With the festive season in full swing here in the United Kingdom, the same festive celebrations are taking place in a similar style 5000 miles away. However, in the carnival city of Rio de Janeiro, temperatures average 22 degrees in December, far from the current weather conditions in the United Kingdom. When in Rio around this time, one may come across a large floating Christmas tree on the shores of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Around this time each year, Rio celebrates by decorating tropical trees, turning on Christmas lights and letting off fireworks. Over this period there are several events taking place, such as the Umbanda Festival God of the Sea, usually celebrated on the 31st of December. The festive spirit and colourful celebratory style of Christmas in Rio may suit tourists who aim to celebrate Christmas in warmer conditions or simply yearn a unique experience.
Rio de Janeiro is situated on the South East coast of Brazil, and boasts 23 beaches as well as beautiful natural scenery. Perhaps one of the most famous sights in Rio is the Sugarloaf Mountain, which acts as a backdrop against the long stretch of beach and favelas scattered around the hills. Visitors may take a cable car to the summit, which runs from 8am to 9pm each day. The Brazil tourism board recommends tourists visit Sugar Loaf Mountain during sunset hours as this offers the opportunity to take some innovative photographs.
For those who want to view one of the most iconic sights in Rio, it is recommended they visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is located on the Corcovado Mountain. The large statue is part of the newer edition of the Seven Wonders of the World and was constructed between 1922 and 1931. Visitors may reach the statue by either climbing around 220 steps to the top of the mountain or by taking a twenty-minute tram ride. Like Sugarloaf Mountain, this attraction also offers panoramic views of the city, making for some outstanding photography.
Other than the natural beauty of Rio, there may be lots more for tourists to discover in this city. The variety of beaches in Rio offer the opportunity to relax by the ocean or take a cruise, which may include a lunch or dinner depending on the package. For those who enjoy culture, Rio offers Favela Tours and Behind-the-Scenes Carnival tours depending on the time of year. Favelas are urban communities situated in the hills and offer the opportunity for tourists to learn more about the communities which live in these condensed areas. For foodies, Eat Rio offers small walking tours around street markets and lesser-known bars and restaurants which may be favourited by the locals. Furthermore, Rio has a year round calendar of events ranging from concerts to corporate events, appealing to all kinds of visitors from around the globe.
As well as celebrating Christmas this year, Rio is preparing for its first Olympic and Paralympic Games in summer 2016. There appears to be a lot of preparation underway and facilities being built to accommodate the different sports taking place during the Games. According to the official Rio 2016 website, test events have begun recently, two Olympic parks are still in construction and the athlete’s village aims to be finished in due course. Like previous Olympic games, the event aims to create a lasting legacy with an emphasis on sustainability and stimulating the local economy. This event seems to have the potential to draw in vast amount of tourists during games time, as well as attract the world’s attention.
What kind of benefits may the local community garner from the Olympic Games?