48 Hours In Rio
(December 10, 2002)
Rio de Janeiro is beautiful beyond belief - a striking landscape of rainforest-clad cliffs and alluring beaches. With 8 million people occupying an area of 485 square miles, Rio is a teeming city that never sleeps. Below are the "must-sees" in Rio, so, pace yourself. There's much to see and do in this sun city.
Think of Rio de Janeiro and likely one of the first images that comes to mind is the "Christ the Redeemer Statue" set 2130-feet high atop Corcovado Mountain. One of the world's most recognized monuments, the 90 foot high statue, with its outstretched arms, appears floating from the sky. To reach the statue is over 200 steps, but the reward is a picture-perfect view of Rio. To get to the top a cogwheel train takes you along a lush tropical route through Tijuca Forest packed with eucalyptus, jacaranda, manaca raintrees and jakfruit trees.
Pao de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain)
Sugar Loaf Mountain is another of Rio's most famous landmarks. It is the best place to gain perspective on how sea and mountain ranges come together to create the city's natural beauty. Catch the thrilling gondola ride up the hill and float above Leme. The top commands stunning views of Guanabara Bay with the Botafogo beach to the North and Copacabana to the South, and the wild landscape of Rio in-between. There are
vendors selling food and refreshments along with souvenirs. Keep an eye on the tiny spider monkeys, which are quick to take away any food you may be holding.
When conjuring an image of Rio de Janeiro, beaches understandably get much attention for their beauty and from girls in string bikinis or the girl from Ipanema. Beaches are one of the centers of life in Rio and during the day, they are packed with people. Volleyball and soccer nets are set up all along all beaches and are in use most of the time. The beaches in Rio are public and you are welcome to use all of them.
The most famous beach in the world, Copacabana is a dramatic setting among the rising hills and posh high-rises, and the best place to feel the spirit of the city. This is the perfect place to eat, drink, relax and people watch. Copacabana has the most eclectic nightlife in Rio, with strip clubs, bars, elegant restaurants and hotels, such as the world-famous Copacabana Palace Hotel. Sit at one of the many restaurants along the beachfront to enjoy a drink or take a stroll on the famous Burle Marx designed sidewalks.
Immortalized by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes in the song "Garota de Ipanema" (Girl from Ipanema), this is a more conservative alternative to Copacabana. Besides enjoying the wonderful stretch of beach with great surf and umbrellas to set under, you can wander through its streets and discover chic boutiques and trendy cafés.
The most sophisticated and expensive district in Rio, with a more residential appeal than the aforementioned beaches; it is considered the place to be seen in Rio. Leblon is located right next to Ipanema at the west end along the same stretch of sand. Some of Rio's most exclusive clubs, restaurants and boutiques set upon its nearby streets. Hang-gliders, which take off from the Pedra da Gávea Mountain to land on the beach, are a common sight in the skies.
Rio's showhouses for a samba extravaganza show with costumes, dancing and music of the Brazilian samba. It's a loud night but the costumes (or lack of them) and the razzle-dazzle of colors combined with the samba beat is not to be missed. Plataforma in the Leblon district, holds the most spectacular of Rio's samba shows.
Rio de Janeiro is a great city with an enticing atmosphere of samba and fun, and immense beauty that never disappoints.
Take a Silversea Cruise,
a great way to visit Rio de Janeiro.
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