Caipirinhas, carnival, capoeira and Copacabana: Brazil’s party city is one not to miss...
It may only be the second largest city in Brazil, but Rio receives more international visitors each year than any other city in South America, and it’s easy to see why. Located in a stunning spot, Rio is home to some of the world’s most famous beaches, including Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Once you’re tired of the sun and sand, check out some of the world’s most famous landmarks including the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain, Sugarloaf mountain and the Maracanã – one of the world’s largest football stadiums. If you’re looking for a party, Rio hosts the world-famous carnival each year. Make sure you take your samba lessons before joining the throng!
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's primary tourist attraction with 2.82 million international visitors spilling through customs each year. The city sports world-class hotels, over 80 kilometres of sandy beaches, and the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains. The city is also a sporting mecca and will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first South American city to host the event. While the sights may be splendid, by night it’s all about the party and there is guaranteed to be plenty of belly-busting Brazilian barbeque food, lethal cachaça cocktails and sizzling samba to go round.
When to go?
The high season in Rio is from December to March, when temperatures soar to 30-degrees, tempered by a nice sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. The city is busiest – and liveliest – during Carnival in February. If you’re keen to avoid the crowds and peak season prices, an off-season stay from May to October is also a good option, as the thermometer rarely drops below 15-20 degrees. Rainy days are unpredictable and can even happen in the high season, but you should find plenty of indoor interests to keep you occupied until the sun comes out.
How to get there?
Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão Airport is the main hub for all international and most domestic flights in and out of Rio. From the UK, BMI and TAM airlines both offer direct flights from London Heathrow. However, taking a one-stop flight can be much cheaper. Air France offers affordable flights to Rio from London City, Manchester, Edinburgh or Birmingham via Paris.
Take the creaky cable car up Sugarloaf mountain to admire the views of the cityscape below, or embark on a trip up Corcovado mountain to see the immense Christ the Redeemer statue - named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. If you’re feeling less active, soak up some rays and gaze in awe at the bronzed bodies playing volleyball or practicing the Brazilian dance/martial art hybrid of Capoeira on the pristine beaches. In the evening, witnessing a football match at Maracanã stadium is a must, followed by a meat feast at one of the city’s many ‘por kilo’ restaurants. By night, you’ll be spoilt for choice for drinking dens awash with Caipirinhas and willing dance partners until dawn.