This dazzling Brazilian metropolis, known as Cidade Maravilhosa (Wonderful City), undoubtedly deserves its title. At the mouth of the bay, the town is bordered by white sandy beaches and lush rainforest, and surrounded by staggered green mountains.
Rio de Janeiro offers dramatic views from almost every angle, but it has more to offer. From the slopes of Monte Corcovado, you can admire Rio's pristine beaches, which overlook the city's most popular tourist destinations such as Copacabana and Ipanema. On the banks of the Copacabana and in I Panema, you can admire the perfect backdrop that has attracted Brazilians - born in Rio de Rio for more than 500 years, as well as their families.
The glitz, high fashion and relaxed attitude define the character of the city, and bikini-clad beach-goers can be found on the beaches of I Panema and Copacabana. Walk along Avenida Atlantica to Copa and you'll find beachgoers in bikinis, with their families and friends in tow.
The city is full of activities and also known for its love of sport, with the Rio Olympics, Brazil's biggest sporting event, on the horizon.
If you visit Brazil in February, just in time for Carnival, you will witness the vibrant Portuguese masquerades that attract revellers from all over the world. At night, you will hear the soothing sound of samba pulsating through the streets of Lapa.
In recent years, great efforts have been made to rid the area of crime, but parts of it are still unsafe and Rio de Janeiro is not without problems. Outside the tourist areas lies a large favela, where 130,000 people live in poverty.
There are also numerous protests in Rio de Janeiro and other parts of the country, and visitors should avoid demonstrations. Visitors should consult the State Department website for the latest travel advice.
The best time to visit Rio is between December and March, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to visit the beaches, and the city is seductive - beaten last year's samba. Come in February to enjoy the carnival, but consider booking your hotel and flights a year in advance. Finding affordable accommodation before Carnival can be difficult, so come early and arrive late.
From January to March, daytime temperatures can sometimes range between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer more temperate conditions, visit us in the summer months when temperatures fall back to the 70s and 80s.
If you want to spend the day at one of the popular beaches, come in time to grab an umbrella. The sun shines most strongly around noon, so wrap up plenty of sunscreen and make sure you have plenty of moisture. During the summer months, the most harmful rays peak in the early morning and early evening hours, and the sun sets in the afternoon.
The ATMs are open from 6 am to 10 pm, some until 2 am, others all day. Most of them accept Brazilian credit and debit cards, although some accept international credit cards.
Stay away from dangerous "Brazilian slums" where drugs, gangs and crime are commonplace. It is also recommended to take city buses that pass through these neighborhoods, as well as buses from the city center.
Rio de Janeiro is home to one of the largest buffet restaurants in the world with more than 1,000 restaurants. Look for a sign that says "por kilo" and calculate the buffet-restaurant style by kilo, stack the plates and order.
Dance clubs offer affordable evening entertainment, and this lively area is known for its lively samba and dance parties with live music, dancing and dancing.
The Cariocas, who were born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are known for their friendly, hospitable and always - good parties. Friendly, hospitable, always good for a party, the "CariOCas" wear glittering costumes, enjoy late dinners and dance late. The prices of beds and pousadas are notoriously expensive in the city, so if you're on a budget, look out for pusadas (bed and breakfasts in Brazil), which often include a morning meal.
Portuguese is Brazil's official language, so it's helpful to bring a Portuguese manuscript if you speak English - a language that can be used to describe tourist attractions. I also recommend writing down a list of places you want to visit, such as restaurants, hotels, shops, restaurants and hotels in Rio.
You can adjust by wearing shorts, T-shirts and cover-ups while walking on the beach, or you can continue with casual wear. However, it is not uncommon to see lushly dressed locals in the shops and restaurants of Rio and other parts of the city, such as Rio de Janeiro.
For a truly integrated meal, finish your meal with an espresso and finish it with espresso. After dinner, you can sample some of Rio's most popular drinks, such as beer, wine, cocktails, and wine and beer.
Many restaurants do not accept credit cards and most restaurants already charge a 10 percent service surcharge on your bill. Add a tip, but remember that you tip politely; most often you can add your tip in the form of a $5 to $10 tip in addition to your meal.
The real (BRL) is Brazil's official currency, but check the current exchange rate before you start. Favourable exchange rates make Rio de Janeiro one of the most expensive cities in the world for travellers.
Rio is best circumnavigated on foot or by taxi and borders the Atlantic Ocean, Rio Grande do Sul and Copacabana.
The metro is an affordable and safe way to reach all major attractions and all are within walking distance. If you want to take a taxi, it is not difficult to reach from any main street in the city and the metro connects you to many of the main tourist attractions.
City buses are also convenient, but remember that many bus lines leave from Brazil's unsafe favelas, which you should avoid. English speaking bus drivers and unknown drivers may be turned away by the unknown driver. Renting a car is also a good way to move in heavy traffic or crowded streets, confusing traffic signs and pedestrians.
US citizens must apply for a visa and bring a valid passport to enter Brazil. A normal visa allows visitors to stay in Brazil for up to 90 days.
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