The Cidade Maravilhosa
Fascinating and magical, Rio de Janeiro enchants tourists from around the world. An urban and natural paradise, it never ceases to make one marvel.
Rio de Janeiro is always dreaming. Famous the world over for its gorgeous sandy beaches, its dazzling carnival, and its beautiful natural sites, the city, long the cultural capital of Brazil, is today one of the most influential Latin American economic metropolises.
It is this aura of economic enterprise that is at least partly responsible for the last FIFA World Cup, hosted by Brazil, and the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games, being held here. These events have marked and continue to mark the lives of the 6.5 million Cariocas who inhabit Rio proper.
The main zone for tourists is the Zona Sul including Ipanema and Copacabana, and the night-owl neighbourhoods of Leblon, Botafogo, and Santa Teresa provides many of the postcard settings of the Cidade Maravilhosa, the ‘wonderful city' whose secrets are revealed at every street corner.
The beautiful Jardim Botânico and Floresta da Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world, the Corcovado mountain peaks, the famous Christ the Redeemer on the Pão de Açúcar summit, and Pedra Bonita: Rio offers breath-taking views, extraordinary history, and tropical oases with toucans, parrots, marmosets, and hundred-year-old palm trees at every turn
Rio is also a world of contrasts. The streets and alleys of Centro and its vestiges of colonial architecture, the blossoming of the Vieux Port and its brand new gigantic and futuristic Museudo Amanhã, Lapa and its samba bars, and the villas-castles of Santa Teresa—the city is a permanent theatre.
Finally, in Rio, everything begins and ends at the beach. From your early morning jog until sunset, this is where tourists and Cariocas like to meet, humming ‘The Girl from Ipanema', written in 1962 by Antônio Carlos Jobim the exemplar of the musical heritage that is boss a nova and the anthem of the magical city that is Rio de Janeiro.