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BRAZIL, SOUTH AMERICA - TRAVEL & LODGING GUIDE
HOTELS & BEACH RESORTS IN RIO DE JANEIRO

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Statue of Christ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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A Guide To Rio De Janeiro   by James Burrows

Featured Rio de Janeiro Hotels

The Marvelous City (Cidade Maravilhosa), Rio De Janeiro is a Southeast Brazilian city on Guanabara Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The city was founded by Portuguese in the 16th Century.

According to a tradition belief, the city was named “Rio de Janeiro” meaning “River of January” by the Portuguese explorers in 1502 believing Guanabara Bay to be the mouth of a river. The city of Rio de Janeiro became the capital of the colony of Brazil in 1763, the capital of the Brazilian empire in 1822, and the capital of the independent Brazil in 1889; however the capital was shifted to Brasília in 1960.
The former capital of Brazil, Rio De Janeiro City acquired its modern cloak in the early 1900s. Rio De Janeiro city is presently the second largest city after São Paulo, and the capital of Rio de Janeiro State of Brazil. It is the cultural, financial, commercial, communication, and transportation hub of Brazil. The city is commonly known as Rio, particularly in English and Brazilians. The official song of Rio is "Cidade Maravilhosa."

The estimated population of the city in 2005 is about 6,094,183. The residents of the city are known as Cariocas. The majority of the population of the city is of Portuguese descent. It includes a large number of people of African descent, and mulattos of mixed Portuguese and African descent. The city’s other important ethnic groups include Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Arabs, Jews, Asians (mostly Koreans and Japanese), and mixed Amerindians. Percentage wise, the population is comprised of White European descent (56%), of mixed-race descent (32.3%), of Black African descent (11.4%), of Asian descent (0.1%) and of Amerindian descent (0.1%).

Aerial of Corcovado Christ Statue, Rio de Janeiro
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The only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas is Brazil. In fact Portuguese is the official language that is spoken by almost the entire population. It’s the language largely used in schools, newspapers, radio, TV and for all business and administrative purposes. The Portuguese language in Brazil has undergone fewer phonetic changes that often called the “language of Camões.” The other languages spoken in the city and the entire Brazil include English, Spanish, Brazilian German dialects, such as Riograndenser Hunsrückisch and the Pomeranian language, and also the Talian, based on the Italian Venetian language, and Japanese In the city of São Paulo.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Rio is largely divided into Centro, Zona Sul (South Zone), Zona Norte (North Zone), and Zona Oeste (West Zone). The “Centro” is comprised of the historic downtown. Including Santa Teresa, the “Centro” is the city's financial and business center. The Zona Sul (South Zone) is the tourist-friendly area with the world-famous beaches. The Zone including the Copacabana and Ipanema is the epicenter of the city's tourist activity. 

The Zona Norte (North Zone) is the industrial zone, and is home to the Maracanã stadium, which was once the world's highest capacity football (soccer) venue. The Zona Oeste (West Zone) is a suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá, and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches.


Situated in the tropical South Atlantic, Rio is warm all year round. The summers (November to March) are very hot and humid. The winters (June to September) are cool and dry, never cold, with some precipitation. Rio is one of the popular tourist destinations of the world. Hemmed in beautiful low mountain ranges, Rio De Janeiro is one of the most beautiful natural harbors of the world. The city is known for its breathtaking landscape, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival. Highly celebrated city of Brazil, Rio is widely known for its scenic beauty, natural setting, Carnival celebrations, samba and other music, and marvelous crescent-shaped beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Rio is known for being easy-going and friendly lifestyle.

Samba music and samba dance is soul of Rio and Brazil. It’s the essence of the Rio carnival- Brazilian Carnival that is an annual celebration held 40 days before Easter, marking the start of Lent. The carnival in Rio de Janeiro features a number of parades including the famous Escolas de Samba (Samba schools) parades in the sambódromo exhibition centre; the popular 'blocos de carnaval' that parades in almost every corner of the city; Cordão do Bola Preta, one of the most traditional exhibits that parades in the centre of the city; Suvaco do Cristo parades in the Botanic Garden; Carmelitas parades in the hills of Santa Teresa; Simpatia é Quase Amor parades in Ipanema; and Banda de Ipanema including families and a wide spectrum of the gay population that parades in Ipanema.

