook up at night? Go for the second option. You will waste more time on cab traveling to and from his place.
Don’t Try To Drive. Don’t rent a car and try to figure out Brazilian road signs. Ok, believe this: not even Cariocas (people from Rio) know how to get around this maze-like city. So unless you’ve got a very good excuse, don’t try to drive around. One wrong turn and you can end up in the slums, being fined by the cops, or stuck in rush hour traffic. Even if your trip is all-expenses-paid, stick to taxis.
Don’t Try The Peppers. Your stomach is not used to Brazilian peppers. Even if you can handle them, your intestines are bound to react in an explosive way.
Stay Away From The Hills. Most of Rio’s slums are on the hills, so with the exception of Santa Teresa, Cosme Velho and Joatinga, hill sides and mountains should be avoided like the plague.
Don’t Assume The Weather Will Stay Nice During Your Stay. The weather in Rio, as in most tropical cities, can change drastically from cloudless skies to dark rainstorms. If it’s sunny, don’t waste your time doing indoor tours like museums or shopping.
But once again, millions of tourists come to Rio every year and 99% of them experience no trouble at all, so just use common sense.
Enjoy your vacation in Rio De Janeiro this year!
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