Rio de Janeiro Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
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Rio de Janeiro Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

Rio de Janeiro, in southeast Brazil, is one
of South America’s most famous hubs of energy and excitement. Rio fills the narrow strip between the Atlantic
Ocean and the Serra do Mar coastal forest, and is home to some sixteen million people. In Rio de Janeiro, the soft glow of dawn reveals
golden shores, and an urban jungle dotted with mountain peaks. At this early hour, the coastline is a sea
of serenity, but soon enough energetic locals fill the
scene. Rio’s seductive beaches have a rejuvenating
effect that appeals to everyone. With each sunrise, the city readies itself
to put on a brand new show. Cariocas, as the residents are known, take pride in expressing themselves in less
conventional ways. Even the city’s main house of worship is unorthodox. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian
is modeled after a Mayan temple, a staircase to the sun. But it’s the statue of Christ the Redeemer
that takes center stage on Rio’s skyline. Take the 20-minute ride through the Tijuca
rainforest to the top of Corcovado Mountain, and stand at the feet of this world-famous
landmark. With arms outstretched in a gesture of peace, this statue of Jesus gazes down upon all of
Rio, from the waterfront neighborhoods, to the poor “Favelas” that cling to the mountain
slopes. Just across the water lays Rio’s most iconic
peak, Sugarloaf Mountain. Hang on tight, as the cable car carries you to the lookout, then relax and enjoy the views over the city,
bay, and beaches below. People from all walks of life are drawn to Rio de Janeiro’s most talked about beach:
Copacabana. It’s usually packed with sun worshippers, but you can always find room to move out on
its calm waters. If you are looking for waves, head out to
Prainha. This protected eco-park lacks high-rise hotels
and is a nice contrast to Rio’s other beaches. Closer to downtown, Barra da Tijuca, and Ipanema
Beach, are great places for people-watching, or a
game of volleyball with the locals. In Ipanema, shop for souvenirs at the Sunday
Hippie Fair. Or join the dancers during the street parties
that often erupt here around Carnaval and New Year. At times it’s as if Rio is one big parade
of Samba,…Capoeira,…and Carnaval! In the heart of the city, is Cinelândia. This historic square is home to the eclectic
Municipal Theater and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Admire works by some of Brazil’s greatest
artists. And see how the Portuguese left their mark
on this city when they first arrived on New Year’s Day in 1502. Discover Brazil’s pre-colonial times, at the
National History Museum. Located close to the port, the building was
once part of the city’s defenses. Rio is blessed with elegant public parks,
such as Parque Henrique Lage. The formal gardens of Quinta da Boa Vista
surround the Imperial Palace, the home of Brazilian royalty before the country
declared itself a republic. The local lust for life is reflected in the
cuisine, whether it be a traditional feast of grilled
meat, or simply a cool drink straight from a coconut.
But of course, nothing ignites the passion of Rio’s residents
like football. Even between games, a visit the Maracanã
Football Stadium will give you a taste of this national obsession. Don’t leave Rio before walking the Selarón
Steps. The eccentric artist Jorge Selarón devoted
much of his life, paving the way for a more colourful passage
from the bohemian Santa Teresa area, to the nightlife district of Lapa. Tiles were
donated from all over the world, resulting in a remarkable mosaic. No wonder they call Rio de Janeiro the “Cidade
Maravilhosa”,…the marvelous city. Seeing the sun set over Guanabara Bay, is
like watching the finale of a spectacular show. When the curtain goes down, you can’t help
but wait, for the encore…


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