Rio is the city full of a number of terrific tourist attractions. The city is blessed with numerous spectacular sights, beautiful beaches, elegant edifices, magnificent museums, and pleasing parks.

Spectacular sights include Corcovado, Pão de Açúcar, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, The Maracanã stadium, Parque Lage, and Jardim Botanico. The beautiful beaches in city include Flamengo, Botafogo, Leme, Copacabana, Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, and Grumari. Copacabana and Ipanema are the hot favorites of tourists.
Elegant Edifices in the city include Paço Imperial (1743, old Imperial Palace in downtown, next to Praça XV, Fifteen Square), Casa França Brasil (1820, French cultural center in downtown, next to CCBB), CCBB - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (1906, a cultural center with gallery, movie theater in downtown), Candelária Church (neoclassic cathedral next to CCBB), Mosteiro de São Bento (1663, Saint Benedict's Monastery, colonial architecture in downtown), Ilha Fiscal Palace (1889- in the Guanabara Bay, next to the Navy Museum), Palácio Gustavo Capanema ( A modern architecture in downtown designed by French architect Le Corbusier), Arcos da Lapa (1750), Catedral Metropolitana (cone-shaped cathedral in Lapa), São Francisco da Penitência church (1773 - colonial church), Theatro Municipal (1909 - City Theater in Cinelândia square), Biblioteca Nacional (1910 - National Library in Cinelândia square), Câmara Municipal (City Hall in Cinelândia square), Palácio do Catete (the former presidential palace (1893-1960), now a museum of recent history), Itamaraty (the former presidential palace), and Palácio Guanabara (Former palace of the Imperial Princess)Magnificent Museums of the city include Centro Museums, Zona Sul (South Zone) Museums, Zona Norte (North Zone) Museums, and Zona Oeste (West Zone) Museums.
Catching a Wave Under the Gaze of Sugar Loaf in Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
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The Centro Museums include Museu Histórico Nacional (National Museum of History, Downtown), Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts, Downtown), MAM - Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art, Downtown), Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum, Downtown), Museu Naval (Navy Museum, Downtown), Museu do Carnaval (Museum of Carnival, Downtown), and Museu Chácara do Céu (Museum of South American modern art, Downtown). Zona Sul (South Zone) Museums include Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), Museu da República (Museum of the Republic), Centro Cultural Telemar (Telemar Cultural Center), Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf (International Naïf Art Museum), Museu Carmem Miranda (Carmem Miranda Museum), Museu do Índio (Museum of the Indian), and Museu Villa-Lobos (Museum of Brazil's most important composer).
Copacabana, Rio De Janiero, Brazil
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Zona Norte (North Zone) Museums include Museu Nacional (National Museum), Museu do Primeiro Reinado (First Reign Museum), Museu Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (Astronomy Museum), Museu do Trem (Train Museum), and Museu Aeroespacial (Aerospatial Museum).

The only museum in Zona Oeste (West Zone) is Museu Casa do Pontal that is the most important collection of popular craft and artisanin Recreio dos Bandeirantes.

The Pleasing Parks in the city include Jardim Botânico, Parque Lage, Parque do Flamengo, Parque Guinle, Campo de Santana, and Quinta da Boa Vista. 


Rio is one of the major transportation hubs of Brazil, situated 450 km (280 mi) from Belo Horizonte, and 430 km (270 mi) from Sao Paulo.  Located 20 km away from the city center and main hotels, the Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (Galeão International Airport) is the major international airport of Rio de Janeiro receiving most of the International and domestic flights. Santos Dumont Airport, located right in the city center, by the Guanabara Bay, receives flights from Sao Paulo and a few other domestic destinations.

