Introduction to Rio de Janeiro

Introduction to Rio de Janeiro

Casual enough to be known worldwide by its first name, Rio has established a reputation that borders on the mythical. The allure of Copacabana , Sugar Loaf, Carnival and the Christ on Corcovado keeps tourism thriving, in spite of the city's well-known struggle with social disparity, the chaotic growth of its slums, and related safety issues.


Rio de Janeiro Location:

Rio's foundation on beautiful Guanabara Bay, on the southeast coast of Brazil, had less to do with looks than with factors such as the extraction of pau-brasil, the tree that gave the country its name and whose core yielded a precious crimson dye. Today, besides its signature beaches, Rio boasts the world's two largest forests within an urban area – partially reforested segments of the now almost extinct Atlantic Rainforest.

Getting to and Around Rio de Janeiro:

International connections to Rio are plentiful. The city's main airports are Galeão - Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport and Santos Dumont Airport, one of the ends of the Rio-São Paulo Air Bridge.

Getting around Rio isn't hard – a wide web of bus routes and a the subway system help visitors reach the main attractions.

Rio Tourist Information Offices and Resources:

The Riotur Website provides a great deal of information about the city. Once there, you will find brochures at the hotels and at booths located at the Airport and other touristic locations.

Festivals and Events in Rio de Janeiro:

Carnival gets so much attention, it's almost too easy to ignore the rest of Rio's busy calendar. With each passing year, Reveillon – the New Year’s Eve celebration -- gains more status as a great alternative to Carnival. There's Fashion Rio, or maybe the Rio leg of your favorite rock star's tour. And the list goes on.

Basic Tips for Your Stay in Rio de Janeiro:

Do your homework. The more you read up on Rio before you leave, the more the city will yield in terms of fun. Rio is large and has its share of traffic jams, but planning will help you maximize your day and cram visits to several key attractions on any given day – some are really close to each other.

Rio de Janeiro - Safety Tips:

Safety is definitely a concern in Rio. As a foreign tourist, you should pay extra attention to what's going around you when you stop to take a picture, fish your wallet out of your pocket in the street, or use an ATM. Saving jewelry for an outing with a definite destination and a ride in a reliable taxi is better than wearing it when you go for a walk. Avoid lonely neighborhoods. When you are walking around, don't display a hesitant attitude – if you need to stop for directions, go into a store or a restaurant to ask someone.

Nightlife & Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro:

The information on this Guide will get you started on Rio's excellent restaurants and nightlife. Also check out this online guide by Rio locals: Even though it's named for the famous beach, it has information about other areas, too.

Rio's Beaches:

Rio has a stretch of sand that's just right for you -- you just need to figure out where it is. One of the single most important ways to identify a carioca, or a Rio native, is to know where he or she likes going to the beach. Nowhere is that clearer than in Ipanema, where each posto, or lifeguard station, has its characteristic crowd: there's the mother-and- baby spot, the gay area, and so on.

São Conrado is the place to be when you want to see hang gliders; Arpoador is great for surfing; Urca is a quiet beach in a classy neighborhood. Copacabana is the beach with the legendary black and white sidewalk that hosts the country's best Reveillon, or New Year's Eve celebration. Its latest attraction is a series of kiosks which serve all kinds of food and drink. There's no getting bored on a Rio beach.