Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

City Overview of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro – host of the first Summer Olympics in South America in 2016 and one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil – leaves a lasting impression simply because of its location between the steep granite cliffs and the golden sandy beaches of the southeast coast of Brazil.

The beach is not just a place where you can soak up the sun – here you can do sports, meet or even do business. Brazilians and tourists go on pilgrimage to the famous Copacabana or Ipanema whenever possible.

In addition to the breathtaking white sandy beaches, the Christ statue and the Sugar Loaf leave the strongest impression in Rio and make it a main travel destination for every visitor to Brazil.

Almost anything is possible in Rio – but also that your belongings disappear if you are not careful or just unlucky. Attempts have been made to reduce the crime rate, but caution is still advisable.

The inhabitants of Rio, the Cariocas, are characterized above all by their passionate and enthusiastic way of life, which can best be observed at the annual carnival . A large part of the population consisted of African slaves. This inevitably led to ethnically mixed couples over time, and their offspring were accepted as the norm. The African influence can still be felt almost everywhere in Rio’s culture, including dance, food and religious matters.

The difference between rich and poor is still serious in Rio, and so the exclusive residential areas of the wealthy stand in stark contrast to the slums ( favelas ) with which the surrounding hills are littered.

Important facts

Area code: (0) 21

Population: 13,458,075 (2020)

Latitude: -22.903539

Longitude: -43.209587

Weather in Rio de Janeiro

The best time to travel is undoubtedly during the summer months (December to February) and culminates in the carnival season. Temperatures can go up to 40 ºC and more, and if that is the case, Brazilians should be taken as a model and the beach visited. The main season also falls during this time. Not only are international flights then considerably more expensive, prices are also increased for domestic travel and hotel accommodation. It is advisable to reserve flights and overnight stays in advance.

Winter in Rio is mild, temperatures rarely drop below 17 ° C. A thin sweater or light jacket is advisable on cooler evenings and during the winter months (June to August).

City history of Rio de Janeiro

On January 1, 1502, a Portuguese ship sailed into Guanabara Bay in southeastern Brazil . Since it was incorrectly assumed to have sailed into a huge river mouth, either Gonçalves, Coelho, Vespucci or de Lemos (all were honored with the discovery) chose Rio de Janeiro (January River) as a suitable name.

In 1555 the French tried to take control of the city and built a garrison close to Sugar Loaf Mountain. In 1567 the Brazilian governor, Estácio de Sá, finally forced them to leave Rio, which was given the official name São Sebastião de Rio de Janeiro and began to develop rapidly. More and more settlers came from Portugal and mingled with the indigenous population.

Over the next 200 years, Rio became an important port to ward off the military invasions by French and other European attackers. Since gold was found in neighboring Minas Gerais, the city became a control and tax administration center; In the 17th century, sugar cane, which was supplied from all parts of the country, became new gold. In 1763, Rio replaced Bahia, Salvador, as the country’s colonial capital. Back then, over 50,000 people lived in Rio.

Under the domination of Dom João VI, who came from Portugal in 1808, the infrastructure improved. The trade in coffee from the other parts of the country became a new source of income. Huge plantations were created in the interior. The cleared mountain slopes led to devastating landslides, so that in 1862 an extensive reforestation project started in Tijuca, in which hundreds of thousands of seedlings were planted to establish the city’s first national park.

Fleeing the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Portuguese royal family transferred their court to Brazil in 1808 and made Rio their new home. This drastic social upheaval triggered an unusual process in history – in just over a decade, a simple colony transformed into the capital of the Brazilian empire.

The newly crowned Emperor Dom João VI declared Brazil’s independence and invited leading European artists and scientists to Rio to promote the city’s cultural and intellectual development. A convoy of French artists came, followed by scientists and other intellectuals. Rio de Janeiro became known as the Paris of the southern hemisphere. Important new institutions were established, including the Horto Forestral (botanical gardens), the Bank of Brazil, the Academy of Fine Arts, and military and naval academies. The Brazilian railroad was inaugurated in Rio in 1858; In 1862 the first steamship service followed across the bay to Niterói.

In 1920, Rio was flooded with refugees from World War I, the city had a population of just over 1 million, and even more came in the 1930s and 40s. Rio lost its status as Brazilian capital to Brasilia in 1960 and was surpassed by its archrival São Paulo as the largest city in Brazil. However, when the tourism boom began in the 1920s, Rio blossomed into one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

Today Rio has everything: the tropical latitude, the African zest and the European taste of half a century of close connection with the Old World. Brazil’s influence on the global economic stage is secured as a member of the BRICS countries. And as the venue for the 2014 World Cup and host of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio is strengthening its status as an important global player.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro