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Nestled between aqua blue waters and lush tropical forest, Rio De Janeiro is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cariocas, as citizens of Rio are called, are among the friendliest and most spirited people you will find anywhere. Their love of music, dance, romance and life, in general, is evident everywhere you turn. It is no wonder that Rio is one of the most popular tourist destinations on earth.
Things To Do In Rio De Janeiro
The following is only a small list of things to do, the sights and attractions that Rio De Janeiro has to offer:
The Botanical Garden is a 340-acre park contains more than 6000 species of tropical and sub-tropical plants and trees. Opened in 1822, it is a wondrous collection of both native and exotic plants. There is also a museum on the grounds. It is a perfect place for just a leisurely walk or for serious nature lovers who want to learn.
Just a short distance from the bustling city of Rio De Janeiro is Niteroi, a sprawling city that is largely neglected by tourists. As the city continues to grow, tourism is becoming more and more popular. With beautiful uncrowded beaches and parks, now is a great time to visit before it becomes a tourist haven. While there you should also check out the Museum of Contemporary Art and the wonderful view of Rio.
Hiking in Tijuca Forest
Right in the heart of Rio De Janeiro lies a massive tropical forest full of trails, waterfalls and beautiful river springs. The highest point is Pico da Tijuca which is 3352 feet high and offers a spectacular view of the entire city. Guided jeep tours are available with stops at notable waterfalls and lookouts or you can explore on your own.
Eat at a Churrascaria
Brazilian churrascarias are a unique and sometimes overwhelming dining experience. A buffet of various salads, pieces of bread, cheeses and local specialities is just an appetizer before the waiters come around with meats sliced right from the skewer onto your plate. A green chip next to your plate means you are ready for more and a red chip signals enough for now. With more than a dozen meats going around at a time at some establishments, it is impossible to leave hungry.
Christ the Redeemer Statue
This 100-foot high statue of Jesus Christ stands atop Corcovado Mountain with open arms looking down on the city. Opened in 1931, it is now one of the most famous landmarks of Rio. Be sure to have plenty of film for the breathtaking view!
For another spectacular view of Rio, take the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Arguably the most famous and enduring landmark of Rio, Pao de Acucar as it is pronounced in Portuguese, offers a view of the entire panorama of Rio. Ipanema, Copacabana, Tijuca Forest, Christ the Redeemer and even Niteroi are all visible in an almost surreal setting.
Take a Favela Tour
With all the beautiful landscapes and the passion for the life of the Cariocas, it is easy to forget the many social and economic problems not only Rio, but all of Brazil face. Favelas are shanty towns made up of squatters settling together on whatever land they can. Rocinha is one of Rio’s largest with over 150,000 people. An organized tour can provide a very different, but invaluable perspective of Rio.
Carnaval do Brasil
Although Carnaval do Brasil only officially lasts for 4 days prior to Ash Wednesday, the citizens of Rio De Janeiro have found ways to prolong it for months. If you are not able to attend during the official festivities of floats, dancing and drinking, you can still witness the preparations and excitement leading up to the big event. Samba schools practice for months to prepare for the competition at the Sambadromo and these practice sessions are often open to the public. Pre-Carnaval parties and balls also take place for weeks before the official start.
Catch a Futebol Game at Maracana Stadium
To really experience the life of a Carioca, it is imperative that you attend a soccer game at Maracana Stadium if given the chance. Soccer is an integral part of the life of almost every Brazilian and Rio is no different. Games at the world’s largest soccer stadium showcase many aspects of their fascinating culture. Samba drums, singing, dancing, drinking and cheering go on continuously for hours prior to the game and throughout the game, with the exception of drinking which is not allowed inside in order to increase the safety of the experience. Tickets are affordable and schedules can be found at just about any hotel.
What would a trip to Rio De Janeiro be without at least one day at the beach? With so many beautiful choices, it would be almost sacrilegious not to. Copacabana and Ipanema are still the most popular and crowded beaches around, but nonetheless still excellent places to spend a day. Smaller more isolated beaches such as Sao Conrado or Praia do Arpoador are great if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. Whichever beach you choose, don’t forget your sunscreen and be sure to soak up as much of that Carioca spirit as you can!