Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro: Vacations and travel info
Rio de Janeiro can be described as a mixture of varying contrasts, a large metropolis with an impressive mountain range, forests, bays and beautiful beaches. It offers an array of places that can be either visited or explored, making way for what will undoubtedly become a memorable vacation.
Rio is a city known for its friendly and joyful people as well as its strong cultural traditions. Its famous Carnival, together with numerous musical rhythms and genres like samba and bossa nova, are a few examples of its profound culture. Rio de Janeiro can easily be considered the soul of Brazil's tourism thanks to its historic neighborhoods, numerous museums, famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, the imposing Pao de Azucar Mountain and the majestic statue of Christ the Redeemer which gives a warm welcome to newcomers.
Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, development of which was focused mostly around the natural reserve of Tijuca. Located on the west side of the Guanabara Bay, it is surrounded by natural boundaries with the sea on one side and a mountain range on the other. "The Marvelous City", as some people call it, has a tropical climate which makes it a great place to visit at any time of year.
Rio de Janeiro is divided into 34 administrative regions, which are subsequently divided into 160 different neighborhoods. Some of the most well-known neighborhoods are found in the southern region of the city, such as Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Botafogo, Lagoa and Flamengo. Neighborhoods such as Urca, Barra de Tijuca and Cosme Velho, however, also have several attractions and are located in other regions of the city.
City of contrasts where there are modern as well as old fashioned buildings, you can find areas with everything from luxury shopping to the famed "favelas," poor neighborhoods that have been built at the foot of the surrounding hills. Rio is an urban city that is an attractive option for national and international tourists alike. The petroleum industry is also very predominant in this city, which is why many national and international companies have made their headquarters here. The second most important Brazilian Stock Exchange can also be found within the city.
In January 1502, numerous Portuguese explorers, lead by captain Gaspar de Lemos, laid foot on Guanabara Bay believing they had arrived at the mouth of a river. Little did they know that the same event would later inspire the official name of this city. In Portuguese, "Janeiro" means "January" and "Rio" means "river" so "River of January" is the name's direct translation.
Rio was founded in 1565 as "Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro" by a member of the Portuguese military named Estacio de Sa. Its strategic location on Guanabara Bay led to substantial growth in the local population and it eventually became known as a seaport city. In the beginning, commerce was mainly focused on fishing, sugar cane and wood. Towards the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century, the discovery of precious stones, mainly gold, led to exponential growth in trade with Europe. Numerous immigrants from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, together with slaves brought in from Africa, began to arrive.
Rio obtained independence from Portuguese rule in 1889 and was instantly named Brazil's capital. It quickly became the nation's center of cultural, economic and political activity. The new capital (which was designed by Rio architect, Oscar Niemeyer) was later moved to Brasilia in 1960 with the aim of decentralizing Rio's economic and financial activity.
A Lot to Discover
Due to its geographical characteristics, Rio de Janeiro is the ideal destination for all types of tourists, especially those looking for adventure. In the mountains, rivers and hills, there are ideal spots for extreme sports like rappeling, hang gliding, paragliding and rafting. In the mountain regions, only a couple of hours from the city, you can enjoy cold yet romantic weather in cozy chalets with chimneys, long walks through the Atlantic jungles or swimming in rivers and under cascades. Along the coastline of Rio de Janeiro, you can find Regiao dos Lagos (the Region of Lakes) where there are warm weather and marvelous beaches, ideal for water sports like diving or for some relaxation and a little bit of sun.
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