HOW LONG SHOULD I STAY IN RIO DE JANEIRO?
Rio de Janeiro is a traveling hotspot and we suggest.Seven action-packed days is a good start to visit the major tourist points and also various activities and places that are well worth a visit.
HOW WALKABLE IS RIO DE JANEIRO?
Rio offers many public transit options, including bus and metro. Note that air-conditioned buses cost a little more than non-air-conditioned buses, so if you are traveling a long distance around the city and you’re not used to hot weather, it may be worth considering shelling out a bit more. It’s quite a hilly city, so walking can sometimes be akin to hiking – make sure you are wearing good shoes.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT RIO DE JANEIRO?
Even if all year round – the temperature does not vary too much, the best time to visit Rio is between August and March, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to hit the beaches. The city’s seductive samba beat and incredible panoramic views last year-round, but arrive in February to experience Carnival.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?
It is recommended to take a taxi in Rio de Janeiro at night, rather than walking or using the public transport. Do not flash your cash or valuables around, always be on your guard when withdrawing cash at an ATM. If venturing into areas outside the more touristic ones, better not do it unaccompanied.
Rio de Janeiro is a city of incredible contrasts, with Christ the Redeemer and stunning beaches on one hand, and the famous favelas on the other. Yet there is so much more to Rio than sand, statues and crime stories. Here are 12 fascinating facts about Rio de Janeiro.
Rio is not the capital city
Rio de Janeiro is not the capital city of Brazil – but it was from 1763 until 1960. In 1960, the capital status was transferred to Brasilia which is located in the centre of the country.
Rio is the second largest city in Brazil
With a population of 6.3 million people, Rio is the second largest city in Brazil. Yet it pales in comparison to Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo with its population of 12.04 million people.
Rio de Janeiro means January River
Rio de Janeiro means January River in English. It was named when the first explorers arrived in Rio, in January, and mistakenly thought the bay they arrived at (nowadays known as Guanabara Bay) was the mouth of a river.
Rio has the bluest sky in the world
In 2006, TV researcher Anya Hohnbaun visited 20 countries, including New Zealand and South Africa in search of the country with the bluest sky. Using a spectrometer developed by scientists at the British National Physical Laboratory, she scientifically concluded that it was Rio de Janeiro that had the bluest sky.
Rio is home to the world’s largest urban forest
The Tijuca rainforest spreads from the centre of Rio and is considered the largest urban forest in the world, covering an area of 32 kilometers squared. Within the forest is the Corcovado mountain, the base point for the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. It is also home to hundreds of plant and wildlife species, many that are endangered and unique to the Tijuca forest habitat.
Christ the Redeemer is one of the Seven Wonders
The cultural icon is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, representing a symbol of Christianity across the world and a significant tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro. Christ the Redeemer stands a stunning 30 meters tall, on top of an eight meter pedestal, that overlooks the city.
Street art is legal in Rio
In recent years, street art was made legal and openly encouraged, leading to a thriving art scene that has turned grey, blank walls into colourful canvases that express emotions, talents and current social issues. The street artists can paint on any construction, wall or surface as long as they have the owner’s permission and it is not a designated historical building.
Maracanã has the record for the largest football game attendance
Maracanã Stadium holds the record for the largest football game attendance in history, although it’s not something Brazilians like to dwell on. The record was set in the 1950 World Cup final when nearly 200,000 fans packed into the stadium, in addition to the thousands of people surrounding it. The match was between Brazil and Uruguay but Uruguay won 2-1. This tragedy for Brazil was nicknamed Maracanazo.
Rio’s nickname is Cidade Maravilhosa
Rio has been lovingly given the nickname, Cidade Maravilhosa, meaning Marvellous City. It’s combination of urban culture, stunning coastline, rugged peaks and impressive forest are some of the reasons behind this name.
Christ get struck by lightning several times a year
The Christ the Redeemer statue repeatedly defies the age-old saying that lightning never strikes twice. Several times a year, the statue is struck by lightning and as a result requires continuous repairs. In 2014, a particular powerful storm broke off a piece of the Christ’s thumb and damaged his head.
