Rio de Janeiro: travel guide

The World Cup 2014
will be in Brazil.
World Cup 2014 - Brazil
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August 14th, 2009

Rio de Janeiro is one of the host cities of the World Cup 2014; the schedule of matches wasn’t announced yet, but it is very likely that Maracanã, the largest stadium in Rio, be chosen as the stage for the final match of the Cup.

Rio de Janeiro, or Rio (the name means River of January), is the city in Brazil most known abroad (São Paulo receives more foreign visitors than any other city in Brazil, but most visitors come for business purposes, rather than tourism).

rio-2014There a few reasons to explain this fame of Rio. First off, Rio was capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960 (before Rio, Salvador was the capital; after Rio, Brasilia became capital); over nearly two centuries, Rio was the economic, cultural, administrative and diplomatic center of Brazil, attracting most of the international visitors who came to the country.

And going back home, these visitors had a lot to say about the wonders of Rio. The city has a natural scenery which few, if any, other cities in the world can match: tepid beaches with white sand (Copacabana and Ipanema being the most famous), a tranquil bay (Guanabara Bay), a placid lagoon (Rodrigo de Freitas), rocky peaks (Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar being the most known), preserved forests (Tijuca).

And all of this is framed by tropical weather, with sun and mild temperatures all year round, and a constant breeze blowing from the sea. Very few cities in the world can afford a view as beautiful as seen below, from behind the Christ statue, at the top of Corcovado (photo by the Brazilian Travel Authority):

rio-de-janeiro

On top of the natural wonders, there are the  wonderful people. Of course, in Rio there is poverty, violence, pollution. The cariocas (as people from the city of Rio are called) were considered the friendliest people in the world a few years ago; and more recently the city was elected the top Gay destination in the world – not a surprise for all who visited Rio and knew the high tolerance of cariocas towards any diversity: sexual, religious, ethnic, etc.

People in Rio enjoy life. The teams in the State are not the ones with most  winnings, but the fans in Rio are the most passionate in Brazil. No other city in Brazil has beaches as lively as those in Rio. New Year Celebration in Rio is probably one of the best in the world; why would somebody wait four hours in New York, under a freezing cold, to watch a ball coming down, when they can have a party like this?

And we didn’t even start to talk about the Carnival in Rio, which is simply dubbed as the Greatest Show on Earth.

carnival-rio

Of course, this combination of cultural heritage, nice environment and friendly people created, over the years, a touristic infrastructure which ranks among the best in Brazil: hotels, restaurants, museums, city tours, theatres, travel agencies, and anything else a visitor may need, are always at hand. A good source of information is Rio official site.

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