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Exotic Rio De Janeiro Vacations

An exotic land of majestic rain forests and secluded beaches awaits you. Brazil is the largest tropical country in the world and home to the largest rain forests and Rio de Janeiro is one of our top 10 travel destinations. Many Rio de Janeiro vacations take place each year and for good reason.  The former capital of and second largest city in Brazil, Rio De Janeiro is a city unlike any other.  The beauty majestic quality of Rio is hard to put into words, but Hunter Thompson esoterically described it as “a city that is about the size of Miami, but with a spiritual size that dwarfs it.” The intrinsically beautiful natural scenery has made Rio famous, home to the two largest urban rain forests in the world known as Floresta da Tijuca, or "Tijuca Forest" and Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, or White Stone State Park respectively.  The birth place of the Samba, Brazilian waxing, and home to the famous Carnival celebrations Rio De Janeiro could be described as the hottest city in the world in the best sense of the term.

 
About this city

Rio also offers a host of fabulous sights and activities, including one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the giant statue of Christ which is called Christ the Redeemer. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the city and will smile down upon you on your Rio vacation.  This awesome sight characterizes the faith of the native people.  An equally great representation of another area of the Brazilian people’s complex national character can be found in the many fantastic night clubs, where you can dance your heart out with Brazil’s internationally renowned beauties.

Brazilian Beaches

Flamengo One of Rio’s beautiful parks Parque do Flamengo is a gargantuan garden with many attractions to entertain visitors.  The park was reclaimed from the sea to connect central Rio with the southern portion of the city.  Flamengo is a perfect place to spend a day playing pickup futbol (soccer for Americans), or just watching if you’re more interested in relaxing.  If you go to the park one activity you will not want to miss is a tour of the beautiful gardens designed by Burle Marx.  While the area is patrolled by police and a safe place to be during the day, like many major parks in other cities it is not recommended that tourists visit the park at night.

Botafogo Botafogo Beach is just one more of the perfect places to see when you visit Rio de Janeiro. Spend a day relaxing on the beach and taking in the spectacular views.  With a name that translates to, “set it on fire,” that is exactly what this beach does to the souls of its visitors.  There are few places in the world with sights to rival the clear bay cutting a crescent shape into the white sand beach backed by the lush slopes of Sugarloaf Hill.

Praia Vermelha Praia Verhelha or as locals call it the Red Beach is located between the hills of Sugarloaf and the hill of Babylon.  The sides of the two hills slope steeply down into a natural bowl in the earth with one side missing where the sea meets the beach.  Praia Verhelha is located in a safe area of the city, the area is home to two universities, UNIRIO and UFRJ.  So on your visit you will not regret your decision to come to the beautiful Red Beach and stand in awe of the surrounding hills.

Copacabana Copacabana is a name so synonymous with a good time that many night clubs have imitated it but there is no substitute for the real thing.  The beach four kilometers long and deeply curved in such a way that it seems to envelope you the way the music and culture envelopes your senses.  A short walk from some of the best shopping centers on the South American continent, as well as world famous night clubs Copacabana will entertain your whole family on your Rio vacation.

 

Ipanema Made famous by the 1960’s song, “Girl from Ipanema,” Ipanema is a neighborhood located right next to Copacabana, and as suggested by the song the residents here are the type of people you will want to meet.  Ipanema translates to “bad water,” which means that the water here was bad for fishing, because of the long rolling waves which push fish away from the shore.  Although this is a bad spot for fishing, the condition of the waves makes it great for surfing! Featuring world class shops, restaurants, and bars Ipanema is a nice place to spend a day or a night and for surfers is one of the top 10 places to visit on a Rio de Janeiro vacation. 

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Touring Rio

Bosque da Barra A large park with a variety of eco systems, Bosque da Barra is a perfect place for you and your family to take in exotic plants and wild life, without straying too far from the comforts of the city.  Take a pleasant stroll around the paths of the park and marvel at the exotic bird life and animals like the capybara, without having to hack your way through a thick rainforest.

 

Centro The business center of Rio de Janero is much like that of major cities elsewhere around the world but seems to have some extra flavor that other cities just lack.  In amongst the modern high rise offices there are still historic churches, monuments to Rio de Janeiro’s colorful past, all connected by cobble stone streets and expansive plazas.

Ilha de Paquetá Located in the Baia de Guanabara, this once popular tourist destination has been taken over by regional tourism from the locals, however don’t let this discourage you, this demographic shift has actually made it a better place to visit by creating reduced prices on the island relative to the rest of Rio de Janeiro.  Once on the island it is a relaxing step back to a simpler time, as there are no automobiles on the island, the main mode of transportation is the fleet of bicycles available for rent, or horse drawn carriages for those who don’t desire a workout.  Early colonial buildings are the norm for the architecture, and the reduction in technology can be seen in the beaches, which seem to just have a cleaner feel than those on landmasses with motorways.

