Fly Emirates to Rio de Janeiro, and you’ll arrive at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. Every year, the airport welcomes millions to Brazil. In fact, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the Southern Hemisphere.
From the moment Rio de Janeiro was discovered, on January 1, 1502, the city has enchanted the world with its natural beauty. And thanks to the cheerful people and a relaxed way of life, the city makes visitors, whether for leisure or for business, feel truly welcome.
Rio de Janeiro features some of the most iconic landmarks in the country, but the area’s heart is truly the Brazilian culture, which you’ll find in the city and in the many worthwhile destinations just a few hours away.
Most visitors start with Rio’s main attraction, Christ the Redeemer. Inaugurated on October 12, 1931, at the top of Mount Corcovado, the sculpture of Christ complements the beautiful landscape perfectly, so it’s no wonder it became one of the wonders of the world on July 7, 2007. Christ the Redeemer attracts around one million tourists per year, and the city offers a variety of package tours for visitors. Options include everything from a simple walk, to the ascent of Mount Corcovado, to a fancy helicopter tour with a spectacular view of the statue.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is a symbol of the State of Rio de Janeiro. It was conceived by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, the creator of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital. Located in Niteroi, the museum mixes the modern with the traditional. With its extraordinary exhibitions, it attracts tourists from around the world. In the museum are works by Picasso, Miró, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Ivan Serpa, Manabu Mabe, Cândido Portinari, Tarsila do Amaral, Lasar Segall, Di Cavalcanti, and Oswaldo Goeldi.
Rio is more than beautiful people and pristine beaches. The city also offers several options for those looking for real Brazilian cuisine.
It's a coastal town, so it’s no surprise that the seafood dishes are excellent. But be sure you also sample the incredible array of international cuisine found in the unique restaurants that line the waterfront.
Restaurants range from the casual hidden in the suburbs of Ipanema, such as Zazá Bistrô, to fine-dining restaurants inside hotels such as Carême, the restaurant of the famous chef Flávia Quaresma. Although many of the newer restaurants are truly world class, you can often find an unforgettable meal in an out-of-the-way area, such as in Santa Tereza where you can find the restaurant Aprazível, with good food and a special ambiance. Be sure to try the Brazilian-style steakhouses, called "churrascarias," where waiters come to your table with grilled meat skewered on swords. Check the local guides and magazines for the latest suggestions.
When the sun goes down, the city truly comes to life. Bars by the sea are always very popular and offer delicious snacks, drinks, and local specialties such as “Pao de queijo” (traditional cheese bread), Pastel de camarao (pastries filled with shrimp), bean soup, and cocktails including the famous caipirinha. Have a small afternoon chopp (beer on tap) with Rio’s professional happy hour set at Bar Amarelinho, on the plaza near the historical center’s most beautiful buildings, including the Municipal Theater and the National Museum of Fine Arts. If you’re looking for something more exciting, you can always enjoy international DJs at one of Rio’s many nightclubs, such as Nuth Barra, which is in Barra da Tijuca. Or if you prefer, take a samba lesson with the Rio Samba Dancers.
If you’re a nature lover, be sure to visit Buzios. It’s the perfect destination for explorers and nature lovers as well as a major local tourist destination.
Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, Buzios evolved into a picturesque fishing village. Elected one of the ten most beautiful areas in the world, it is now famous for its unique combination of rustic charm, architectural harmony, incredible beauty, and sophisticated boutiques and restaurants. The west coast beaches offer calm, clear waters while the east coast beaches, facing the ocean, are a bit more wild and draw surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Among the most popular beaches are Ferradura and João Fernandes.
Flint Street (Rock Street)
Flint Street in Buzios is the perfect place to spend your leisure time when visiting Brazil.
The oceanfront street will keep you occupied with boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants where you can sample the local flavors and make new friends. Here you can experience the pleasure of wandering, seeing handmade crafts, or listening to several different styles of music. This is truly a place where you can feel free and lose all concept of time.
Pedra Bonita is a mountain with an altitude of 696 meters, which was previously covered by the Atlantic Rainforest. The mountain lies between the districts of São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca, south of the city of Rio de Janeiro. A popular activity in Pedra Bonita is hang gliding.
Rio’s beautiful beaches are a must see for many tourists. So be sure to visit the glamorous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, where you’ll find a melting pot of local Brazilians and sun-worshipping tourists. Or stop by the Barra beach, known to attract national and international celebrities.
Away from the crowds, the city offers some beautiful beaches, often frequented by locals. Some of the best include Macumba (perfect for surfers) and Arpoador (perfectly breathtaking views).
In Buzios, there are more than 23 beaches. Some of the most famous are Azeda beach, João Fernandinho Beach, Ferradura Beach, and Geribá Beach.
This is a small beach with calm, crystal-clear water. You can get there either on foot by a small trail that begins in Ossos Beach or by boat.
João Fernandinho Beach
This is a small beach with calm, crystal-clear water. It is near the popular João Fernandes Beach, which has many bars where you can enjoy lobster and other great seafood. You can't miss it.
Ferradura beach is on a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay with calm, crystal-clear water and is served by numerous picturesque bars serving typical Buzio-style meals and drinks.
Geribá is a wonderful open beach, frequented by many beautiful and famous people. It is perfect for practicing sports like surfing, boogie boarding, and windsurfing.
Nature lovers can experience all this beautiful place has to offer, from sailing and paragliding to a tour of the beaches in the area. Búzios garnered international fame after the visit of French actress Brigitte Bardot, and since then, the town is known as the Brazilian Saint-Tropez.
Business people have been flying to Rio for years. Its highly diversified economy generates the second largest GDP of any city in Brazil. Rio’s proximity to the oil rich Campos Basin makes it the ideal base for many in the petroleum industry including Petrobrás, Shell, EBX, and Esso.
Rio’s main business interests also include mining, iron and steel, electricity, telecommunications, finance, pharmaceuticals, shipping, tobacco, and food and beverages.
Tourism and entertainment are other key aspects of the city's economic life. With its many beaches, its passion for football, and samba and Carnival, it is no wonder it is known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city).
Rio boasts a wealth of attractions and activities, plus great food, music, and entertainment—enough to keep a visitor busy for any length of stay. A vibrant agenda, including hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, is quickly transforming the city into a popular and exciting destination.