Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil
, often mistaken for the country’s capital and is located along the south east coast. It is most famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival.
Rio is one of the country’s major transportation hubs, second only to São Paulo
. Famous beaches include Copacabana and Ipanema, and it is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue.
If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, Rio Carnival is a must-see. The colourful, flamboyant celebration is well known for the escolas de samba (samba schools) that parade through Centro on a gigantic structure called Sambódromo (Sambadrome).
In Rio de Janeiro you can probably find food to fit any craving. A good approach to local food is 'comida a kilo' - buffet-style restaurants where you pay by the weight of the food on your plate.
Getting around Rio is easiest by taxi. All legal cabs are yellow and can be distinguished by a blue stripe painted on the sides. Buses are the cheapest way to get around the South Zone but most suited to more adventurous travellers who enjoy navigating their way around. The Metro Rio subway system is another great way to get around: trains are air conditioned as well as clearer signs than other public transport in Rio, making it much easier for visitors to use.