Rio is world famous. Even beyond the wild and amazing cultural customs and tradition of Carnival, Rio is an incredible city. The world will be looking at Rio as FIFA Host city in 2014 World Cup and holding it to a very high standard in 2016 when it hosts the World for the Summer Olympics. the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th FIFA World Cup, an international football or soccer tournament that is scheduled to take place here in Brazil from June 12 to July 13 in 2014. I hope this blog helps you make up your mind.
In my travels, Rio stands out as a big highlight, amazing city. Some will ask if it’s safe. Rio, every year as it gets closer to the world cup and the Olympics is worlds of change for the better. While pick pocketing or mugging out at night on the beach in the dark may have been more common place in the past, this is now no longer happening. The streets have been cleaned up and crime is getting stamped out and pushed back into dark areas of the flavelas. Even these have undergone much change over the years. Brazil and Rio care very much about their reputation and as the world is looking to see if Rio can stand up and be the world destination is it destined to be… it is accomplishing just that. Yes, you should take care and don’t do anything stupid, and take the advice of your hotels. Be smart and be cautious of what your plans are at night and you’ll be fine. I went to some night markets near the beach and made sure to stay in lit areas where people were and was fine. Those were both tips I got from locals. The people are extremely friendly and there’s so much to do. Rio is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It’s in my top 3 most beautiful cities in the world and may be #1. You will not be disappointed if you plan your world cup travel to Rio. It will be amazing. Planning for the Olympics and on the fence? Rio will fulfill all your dreams!
Rio is really working on response and planning for these major events. See Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup
Rio is known for it’s beaches some of the best known are Copacabana and Ipanema, but Botafogo, Praia da Barra da Tijuca, and Praia do Flamengo are also amazing beaches and there’s even more. There are lists of top ten beaches in Rio. The beaches are long and have long stretches of sand and boardwalks with varying population, some can get quite crowded. It’s not hard to get a hotel right across from one of the beaches. There’s water beyond the beaches as well with places like parque lage
New Wonders of the World – Christ Redeemer Statue
Rio has very unique topography. Huge granite hills, but one of them has the world famous Christ Redeemer statue. Corcovado, is the destination. It’s not to miss. Incredible views, amazing views of pristine beaches. Some of these stone hills have special access with funicular and others with chair lifts. You must get up on Sugar Loaf. Day or night… the views are absolutely incredible. You can even hike parts of it. There are tours you can take from your hotel, or bus routes to the funicular.
The views are unlike anywhere else. You feel like you’re on another planet. The closest examples I’ve found to the rocks are like haystack rock in Oregon, and Meteora in Greece, and feel like Capetown, but ultimately it’s more than all of these. Bigger variety and 6 million plus people spread across over a dozen of these huge rock mounts that have been carved out over thousands or millions of years.
Hang gilding and Paragliding
I’ve jumped off that mountain. That grassy area is where I landed. For around $100-150 you can hang glide or paragliding as a student of the art. You get a special license to do the jump. The prices vary greatly at different hotels. Different companies charge different rates. I even found there was some flexibility and was able to carve off a little off the price.
Soak in the culture, the music and dancing… Let loose, relax and feel the Carnival spirit…
For the most lucky watch the two weeks of Carnival on the streets, where it all happens. Then at night settle down to dinner and Samba Music maybe some Brazilian kick boxing. Find a samba school for the most authentic experience. Also watch in addition to samba, the choro, and bossa nova music. Rio is the birthplace of all of these.
There are a lot of reasons to visit Rio. You’ll be sure to experience the relax attitude of the people and learn to enjoy yourself one way or another… either sitting on the beach, enjoying the music or the fresh meats and seafood… amazing food! My favorite was the beans stew feijoada. Ask a local for the story. They have a long history. Don’t miss the Brazilian most famous dish, the feijoada (fay-zho-AH-da), a black bean stew filled with big chunks of meat, like chunks of sausages, pork or beef. Rio is famous for it’s seafood as well. The fresh juice bars with fresh coconut are also so fresh and great. Very refreshing after a good surf or after soaking up the sun sitting out on the beach. Enjoy a fresh one for me.
Looking for more details… visit the wikitravel page for Rio.
Picture courtesy wikicommons
The Estádio do Maracanã is incredible. Huge stadium that has undergone special renovations to make it a top stadium in the world. Following its 50th anniversary in 2000, the stadium underwent renovations which would increase its full capacity to around 103,000. After years of planning and nine months of closure between 2005 and 2006, the stadium was reopened in January 2007 with an all-seated capacity of 82,238
Planning for the games or not, it is one that the locals would tell you not to miss… You can visit the Maracana, once the largest stadium in the world and currently largest in all of South America will be host of the FIFA 2014 World Cup and final. It even includes a museum! The tiny picture to the right from the museum has photo ops. Yeah, it’s a little silly, but football fans love the shrines to their favorite players and the chance to be part of the action.
As a frequent global traveler, let me share a few tips for a successful trip to Rio, Brazil…
5 Tips to Prepare Your Trip to Rio de Janeiro
1. You may need a visa. US Citizens NEED a visa. This is something you need to prepare for around a month in advance. Hopefully around the time you have your travel plans. There are express visa options, but don’t delay. Getting the visa MUST be done in advance and can not be done at the border. You’ll be looking for the tourist visa. You’ll need at least 2 blank pages in your visa and 2x2in photo. I recommend the 10 year visa. The cost difference between the shorter visa doesn’t warrant it. It will cost you around $200-300 USD to get the visa and could easily take 2-3 weeks to make it all happen. You will be sending a copy of your passport to get the visa, so make sure you plan accordingly. If this is your first trip, you’ll want to get your passport months in advance. Even if you’re from Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Japan, or Mexico you NEED a visa. Citizens of the UK and EU including Turkey are exempt and don’t need a visa. So check to make sure.
2. Prepare to pay – Brazil isn’t a poor country, despite what you hear in the news. Food can be quite expensive. The Brazilian Reals are a strong currency. You will definitely love the experience. It’s a tourists dream to go here, but you may have to shop around if you’re coming from a poor country to see the match.
3. Hotels – Prepare way in advance for hotels and hostels. Do your research. These will fill up fast for the World Cup and Olympics or Carnival. Consider options like AirBnB and VRBO as alternative to the typical conventional options sometimes these can even be cheaper than hotels.com. If you don’t mind paying in advance, Expedia and Priceline can save you a lot in some of the major hotel chains, but there are a lot of options, so you’ll need to shop around.
4. Bring your swimming suit and a jacket – while Rio seems like it has the perfect weather. The nights can be cool, and you may end up in the hills where it’s chilly. Don’t forget your suit and sun screen.
5. Travel and Money strategies – I spoke in length about how to put money in more than one place such as some in your carry on bag and NOT in your back pocket. With the events you don’t want to be sorry about having all your money getting swiped in one place. You should visit my 10 simple tricks for world travel, so you’ll be thinking wholistically about how you pack and what your backup strategy is on money. The way you pack can make a big difference on your flexibility for a trip to Brazil.
If you’re debating between adding on excursion trips to Sao Paulo or Iguazu Falls. Iguazu in my opinion is the best waterfall in the world from a tourist perspective, and I’ve seen 4 of the top 5 in the world. It’s awesome. Sao Paulo, while a great city to do business in, wasn’t that exciting from a tourist perspective.