Squeezed between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the mountain escarpments, Rio de Janeiro is blessed with one of the most stunning settings in the world and it is widely believed by the residents of Rio (or Cariocas as they are generally known) that God created the world in seven days and on the eighth day he created Rio !
- Take the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf for some fabulous views across the city
- Beat the crowds and visit Christ the Redeemer in the early morning
- Hike through the Atlantic rainforest in the Tijuca National Park
- Enjoy a bird’s-eye view as you hand glide over Rio’s finest landmarks
- Experience the colourful and vibrant celebrations at Rio’s legendary festival
The city’s two most famous highlights are the Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar) and Christ the Redeemer statue set high on the Corcovado Mountain. The summit of Sugar Loaf is reached by two cable car rides. The first is a 2-minute ride to Morro da Urca and the second stage takes you up to the Sugar Loaf – thus named because of the loaves of sugar that were commonly used by the Portuguese at the time of the discovery of the city and the view from here is breathtaking.
Lying within the Tijuca National Park, Christ the Redeemer is located atop the Corcovado (hunch back mountain) at an altitude of 710m, thus offering stunning panoramic views of the whole city and coastline. It is possible to take a cogwheel train up the mountain and then you climb a flight of steps to reach the base of the statue, which is covered with a mosaic of soapstone and is one of Rio’s finest Art Nouveau monuments.
The Tijuca National Park is the last remaining area of the Atlantic rainforest that once surrounded Rio and within just a few minutes you can be transported from the golden sands of Copacabana to the lush green tropical jungles of the rainforest. There are a number of lovely walks in the park that take you past tumbling waterfalls, pretty creeks and forested peaks.
Carnival is party time in Brazil and Rio leads the way in hosting what is arguably the greatest show on earth. As Ash Wednesday approaches, so the city turns into the most colourful, vibrant, exotic and entertaining city in the world with its five-day carnival of dancing, music and elaborate floats. For those who prefer a smaller and slightly more participatory carnival, then the northern cities of Salvador and Olinda are ideal.
Rio is also famed for its beautiful sandy beaches with Ipanema and Leblon being two of the most fashionable districts set on a delightful beach whilst Copacabana, with its long and famous curved beach, is at the very heart of the city with a wide variety of excellent restaurants and hotels.