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas This picturesque deep blue-water lagoon is a perfect place for a great outdoors day, and by night the walkway that surrounds the lagoon is beautifully lit.  At 7.2 km, while a little long of a walk the circuit is a nice bike ride with bike rentals available near by.  In December the city of Rio de Janeiro sets up a huge Christmas tree making the lake a great place for a romantic evening date, with an inexpensive boat rental!

There is a characteristically Brazilian display on Rio’s many beautiful beaches where the dress code norm seems to be skimpier and skimpier bikinis every year.  The beauty of the patrons on Rio’s beaches is rivaled only by the beaches themselves, offering views of white sand, emerald water and the magnificent mountainous landscapes that surround the city all next to a skyline that easily rivals Miami.

 

If you are interested in an unforgettable vacation which can satisfy every taste imaginable from outdoor hiking, to kayaking, to relaxing on picturesque beaches, to partying it up in a big city, Rio de Janeiro is the spot that will satisfy all of your dreams and desires. Read on to find more of the top 10 things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

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The Rio de Janeiro Night Scene

00 (Zero Zero) A trendy restaurant/lounge/club with a unique design, 00 (Zero Zero) is built inside a planetarium.  Supported primarily by a usual crowd of trendy locals, however tourists and foreigners are neither shunned nor made to feel uncomfortable.  If you select one night to check out this hot spot (although if you do you may decide once wasn’t enough) then the best night is surprisingly Sunday night, when 00 hosts their weekly party “Playground.”  With a strong following among both gay and strait patrons “Playground” is a party you won’t soon forget.

BaronnetiM As one of the few nightclubs in Ipanema, BaronnetiM is at the cutting edge of Brazilian night life.  The crowd here is young with money to spend, (a necessity to spend a long time drinking here).  Energy flows from the speakers and seems to envigorate all who enter, partiers, do not miss this club.

Bunker A constant party all week Bunker is par for big league nightclubs in Rio de Janeiro.  With three rooms all featuring different music the clientele attracted are as diverse as the play list, which draws from the genres of hip-hop, acid jazz, rock, trance, and deep house among others.  If you want to have a prime location in any of the music rooms you must get here early no matter what night it is, as this club is always crowded.

 

Casa da Matriz This contemporary club is covered with art that can be so enthralling you may forget to dance.  A plethora of rooms to explore, all different. Housed in a historic mansion, Casa de Matriz embodies not only the creative side of the Brazilian nature, but shows the real extent of magnificent originality human beings are capable of.  A schedule of parties and events held at Casa da Matriz can be found on their web site.

Londra Londra, considered by many to be the most glamorous bar in Rio, is located in Hotel Fasano.  This bar offers an eclectic array of settings, with comfortable, relaxed spaces designed by Philippe Starck, to an enthralling bar illuminated by artistic lighting, to a hot dance floor with popular DJ’s playing the latest electronica.  The downsides are the usual for the best night spots, cocktail prices make you ask do your future kids really need to go to college? And lines so long you need a pair of binoculars to see the door, but for this one, it’s worth it.

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Rio de Janeiro Fun

Feira Nordestina An enormous fair that is uniquely Brazilian, in that you don’t need to time your trip to catch it, it runs year round six days a week (Tuesday through Sunday).  Like any good fair Feira Nordestina has a range of local foods that seem in endless supply, and so many drinks that you would think it had its own distillery putting out more liquid than Niagara Falls.  You will find yourself lost in the swirling groups of musicians and dancers this is an event that every visitor to Rio de Janeiro should check out.

Jardim Botânico This is one garden that words truly cannot do justice to, containing over 8,000 varieties of plants and vegetables, some of which are near extinction, when you look at the vegetation here you are seeing something that no living person may ever see again.  The garden contains spectacular sights such as the lake of water lilies, with Vitória Régia water lilies the lily pads on which are so big the seem like they would hold a person, (trying this is not recommended), and the row of palms, which was planted when the garden first opened in the 1800s.  For a quieter day this spot is perfect during the week, if you want a livelier time you should come on the weekends when music is featured, either way insect repellent is strongly recommended. If one thing would push this garden off of the top ten places to visit in Rio de Janeiro, it would be the bugs.

