Rio_de_Janeiro2

About

Anyone planning to head towards Rio for a holiday should remember this one thing; always take a camera when out and about in Rio, there are plenty of photo opportunities and amazing landscapes to capture.

Copacabana

Perhaps the most well-known beach in the world – as immortalised by Barry Manilow – is Copacabana, apparently the hottest spot north of Havana!  A 4km long beach with fabulous white sand has to be many beach lovers’ idea of perfection. The view of the beach from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain is breath-taking. Volleyball is a favourite sport on Copacabana Beach and as the waves do not tend to get too high here it is perhaps not the best place for surfers.  

A little reminder too, the waters are part of the Atlantic Ocean and are probably cooler than one might expect from a country with such a warm climate. The area around the beach has many good value restaurants and shops and for those looking for lively evening entertainment there are plenty of wild nightclubs in Copacabana to enjoy.

Ipanema

Another place immortalised in a song – “The Girl from Ipanema” – who would have thought Brazil would have been the inspiration for so many catchy tunes? Slightly more sophisticated than neighbouring Copacabana, Ipanema has a chic atmosphere and is a far more relaxed place to be. It is family friendly up to the point of even having a mother and baby area. It is a lovely spot to sit back and watch the world go by while enjoying slices of fresh fruit and coconut water.

Praia Vermelha (Red Beach)

Praia Vermelha beach is much less touristy than some of the larger beaches in the area, ideal for those who are looking for a little peace and quiet.  It is nestled amongst some of the most beautiful plants and flowers in the area which gives it the feeling of being part of a lush oasis. There are stunning views from this beach of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and it is possible from here to get the cable car to the top (a must do activity!).

Barra de Tijuca

Barra de Tijuca is THE beach for surfers. The beach itself is the longest beach in Rio at 17km and there is very little crime in the area. Being such a large sweeping bay the beach and waters tend to collect litter but not to excess and should not spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the area. Barra is also a great place for shopping on the rare occasion anyone would get bored of the beach.

Things to Do
There are so many things to do in Rio de Janeiro that it is likely visitors will run out of time to see and do everything. Of course the top attraction has to be the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of the Corcovado. Listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the statue stands 130ft tall. It overlooks the city to dramatic effect. In the evening the statue is illuminated to create a focal point. Views from the top of the Corcovado are wonderful and cameras are essential. While it is possible to hike to the top for the really fit although it is tough going. Taxis to the top can be expensive, or there is a funicular which will also get you to those amazing views. Anyone who loves views should also take the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. The breath-taking scenery should not be missed.

The Botanical Gardens are another not-to-be-missed experience. Considered one of the best botanical gardens in the world the gardens are split up into different themed areas. Going in a morning is a good idea as then you will tend to miss out on the crowds of visitors who turn up in their droves later in the day.

Exploring the neighbourhoods of Rio is a great way to pass the time. There are plenty of shops and malls to enjoy, it is possible to buy reasonably priced souvenirs and enjoy some first class food in the array of restaurants.

And finally, if you time it right, you could be there during carnival time. The carnival lasts about 2 weeks at the beginning of Lent and is when people from all over the world descend wearing brightly coloured costumed and party in the streets. The bars and clubs open their doors to around 2 million visitors per day during carnival time.