Translated in English to River of January, Rio De Janeiro is known for its beaches and natural settings. It's also home to Christ the Redeemer, a famous landmark and coveted member of the Modern Wonders of the World. This seaside city hosts the world's largest Carnaval festival boasting flamboyant outfits and giant parade floats. In addition to all of this, it offers many other great things for tourists to see and do. Allow us to dive in.
1. Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built as a collaboration between Heitor da Silva Costa, Albert Caquot, and Gheorghe Leonida. This 96-foot-high statue features an impressive arm span of 92-feet wide and is made of reinforced concrete and sandstone.
Tourists reach the famed monument by guided tour or by hiking a trail behind the Parque Lage. Others choose to take the Corcovado Rack Railway to the statue. No matter how you choose to get here, this worldwide symbol of Christianity and architecture cannot be missed on your trip to Rio. Tours can be booked in advance here.
2. Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach may be one of the most famous beaches in the world, due in part to its black-and-white marble pavement and magnificent oceanfront. It's likely you've also heard of this beach thanks to a very popular song by Barry Manilow, titled Copacabana. The nearly 2.5-mile-long strip lights up at night and features many local shopping options. Furthermore, it's LGBTQ friendly - an entire section is dedicated to cross dressing and decorated with a rainbow pride flag.
3. Escadaria Selarón
Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón dedicated this 215-step stairway to Brazilian natives upon its 2013 completion. What first started as a side project became a 23-year-long feat when Selarón began remodeling steps outside his apartment in 1990. This world-famous stairway is covered in tiles, mosaics, and even mirrors and resembles the colors of the Brazilian flag.
4. Sugarloaf Mountain
Sugarloaf Mountain is known for its panoramic views of Rio, peaking at 1,299 feet. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay and is said to resemble loaf sugar, hence its name. Every 20 minutes, a glass-walled cable car capable of carrying 65 people runs to Sugarloaf's peak from Morro Da Urca, beginning at a grounded station to provide impressive views to tourists. The peak can also be reached via cable car. If you're interested in booking ahead, click here.
5. Jardim Botânico
Technically, Jardim Botânico is a residential area, but it's known for its botanical garden, which consists of Amazonian water lillies, imperial palms, and an orchid house. It's near the aforementioned Parque Lage, so visitors can choose to check out the gardens before beginning their ascent up Corcovado Mountain to the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The gardens were created in 1808 and are considered one of the richest worldwide. Along with plants, it's decorated with artwork, buildings, and monuments. It also includes thematic sections, such as the Japanese garden housing 65 species of Japanese plants.
Held every year before Lent, Carnaval is a festival that brings 2 million people into the streets each day. It began in 1723 and is now the largest carnival celebration in the world. A lively event, it features parade floats, elegant costumes, and performances from local Samba schools. Think Mardi Gras, but much larger.
Often times, street carnivals take place during the main festival. People gather together to dance, sing, and have a good time. The carnival samba, a dance incorporating both Brazilian and African influences, is the most popular dance during the celebration. The best part of the street festivals is that anyone is allowed to join in.
This stadium was built to host the 1950 World Cup and at one point, it housed 199,854 spectators. After redevelopment, it holds as many as 78,838 people, though it's still the largest stadium in Brazil. Today, it's used for football events and managed by the clubs Flamengo and Fluminense. Buy admission tickets here.
While staying in Rio, it's important to consider what exactly you came to do and see. If luxury is your thing, you should check out Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel and Resort. If you're looking for something more affordable but well within distance of Christ the Redeemer, check out Windsor California Hotel.
After reading about these great places to visit, one thing is evident: Rio De Janeiro is known for its beauty and outdoor life. Lovers of nature and culture will enjoy Rio and all it has to offer.
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