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For Cariocas it represents far more than just a game, having gone a long way to bring together a city founded by different races and classes. The conspicuous buying power of many of its residents contrasts sharply with the eight hundred-odd separate favela 044 town communities within the city boundaries.

The rural poor flocked to Rio throughout the twentieth century to escape drought and poverty, an influx city authorities have failed to manage.

Since the mids a new wave of dynamic Rio film-makers has gained international acclaim by documenting the experiences of those caught in a perpetual cycle of poverty and crime, made worse by a flood of cocaine into the hands of armed gangs.

Most tourists who choose to visit or even stay in a favela experience an unexpected level of calm and normality as people go about their daily lives. Despite inequality and its accompanying frenetic, multilayered street life, Rio simultaneously manages to maintain grandeorienge cool and laid-back atmosphere.

Few Cariocas — while accepting the negatives of high crime — have any doubt that they are living in the most vibrant, creative and beautiful place on Earth, partly because countless tourists over the past hundred years have told them so. Cariocas see their neighbour as an ugly and beachless urban nightmare, obsessed with unfettered work and moneymaking, while Paulistas stereotype Cariocas as lazy bandits with Lisbon accents who are too busy cavorting on the beach and dancing samba to earn a living.

However large it grows, the Carnaval party will always mean immeasurably more to Cariocas than to the thousands of excited visitors who swell their ranks each year. The aerial views over Rio grandsoriente breathtaking, and even the concrete skyscrapers that dominate the skyline add to the appeal, moulded between an azure blue sea and the mountain range that provides a dramatic backdrop. The energy and creativity of its grandeoriejte are on parade for the world ggrandeoriente see, whether through elaborate Carnaval designs or remarkable modern architecture, engaging exhibitions or a distinctive theatre and granderiente industry.

Coupled with an exceptionally vibrant nightlife it is hard to imagine a more enthralling city destination. What to see W ith so much to see and do within and beyond the city, Rio can easily occupy a couple of weeks, and you may well find it difficult to drag yourself away. The two most famous — Copacabana and Ipanema — can occupy a few days in themselves if you like sunbathing, people watching and beach sports. Innumerable botecos can be found across Centro and the wider city — informal bars every Carioca frequents for food, drink and friendly conversation.

Lapa comes alive at night with exceptional street parties drawing thousands and a series of excellent samba clubs. Ipanema and Leblon are nonetheless the new areas for the affluent, tucked between the most fashionable stretch of beach and the attractive inland lake Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. H igh season in Rio is between Christmas and the end of Carnaval, in February or early March depending on the calendar. However, the Museu Nacional in the park Quinta da Boa Vista is a splendid collection well worth making time for.

Outside of the city, Rio de Janeiro state is both beautiful and accessible, with easy and tempting trips either east along the Costa do Sol or west along the Costa Verde, taking in unspoilt beaches, washed by a relatively unpolluted ocean. Ilha Grande is a forested island paradise, while Paraty, a beautiful and historic colonial town by the sea.


Room prices tend to triple for three days at New Year and for a week at Carnaval — and even meal prices go up in some establishments. Nonetheless, throughout January and February is easily the most exciting and energetic time to visit Rio. All highlights have a page reference to take you straight into the Guide where you can find out more. Staying in or visiting one is an enlightening experience.

Enjoy boat trips and swimming in crystal-clear waters. Airfares depend on the season: British Airways and TAM. However, you may be able to get the same tickets through websites and specialist travel agencies at reduced prices. At Rough Guides we feel there are six main areas in which you can make a difference: Try to patronize businesses that take account of this.

Round-the-world fares that include South America tend to cost more than other RTW options, but can be worthwhile if you have the time to make the most of a few stopovers. Flight agents and tour operators to Brazil, including Rio. Flight agents and tour operators offering taylor-made packages, including the city and state of Rio. A big operator throughout Latin America, including Rio and Carnaval specials. Specializes in tailor-made trips to Brazil. Flight agents and tour operators for Brazil and Latin America.

