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Rio de Janeiro – or just Rio – is one of the Americas’ great metropolitan centers. The city is full of color and life that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. From pristine beaches to towering mountains, the city’s natural landscape is breathtaking. So too is the architecture, from the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer that looms over the city to the bustling downtown center. Carnival in Rio is known as the world’s biggest party, but that may change come the next World Cup and Olympics.
Rio is divided into seven zones, each with its own distinct atmosphere. Aptly named Centro is the city center and houses skyscrapers, cathedrals, and museums. The South Zone is popular with all travelers, with world-renowned beaches like Copacabana drawing millions of visitors each year. The North Zone contains Rio’s famous Maracana Stadium, along with the Tijuca Forest. In the West Zone, you’ll find one of Brazil’s fastest-growing areas, with heavy influences from American city planning.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions, for many reasons. The city has over 50 miles of coast, with famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema immortalized in song and legend. Rio is a hub of commerce and culture, with Brazil’s second-largest metropolitan economy and one of South America’s proudest histories.
The streets of Rio never sleep, and that’s due in large part to the vibrant music scene that the city has given birth to. Bossa Nova, a music genre that blends elements of samba and jazz into an irresistibly energetic new tradition. Funk Carioca is another endemic genre that grew out of the Miami bass hip hop scene and presents an undeniable argument to hit the dance floor. Of course, samba is the most popular type of local music.
Rio de Janeiro will become the center of world attention in 2016 during the Summer Olympics, which will add to an already rich sporting culture. Rio boasts five football clubs, in addition to hosting the world beach volleyball finals on its many beaches. The city also regularly sees horse races, tennis tournaments, and a local event, Capoeira, which fuses dance and martial arts in a fascinating blend of athleticism. The sporting opportunities only grow when you dive into the ocean and choose anything from surfing, yachting, hang gliding, and more.
No discussion of Rio would be complete without mentioning Carnival. The yearly festival sees millions of attendants in the streets to watch or participate in parades, dance to music, eat amazing food, and celebrate Rio’s culture. The world rarely sees such an explosion of color.