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Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most famous cities. Established around 1560, it was initially the site of fierce battles between France and Portugal for control of the region. It benefited from the mineral boom in Minas Gerais, as all of the gold, silver and gems had to pass through Rio on their way to Europe. The city boomed, and became the colonial capital in 1763. In 1808, the king of Portugal and his court were forced to flee Napoleon’s troops and established the capital of the Portuguese Empire in Rio. This arrangement lasted until 1821, when the court returned to Portugal.

Today, this city of almost six million inhabitants is one of the most picturesque in the world. The cities’ beaches are world-class: two well-known examples are Copacabana and Ipanema. The giant statue of Christ at Corcovado, his arms outstretched to bless the city, is Rio’s most famous landmark and was declared one of the Sevn Wonders of the Modern World in 2007. A close second is Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar), the green mountain that juts out of Guanabara bay. The cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf is a must for visitors.

Rio, nicknamed cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), also boasts dozens of museums, including some of the finest museums of precious stones in the world. The city is also dotted with scenic, well-maintained parks where locals like to stroll. Rio’s nightlife is among the best in the world, with bars and clubs for everyone.Rio is best known for Carnival. Every year, 40 days before Easter, thousands of visitors from around the world flock to Brazil´s Rio for four days of dancing, partying, people-watching and fun. If you’re interested in going to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, be sure to book your hotel rooms far in advance.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
20 Jul 2011

Fun Things to See and Do in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer

114485Built in 1931 and situated at the top of the Corcovado peak, the pristine, looming statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor) keeps watch over the city of Rio, arms mightily outstretched. This ...
Other Activity
Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain

114552Rising to 1,300 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) is the best and most famous spot to take in breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city of Rio, from Copacabana beach to the Corcovado ...
Other Activity
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hand Gliding in Rio

118662Hang gliding itself is amazing, and hand gliding over Rio de Janeiro is incredible. You take-off from "Pedra Bonita" at a height of 1,700 feet / 520 meters and fly with the eagles over Tijuca ...
Other Activity
Copacabana, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Biking in Vargem Grande

Come enjoy the peace and the beauty of nature in Vargem Grande. The mountainbike adventure will take place in the area near Pedra Branca Park, among mountains, forests and springs, until we arrive at ...
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Diving in the Cagarras

This fantastic adventure begins at 8 a.m. at the Marina da Glória (Gloria Docks), the meeting point, with boat departure scheduled for 8.30 a.m. The group will head to the Cagarras Islands where we ...
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Scuba Diving

The water is cold, so wear a full-body wet suit. In Rio, the main diving spot is off the Cagarras Islands, near Ipanema. Visibility can be bad. The currents and diving conditions are only possible at ...
Leblon Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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