Ardent travelers and the ones who love to take a vacation every year should rub on the Brazilian magic dust once! And for that a trip to Rio de Janeiro is the best option. Being the second largest city in Brazil, Rio boasts of pristine white beaches, scenic docs, the tall and towering cliffs, musical shows and carnivals, football matches and earns the much deserved title of “Marvellous City”. The tropical forests here lure nature lovers and the city’s diverse culture attracts tourists from distant lands annually.
Best time to visit
The most favourable time to visit Rio de Janeiro is between the months of December and March, when the temperature varies between 90 and 100 degree Fahrenheit. The weather during this time is all bright, sunny and warm and apt to stroll around in Rio’s sandy beaches. If you want to enjoy the city’s spectacular views and energetic samba beat, you can travel all year around. However, if the famous Rio Carnival is in your travel planner, then make sure to arrive at February. If you want a moderate climatic condition, then plan a spring (October – November) or an autumn (April-May) vacation.
Where to stay?
If you are aiming at a budget-friendly tour, Rio de Janeiro has its throng of cheap hotels and accommodation choices. Here you get to experience the standard facilities, quality service and other hotel amenities at a lesser cost. Some of the names to choose from include:
Ramada Rio de Janeiro/Riocentro
Praia Lido Copacabana Hotel
Hotel ibis Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
Hotel Novotel Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont
Windsor Guanabara Hotel
Hotel Aeroporto Othon
Mercure Rio de Janeiro Botafogo Hotel
Hotel Novo Mundo
What to see?
A city beaming with stunning landscapes, landmarks, beaches and other cosmopolitan attractions, there’s lot to do in Rio de Janeiro. It’s an interesting mixed bag that you will love to explore. However, the prominent tourist attractions include:
This is the most popular Rio landmark. Simply put, the Sugar Loaf is a rock peak that is 394 meters above the harbour. It is situated where the land juts out into a bay and encompasses the harbour, thereby connecting to the city through a low strip landscape. Once you are here you will have a panoramic view of the entire mountain coast and the surrounding islands.
NossaSenhora do Carmo and Monte do Carmo
NossaSenhora do Carmo is a parish church that was the Royal Chapel from the year 1808 to 1889. Closely connected to this is a second Carmelite church, named the Monte do Carmo, where the church service started in 1755. The tourist highlights of both these churches include a stone doorway, Baroque facade and beautiful gold and white carvings done by MestreValentim in Chapel of Novitate.
Popularly known as Rio’s most ambient neighbourhood, Santa Tereza is a quaint district known for its ancient houses and quiet streets. Walk into the nearby restaurants and cafeterias and you will experience a Bohemian atmosphere with artists and intellectuals gathering and mulling on various topics. The MuseuChácara do Céu is a prominent tourist attraction that showcases artistic works by Matisse, Miro and Picasso.
Tijuca National Park
This park secures the famous Tijuca Forest and has multiple viewpoints that overlooks the city and even surrounds the Cristo Redentor. The Tijuca Forest spans across 3,300 hectare and came into existence back in 1850. It is the world’s biggest forest in a city having trees of native species that provides a habitat for the vibrant toucans, Brazilian racoons, Capuchin monkeys, the rare blue butterflies and hawks. The park is an ideal spot for nature photography.
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
You can’t miss this when in Rio! This is a mammoth statue of Jesus Christ that overlooks the entire city of Rio de Janeiro from the Corcovado summit shooting up to a height of 709 meters high. It was constructed between 1922 and 1932 and funded by contributions that came from Brazilian Catholics.
The song “The girl from Ipanema” added to the popularity of this beach! This is Rio’s top tourist destinations, where you can experience the rolling waves and the soft white sands. The beach is fringed by well-organized restaurants, cafeterias and shops. If you stroll around you will also come across clubs, theatres and galleries.
Few other famous tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro include names like Copacabana, EscadariaSelarón, PasseioPúblico and Cinelândia, Quinta da Boa Vista and São Bento.
What to eat?
A vacation to Rio de Janeiro is incomplete without savouring its top cuisine delicacies. As you tour around the city you can savour Tapioca, Churros and the following street eats:
Available in salted and caramel, this is the best and light street food in Rio.
Pastel de Queijo (cheese pastel)
You get these pastels stuffed with shrimps, beef or pork and with local spices to add to the taste.
This smooth is made all fresh in front of you and served to you in a glass with a spoon.
If you are looking foreateries where you can grab a full platter tastingthe city’s best dishes at an affordable price, then the following names would do justice:
Tacacá do Norte, Flamengo
Point Lanches, Tabajaras
Fat Choi, Glória (http://www.yelp.com/biz/fat-choi-rio-de-janeiro )
Look forward to
If you are planning to visit Rio de Janeiro towards the beginning or end of the year, then the two events to look forward to are the Rio Carnival and New Year Eve celebrations. The next Rio Carnival is going to be held between 5thand 10th February 2016 at the Samba Parade. This practice was taken from the colonial Portuguese and today is one the most prominent Brazilian events. It takes place five days prior to Ash Wednesday that marks the start of the Lent season. Whilst the carnival there are various streets parties, colorful costume balls and musical and dance shows. Furthermore, New Year celebrations too are popular in Rio with the Copacabana Beach being decorated to all glory accompanied by late night beach parties, fireworks, food festivals and many more.
Image source : Shutterstock.com. Image copyright: Matthias FAURE