You hear the word ‘Brazil’ and flamboyance comes to mind. A raucous, sprawling festivity which is concentrated in one of its largest seaside cities, Rio.
Located on the South Atlantic coast, Rio de Janeiro is a bejeweled mixture of bustling urban life and well-preserved natural wonders. If there’s one thing I can guarantee about this place, it’s that there’s no shortage of attractions. It’s a never-ending roller-coaster ride, full of excitement. Once you set foot in this city, you’re bound to take away much more than you’d ever expected.
So, if you’ve planned to make a journey to Rio de Janeiro shortly, then do consult the following ‘must-visit’ guide to make your trip all the more worthwhile.
You must have seen the 2011 Disney animated movie called ‘Rio’ on your Charter TV, right? Well, in that movie, a gargantuan statue of a benign man with long hair and welcoming arms is featured again and again. That’s the statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’, an Art Deco wonder which you can actually find in Rio de Janeiro. Around 98 ft. tall, this iconic monumental landmark is perched atop the Corcovado Mountain, which is more than two thousand feet high. Any visit to Rio is incomplete without this hotspot attraction.
What’s a popular way to truly experience the culture of a region? By partaking in its sports. Yes, sports have a curious way of gelling a society together. And in Rio, football fever is present in an ardent form, unlike any I’ve seen before. Its Maracanã Stadium is a testimony to this devotion. In this stadium—the largest in Brazil—Olympic level matches are hosted. So, get a ticket and don’t forget to catch the players in action while you’re there.
Locally known as Pão de Açúcar, this attraction is a six-hundred-year-old, 396 m. tall peak, standing on a peninsula and jutting outwards to the ocean in a jaw-dropping way. There are three ways you can reach the top. One, through a glass-walled cable car, which launches from a ground station at Urca and rests midway at a smaller peak. Think of the views! Two, by hiking up the smaller Morro da Urca peak and getting a cable car from there. Three, by climbing up the mammoth hill itself, which is an option for the brave of heart and adrenaline junkies only!
At the foot of the Corcovado Mountain, there lies a quaint mansion—formerly a home to an industrialist—which is a picturesque, architectural wonder, featured in many music videos as well. It’s now turned into an art school plus café, and goes by the name of ‘Parque Lage’. Surrounded by parks and secret trails offering views of the purest flora, this mansion allows fantastic photographic opportunities to the tourists.
You visit Rio and forget to hit the famous Copacabana beach? Highly unlikely. This crescent-shaped stretch of golden-white sands and aquamarine blue waters is an emblem of Rio. Travelers from all over the world come here to enjoy the crazy water sports, savor the tasty beach-side food and just delve in the liveliest scene from its surrounding neighborhoods. So, do check it out.
Arco de Teles
Reserve your Thursdays and Fridays for this arched entryway, leading into the pleasantly old-fashioned Travessa do Comércio. Arco de Teles opens into a cobbled alleyway which is hauntingly quiet during the day but, like the mythical folklore, comes alive during the night. This is the hub of the Brazillian music scene, with bands performing openly on the streets. Eat the street-food and dance to the local music. You’ll be enchanted.
In other words, called the ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ and quite aptly too, this attraction counts are one of the most renowned architectural buildings in the world. More importantly, however, it engages you into a thriving debate about the sustainability of the future and the climate change issue with its convincing show of interactive projects. A perfect combination of science and art, this museum is a must-visit location!
Some say that the heart of Rio is green, and they’re right. From the south of Brazil to its north, runs a sprawling rainforest, of which Tijuca is a small part. It is known for its refreshing biodiversity, being a home to many endangered species which depend on its balanced topography to survive. Not only that, there are many preserved waterfalls in its midst, where you can rejuvenate your soul—Cachoeira do Horto being one of them. All I can say is: Tijuca? Well worth the hike.
If you’ve got an artist’s soul, you’ll fall in love with this public landmark. It’s basically a staircase, leading all the way up to the hillside of Santa Teresa. However, its appeal lies in its hand-painted stairs, which form a mosaic of colorful tiles, rendered by the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. Escadaria Selarón is definitely a wonder to behold.
Samba at Pedra do Sal
Know the dance? Then, give it a chance when you visit Pedra do Sal in Rio. Every Monday, a live samba session is held publically for everyone to enjoy. Called ‘Little Africa’ due to its immigrant ratio, it’s the birthplace of the samba music, after all.
So, do check these attractions out when you happen to visit Brazil, and you’ll want to go there again and again. Trust me.
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