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Rio de Janeiro attractions

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Sugarloaf Mountain or Pao d'Açucar is one of Rio 's most spectacular attractions. It is actually made up of two mountains. Cable cars take you from one mountain to the other. The smaller mountain is called Morro da Urca and is the first stop for tourists. It has a wonderful restaurant and amphitheater with live music shows. The second stop is the Sugarloaf Mountain with its breathtaking view of the mountains and the beaches as well as the entire city and the Atlantic Ocean . The sunrise as well as sunsets is beautiful when watched form the top of Sugarloaf Mountain .

The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro (Jardim Botanico) is a 340 acre tropical paradise with more than 6000 types of plants and trees. There are more than 140 species of birds and a magnificent collection of Brazilian flora with giant Amazon water lilies and other rarely enjoyed treasures in its natural settings. This garden was created in 1808 mainly for the adaptation of spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, etc. The royal palms are the more significant symbol of the park. The amazing fact is that all of the royal palms in the garden were created from a single tree. There is a small entrance fee to see this awe-inspiring collection.

 

Another giant attraction which was recently added to the list of new wonders of the world is Christ the Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado Mountain . It is an impressive 100 feet high and may be seen from miles around the city. With hands outstretched, this statue seems to invite everyone to come up to the mountain to enjoy the glorious view from the top.

Most people come to Rio for its thrilling beach life. Copacabana Beach and the phrase "hottest beach north of Havana " have been on many people's minds as a result of the 1978 song by Barry Manilow which debuted on BillBoard magazine's top 40 charts. The beach is a busy place with people from different countries gather to mingle and have a good time. One can just stroll along the beach or roller-skate, jog or have fun bicycling. The Portuguese style pavement in Avenida Atlantica is perfect for pushing your kids along on strollers or walking your dog.

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Local people do their stunts or Capoeira on the street while tourists watch and enjoy. From the beach, you get an excellent view of the ocean along with the Sugarloaf mountain and the Copacabana Fort. Volleyball nets and beach football courts are available all along the beach for the travelers to have a game of ball. The beach bars offer beer (chopp), a snack (refeicao) and coconut water which quenches our thirst especially when the weather gets steamy hot. Beach life also includes the local people selling handmade crafts, towels, shirts etc.

Ipanema beach is another destination for fun lovers where they can surf, skate and lie in the sun. As the sun sets, the beachside shops and restaurants take on a magical ambience attracting the younger crowds to sample their mouthwatering delicacies. Here too, you may join the local people for a game of beach soccer, beach volleyball or foot volleyball. Also try surfing, body boarding or skim boarding. The local artists perform Capoeira on Sundays when only foot traffic is allowed on the beach. Other highlights are the Hippie fair where local handicrafts, art, musical instruments and souvenirs are sold. Also unique to Ipanema is the Street Carnival merriment with the locals from Ipanema.

For those interested in other activities, Rio has the world's largest "inside the city" rain forest parks in the world! Parque Nacional de Tijuca is the National park which is over 8150 acres with over 60,000 trees. This park is divided into three parts by major roads. The main entrance for this park is in Praça Afonso Viseu (Alto da Boa Vista). Another part is next to the Ocean and can be accessed via Canoas Road . A third entrance is through Grajau-Jacarepagua road. The tallest peek which is 1022 meters in height is in the main part of the forest. Hiking trails are plenty, and remember to take lots of water and some food along with insect repellant and a hat/sunglasses. There are many group tours that allow you to enjoy the forest without planning everything yourself. Mountain bikers would be happy to know that some of these trails are perfect for them. You can also play under a waterfall or just have a picnic with your family.

Hikers can climb up to the summit 3320 feet or enjoy the 115 feet waterfall.

Maracanã Soccer Stadium is one of the largest in the world. Brazilians love Soccer. Although the capacity of this stadium is about 100,000, at many events, close to 200,000 people crowd this stadium. The local top teams are Botafogo and Flamengo. Watch out for yourself and family in such crowds. Stay in the stadium for a while until the large crowds depart. The stadium has many security guards, but it is difficult to get any help when the crowds throng that huge. In Rio , as in many parts of the world, Soccer is called Football. There is a museum that is located in the stadium grounds which displays some of Brazil 's proudest moments.

For those visitors who love to stroll along the busy streets, there are many beautiful old and new buildings around Rio de Janeiro . Catedral Metropolitana is a beautiful church which is cone-shaped in design and took more than ten years to construct. It is packed with murals, sculptures, various art displays and of course spectacular stained glass windows that extend up 64 meters (210 feet) to the ceiling. This cathedral has a capacity of 20,000 people.

Paço Imperial is an old building which was designed a leading architect in the 18th century. It used to be the capital of the Portuguese Viceroys and the also the palace of the Emperor.

Candelária Church , which was built in the late 18th or early 19th century, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and has the atmosphere of a peaceful, holy, sacred space. There are ornate carvings on the stairs and the sculpted bronze doors seem to mask the violence that happened near this church and which was portrayed in the movie Bus 174 (Ônibus 174).

Cinelândia Square in the center of Rio de Janeiro is a popular place for visitors to Brazil . In the early 20th century, many of the old buildings were demolished to make space for new skyscrapers. The new buildings include the Municipal Theatre, Brazilian National Library, the Rio de Janeiro Municipality , the Higher court, National Senate, and the National school of Fine Arts.

Interesting sites for travelers include the Paco Imperial, Candelarial Church , Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Cinelandia square and the National Museum of Fine Arts. The National Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most important Brazilian museums. This museum holds the collection that King John VI of Portugal brought while fleeing from the French troops in 1808. The style of this building was inspired by the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Day trips
There are several companies that offer organized sightseeing tours that span a day or more. There are bus tours, Jeep tours, boat tours, cruises and helicopter tours. The trips usually focus on the city or Rio itself and its attractions. One of the nature tours is "Highlights of Angra dos Reis". This is a town which is located in an archipelago of over 300 islands and hundreds of beaches. The mountains, the rainforests, the exciting beaches and the turquoise waters make the tour an experience that you will never forget.

Catacumba is an exotic place that is located in Lagoa. Here, visitors can enjoy beautiful gardens, inspiring sculptures, short hiking trails, outdoor gallery with artistic pieces from locals and a bamboo garden with a view of the lake. Fun for the children includes tiny monkeys making noise on the trees along with colorful parrots and toucans all around.

Pedra da Gávea is an adventurer's dream with 2.800 feet of mountain to climb with a breathtaking view of the city and beaches below. The name of this mountain comes from its shape. Gávea is the term for the upper part of a ship (topsail).

There are many other day trips including one to the largest museum of Brazilian folk art, Casa do Pontal, boat ride to Guanabara Bay island, sightseeing in the metropolis of Niterói, visit to the colonial heritage Paraty that is constructed between the sea and the mountain during the gold rush of the 17th century, checking out the Petrópolis, a mountain retreat built by German immigrants and is distinctly European in its appearance.


 
 

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