You’ve already heard the buzz: Rio is the place to visit right now thanks in large part to its selection as the hosting city for two major sporting events. Starting June 12, it will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and in 2016, it will play host city to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Whether you have plans to see either of these sporting events onsite or not, there are a few things you’ll want to know when planning an excursion to Brazil’s coastal city.
Scattered with beaches, historic sites, rain forests and music, Rio is a vivid locale that’s vibrant with life. Its idyllic natural setting and temperate yearly climate makes it a strong candidate for outdoorsy types looking for a place to hike, surf and explore the flora and fauna. Sign up for a bike tour, swim among 100 area beaches, rock climb to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain and hike at the Serra Dos Orgaos National Park. A pick-up soccer game is always recommended.
Foodies who prefer centering their trips around local cuisine will be delighted by the options. Strong drinks, and spice-infused seafood, beef, black beans and rice are all staples of the local diet. Be sure to try Brazil’s national dish, feijoada (black bean stew with beef, pork, collards and rice) and to sample the area’s street food in-between the finer dining options. View travel expert Anthony Bourdain’s top food picks and takeaways here.
Renowned for its music and party-going atmosphere, the nightlife scene in Rio is legendary. While you’re in town, take advantage of the vast nightclubs, bars and discos peppering the area. You can enjoy a truly unique experience during the 200-year-old tradition of Rio de Janeiro Carnival–which takes place in the four days before the beginning of Lent each year and includes a dancing competition between various samba schools at the annual parade.
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