Rio de Janeiro Hotels , Flights and Travel Packages
Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide : Rio de Janeiro Tours & Travel Services : Hotels Best Deals & Discounts : Low Cost Flights : Affordable Travel & Holidays Packages
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival. The harbor of Rio de Janeiro is comprised of a unique entry from the ocean that makes it appear as the mouth of a river. Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain , Corcovado Peak , and the hills of Tijuca . These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World . Rio de Janeiro will host many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup games, including the final, and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, becoming the first South American city to hold either the Summer or Winter Olympics .
Rio de Janeiro Main Districts :
Centro including Santa Teresa. The city's financial and business center also has many historic buildings from its early days. The most important ones are: The Municipal Theater, The Tiradentes Palace, The Metropolitan Cathedral and The Pedro Ernesto Palace.
Zona Sul (South Zone) including Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountains.
Zona Norte (North Zone). The Maracanã stadium and more.
Zona Oeste (West Zone), a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches . Most of the Olympics in 2016 will be hosted there.
The Best to See & Do in Rio de Janeiro :
Beaches : Ramos (in-bay) - Flamengo (in-bay) - Botafogo (in-bay) - Urca (in-bay) - Vermelha (in-bay) - Leme (oceanic) - Copacabana (oceanic) - Arpoador (oceanic) - Ipanema (oceanic) - Leblon (oceanic) - São Conrado (oceanic) - Barra da Tijuca (oceanic) - Recreio dos Bandeirantes (oceanic) - Grumari (oceanic) - Abricó (oceanic, nudist beach) , Abricó is the only official nudist beach in the city of Rio de Janeiro,it lies next to Grumari beach.
Corcovado : The train up costs R$36 for a round trip up to Cristo Redentor, and it is definitely worth the view. The queue for the train can get rather long. Try going when the morning coach parties have already passed through, i.e. when most tourists are having their lunch.
Pão de Açúcar - The Sugar Loaf mountains (one taller, the other shorter), Brazil's top landmark, with an aerial tramway to the top; a definite must see.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas - A large lagoon in the middle of South Zone, with great views to Corcovado and Ipanema and Leblon beaches,
Maracanã - The largest football stadium in South America and once the largest on Earth.
Parque Lage - A small park, once a private mansion, where now a school of fine arts works. Contains some interesting plants and wildlife as well as strange concrete structures that will entertain the kids.
Jardim Botanico - The Botanical Garden, planted up in the 1800s. It is both a park and a scientific laboratory. It contains a huge collection of plants from all over the world, not only tropical ones.
Paço Imperial - Old Imperial Palace (though impressively modest), colonial architecture .
Casa França Brasil - French cultural center, with gallery and video hall .
CCBB - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (1906) - A cultural center with gallery, movie theater, video room, library and stages; usually hosts the main exhibitions in town (in downtown). An interesting building with old-fashioned elevators/lifts.
Candelária Church - Neoclassic cathedral (next to CCBB).
Mosteiro de São Bento (1663) - Saint Benedict's Monastery, colonial architecture (in downtown).
Ilha Fiscal Palace (1889) - Located in the Guanabara Bay, next to the Navy Museum
Gloria Church (1739). Small but interesting church reached by a funicular. Nice views. (metro: Gloria)
Palácio Gustavo Capanema - Former ministry of culture, designed by French architect Le Corbusier; though small, it is regarded as an important pioneering in modern architecture (downtown).
Arcos da Lapa (1750) - Lapa Aqueduct, colonial structure that brought water from springs to downtown; now used by the one remaining tram line(in Lapa).
Catedral Metropolitana - a modern, cone-shaped cathedral, designed by Oscar Niemeyer (in Lapa).
São Francisco da Penitência church (1773) - Colonial church.
Teatro Municipal (1909) - City Theater, inspired by the Paris Opéra House (in Cinelândia square).
Biblioteca Nacional (1910) - National Library (in Cinelândia square).
Câmara Municipal - The City Hall, hosts the city council (in Cinelândia square).
Palácio do Catete - The former presidential palace (1893-1960), now hosts a museum of recent history and nice gardens (in Catete).
Itamaraty - Former presidential palace (1889-1893) and foreign office; now hosts a museum of South American diplomacy, a library and the UN information offices in Brazil (in Downtown, next to the Central station).
Palácio Guanabara - Former palace of the Imperial Princess, now governor's office; eclectic architecture; not open to public (in Laranjeiras).
Museums : Rio has many cultural centers, which are run by banks and other organizations and usually host free exhibitions. Details of what is on can be found in the Segundo Caderno section of the daily O Globo newspaper, which provides more detail in a weekly Friday supplement. Also very useful is the Mapa das Artes Rio de Janeiro, which provides detailed bi-monthly listings as well as detailed maps of the city. This is free and can be picked up at most museums.
Downtown Museums :
Museu Histórico Nacional (National Museum of History) - A museum of Brazilian history stretching from colonial to imperial times; big collection of paintings, but poor in artifacts (downtown).
Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) - Includes large paintings from Academicist and Neoclassical Brazilian artists, as well as many copies of European sculptures (downtown, Cinelândia square).
MAM - Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art) - The second most important contemporary art museum in Brazil, after MASP (downtown, next to Santos Dumont airport). Modernist architecture spreading over almost the sea.
Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum) - For researchers about Brazilian film, radio, and broadcasting industry (downtown).
