Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, 38m Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnaval festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.

🙂 STUNNING City! Great beaches! Fab sunsets.

🙁 Petty theft – we wore nothing of value.

THREE things we did not know about Rio:

  1. Rio de Janeiro means January River, but the river is actually a bay. Rio de Janeiro, or January River, is a very poetic name for a city with more than 200 rivers running through it but the name refers to none of these. It was in January 1502 that Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos first arrived in Rio. Legend has it that Lemos was sailing through Guanabara Bay when he came up with the name for the city, mistaking the bay as the mouth of a big river.
  2. Most of Rio’s Samba schools are located in favelas. There are more than 1,000 slums, or favelas, in Rio – and almost one fourth of Cariocas (locals) live in them. Rio’s modest residents have been living in favelas since the end of the 19th century, being the most affordable housing option. It was there, in the favelas, that former African slaves and their descendants first created the music style we now know as samba.
  3. Rio’s carnival party is the biggest carnival in the world. According to the Guinness Book of Records, in 2004 the city’s most illustrious party attracted a record 400,000 foreign visitors, becoming the biggest carnival party in the world. Apart from the outside visitors, every year, around 5 million people take over the streets of Rio to participate in hundreds of street parties, called “blocos”, held by the samba groups. Not to mention the thousands that purchase expensive tickets to watch the acclaimed competitive parades, starring Rio’s best samba schools. A party not to be missed!

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