Not all favelas are dangerous
Favelas, locally referred to as communities due to the negative image the word ‘favela’ brings, are not all the crime-riddled areas that the media and films paint them to be. The majority are filled with hard-working people and some, especially in the south zone of the city, are safe for tourists. Vidigal has some of the most popular weekend parties at Alto Vidigal Hostel which is located at the peak of the hill with incredible views overlooking Ipanema. Rocinha, one of Rio’s largest communities, has plenty of volunteer opportunities for visitors.
Rio’s carnival is the biggest in the world
Most people know that carnival in Brazil is a huge event, but it’s Rio de Janeiro that has the largest carnival in the world. In addition to the 6.3 million residents, an extra 1 million tourists flock to Rio each year, to take part in the carnival celebrations.
Although Portuguese, not Spanish, is the language of Brazil, a knowledge of Spanish will go a long way. You will recognize many similar words, and some Brazilians will understand you if you speak in Spanish. You will, however, find it difficult to understand them. Although many upper-class Brazilians know at least some English or French and are eager to practice on foreign visitors, don’t expect people on the street to speak your language. An effort by a foreigner to learn the local language is always appreciated. Pronunciation can be confusing. For example, “r” is pronounced “h,” so that “Rio” sounds like “Hee-o.”
At most large hotels and top restaurants you can get by in English with very few problems. But if you like to wander around on your own, you might want to invest in a good dictionary; the Portuguese Berlitz Pocket Dictionary is a useful one, light and easy to carry around.
First names are used a great deal in Brazil. In many situations in which English-speakers would use a title and surname, Brazilians often use a first name with the title of respect: Senhor for men (written Sr and usually shortened to Seu in spoken Portuguese) and Senhora (written Sra) or Dona (used only with first name) for women.
There are three second-person pronoun forms in Portuguese. Stick to você, equivalent to “you,” and you will be all right. O senhor (for men) or a senhora (for women) is used to show respect for someone of a different age group or social class, or to be polite to a stranger. As a foreigner, you won’t offend anyone if you use the wrong form of address. But if you want to learn when to use the more formal or informal style, observe how others address you, and be guided by that. In some parts of Brazil, mainly the northeast and the south, tu is used a great deal. Originally, in Portugal, tu was used among intimate friends and close relatives, but in Brazil, it is equivalent to você.
If you are staying for some time and are serious about learning
the language, there are plenty of Portuguese courses for non-native speakers. Meanwhile, here are some of the most essential words and phrases.
Tudo Bem, literally?meaning “all’s well,” is one of the most common forms of greeting: one person asks, “Tudo bem?”(or “Tudo bom?”) and the other replies, “Tudo bem” (or “Tudo bom”). This is also used to mean “OK,” “all right,” “will do,” or as a response when someone apologizes, as if to say, “That’s all right, it doesn’t matter.” “Ta legal” is a formal slang expression commonly heard. It means “OK” or “That’s cool.”
Good morning (good afternoon) Bom dia (boa tarde)
Good evening (good night) Boa noite
How are you? Como vai você?
Well, thank you Bem, obrigado
Hello (to answer the telephone) Alô
Hello (common forms of greeting) Bom dia, boa tarde, etc.
Hi, hey! (informal greeting also to get someone’s attention) Oi
Goodbye (very informal and most used) Tchau
Goodbye (literally “until soon”) Até logo
Goodbye (similar to “farewell”) Adeus
My name is (I am) Meu nome é (Eu sou)
What is your name? Como é seu nome?
It’s a pleasure é um prazer
Pleasure (used in introductions as “Pleased to meet you”) Prazer
Good! Great! Que bom!
Health! (the most common toast) Saúde
Do you speak English? Você fala inglês?
I don’t understand (I didn’t understand) Não entendo (Não entendi)
Do you understand? Você entende?
Please repeat more slowly Por favor repete, mais devagar
What do you call this (that)? Como se chama isto (aquilo)?
How do you say…? Como se diz…?
Please Por favor
Thank you (very much) (Muito) Obrigado (or obrigada, if a woman is speaking)
You’re welcome (literally “it’s nothing”) De nada
Excuse me (to apologize) Desculpe
Excuse me (taking leave or to get past someone) Com licença