Destination Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America
Categories Singles, Over 50's, Families
Flight Time 12 hours from UK

Weather It starts to get hotter around October and Summer is from December to February and marks the colourful festive period of Carnaval. (The main Samba parade dates are Feb 22-23 2004 and Feb 6-7 2005). It's also a period when it's hot and humid (30-40c). The rest of the year it's cooler in the mid 20c’s. They say head to the northeast coast if you get stuck in a period of non-stop winter rain - there you can enjoy warmer temperatures, less humidity and some welcome tropical breezes. With less humidity in the air, Spring is the most comfortable season in Rio and the sunny days are especially bright. Spring is also the best time to take some superb photographs from the Sugarloaf and Corcovado hills. It is a wonderful time to visit the Tijuca Forest, Botanical Gardens, and the Flamengo Reclaim. Expect temperatures ranging from 20 to 30c.
Spring: 22 September to 21 December
Summer: 22 December to 21 March
Autumn: 22 March to 21 June
Winter: 22 June to 21 September

Travelogue
Rio is one of those places that has a certain "cool" ring about its name. When you've just returned from a fortnight's adventure you're left feeling that you’ve really been abroad and to somewhere very special. Telling everyone you've "just flown in from Rio" sounds far more exciting than "I had a two week holiday in Benidorm." Not that Benidorm should be avoided - it's just that "Rio" sounds great. 

And Rio is great. For a start take a look at its location. Set between the sea and an escarpment Rio has to have one of the world's most beautiful settings. Add to this a few national parks, stunning beaches and a population who know how to samba and you've a potent cocktail that will enliven and envigorate.
In Rio you'll find a love of romance, music and dance. Every day ends with a samba whether it’s a day at the beach, a football match, a wedding or even a political demonstration!

Centro is Rio's centrer and here you'll find a bustling working city by day. If you enjoy museums then Centro offers an ideal array that you can explore on foot. There are numerous musems dedicated to art, Carnaval, history and samba.The National History Museum contains interesting displays and historical relics while the Naval Museum tells the story of the Brazilian navy dating back to the 16th century.

The two most recognised sites in Rio are Sugarloaf mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. And you've just got to visit them. Sugarloaf mountain on clear days offers some amazing views at sunset of Rio and its city lights. Avoid the tourist buses by visiting outside the times of 10-11am and 2-3pm. You can enjoy the journey there by cable car. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is positioned on the top of Corcovado (Hunchback) mountain and at night the statue is visible from all over Rio. From the mountain you can see a spectacular view of Rio and in the distance the international airport. Although you can reach Corcovado by bus or taxi the best way is by travelling on the cog train. It only costs around US$12 and if you opt to sit on the right-hand side of the train you'll enjoy the best views.

Copacabana beach is the famous curved beach you'll see in most post cards and here's where you'll find the hotels, restaurants, shops and bars that accompany the tourist trade. The beach runs for 4.5km. It's the place to see the locals having fun.

Activities Just to get you started how about some of the following: hang-gliding 510m off Pedra Bonita, surfing or cycling. Play "around" - there are two 18 hole golf courses. If you like heights then a helicopter ride over Rio could be just the ticket. However, for those who like to keep their feet firmly on the ground there are numerous hiking and climbing opportunities through three national parks. There are tram, city or historic tours that take in the sights and introduce you to Rio from the comfort of a seat. As a major city, Rio de Janeiro has all you could expect and more. There are excellent restaurants, sophisticated nightclubs, charming bars, musical extravaganzas, theatres, cinemas, museums, art galleries, fashionable stores and shopping centres, and world-class sport.

Visas UK passport holders do not require a visa to enter Brazil. However, passports must be valid for at least six months and a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds may be requested on arrival.

Vaccinations Refer to your local GP but as a minimum an international certificate of vaccination against polio is compulsory for children aged between three months and six years.
An international certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is compulsory for travellers who, within the three months prior to their arrival in Brazil, have visited or been in transit through any of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guyana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire.
Additionally, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended for all travellers when visiting the following states of Brazil: Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. Please note that yellow fever vaccinations take approximately 10 days to become effective. As with all medical issues ensure you visit your GP well in advance of your trip.

Must-See Sights
1) Watch a sunset from Sugarloaf mountain
2) The statue of Christ the Redeemer
3) Take a hike through the Tijuca National Park
4) Take the historic tram to Santa Teresa
5) Visit the Botanical Gardens. At Jardim Botanico there are more than 5000 varieties of plants and you'll find it a quiet retreat in the weekdays. At the weekend the gardens are popular with families and music lovers. Just a kilometer away is Parque Lage, a beautiful park, with lakes and a mansion that houses a museum. There are often art shows and sometimes a few performances. With the absence of sports the park is ideal for families with young children.
6) Chill out with the locals on the world famous Copacabana beach
7) On the last weekend in November local artists at Santa Teresa open their studios to the public.

Useful Websites
Brazilian Tourist Office, London: www.brazil.org.uk
City Tourism office: www.riodejaneiro-turismo.com.br/pt
More information: www.ipanema.com

Recommended Guide Books (an essential purchase before visiting Rio)
Uncover the many layers of Brazil. Canoe the jungles of the Amazon, hang glide above Rio's beaches or experience the baroque architecture of Ouro Prêto. Whether you want to listen to the roar of Iguaçu Falls or get down at Carnaval, this essential guide will show the way.
  • hundreds of lodging options, from Amazon riverboat hammocks to Copacabana luxury hotels
  • scores of exotic dining destinations from lanchonetes (snack bars) to churrascarias (Brazilian barbeques)
  • special section on Carnaval
  • more than 100 detailed maps, including seven of Rio de Janeiro
  • handy Portuguese language guide
From samba clubs to soccer stadiums, Rio de Janeiro offers plenty of places to sweat. Our updated and easy-to-follow guide includes everything you need to explore the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) like a local.
  • where to eat, from suco bars to churrascarias
  • accommodations for all budgets, from hip hostels to deluxe beach-front resort
  • day trips and excursioins, including Parati, the Parque Nacional da Serra dos Orgaos and the Itatiaia region
  • Portuguese language chapter that brings you from 'tudo bem' to 'chauzinho'
  • 9 full-color city maps
 
 2003 Fabulous Holidays, photographs courtesy of the Brazilian Tourist Office, London