Rio de Janeiro

Ahhh–there is something so captivatingly mesmerizing about Rio de Janeiro that is simply impossible to resist, whether it’s your first time or your hundred-and-first time. Long ago, during the heyday of the 1940s, the world’s most beautiful and rich people would jet in from everywhere for a luxurious and enthralling few days ensconced within the seductive allure at that time particularly unique to the exotic Copacabana Beach. Today, visitors to Rio find Ipanema Beach to be just as enticing, ever since its worldwide discovery during the 1960s, when the “kings” of the bossa nova, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes drew the attention of beachcombers to Ipanema Beach.

Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro

Where the Ocean Kisses the Rio Sand
The 1964 Grammy-winning Girl from Ipanema managed to forever put the beach on the paradise-lovers’ map with its sexy lyrics, that included “Tall and tan and young and lovely / The girl from Ipanema goes walking / And when she passes / Each one she passes goes, aaaaaah…” The beaches of Rio are requisite playground destinations for cariocas (the locals.) and visitors alike, lacking nothing for any adventurer seeking a world-class mecca of ultimate enjoyment and relaxation, among the world’s most beautiful and fascinating people. The absolute splendor of watching the sun rise over Copacabana Beach is among a few experiences that should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list. Rio is called the Marvelous City (Cidade Maravilhosa,) with its shimmery sand beaches defining the shoreline of the city with its richly forested mountainous backdrop. An oceanward glance reveals a strand of diminutive islands resting in a formation resembling a pearl-strung necklace. Here within this stunning urban landscape you’ll find the best of outdoor living flourishing, with exotic rainforest-hosted hiking adventure joining harmoniously with sun-drenched sailing, surfing, hang gliding and rock climbing.

Marcana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro

A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com

Beyond the Beach
Among the impressive expanse of things to do, there’s Maracanã, sitting right in the center of Rio, the officially named Estãdio Jornalistã Mãrio Filho is Rio’s state of the art soccer stadium that becomes the ideal sized venue for massive crowd-drawing events, like being the site for the February 20, 2016 Rolling Stones concert. Erected to host the 1950 World Cup with 200,000 spectators attending, the elliptical stadium was, for many years, the world’s largest and certainly the most luxurious. There is a special grace found within the spirit of the Cariocas–it’s keenly good-natured, life-loving and captivating beyond measure, and it’s impossible to spend any time around them without finding it unavoidably contagious. The spirit of Rio–once you experience it–will captivatingly lure you back, for as long as you live.

Women doing the samba

The Soul of Samba
Rio and music are synonymous, with a large mix of styles permanently topped by Samba, with its infectious African influence characterized by powerful rhythms. This lively music can be heard playing from every direction throughout town, with the heart and soul of this native music emanating most from Lapa. This district of Rio is the red-light destination, where weekends are nothing but one continuous party spilling out of live music venues, popular to people from every social status–with music as the unifier. This is the defining music of Carnaval, which, by the way, is not the only festive celebratory time for cariocas, who live to party and enjoy life most of all–with urban samba parties to baile funk parties throughout the favelas, and boat parties that fill the bay with lively celebration. And everyone parties hardy Rio-style on New Year’s Eve efforts at Rèveillon, just as they do for the Festas Juninas (festa de São João,) in the middle of Brazil’s winter season, which occurs in June.

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