Museu Naval (Navy Museum) - Located downtown not far from the ferry terminal.
Museu do Carnaval (Museum of Carnival) - History of Brazilian carnival and parades (in downtown, next to the Sambódromo).
Museu Chácara do Céu - An important collection of South American modern art (in Santa Tereza).
South Zone Museums :
Museu da República (Museum of the Republic) - Hosted on the former presidential palace, this museum hosts permanent exhibitions about recent Brazilian history (from 1889 on); one of main features is the room where president Getúlio Vargas shot himself in 1954 (in Catete).
Oi Futuro (Formerly Centro Cultural Telemar) - Formerly Museum of Telephone, it now hosts a fine gallery with temporary exhibitions of digital art or art with interactive medias; it is sponsored by the local phone company (in Catete).
Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf (International Naïf Art Museum) - In Cosme Velho, next to Corcovado rail station.
Museu Carmem Miranda (Carmem Miranda Museum) - About this Brazilian actress and singer (the lady with pineapples-and-bananas hat), the national icon in the 1940s and 50s (in Flamengo).
Museu do Índio (Museum of the Indian) - A small museum with a collection of Brazilian Indian (povos indígenas) photographs, paintings, artifacts and other craft (in Botafogo). Very popular with local schoolchildren, but has much for adults as well.
Museu Villa- A modest collection about Brazil's most important composer.
North Zone Museums :
Museu Nacional (National Museum) - Actually, it's the Natural History museum, with dinosaur fossils and lots of mounted tanned animals; go there if you want to see a jaguar without getting into the jungle; it was formerly the Emperor's Palace .
Museu do Primeiro Reinado (First Reign Museum) - A museum about the reign of Emperor Pedro I (1822-1831), but with a modest collection (in São Cristóvão).
Museu Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (Astronomy Museum) - Also has an observatory (in São Cristóvão).
Museu do Trem (Train Museum) - A modest collection of 19th century engines, train cars and streetcars (in Engenho de Dentro).
Museu Aeroespacial (Aerospace Museum) - Located in Campo dos Afonsos (in the suburbs).
West Zone Museums :
Museu Casa do Pontal - The most important collection of popular arts and crafts (in Recreio dos Bandeirantes).
Parks : In addition to Jardim Botânico and Parque Lage, mentioned above, other parks worth a visit are:
Parque do Flamengo ( also known as Aterro do Flamengo ) - Parque Guinle - Campo de Santana - Quinta da Boa Vista - Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos
Rio de Janeiro Carnival : Still the greatest reason for visiting Rio seems to be the Carnaval. This highly-advertised party lasts for almost two weeks and it is well known for the escolas de samba (samba schools) that parade in Centro, on a gigantic structure called Sambódromo (Sambadrome). During Carnaval, Rio has much more to offer though, with the blocos de rua, that parade on the streets. There are now hundreds of these street "samba blocks", that parade almost in every neighborhood, especially in Centro and the South Zone, gathering thousands of people. Some are very famous, and there are few cariocas that have not heard of "Carmelitas", "Suvaco de Cristo", "Escravos da Mauá" or "Simpatia É Quase Amor".
The rest of the year, samba shows are popular with tourists, and are held at several venues like Plataforma and Scala. These are expensive and not really representative of Brazilian culture, they present a lot of almost naked women and bad musicians, (much like the real thing.) Much more interesting and genuine, though, are the night practice sessions held by the various samba schools in the months leading up to Carnaval.
Music : Rio was the cradle of three of Brazil's most important musical genres: samba, choro, and bossa nova. In recent years, there has been a boom of traditional samba and choro venues. A lot of them are in the downtown district of Lapa. There are good and cheap nightlife options, where you will see some of the best musicians of the country.
New Year’s Eve celebrations : Rio hosts the country's largest and most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations. The huge fireworks display and music shows attract 2 million people to the sands of Copacabana beach every year. People dress in white for luck and toast the arrival of the new year. It's usual also to have some national and international concerts on the beach for free.
Hang gliding and paragliding : The Hangliding and Paragliding flights have found in Rio de Janeiro, the ideal land for its high hills and favorable wind. Different from other places in the world, in Rio, the sport could be done in urban areas and landing on the beach! These conditions naturally attract many tourists who get the courage to enjoy a flight. And even the most inexperienced person can flight since there´s no training or special gear needed.
Rio de Janeiro Flights & Airports : International and most domestic flights land at Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (better known as Galeão International Airport) (GIG) . This airport is 20 km away from the city center and main hotels. Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) , Gets flights only from São Paulo and a few other domestic destinations.
From the US, there are non-stop flights to Rio de Janeiro only from New York and Miami with either American Airlines or Tam Airlines, Washington, D.C. with United Airlines, Houston with Continental Airlines, Charlotte with US Airways and Atlanta with Delta Airlines. From Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and most of the rest of the USA, you have to make a stop in the aforementioned U.S. cities or in São Paulo to get to Rio. A number of carriers connect Rio de Janeiro to Argentina and Chile. TACA and Copa Airlines connect Rio with Lima and Panama City, respectively, offering onward connections to Central America or other South American cities. LAN operates frequent flights from Rio to Santiago, offering connections to Australia and New Zealand. From Europe, Tam Airlines offers direct flights from Paris (daily), London and Frankfurt (both three times a week). Air France flies twice a day from Paris, British Airways three times a week from London, TAP twice a day from Lisbon and Porto, and Iberia daily from Madrid.