Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro offers a beauty that comes from its natural tropical environment where mountains, forests, beaches, lagoons, vegetation and the South Atlantic blend to form one dramatic back-drop. The city is situated on a 15-mile strip of land, wedged between the sea and the mountains. Between the sea and the mountains lies a colorful state of mind called Carioca, with almost 8 million locals who samba their way, relaxed and high-spirited, through life.

The city of Rio is one of the world's most exciting cities, featuring sunny days, 56 miles of beaches, engaging natives, excellent dinners in world-renowned gourmet restaurants, a gamut of cultural/entertainment options, the lure of aquamarines, emeralds and other precious stones, and boutique shopping.

In Rio you will find the best of what Brazil has to offer regarding hotels of international standard. There are 5 star hotels spread all over the city, located along the famous Copacabana beach, where the pulse of Rio seems to beat with its highest intensity, or further away, on beautiful beaches like Sao Conrado and Vidigal.

Corcovado Mountain (the hunchback), with its statue of Christ the Redeemer, dominates much of the Carioca skyline, soaring 2,300 feet (706 meters) above the city. Sugar Loaf Mountain, equally impressive, guards the entrance to the Bay of Guanabara, while 56 miles (90 km) of sandy beaches mark out the boundary between the land and sea. There are other equally inspiring mountains such as the Dois Irmaos and the Pedra da Gavea to appreciate; forests like the Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world; while even the man-made park of Flamengo is thought to be the world's largest urban park.

Visitors to the city also have the chance to enjoy the Botanical Garden, one of the planet's most complete, the lake of Rodrigo de Freitas, the city's zoo, numerous parks and gardens, and all the animals, plants and birds that comprise the preserved ecosystems of the parks of Rio de Janeiro.

The city's 56 miles of beaches are an inviting way to spend a day. Football, volleyball, gymnastics, and more traditional Brazilian sports like "peteca "and "futevolei", are played on the sands of Rio, while out to sea, surfers and wind-surfers rule the waves. The paths that run beside the beaches are a haven for cyclists, roller skaters, walkers, joggers and those who want to sit and enjoy the scenery from a bench or small beach bar.

Sporting events and championships in volleyball, soccer, swimming and tennis take place on courts and in stadiums especially constructed on the sand. Musical extravaganzas and free concerts can be seen throughout the year on the beaches of Rio, culminating in the New Year celebration which attracts millions of people to commemorate the arrival of the New Year and witness one of the world's most spectacular firework displays.

Rio de Janeiro

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