With its perfect beaches, dramatic peaks and year-round sunshine, Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by such outstanding natural beauty that this alone would make it worth the trip. But add to this iconic sites, colonial splendour and bustling nightlife, and you’ll come to know exactly why it’s called a Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvelous City.
Blessed with a tropical climate with average highs of 25-30°C throughout the year, it’s no wonder why cariocas (residents of Rio) spend most of their free time outdoors. From cycling along the coast-line, hiking in the Tijuca Rainforest and jogging around the beautiful lagoon, to simply admiring the sculpted bronzed bodies on Ipanema beach, there really is something for everyone. And for the adrenaline seeker, you can kite-surf, rock-climb and hang-glide without having to even leave the city.
For your culture fix, Rio’s vast history has provided a wealth of stunning colonial architecture, and many of these architectural gems have been transformed into the best museums and art galleries in Brazil, such as the fascinating National History Museum, and the grandiose National Fine Arts Museum. Of course, no trip to the city would be complete without experiencing the majestic gaze of Christ the Redeemer, the breath-taking panoramic views from Sugarloaf Mountain, and the vibrant coloured tiles of the Selarón staircase.
But the main charm of Rio comes from discovering the way in which the locals enjoy life to the full – whether it be by showing their passion for football at Maracanã Stadium, dancing until dawn in a Samba club in Lapa, or sharing a caipirinha with friends at a street party during Carnival. It’s in the pure celebration of life that makes Rio de Janeiro South America’s most captivating and inspiring city.
About the Author: Marcus Hunt is Marketing Assistant for Tucan Travel. He has travelled independently throughout Europe and North, Central and South America, and has studied or worked in France, Italy and Brazil. You can find him on Google+ or read his other contributions here.