Christmastime in Brazil happens at the height of summer, and from sizzling beaches to one-of-a-kind shopping to holiday parties, there is no place hotter than Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the season. This year, the Marvellous City boasts the world’s largest floating Christmas tree, perched atop Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and standing the equivalent of […]
In-the-know visitors to Rio de Janeiro often venture into the more central districts when they want a bohemian afternoon of alfresco dining in Santa Teresa or a night of samba-fueled debauchery in Lapa. But between all-day beach bumming and adventure sports in the area, it’s easy to forget that downtown Rio — called Centro — offers a mix of history and culture that can only be found in what was once the only imperial European capital in the Americas. Here are a few treasures.
While the charms of Rio de Janeiro often keep visitors anchored to its famous beaches and samba clubs, one of the best ways to discover the Marvelous City is from the water. Between the boisterous surf of the South Atlantic and the stillness of vast Guanabara Bay, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the coastal ambiance, discover nearby beaches, and see the many sides of Rio and the surrounding landscape.
Yes, Ipanema and Copacabana might be the better-known of Rio de Janeiro’s beach-side districts, but Barra da Tijuca – on the western edge of Zona Sul – is making a name for itself on the tourist circuit. With the headquarters of the 2016 Olympic Games, plus two major Brazilian TV networks based in the neighborhood, the area has sprouted a quickly diversifying shopping and dining scene that has silenced the disparaging remarks about Barra being a bad copy of Miami. Oh, there’s also that incredibly long, clean, tranquil beach – with excellent surf – that beckons even some of the die-hard Ipanemans when that beach gets a little too crowded.
Rio de Janeiro, known as the ‘marvellous city’ and the most popular of Brazilian destinations, is also a city of contrasts. The city’s favelas – translatable into English as slums, shanty towns or ghettos – sit on hilltops overlooking the most expensive real estate in South America.
Rio de Janeiro is known the world over for Carnival, Reveillon (New Year’s Eve), and all-night samba shindigs, but the nightclub scene in the city is picking up steam, even giving its rival and nightlife powerhouse, São Paulo, a run for its money. New hotspots vie for recognition alongside established names on the scene, which mostly serves up electronic dance music to inebriated crowds.
Of all the cities in all the countries in all the world, none is more identified with “the Beautiful Game” of soccer—futebol—than Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Home to one of the world’s most famous soccer stadiums, Maracanã, and home to some of the world’s best-known soccer clubs, not to mention the splendid, one-of-a-kind natural setting and infectious tropical culture, Rio is a soccer-lover’s dream.
July 29, 2014 by Ernest White
Samba: that iconic aural gumbo of rapid-fire drum cadences, squeaking cuicas, tinkly violões, and exultant voices that defines Brazil’s musical culture more than any other genre (bossa nova is essentially samba slowed way down). Rio de Janeiro is to samba as Chicago is to jazz — the big city where earlier, often rural incarnations of […]
Flying into Rio de Janeiro’s close-in Santos-Dumont Airport, visitors rarely pay attention to the other side of Guanabara Bay: the side at the other end of that really long bridge. That bridge actually leads to Rio’s smaller sister, Niteroi. The one-time capital of the now-defunct state of Guanabara, Niteroi serves up Mod and historic architecture, museums, theatre, dining, nightlife, and even beaches in copious amounts. In fact, the city has the second-highest number of Oscar Niemeyer-designed buildings in Brazil, after the national capital.
Part of what makes Rio de Janeiro the Marvelous City is its striking natural beauty, embodied by impressive landforms and stunning beaches. But if so many of the city’s charms are outdoor experiences, what is a hapless visitor to do when it rains in this tropical metropolis? Rio’s got plenty of indoor delights to while away the hours until the inevitable downpour lets up, so there’s no reason to hole yourself up in a hotel room just to stay dry.