About Rio de Janeiro:When anyone think of Brazil, Rio comes to mind and when you think of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil comes to mind, some people even mistake Rio de Janeiro for the capital of Brazil. Even though thats not true, Rio is one of the most important cities in the country and surely the most famous.
Rio de Janeiro may not be the politic capital of Brazil, but it is the touristic capital of the country for sure. Receiving millions of tourists every year, the city has a great infrastructure for travelers, with hundreds of hotels, hostels and inns, some of the best restaurants in Brazil and a huge(and complex) public transport system.
Safety in Rio de Janeiro:
Safety has always been among the biggest concerns of tourists visiting Rio, and sadly those concerns are not without foundation. But that doesn't mean that Rio is like a war zone, it is just that in any area where you have great wealthy living alongside great poverty, trouble tends to rise. Even though there are risks, if you are careful traveling to Rio is as safe as any big city in the world. I've been living here for over two decades and I have never been mugged, robbed, anything like that.
You just need to use some common sense, avoid risky areas, you should always inform yourself with trusty worthy people on your hostel or tourism agency about what areas are safe, and that's true in any big city of the world. Right now the visits to the Favelas(brazilian slums) are a new trend, and everyone is doing those, that is clearly an example of bad areas you should avoid, a few weeks ago two german tourists decided to visit the biggest favela on Rio by themselves, they got in the place, took a wrong turn, and got on an alley where they ran into a armed drug dealer and one of them got shot. I don't recommend those favela visits at all, but if you decide to go at least search for an agency, cause going alone its just crazy.
Also always remember, a guy wearing just a shirt and bermuda shorts, with no fancy jewerly, and no money or electronic equipment showing will rarely get mugged. On the other hand, if you have a huge golden necklace showing, a big Nikkon camera hanging from your neck and a notebook handbag on your side while walking around a city where a huge amount of people live in poverty, you may be trying your luck.
But once again, millions of tourists come to Rio every year and 99% of them experience no trouble at all, so just use common sense.
What to do in Rio de Janeiro:
With over 5 millions residents, Rio is one of the biggest cities in Latin America, and you will always find stuff to do here. There are dozens of beaches, hundreds of restaurants, some of the best dance clubs in the country and anything else that you can expect from one of the most famous cities in the world.
Lets discuss here some of the best attractions in Rio de Janeiro:
Rio de Janeiro Beaches:
Praia de Ipanema: One of the two most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful and easy to get to, just one block away from metro station General Osorio.
Praia de Copacabana: As famous as Ipanema, it´s even easier to get to, there are three metro stations nearby, Cardeal Arcoverde, Cantagalo and Siqueira Campos.
Praia do Leblon: Leblon is known as the rich people neighborhood. This beach is a good alternative to Ipanema, since it´s near it, but it´s not as crowded.
Rio de Janeiro Tourist Attractions:
Christ the Redeemer Statue(Christ Redeemer): The most famous sight in Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer was elected a few years ago one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, not just because of the statue, but also because of this beautiful landscape, for sure one of the most wonderful views in the country.
Pao de Açucar(Sugar Loaf Mountain): This peak is one of the most important attractions in the city, and the ride on the little cable cars to the top of mountain is one of those things you can´t miss while in Rio.
Maracana Stadium: This was once the biggest stadium in the world, nowadays after a few reconstructions and improvements, including the last one for the 2014 World Cup, it no longer holds this status. But it is still the most famous stadium in Brazil, and one of the temples of Football(Soccer).
Bairro de Santa Tereza: A historic neighborhood, loved by artists and with old mansions all around. You will find a lot of galleries and studios there. Also it´s right beside Lapa, the famous bohemian neighborhood. A ride on the little tramcars is also a must.
Botanical Garden: With over 6500 species of plants, this huge garden was created by the prince-regent Joao de Bragança in 1808. Nowadays its also a research center and its open to visitation. There´s a small fee and you can ask for guides there to help you enjoy even more this great place
Floresta da Tijuca(Parque Nacional da Tijuca): One of the biggest urban green areas of the world with over 3972 hectares. This place is a huge source of entertainment to the population, there are trails for trekking, mountains to climb, areas for barbecues(churrasco) and much more. Just be careful not to get lost there, its a huge forest and from time to time a group of tourists gets lost and spend a few days wandering around until someone rescue them.