Beach life, learning about local culture and skyline watching are just the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to Rio.
We all know how the city "blows up" during Carnival times, but few know how spectacular the panorama of the city is. You can stare at it from so many different angles and always discover something new to admire...
Rio is a thriving, boasting modern city, but one that has huge slums as well. A beautiful place with friendly locals, but you should not omit reading about the characteristic risks...
Read a short Rio travel guide...
Rio de Janeiro Factsheet
Population: 6.323.037 (in 2010) in City
Local language(s): Portuguese
Other widely spoken or understood languages: Spanish
Country, State: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Voltage info: 127 V/220 V 60 Hz - Plug type: IEC 60906-1
Time zine: BRT (UTC-3)
Getting There & Away
Rio de Janeiro/Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport is the long name of Rio's airport.
Apart from foreign carriers, we advise you to focus on Gol Airlines (low cost) and TAM Airlines (flag carrier of Brazil).
If you're traveling from Europe, then two of the best airlines to check for plane ticket prices to Rio are TAP Portugal and Lufthansa.
It would be a long way to arrive in from neighboring South American countries. Paraguay, Uruguay are well connected to Brazil's modern highway system. Either way, driving to Rio from the borders of the southern neighbors would take at least 2 days time approximately.
By rail it will be quite easy to arrive in from Porto Alegre and São Paulo direction (south), Salvador or Brasília (north). Brazil has a modern railway system - which is almost entirely cramped in the southeastern (most populous) area of the country.
The best way to arrive in by ship is with a cruise ship. Look up the offers of major cruise lines - consider traveling during the Rio Carnival.
See & Do
The Beaches: Copacabana, Leme, Ipanema, Leblon
These are just 4 of the main beaches of Rio. You mustn't miss the most renowned one: Copacabana.
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar)
396 m high rock near the beach, at the Guanabara Bay. Cable car will take you all the way up to the top.
The name translates to "Hunchback" Mountain.
It's the most prominent attraction and symbol of Rio together with the gigantic Christ statue on top of it.
The mountain itself has 718 m in height and the Jesus statue on its top has 38 m in height (comparable to a 12-13 story building's height).
The Corcovado Rack Railway will take you from the ground all the way to the top. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes. It's a long way: 3.8 km (2.4 mi).
The Botanical Gardens
It's not far from the Tijuca National Park and constitutes a delightful green retreat area.
The Jardim Botanico is home to many Amazonian and foreign plants as well.
You'll find just about anything there, even Japanese Gardens and European plants.
Tijuca National Park
12.4mi² (32km²) is the size of a mini rainforest located at the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Part of the vegetation you can see there was actually replanted after deforestation.
Tijuca is the area where Rio gets much of its freshwater.
In fact, the Corcovado Mountain is part of the Tijuca National Park.
Eat & Drink
It's often sold with the coconut cut open and a straw inserted in it.
Beverage made with cachaça, lemon, sugar and ice.
About a dozen types of meat can be served on a single plate: from wild boar to alligator you and find almost anything that moves and is eaten in Brazil!
The infrastructure is rather complex: bus and tram, boat and metro are available.
The beach area is best visited by foot.
When to Visit Rio de Janeiro at Last Minute?
December-March is the peak season and probably the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro. But expect higher prices. If you're lucky, you might catch a discounted last minute deal.
But: if you're focusing on lower prices and are willing to miss the New Year fireworks, the Carnival, then go for the July and August months. Prices are lowest then - luckily precipitation as well!
Temperature is quite the same throughout the year, but June-September is the coolest-driest period.
Beware of thieves and pickpockets - it's a serious issue in Rio.
Avoid slums, avoid walking at night alone in areas that are less-frequented by many people.
Muggings, violent attacks are frequent inside and around slums/poor neighborhoods - avoid those areas at any cost.
Insect bites are another issue to worry about - you might want to use insect repellent in order to prevent this from happening.
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