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Eat and drink in Rio de Janeiro  by Angela Corrias

Hotels in Rio de Janeiro

I have been to Rio de Janeiro maybe five times and what amazes me the most, after the greatest opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, is the great choice of restaurants and different kinds of food. My last visit to one of the most spectacular cities in the world was last July and exactly like every time, I spent my way back to Europe thinking that, sooner or later, I will go to live there. 
With deep trust on indigenous, I started asking everybody where I could find a good place to eat and every time the answer was a prompt: at Marius of course! Curious by such enthusiasm I decided to give the so-called top restaurant of the city a try. Beautifully set in front of Leme Beach, adjoining to the worldwide famous Copacabana, it’s by no means the run-of-the-mill example of a five-star restaurant. As soon as you reach the longed spot after a battle in Rio’s traffic, you’ll find yourself facing the first hard choice of your adventure: fish or meat? In fact, apparently for the endless variety in the menu, there are two versions of the same restaurant, one beside the other. In a typical Brazilian style, your journey will start with a never-ending buffet with all sort of appetizers, starters and dishes. While you are enjoying the best “Farofa” you have ever had, charming waiters will succeed each other with traditional and brand new choice of spit-roasted churrasco in the “meat-version” of the restaurant. 

If, instead, you’ve chosen fish, after tackling a swordfish-based ‘muqueca’ and a ‘catupiri’ with small, delicious prawns, I feel compelled to mention the toilets: they definitely are worth a visit. Ground and sinks filled with mock-precious stones, characteristic fish-shaped taps and heady incense perfume.

Brazilian Food and Drink, Caipirinha and Cachassa Bottle, Brazil, South America
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Miles far away from the classic conception of restaurant, Marius is the latest generation of luxurious holiday destinations. But Rio de Janeiro offers an impressive range of restaurants, for every taste, pocket and style. One of my favourite lunches is in the typical "Galletos" places that you can easily find all over the city. 

The last one I visited is in Ipanema, precisely in Rua Visconde de Pirajà. It's in a corner and in its simple façade a big menu is shown. Basically, you will have half chicken well spit-roasted and a consistent side course at your choice. The choice is various and colourful, where we can match the chicken with farofa, rice, beans, salad and so on. My drink is of course Guaranà. The price is around eight reals per person, which means around three euro for a portion I had hard time to finish. I go very often to Brazil and its galletos are for sure on my to-do-list. From luxurious restaurants to simple bistros, from genuine ‘lanchonetes’ to ‘coconut stands’, all over the city the possibilities to get refreshed are countless and everywhere the warmth of brazilian weather and people will make you feel at home.

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About the author: Angela Corrias

