Rio is undoubtedly the most popular destination in Brazil with iconic landmarks and events that the whole world is familiar with ' the famous Carnival, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer. Its beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana, are legendary, not to mention the inspiration of popular songs. But Rio is much more than these.
The city, often called 'The Wonderful City' by Brazilians, was the country's capital until 1960, and as such is still bursting as a cultural centre that interested travellers can visit all year round. Of course Rio, capital of the state of the same name, is famous for its beaches, but there is much more than fun in the sun to be had. The National Library is the largest library in Latin America and the eighth largest library in the world.
Experience high tea at Colombo Confectioners', which was established in 1894. The Sao Francisco das Penitencias Church started construction in the seventeenth century. The Catete Palace is the home of the Republic Museum. Don't miss a ride of the Sugar Loaf Mountain cable car, which has transported over 30 million tourists during its ninety years of existence.
Nature lovers must visit the Tijuca National Park, the largest natural preservation area situated in an urban setting in the country, and the Botanical Garden, which has been ranked among the ten most important botanical gardens in the world.
Most travellers arrive in Rio through the Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. Some travellers also arrive in the city through the extensive bus network, which travels both domestically and internationally in South America, and is well traveled by locals and tourists alike. For getting around the city, subways are the best bet, as they are reputed to be safe, fast and even air conditioned.
Most hotel options are situated along the city's famous beaches. Thanks to its popularity as a year round destination, hotels are available for every price range. There are a number of internationally run hotels, including those in the five star range, plenty of mid range choices and even budget hotels and youth hostels for those on a tight budget.