Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

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Rio de Janeiro is one of the most spectacular cities on the planet. Even the well-traveled individuals will love what the city has to offer. One of the best ways to appreciate the setting is by going up Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar), where you'll get a fantastic 360 degree view of Rio and Guanabara Bay. Across the Bay, you will see the Rio-Niteroi bridge (13,9 km long). Cariocas (Rio natives) disagree on which point gives the most wonderful view: Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf) or Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), elected one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World". It is well worth experiencing both and deciding afterwards which view is better. Notice how the natural harbour is surrounded by lush, high mountains that meet the sea in the world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.

Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain gives an even higher perspective, and is the most well known and recognized landmark of Rio. You can take a tram up to the statue—the best view is on the right-hand side.

From up here you can see that Rio is divided by a mountain range into four areas: the Centro (Downtown), Zona Oeste (West zone), Zona Norte (North Zone) and the Zona Sul (South Zone). The Zona Sul holds most of the city’s sights, including the Sugar Loaf and the famous beaches, Zona Norte hold world famous "maracanã" Stadium, and Zona Oeste holds the most modern Rio barra da tijuca, recreio dos bandeirantes, with outstanding beaches, and a plenty of malls, wich makes this area compared with Miami, and centro is home of most cultural and historic places. 

For any true football (soccer) fan, a visit to the Maracana Stadium is a required pilgrimage, where you can lay your feet in the imprints of those belonging to the great Pele and many other legends. Currently under renovation for the Pan American Games 2007, this Stadia has seen better days but never any better players than have graced its turf for Brazil.

With around 6 million inhabitants, one of Rio's most precious resources is often overlooked: its people. Brazil is a melting pot of races, colors and creeds. No one race, color or religion dominates in Brazil. There is room for all, and that includes the many visitors who come to Brazil each year from every corner of the planet. Cariocas are particularly warm and fun loving.

A crash course on Portuguese will come in handy. Although it is true that many Brazilians understand and can speak Spanish, it is not their native language and may offend some Cariocas. Other than that, most Brazilians will go out of their way to help a tourist navigate the city.

Do not be dissuaded from visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world by the negative press that Rio receives. Rio de Janeiro is a large city and is not free from the problems associated with poverty. First time travelers to Rio should be aware of their surroundings at all times and stay away from the favelas (slums). If you can afford it, hire a driver for your touring: not only will they keep you safe, they will also show you things you may have missed on your own.
Leave the expensive jewelery at home and do not flash money or credit cards around. Be a smart traveler and Rio will turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

Schedule as much time as possible for this destination, especially if visiting during Carnival, the greatest party on Earth!!

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: google


February 27, 2007 change by rfujitani (1 point)

April 25, 2006 change by adecarvalho

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