Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laid back beach culture and its annual carnival. Although, their soccer skills here are very well recognized.The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is comprised of a unique entry from the ocean that makes it appear to be the mouth of a river. Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain at 395 meters (1,296 feet), Corcovado Peak at 704 meters (2,310 feet), and the hills of Tijuca at 1,021 meters (3,350 feet). These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World ).UrnangeiIt is a common mistake to think of Rio as Brazil’s capital, a distinction it lost on 21 April 1960 when newly built Brasilia became the capital. Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, the stadium of Maracana and Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Açucar) are all well-known sights of what the inhabitants call the “marvelous city” (cidade maravilhosa), and are also among the first images to pop up in travelers minds, along with the Carnaval celebration.Sadly, most people also know Rio for its violence and crime. The drug lords and the slums, or favelas, are the tip of very old social problems. The favelas are areas of poor-quality housing, slums usually located on the city’s many mountain slopes, juxtaposed with middle-class neighborhoods. The South Zone holds most of Rio’s landmarks and world-famous beaches, in an area of only 43.87 square km (17 mi). Many of them are within walking distance of each other (for instance, the Sugar Loaf lies about 8 km/5 mi from Copacabana beach). Most hotels and hostels are located in this part of the city, which is compressed between the Tijuca Range (Maciço da Tijuca) and the sea. There are important places in other regions as well, such as Maracana stadium in the North Zone and the many fascinating buildings in the Centre.If you plan on staying in Rio for more than a couple of days it would be good to invest in a copy of “How to be a Carioca“(Priscilla Ann Goslin, Livros TwoCan Ltda, R$32). This is an amusing look at the people of Rio and will help you enjoy the city as well as appear less of a `gringo` when you hit the streets.Rio was founded in 1565 by the Portuguese as a fortification against French privateers who trafficked wood and goods from Brazil. Piracy played a major role in the city’s history, and there are still colonial fortresses to be visited (check below). The Portuguese fought the French for nearly 10 years, both sides having rival native tribes as allies. For the next two centuries it was an unimportant outpost of the Portuguese Empire, until gold, diamonds, and ore were found in Minas Gerais in 1720. Then, as the nearest port, Rio became the port for these minerals and replaced Salvador as the main city in the colony in 1763.When Napoleon invaded Portugal, the Royal Family moved to Brazil and made Rio capital of the Kingdom (so it was the only city outside Europe to be capital of a European country). When Brazil became independent in 1822, it adopted Monarchy as its form of government (with Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II). Many historians and Brazilians from other places say cariocas are nostalgic of the Royal and Imperial times, which is reflected in many place names and shop names. In 2009, the city won their bid to host the games of the XXXI Olympics in the summer of 2016. This was the fifth bid by the city, whose 1936, 1940, 2004 and 2012 bids lost.Rio is one of the country’s major transportation hubs, second only to Sao Paulo.Galeao – Antanio Carlos Jobim International Airport (IATA: GIG, ICAO: SBGL, Tel: +55 21 3398-5050, fax 3393-2288) is still better known by its old name Galeao International Airport and is situated 20 km (12 mi) north of the city centre.International connections to and from GIG include flights to Europeto Africa and the Middle Eastas well as to North AmericaWithin Central and South America there are connections by a number of carriers (including Avianca, Copa Airlines, TAM, Gol, LAN, TAM Mercosul, Emirates, Pluna and Aerolineas Argentinas) to While you can sometimes zoom through Immigration and Customs, be prepared for a long wait. Brazilians travel with lots of baggage and long queues can form at Customs, which are usually understaffed.The Tourist Information desk is by the Customs exit in the International Arrivals area of the airport. As you come out of the Customs hall, take a sharp right turn and you will see it. It is pretty much next to the doors.ATMs are available on the 2nd floor

Airport: GIG Rio Galeao – Tom Jobim International Airport Cities in Brazil

Country: Brazil