Jardim Zoológico This zoo has a distinct advantage over other zoos around the world due to the close proximity of the Amazon rainforest with possibly the richest land ecosystem in the world. As may be expected the zoo mainly features native Brazilian animals, with the favorite attractions, in no special order being the aviary which visitors can walk through, the night house, which is kept dark during the day so visitors can see nocturnal animals active without disturbing them, and the monkey house.

Museu Aerospacial For history buffs there is the Museu Aerospacial, Brazil’s aerospace museum.  The museum details the history of Brazils airmail system, which is still the only way for mail to get to some parts of the country, as well as the part Brazil’s air force played in World War Two, something the many people who grew up in other countries may have missed in history class.  The museum also has large exhibits on Santos Dumont, who would be considered the Brazilian equivalent of the Wright brothers.  Guided visits to the museum are available to those who are interested, but must be scheduled three days in advance.

Planetário Rio de Janeiro also boasts a world class planetarium, which contains two projection domes with projectors capable displaying over 6,000 stars on the walls of the domes.  Visitors can also use the planetarium’s high tech telescopes to view the night sky on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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Rio de Janeiro Landmarks

Arcos da Lapa This aqueduct built in the 1700s is still in use, not to carry water, now it has been converted into a bridge for the bonde (a tram) and carries people to Santa Teresa.  This brilliant use of beautiful architecture to fulfill the new needs of the city could be described as recycling on a level rarely attempted, and the vantage point at the top of Arcos da Lapa gives tourists a great view of the surrounding city.

Casa França-Brasil This neoclassical building, originally constructed in 1820 was restored as a monument of good and ever improving relations between France and Brazil.  The main feature of the building is an ever changing gallery most of which deal with aspects of life in Rio De Janeiro.  Considered to be one of the best and most important examples of the Brazilian classical revival style, this building was once the customs house of the city. It is a great historic landmark to visit on your Rio de Janeiro vacation.

Catedral Metropolitana Taking 12 years to build, Catedral Metropolitana is one of the most magnificent examples of artistic architecture in Brazil if not the world.  The sculptures and other works of art contained here are surrounded by massive stained glass windows which reach 60m to the ceiling of the structure.  In the basement is Museu de Arte Sacra or the Museum of Sacred Art, with a variety of objects with historical significance. It is one of the best cathedrals to visit on your Rio Brazil vacation.

 

Cristo Redentor The single most iconic symbol of Rio and indeed Brazil is Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer, which stands at a height of 38m atop Corcovado.  Weighing an impressive 1145 tons this massive stature can be viewed from just about any point in the city day or night, when it is brightly lit. 

Forte de Copacabana Forte de Copacabana or the Fort of Copacabana was the cities best defense in the early 1900s, today it is an interesting tourist attraction.  You can tour around the old fort with walls built 12m thick to resist cannon fire, lined with Krupp cannons which were the favored type in Rio at that time.  The interior houses a multi level museum with exhibits on the Portuguese Colony which was located in Rio. The views from the wall are the most interesting sight to be seen here by far.

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Your Stay in Rio de Janeiro

Arpoador Inn 177 Rua Francisco Otaviano, Rio de Janeiro 22080-040, Brazil Featuring rooms that overlook Ipanema beach you could not ask for a better location for your stay.  It is certainly one of the best Inns for Rio de Janeiro vacations & tourists. The rooms are not overly extravagant, however they are recently renovated and clean.

 

Hotel Glória Rua do Russel 632, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil When it was contructed in the 1920s Hotel Gloria boasted beachfront property with one of the best buildings in town.  Since then the beachfront part has been lost, however the interior is still extremely comfortable with thick red carpets lining the hallways and rooms the were built well not cheap.

Real Palace Hotel Rio de Janeiro Vacation Rentals Rua Duviver 70, Rio de janeiro , Brazil Located back a few blocks from the beach Real Palace Hotel is not extremely noteworthy in any specific way, however being just a few blocks further from the sand affects the price in a way the thrifty traveler will appreciate. It makes a great Rio vacation rental for those on a budget. If your budget is even tighter, you may consider a Rio hostel

South American Copacabana Hotel Rua Francisco Sa 90, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Conveniently located between Ipanema and Copacabana beaches South America Copacabana Hotel is one of the more recently constructed hotels.  The rooms here are a good value for the price, they are clean, well kept, and all seem to have large windows that give their occupants a great view of the city. It is a great vacation rental in Rio de Janeiro.

Orla Copacabana Avenida Atlantica 4122, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro 22070-002, Brazil Orla Copacabana is set on Copacabana Beach, and despite it’s large size the staff is attentive to their patrons needs and efficient at carrying out requests.  The rooms are attractive, the location is great right on Copacabana beach.  Orla Copacabana is a highly recommended hotel in the city. Enjoy it on your next visit to Rio.

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