Rio is, in a word, exhilarating. That’s the only way to describe the gravity of the experience enjoyed by visitors to Brazil’s most famous and most incredible city. The Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is simultaneously a grimy urban jungle, and a cinematic cityscape; welcome to Rio de Janeiro, home to one of the most spectacular urban settings you’ll find anywhere in the world. This vibrant city, set amidst white-sand beaches and lush rainforests, flanked by imposing mountains, watched over by the eternal gaze of Christ the Redeemer, is nothing short of astonishing.
Add to all this one of the sexiest and most fun-loving people anywhere in the world, and you have all the ingredients of an intoxicating paradise that you will surely fall head over heels in love with. Rio is a literal cocktail of passion, intensity, and beauty everyone falls in love with.
If there’s one thing that the residents of Rio know how to do, it’s living the good life – they have perfected the art of care-free living, often under the least ideally circumstances. From the world-class beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana with its sexy bikinis and footballing maestros, to the innumerable dance halls and open air cafes that seem to be everywhere, the cariocas, as the people of Rio are known, seem to breeze through life without a care in the world. What’s more, they so often carry visitors with them on this journey.
Rio has not just become a sensation, visitors here have been enchanted for centuries. There is just so much to seduce; surfing giant breaks at the Prainha, sailing across the Guanabara, hiking through the Tijuca rainforests or up to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, dancing to the early hours in the Lapa, or simply falling for one of the stunning bikini-clad carioca maidens - everyone finds something to keep them here.
Rio was ranked by the Forbes Index in 2009 as one of the top ten happiest cities in the world. And it really does show – on the beaches, at the football games (check out the local Palmeiras vs. Flamengo derby for a real party atmosphere), and definitely during the spectacular Rio Carnival, a 250+ year tradition that takes place every year just before Lent – quite simply, the most dazzling, enormous street party in the world.
Great food, entertainment, music, scenery, and friendly people (though you really should learn some Portuguese!) – Rio is enthralling, no matter how long you intend to stay.
Main attractions: Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches, Olympic Stadium, Maracanã Stadium, Pedro Ernesto Palace, Botafogo Bay, Downtown, Chinese Belvedere, Cathedral São Sebastião, and many, many more.
Budget for one week: over $ 750 USD
Official Language: Portuguese
Area: 4,557.3 km2 (1,759.6 sq mi)
- Voltage: 110-120 Volts plus some European adaptations
- Primary Socket Type: North American Grounded
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter Click socket type links to view adapter for that type
- 220-240V appliances: Plug adapter + step-up transformer
- 100V Japanese appliances: Japan to U.S. reducer transformer – plus others in some hotels
Other places to see: Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains, Avenue Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Leme Beach, National Library of Brazil, Theatro Municipal, Academia Brasileira de Letras, Sambadrome, Santa Teresa Tram, Gávea district, Leblon Beach, Hangar do Zeppelin, and dozens more.