Move to the Samba beat and get your groove on with a trip to Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, which means the River of January in Portuguese, is a wondrous sight to behold; from architecture to wonders of nature Rio has got it all. Home to some of the best football in the world, the capital of Brazil swings to its own beat, and it is impossible not to get caught up in the sultry, tropical atmosphere that is so unique to Brazil and to Rio.
What to do and see
Be ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and party at the Copacabana, Rio’s two most famous beaches, made popular through songs named after these beautiful places. Ipanema is slightly higher end bordered by an array of shops, cafes and art galleries. Copacabana has a more active, everyday vibe and locals, also known as ‘cariocas’, are frequently seen to be having a game of soccer or volleyball along the expanse of the beach.
For some history, visit Fort Copacabana, a military base with a wartime museum that stands at one end of the beach. If you manage to make it down to the beach in the morning, you might also be able to see fisherman selling their morning catch near the fort. For those interested in catching a wave, head to the nearby Arpoador Beach (in the middle of Ipanema and Copacabana) which is known to be one of the best surf spots in Rio.
For film aficionados, the faded century plantation mansions and cobblestone streets of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood will surely be a familiar sight. The filming location for movies such as City of God andFast and Furious, there is a charm and raw appeal of the place that is only heightened from seeing it in person. Get lost in the maze of houses and see the locals as they go about their daily chores and go back at night to experience the vibrant nightlife in one of the clubs in Santa Teresa.
Last but certainly not least, pay homage to Rio’s most iconic landmark, the statue of Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer. Most visitors take the vertical cog train to the base of the summit and walk to the summit from there. It will be a little crowded, so remember to pre book your tickets online and try to come on a clear day for the best views.
How to get around
Rio is small, so getting around is relatively easy. There are local buses, and a developed metro system that will get you to where you need to go. If you stay out late partying, it might be wise to splurge a little on a metered taxi or a radio taxi (a little more expensive, but usually nicer and air conditioned) to get you safely back to your hotel or hostel.
How to get there
Check Skyscanner for your preferred flight from major cities in New Zealand to the Rio de Janeiro/Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airportlocated about 20km from the city centre. From there, there are local buses, taxis and specific airport transfers to get you to the city.