Rio de Janeiro (“January River”) is the former capital and most visited city in Brazil. Noisy, cosmopolitan and always bustling Rio strikes with a combination of ultra-modern architecture and the poverty of “favelas”, luxurious beaches and hotels with an amazing temperament of local residents and phlegmatic law enforcement officers, an abundance of greenery on the streets and a huge number of exotic flowers planted wherever possible.
The hallmark of the city is a huge statue of Christ the Savior (armspan – 30 m) on Mount Corcovado (part of the Tijuca National Park, covering an area of more than 3 thousand hectares), as if stretching out its arms over the city in a guarding gesture. At the entrance to the bay of Guanabara, another symbol of the city rises – the rock of Pau de Azucar (“Sugarloaf”, 395 m) with a cable car going to its top. The old town is filled with buildings in a colorful colonial style. Most of Rio’s museums are also located here. Numerous colonial churches and monasteries of the city attract attention.
The real glory of the city was brought by its famous beaches – Copacabana, Ipanema and Lebnon, each of which is the real center of resort and social life, as well as the lesser-known Botafogu, Leme, Arpoador, Vidigal, Pepino San Conrado, Barra di Tijuca, Recreu dos Bandeirantes, Grumari and others, most of which are in no way inferior to the famous Copacabana (the total length of the beaches is more than 90 km).
It is interesting to visit the Botanical Garden (1808) with its famous palm alley, which contains more than 7,000 plants from all over the world, the Zoo, one of the largest stadiums in the world – “Maracana” (1950), the famous Rio Bridge, a modern business center, or explore the extraordinarily beautiful Guanabara Bay from the height of the surrounding hills, take a ride on the old Bondinhos trams and mini-trains of the late 19th century, connecting the most popular points of the city. Well, the nightlife of Rio de Janeiro is a separate story. Hundreds and thousands of nightclubs and bars, numerous shows, discos and restaurants located right on the edge of the beaches, charrascarios barbecues and small eateries (despite their size, most of them have their own shows) are located in literally every house on the coast. And, of course, samba schools and the famous Carnival,
In the vicinity of Rio, a huge number of interesting places are concentrated. It is worth visiting the summer residence of Emperor Pedro I and the Imperial Museum in Petropolis (65 km from Rio de Janeiro), colonial-style inns and a large resort center in Buzius (170 km north of Rio de Janeiro), the beautiful ocean coast and about 200 islands in the Angra dos Reis area, a magnificent coastline and many colorful recreation centers in the monument city of Paraty (286 km south of Rio de Janeiro), the city of Diamantina (included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity list), as well as magnificent slopes of the surrounding mountains, overgrown with outlandish vegetation, which hide many interesting places.
One of the features of Rio is a high degree of social stratification, which literally catches the eye here. About 15% of the urban population lives below the poverty line. Representatives of the lower class form beggarly quarters (favelas), which are a group of tiny houses crowded closely on the slopes of the hills. In mountainous areas, the construction of durable buildings is extremely difficult, so collapses and other accidents often occur in favelas, especially during heavy rainfall. Here they sell drugs and weapons, most of the city’s crimes are recorded in these areas. Favelas are part of many Latin American cities, but the main feature of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas is their close proximity to wealthy areas. So, the areas of Ipanema and Copacabana are located between the beaches and hills,
The high season in Rio lasts from December to March (summer); this time also accounts for the greatest amount of precipitation, however, the rains in Rio are plentiful, but extremely short-lived; from May to October – pleasant warm weather, however it can be a little chilly for a beach holiday.