Rio… Doesn’t some traveler’s heart tremble at the mention of only the first syllable? From the Portuguese language, the name of the city of Rio de Janeiro is translated as “January River” – it was at this time of the year that the Portuguese navigator Gaspar de Lemos discovered Guanabara Bay, mistaking it for the mouth of the river. Somewhat later, the mistake was discovered and it turned out that this was not a river at all, but the name had already taken root, so the city that grew up in those parts began to be called that.
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Today, Rio is the second largest city in Brazil with breathtaking scenery, developed beach culture and, of course, the famous annual carnival. Rio’s unique “river-like” harbor is known for Sugarloaf Mountain and Cocovardo Peak, as well as the Tijuca Hills. All this makes it one of the natural wonders of the world. But there are still the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanemi and the very famous statue of Christ. It is not surprising that many are mistaken in believing that Rio is the capital of Brazil (it really was, but only until 1960).
Rio de Janeiro is a huge city that has not lost the charm of a seaside resort. The beaches here are very different, not all of them are good in terms of coverage, but all are very picturesque.
The most famous is Copacabana. This is a 4-kilometer sandy beach, which has become the personification of Brazil itself. Holidays, concerts and festivals are held here, sand sculptures are built, cafes, restaurants and clubs work. For those who want to have an active holiday, football and beach volleyball matches are held, and there is also a surf rental.
The second most popular is Ipanema beach, more elite, calm and safe, there are no raging waves. There are also many vacationers, entertainment and sports activities here, but families with children love this stretch of coast more. The Atlantic Ocean often storms, there are reverse currents, so kids should not be allowed to swim unattended.
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Leblon Beach is the epitome of respectability and luxury; wealthy tourists and the “golden youth” of Rio rest here. Accordingly, both entertainment and restaurants here are fashionable and expensive.
Between Copacabana and Ipanema is Apoardor Beach – narrow and rocky, but less crowded and noisy. And the most beautiful, but also the most inaccessible part of the coast is Joatinga, a sandy and deserted place surrounded by large, dark rocks.
On all beaches, many sunbathe right on the sand, on a towel. But you can rent a sunbed, a set for two with an umbrella costs 20-30 BRL.
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Rio de Janeiro is the best place for shopping in Brazil. Here you can buy everything: from elite branded clothing, known throughout the world, to the products of young designers. Boutiques are located on the central streets of rua de Alfandega, rua Uruguayana, rua Buenos Aires and rua Gonçalves Dias. From the point of view of shopping, the Ipanema district is interesting, where clothes, shoes and leather products coexist with porcelain and records of Brazilian musicians.
To feel the atmosphere of local markets and buy summer clothes, paintings and souvenirs, you can go to the so-called “Hippie Fair”. She works for Prasa General Osorio on Sundays from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
In the markets and shops it is customary to bargain, you can throw off up to 20% of the cost of the goods. The exception is fashion boutiques, where you can save money only on sales. The annual season of discounts starts a week after the end of the carnival – in the second half of February.
Brazilian coffee is considered to be the main souvenir from Rio. The most popular brands are Cafe do Ponto, Cafe Brasileiro and Pele. Coffee should be bought only in beans, so the taste will last longer. In addition, you can buy cane cachaça (Brazilian rum) and tonic mate, as well as accessories for it: bombillas and calabash. Spices are very popular: it is better to choose ready-made sets, since it is not easy to understand herbs, more than 11 thousand plants are used for cooking in Rio.
Friends with a good sense of humor will like a figurine in the form of a fig or a fig, it is interesting that in Brazil this gesture has a completely different meaning – it attracts good luck to life. Figurines are often made of wood, precious or semi-precious stones. Rough stones are also sold at every turn. Music fans can bring a disc or record with bossa nova or samba. Football is another symbol of Brazil. Fans will be happy with the attributes of their favorite teams or other football-themed souvenirs.
Cuisine and restaurants in Rio de Janeiro
Throughout Brazil, the cuisine is a symbiosis of the culinary traditions of the Arabs brought here from Africa, European settlers and local native Indians. One of the most popular dishes in Rio is “feijoada”, a goulash made from dried meat, beans, spices and smoked meats, the rest is determined solely by the richness of the chef’s imagination, so if you decide to try it, it is better to do it in a good restaurant.
Of the drinks, first of all, of course, you should pay attention to coffee, it is brewed here truly masterfully, obtaining unusual tastes and aromas. For many, Rio de Janeiro is associated with a mug of foam, considered one of the best in the world, a popular variety – “Brahma”. However, beer is far from the most interesting Brazilian alcohol, if you decide to study the issue, be sure to pay attention to “cachaca” – a strong alcoholic drink made from sugar cane. The most valued is the “cachaça from the hacienda”, which is not exported abroad. A very popular caipirinha cocktail is made from the drink.
You can also try local wines and smoke a cigar. You can buy both at Trinidad Tabacaria and Cafe e Charutaria Lollo stores, and tastings are held at Planeta Sonho.
Tap water in Rio is not recommended to drink.
Food in Brazil is elevated to a special cult, and therefore there is plenty of food. The most economical tourists usually go to eateries, where they serve not only sandwiches, but also local fast food – pies with various pasta fillings. For dinner, you can go to a local restaurant, and have lunch at the Akilo cafe, where everything is sold by weight, prices are usually lower there. Meat lovers will like the so-called “shurrascaria”, where almost all dishes consist of this product. Dinner in a restaurant for two with moderate alcohol will cost 70-120 BRL.
Attractions and attractions in Rio
Rio de Janeiro is a large city with many historical, cultural and natural attractions. The most famous of them, of course, was the statue of Christ on Mount Corcovado, which offers the best view of the bay. The ascent to its foot and to the top of the mountain is not easy; only professional climbers can overcome it. And ordinary travelers come here in miniature trailers. Another famous mountain and observation deck is Sugar Loaf. The funicular runs here, but you can walk up to the first stop.
In Rio, you always feel surrounded by nature, but if you want to immerse yourself in it even more, you can go to the small Botanical Garden or the Tijuca forest, which is impressive in size, it is considered the world’s largest urban forest.
The Art Museum pleases with a large and interesting collection of Brazilian artists and sculptors, and the Museum of Modern Art will appeal to even those who are not at all versed in new trends – the building alone and the landscaped Modernist gardens are amazing!
One of the most beautiful libraries in the world is located in Rio de Janeiro – the Portuguese Royal Library with a rather modest building, but an incredible interior. You can also visit the National Library (Av. Rio Branco, 219, Centro).
Another symbol of the city was the Selaron staircase. At the end of the last century, the Chilean artist Jorge Selaron laid it out with mosaic tiles, hand-painted or brought from different countries. And for sports fans, Rio is associated with a grandiose building – the Maracanã stadium, where the Brazil national football team trains (the 2016 Olympics were also held right there). Tickets for major matches are not easy to get, but even local games deserve attention here.
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Rio de Janeiro has a warm, humid, erratic climate with little temperature variation. There is no clear separation of seasons, but usually from December to March it is very hot, sometimes there are showers and even hurricanes. From June to September it gets cooler and cloudier, with rain pouring every few days.
Tourists come here all year round, but in summer the water in the ocean can be cool, but in winter it warms up well, however, at this time there are big waves.