Friday, January 20, 2017

Why we love Rio de Janeiro

Known to Brazilians as "Cidade Maravilhosa" (The Wonderful City), Rio de Janeiro is always brimming with color, sound, rhythm, and joy, which make it synonymous with Carnival, happiness, and beautiful people.


Exotic, rhythmic and sensual Rio de Janeiro is a city where one beach is more beautiful than the other, and where historic quarters and modern life pleasantly blend together. Immersed in the center with its strong cultural heritage and sumptuous areas of surrounding nature, the most luxurious palace hotels offers dream vacations to this festive, cultural and wellness minded city. Depending on the mood of the moment, Bohemian Rio, hyper Rio, jet set or even intimate Rio offers its multiple atmospheres to its delighted visitors.


Nestled on the hills of Old Rio, the central quarter of Santa Teresa, known as the Bohemian quarter, is filled with artists, intellectuals and highly sophisticated visitors. Strollers, window shoppers and admirers of beauty will all find what they’re seeking here. Its narrow, winding cobblestone streets, bordered by large flower filled homes in a variety of architectural styles, its walls of street art and its parks covered with mosaics make Santa Teresa one of the city’s most picturesque and trendy neighborhoods. Symbolizing the charm of the surroundings, the famous bonde electrico, a tramway built in 1896, meanders through the streets, dropping off passengers at a gastronomic restaurant, a quaint café or at a viewing spot with an incredible panorama of Guanabara Bay. To take full advantage of the numerous activities in this Brazilian equivalent of Paris’ Montmartre, book a room at the Santa Teresa Hotel.  You won’t be disappointed by its tropical chic design concept which makes it one of the South America’s most beautiful hotels.


Rio de Janeiro is also a very popular jet set destination. The legendary Copacabana Beach with its fine sand acquired its fame in the 1920s with the construction of the Copacabana Beach Hotel in 1923, the only luxury hotel in Latin America at the time. Steeped in nostalgia and elegance, this mythical site welcomes eminent international personalities as well as Rio’s VIPs, who come here to sip a caïpirinha on the swimming pool terrace.Near the Copacabana Beach Hotel we do recommend the 4* Hotel Porto Bay International. Not far away, Ipanema, is even more glamorous, chic and sophisticated than its Copacabana rival. As the new center for fashion, Ipanema is the most select quarter of the city with the most luxurious boutiques in Rio. Ipanema beach, a popular spot for Rio’s privileged young people, is less crowded and calmer than Copacabana. 
Here we do recommend the hotel Fasano designed by Philippe Starck.

Porto Bay Internacional Rio


As author Stephan Zweig put it when he discovered Rio : « There is no more beautiful, inexhaustible and inextricable city in the world. One never ceases to discover it.” Rio owes its magic to its unprecedented natural setting, with an incredible combination of fine sand beaches, green morros (the mountains surrounding the city) and enchanting parks like the one in the Tijuca forest. By moving a bit further away from the beaches, the cultural center and the excitement of this city that never sleeps, that we discover the most intimate and remote sites in the area with the most luxuriant nature. Just fifteen minutes from Ipanema, the Suite for example, offers guests one of the finest views of the city on the ocean and enables them to enjoy one of the quarter’s best kept secrets: Joatinga Beach.


Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil, self-proclaimed by its inhabitants as the “marvelous city,” is the country’s second largest metropolis after Sao Paulo and an historic crossroads of different civilizations as well as a site where modern life exists side by side with exotic nature. The word that best sums up this ambiance of enchanting beaches, samba rhythms and carnival is “alegria”…


Synonymous with festive vacations, Rio de Janeiro also possesses breathtaking landscapes. Whether it’s to swim and tan in January on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches or sway to the sound of maracas while sipping a caïpirinha or exploring the natural treasures with which the city and its surroundings are blessed, there’s something for everyone.


Rio de Janeiro has two airports. The Antonio Carlos Jobim Galeao International Airport is used for international flights arriving in Brazil. Santos Dumont, in the Bay of Guanabara, is closer to the center and is for domestic flights. Rio also has a centrally located train station, the Estacion Central do Brasil, although for travelling throughout the country’s interior, the highly developed national and international bus routes make Rodoviaria Novo Rio bus terminal a popular and excellent starting point. Finally, the best way to get around the city and enjoy all the sights and sounds is the legendary tramway built in 1896.


To recall the taste of the exhilarating and exotic flavor of the renowned Rio cocktail, a bottle of cashaca or even the complete caïpirinha kit is highly recommended. In the area of beachwear, a pair of Havainas flip flops, a multi-colored bikini and a Copacabana sarong are excellent and practical souvenirs.


The Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain at Corcovado, via the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of course, a visit to one of the world’s largest stadiums, the Maracana and the Tijuca National Park. And in February, Carnival in Rio of course, the world’s largest and most festive carnival!

Museu da Chácara do Céu, once the mansion of illustrious art collector Raimundo Otoni Castro Maya. Includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Jean Metzinger, Eliseu Visconti and Candido Portinari. Visit their website for more info.

Museu do Bonde, tells the story of the Santa Teresa tram, when pulled uphill by donkeys.
The Selarón stairway, 215 steps decorated with regularly-changing mosaics, created by Chilean artist Selarón who moved to Brazil in 1983.

Largo dos Guimarães, Santa Teresa’s busiest area, with most restaurants, bars and art studios. Nearby Largo das Neves, the last tram stop, also has popular bars and the Nossa Senhora das Neves Church.
The Santa Teresa Convent, and the Ship House (Casa Navio, 1938) and Valentim Castle (Castelo de Valentim, late nineteenth century), near Largo do Curvelo.

Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park), a culture centre with fabulous 360-degree views high up the hill, which hosts exhibits and shows.

Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo (Rua Monte Alegre 306), which occupies a vintage Santa Teresa house, pays homage to an outstanding woman.

Centro Cultural Casa de Benjamin Constant, once home to Brazil’s greatest republicanist. The museum and its grounds are a perfect example of a typical Santa Teresa chácara (country house).
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer (Eric Jrm Engelen)
Beautiful View Of Sugarloaf Mountain
Maracana Stadium
Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach
Photography by Eric Jrm Engelen
Ipanema Beach
Copacabana Beach
Bohemian Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa
Rio Carnival

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