Rio was founded in 1565 by the Portuguese as a fortification against French privateers who trafficked wood and goods from Brazil.
As it prepares for the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016, the city has launched a massive security program that’s finally addressing long-standing safety concerns. The best of Rio beaches of the South Zone are heavily patrolled and many other areas – especially those troubled by crime and drugs – have been cleaned up.
The glass-paneled cable car, capable of holding 65 passengers, offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding city. It goes from the base at Vermelha (Red) Beach to a height of 220m (720ft) above sea level and stops at the summit of Urca mountain. On this plateau lies an amphitheatre, restaurants, and shops. The second leg completes the journey to the 396-metre (1,299 ft) high Sugar Loaf over a distance of 750m (2460ft). Similar facilities exist at the final stop, which offers one of the most magnificent panoramic views of the ocean, beaches and mountains of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972/1973 and in 2008.
It was inaugurated in 1931, after nearly five years of work, and since 2003 it counts on three glass-sided panoramic elevators, each able to carry 13 people, and four escalators. Thus, there is no longer the need to climb 220 steps of stairs that lead to the statue’s feet. Elected one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, the Christ Redeemer has a privileged panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro offered from its belvedere. The summit is reached by an electrified train that leaves every 30 minutes from the station on Cosme Velho Street. The 20-minute train ride provides a nice ride through the tropical forest, the world’s largest urban forest, along a steep and winding set of tracks.
The sunset is so fantastic that it is common to see swimmers clapping to this scenario. Depending on the season of the year, the sun sets in the sea horizon or behind the two spectacular mountains called the Two Brothers, which rise at the western end of the beach. One interesting thing about Ipanema beach is that there is a gay-friendly area, situated near the position of “Posto 9” (lifeguard tower 9), near Farme de Amoedo Street, where there is a rainbow flag flying in the air. At the end or beginning of the famous Leblon beach, there is a scenic mountaintop viewpoint, the Leblon Viewpoint, where you can contemplate a gorgeous bird’s-eye view of Ipanema and Leblon beaches together and listen to the waves hitting the rocks right below. It is a great spot for a romance or a date. Try climbing the viewpoint for the early morning to enjoy the sunrise. The belvedere is made of a huge deck with wooden planks supported on the rocks and garnished by a wooden fence. There are kiosks where you can drink coconut water or a cold beer.
Mostly known as “Lagoa”, considered to be “The Heart of Rio de Janeiro”, is a lagoon and district in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Its neighborhood is an upper middle-class and it has one of the largest human development indexes in the country. The lagoon is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing sea water to enter by a channel along the edge of a park locally known as Alah Garden. With 2.4 million square meters (0.93 square miles) of surface area, aquatic sports such as rowing or simply biking happen around its reflecting water. It is home to a rowing stadium, a paved biking path of 7.5 kilometers (more than 4.5 miles), diverse leisure equipment, and food kiosks that offer regional and international gastronomy items. Some of the most important sports clubs in the city are by the lagoon. It attracts quite a number of visitors during the Christmas holidays due to its famous and gigantic Christmas Tree, which is built over a floating platform that moves around the lagoon and during the night, lightning lamps installed from bottom to top, flash, blink and change multiple colors.
Almost simultaneously, the visitors may see Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Restinga da Marambaia, Barra da Tijuca, São Conrado, Christ Redeemer, Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Botanical Garden, Corcovado Mountain, Jockey Club, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay, Niterói, Maracanã Soccer Stadium, Tom Jobim and Santos Dumont airports, Flamengo Park and Glória Marine. Give yourself a break! Close your eyes and breathe in deeply three times! Open your eyes. This is not the top of the world but… it seems to be!!
Barra is well known for its beaches, its uncountable lakes and rivers, and its highly Americanized lifestyle. The atmosphere in Barra da Tijuca is more like that of cities like Miami or Los Angeles. Although representing only 4.7% of the city population and 13% of the total area of Rio de Janeiro, Barra is responsible for 30% of all tax collected in the city. The neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca is the cultural, economic, and administrative center of the borough, and is believed to be the safest of Rio's upper-class neighborhoods due to its lack of favelas and plentiful private and public security. Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is well known for being the home of celebrities and soccer stars.
Much of his work has a sense of timelessness and perfection. His artwork can be found displayed throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro: “it is an open-air museum of works displaying his unmistakable style, one wholly his own”. Marx’s work can be exemplified by the Copacabana Beach promenade, where native sea breeze resistant trees and palms appear in groupings along Atlantica Avenue. These groupings punctuate Portuguese stone mosaics which form a giant abstract painting where no section along the promenade is the same. This “painting” is viewed from the balconies of hotels, and offers an ever changing view for those driving along the beach. The mosaics continue the entire two and a half mile distance of the beach. The water feature, in this case, is of course the ocean and beach, which is bordered by a 30 foot wide continuous scallop patterned mosaic walk.