FEATURED HOTELS IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

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California Othon Classic Hotel Rio De Janeiro
Featuring all the modern day conveniences, California Othon Classic Hotel Rio De Janeiro offers its guests all the enchantments of Copacabana Beach right at their fingertips.  This property is about 5 minutes away from the beaches of Ipanema, Arpoador and Leblon, and steps away from Rio de Janeiro's main points of entertainment. Moreover, the hotel is extremely close to downtown and just 30 minutes drive from the Santos Dumont Airport.  An attentive room service is available for your convenience.  You can dine in elegance at the in-house restaurant that serves delicious local and international cuisine, for you to feast on. The bar provides the ideal setting for you to relax, while enjoying your favourite drink.
Copacabana Palace Hotel Rio De Janeiro
The jewel of the Orient-Express collection in the southern hemisphere is ideally suited for guests who are integrating work and leisure.  Facing the famous Copacabana Beach, the Copacabana Palace Hotel is placed only a few minutes from the centre of Rio. The hotel is 8 miles from the Santos Dumont Airport and 20 miles from Rio de Janeiro's international airport.  Each room offers beautiful views of the sea or Copacabana Avenue for you to enjoy.  With its opulent lounges, bars and restaurants, the Copacabana Palace is a haven of relaxation and good living. Guests can dine at the Cipriani Restaurant that serves Italian dishes, while the Pergula Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and alfresco dining. You can also relax and enjoy a drink at the Copacabana Piano Bar, which is a sophisticated and casual meeting place.
InterContinental Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Easy on the eye, the delicate shades and simplistic design of the Inter Continental Hotel Rio provides everything necessary for a luxurious stay and is ideally suited for leisure and business travellers.  Located near the Rio De Janeiro city, this property is 35 kilometres from the Tom Jobim International Airport and is close to Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches as well as the Botanical gardens.  Round the clock room service is also offered at this hotel for your convenience.  Guests can relish breakfast, lunch and Italian dinner that is served at the onsite restaurants. Serving special drinks and famous Caipirinha in a cosy atmosphere, the lobby bar is an ideal place to relax or meet friends.
Marina Palace Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Featuring a beachfront location and comfortable accommodation, Marina Palace Hotel Rio de Janeiro is an ideal place for your vacations.  This elegant property enjoys a very magnificent location in front of the beach. The hotel is about 25 kilometres from the Rio De Janeiro International Airport.  The hotel offers150 comfortable guestrooms that are facilitated with an array of modern amenities, to ensure you a relaxing stay.  You can dine in elegance at the in-house restaurant that serves delicious international cuisine, for you to relish. The bar provides the ideal setting for you to relax, while enjoying your favourite drink.  Leisure facilities offered by the hotel includes a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and solarium.
Merlin Copacabana Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Featuring all the modern day conveniences, Merlin Copacabana Hotel is your home away from home when visiting the Rio de Janeiro area.  Situated one block from Copacabana Beach on a main avenue full of banks and offices, this property is just a 10-minute walk from Rio-Sul Shopping Centre. The hotel is only a kilometre from the city centre and about 40 kilometres from the nearest airport. You can dine in elegance at the in-house restaurant that serves scrumptious international cuisine, for you to feast on. The bar is an ideal place to enjoy a glass of fine drink, after a tiring day.  During leisure, you can workout in the gymnasium, take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or unwind at the sauna.
Orla Copacabana Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Featuring an elegant decor and a warm hospitality, Orla Copacabana welcomes you for an unforgettable vacation.  The Orla Copacabana Hotel is only minutes away from the downtown Rio de Janeiro. It is 4 miles from the Botanic gardens and 2.5 miles from the Sugar loaf. The most prestigious brand stores are just minutes away from the hotel. Due to its privileged location, it is an amazing convenience for all the travellers. The restaurant offers a menu with several dishes of international cuisine and the lobby bar serves exotic drinks with magnificent ocean view.  Guest can relax at the terrace with acclimatized swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre, a relaxing environment in combination with the glamorous landscape of the beach in Copacabana.
Sheraton Barra Suites Hotel Rio de Janeiro
This attractive property offers excellent and friendly service with the highest standards of accommodation to make your stay a memorable one.  Situated at Barra Da Tijuca Beach, Sheraton Barra Suites Hotel Rio de Janeiro is easily accessible from the Corcovado Peak. This property is 30 kilometers from the city centre and 36 kilometres from the airport.  All the guestrooms feature a balcony that offers beautiful views of the surrounding.  Offering panoramic views of Barra da Tijuca beach, the onsite restaurants serves a wide variety of international cuisine for you to enjoy. After an exhausting day, you can relax at the lobby bar, which is also an ideal place for socializing while enjoying drinks and appetizers.
Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort Rio de Janeiro
The Sheraton Rio Hotel Rio de Janeiro enjoys an enviable reputation in the city as the only resort and beachfront property offering the tropical ambiance one seeks when planning a trip to Rio.  The hotel is located in an oasis of lush tropical vegetation, above a sandy beach, lapped by the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean and flanked, on the other side, by mountain scenery.  All 559 rooms and suites feature private balconies where guests can enjoy spectacular views of the ocean, world famous beaches and mountains.  The restaurants, poolside snack bar and lobby lounge bar offer a wide variety of international and Latin American cuisine. Four restaurants offer a casual or elegant atmosphere, serving traditional Brazilian or international cuisine.
Windsor Excelsior Hotel Rio De Janeiro
Featuring excellent service, high standards of comfort and a friendly atmosphere, this property is an ideal place to reside for both business as well as leisure travellers.  Situated in a residential and commercial area, Excelsior Hotel Rio De Janeiro is close to the Copacabana Beach, shops, bars as well as restaurants. This property is just a 10-minute walk from the Arcovezde Metro and 13 kilometres away from the airport.  Guests can dine at the onsite restaurant that serves both local as well as international cuisine. The cosy bar is an ideal place to unwind with a glass of fine drink.  During leisure, you can workout in the state-of-the-art gymnasium, have a bracing dip in the swimming pool, re-energise your body in the jacuzzi or pamper yourself at the sauna.
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