With its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, vast mountains and incredible vibes, Rio de Janeiro is one of the best-loved cities in Brazil, if not the world. There is no doubt that Rio de Janeiro is geographically blessed, situated as it is between majestic mountains and azure waters. However, the city’s allure extends much deeper than its surface beauty. From its fantastic food, to its love of football and incurable zest for life, Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the most seductive cities you will ever visit. Today, Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant city, seething with passion, culture and laughter.So, buckle up, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime.
Direct flights to Rio de Janeiro will bring you to Galeao International Airport (GIG/RIO). The airport is just 12 miles from the city centre, with plenty of buses, taxis and shuttle services running regularly.
With its tropical climate, Rio is warm all year round. May-October are the coolest months, with highs of up to 25°C and lows of 19°C, while November – April see temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties, rarely dropping below 22°C. The warmer months bring the rainy season with them, which can offer a refreshing reprieve from the high temperatures. If you are looking for cheap flights to Rio de Janeiro, plan your trip in the rainy season, when it is still warm but you will encounter fewer crowds and are likely to find better deals on flights and accommodation.
The indigenous Tamoio people lived in the Baia de Guanabara for thousands of years before Gaspar de Lemos “discovered” it on 1st January 1502. Mistaking the wide bay for a river, he named it Rio de Janeiro – January River –for the month in which it was discovered. The bay was not, however, settled in by Europeans until 1555 when the French arrived. They occupied the region in alliance with the Tamoio people, who hated the Portuguese for their cruelty, before being expelled in 1567. A fairly bloody couple of centuries followed, in which the Tamoio people were wiped out, killed by either slavery or disease, and African slaves were brought in to work in the flourishing sugarcane plantations and, later, gold and diamond mines. In 1763, the capital of Brazil was moved from Salvador to Rio in recognition of the city’s prosperity. When Napoleon advanced on Lisbon in 1807, Portugal’s prince and his court of 15,000 embarked in an armada of 40 ships to Brazil. He adored the country and, when he became king, he declared Rio to be the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve; the only New World colony to have a European monarch. In 1889, Brazil at last achieved independence from the Portuguese and became a country in its own right. A trip to the Museu Historico Nacional will give you a whistle-stop tour of Brazil’s history and how it came to be the vibrant hub that it is today.
Of course, no trip to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without sunbathing, snorkelling and gazing at the beautiful people on the city’s even more beautiful beaches. For tourists, the beaches of Rio are simply spectacular – the people, the ambience, the pristine white sand and turquoise water; but for Rio’s residents (known as Cariocas), it is simply somewhere to hang out every day, and enjoy life. Rio’s most famous beach, Copacabana, became a symbol of the city in the 1940s, when it became the preferred weekend escape of glamorous film stars. However, today Ipanema pips Copacabana, packed as it is with beautiful men and women playing ball games, surfing, or enjoying a cold drink. As always, if you want seclusion within this tourist hotspot, you don’t need to look too far. There are a cluster of stunning secret beaches nearby; ask in your hotel reception, or ask a friendly waiter/ess for their favourite place.
Rio de Janeiro is presided over by the imposing, peaceful and warm statue of Christ the Redeemer. The statue comes in at 635 metric tonnes, and soars over the city from the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca forest. The statue was built in the 1920s to address Society’s Godlessness and, although it didn’t do much for Rio (it went on to become famous for being one of the sexiest cities in the world), the statue is observedacross the world as a symbol of Christianity. It is also recognised as one of the New Wonders of the World. A cable-car trip to the summit of Pão de Açúcar is a fantastic way to get to grips with the geographical location of Rio de Janeiro, as well as the city’s architecture and unrivalled beauty. Here, 360 metres above the city, flanked by Copacabana beach to your south and Corcovado Mountain and Christ the Redeemer to your left, the exquisite beauty of the city and its location will really hit home. The cable-car trip is in two parts, with each car going every twenty minutes. It can be very busy, so go as early as you can to avoid the crowds and to enjoy the spectacular moment in relative peace! If you fancy an adventure, it is possible to climb to the peak. The first stage is relatively easy and can be done by yourself, but for the second stage you will need to book a guide.
Rio’s cuisine is very distinct, evolving as it has from three discrete cultures: native Indians, Portuguese colonisers and African slaves. Fresh ingredients, rich stews and plenty of rice and pulses are accompanied by zesty sauces and crisp salads, to create the perfect balance. There are countless authentic restaurants to choose from, but for a truly authentic meal, follow the cariocas! The restaurants may not be as glamourous as their tourist-driven neighbours, but they will be cheaper and more traditional. Barbecues are popular – just follow your nose, as the scents of smoky grilled meat wafts through the streets. The barbecues, known as churrascaria, tend to be all-you-can-eat affairs, where you pay a set price and can fill up on a range of barbecued meats and a selection of salads. Your trip to Rio won’t be complete without experiencing street food from the many vendors, whose sweet and savoury snacks are simply irresistible. Sweet tooths will love the range of pastries and cakes, which have evolved over the centuries, from traditional Portuguese recipes to exquisite Brazilian takes on Portuguese classics, such as the silken custard tart. Depending on the time of day, your meal will be perfectly complemented by a glass of sugar cane juice or a caipirinha, Brazil’s moreish lime and rum-based cocktail. Rio’s allure and beauty is so complex and colourful that it is almost impossible to describe. Every step, every sight, every taste, enchants and delights, leaving you desperate to return, again and again. If you want to discover this magnificent city of passion and life, Travangelo can help you find cheap flights to Rio de Janeiro.