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by Flavia Brakling, editor
 
 
Once the capital of Brazil, today Rio de Janeiro has a population of more than six million, according to the IBGE— Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

Located on the southeast coast of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is sited between the ocean, with famous beaches such as Ipanema and Copacabana, and mountains, including famous ones such as the Corcovado and Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain).

The famous Cristo Redentor statue (Christ the Redeemer) is located on top of the Corcovado. Standing 98 feet high, the statue symbolizes Brazil’s devotion to the Catholic faith and gives visitors a view of the whole city, such as the Sugar Loaf Mountain, Baia de Guanabara (Guanabara Bay), and Copacabana and Ipanema.

Ipanema boasts the best restaurants, bars, hotels, hostels, and shopping in Rio de Janeiro. Portuguese and English are spoken on the streets, in a mix related to the high number of tourists and locals in this area. Juice shops can be found every corner, and footvolley, a unique sport created in Rio’s beaches that combines soccer and volleyball, is played on the sand.

Pedra da Gavea (Gavea Rock), a 2,700-foot mountain that looks like a human face, is situated between Sao Conrado and Barra da Tijuca beaches. For around $70, the most adventurous visitors may go paragliding or hang gliding from the top of the rock.

For those visitors who like partying, there is no better time to go to Rio de Janeiro than during Carnival, which is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. However, Carnival means more than a party for Brazilians. It is their culture, their passion, and their escape from everyday problems including poverty and unemployment.

Carnival is a national holiday and usually occurs on the end of February or the beginning of March. It lasts three to four days and, in Rio de Janeiro, its central celebration is at the sambodromo, a stadium-like structure, with bleachers along the parade route. There, samba schools—teams formed by members of the same neighborhood—compete for the Carnival title. Things can get crowded as each team has only 60-75 minutes to get through the runway.

Each samba school has around 5,000 members dressed in costumes who do not stop dancing until the parade is finished.

Visitors can either watch the show from the seating areas, or they may participate in the parades. For that, they have to buy their costumes and practice with the samba school before the holiday starts.
Besides Carnival, Brazilians are internationally known for their passion for soccer.

With a capacity to accommodate more than 120,000 people, Mario Filho, or Maracana as it is widely known, is the biggest soccer stadium in the world. It was built for the 1950 World Cup, right in the heart of the city, in the dividing line between the beach neighborhoods and the suburbs. The stadium’s administration offers a daily tour for soccer fans with access to the stadium’s museum.

For more information about Rio de Janeiro, visit www.rioconventionbureau.com.
 
Corovado Mountain
Web photo
Ipanema Beach
Phota Flavia Brakling
Sao Contado Beach
Phota Flavia Brakling
 
Web photo
 
 
 

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