Australian, US and Canadian citizens need visas in advance, available from Brazilian consulates abroad; a return or onward ticket is a requirement. Fees vary according to nationality: Try not to lose the carbon copy of the entry form the police hand back to you at passport control when entering Brazil. Brazilian embassies and consulates abroad 22 Australia Embassy and consulate: Canada Embassy and consulate: Ireland Embassy and consulate: New Zealand Embassy and consulate: South Africa Embassy and consulate: By air 24 Rio de Janeiro is served by two airports.

On arrival, make sure that your passport is stamped and that you retain your immigration form, as failure to do so can cause problems on departure. Both services run roughly every 45 minutes between 5. Outside these hours, a taxi ride is the only alternative. A less stressful option is to purchase a voucher from one of the radiotaxi stands within the terminal.

For Copacabana, goes from Avenida General Justo, over which the walkway also crosses. Bus services for getting around the state are excellent but for greater freedom you might want to rent a car — though driving in the city itself is not recommended unless you have nerves of steel.

With hundreds of routes and many thousands of buses, you never have to wait more than a few moments, and most run till midnight, 25 Rio: From Avenida Rio Branco: If the bus reaches the stop before you reach the back, haul on the bell and the driver will wait. In the beach areas of the Zona Sul, especially along the coast, bus stops are not always marked.

Have your fare ready so that you can pass through the turnstile immediately — pickpockets operate at the front and rear of the bus, where they can make a quick escape — and make sure that you carry any items in front of you as you pass through the turnstile.

Taxis Taxis in Rio come in two varieties: Both have meters and, unless you have pre-paid at the airport, you should insist that it is activated. The ferries are cheap and the view of Rio they afford, especially at sunset, makes this an ideal excursion.

There are, however, a steadily growing number of specialist tour operators that specialize brandeoriente either the natural environment or favelas. Rio Hiking W grwndeoriente. There are now several other reliable companies leading similar tours of the Floresta da Tijuca see p. Also worth taking is a favela tour. While wandering into a favela unaccompanied by a local would be foolish, tour groups are looked after and tours will be cancelled if the organisers hear of particular gang or police action in the community being visited see p.

That said, if at all possible, avoid driving at night: Since a zero tolerance law has been enforced making it strictly illegal to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol, a response to the enormous death toll granceoriente by drunk drivers. An international driving licence is useful: Your car may be stopped by police at some point during your travels, but when they realize you are a foreigner they are likely to leave you alone, unless there is something obviously amiss with your car.


Whatever you do, no matter how certain you are of the righteousness of your position, try and stay calm and bend over backwards to appear polite.

Better still, arrange to collect the car at one of the airports: In any case, a credit card is essential for making a deposit when renting a car. Most companies are represented at the international airport and, in Centro, at Santos Dumont airport. Average costs Food including eating out and transport are reasonably priced, but hotels, sunblock, good quality clothing, cameras, computers and computer accessories are relatively expensive.

Overall, Rio is a viable destination for the budget traveller. Notes come in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and real denominations; coins are 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos and 1 real. You will very occasionally see a tattered one real note but these are being phased out, although they are legal tender. Throughout the Guide all prices are given in Brazilian reais unless otherwise noted. However, the real has now weakened greatly with exchange rates making Brazil a cheaper destination for North Americans and Europeans.

Not all ATMs accept foreign-issued cards, but those that do are clearly marked with multilingual instructions given. One important thing to note is that for security reasons grandforiente bank ATMs stop dispensing cash after 8pm or 10pm, although Banco 24 Horas in large supermarkets will dispense until 10pm. Airport ATMs or private ATMs requiring a withdrawal fee in petrol stations such as in Leblon are the only ones which dispense cash all hours.

Costs, money and banks For visitors, Rio is the most expensive city in Brazil, largely because of the relatively high cost of hotel accommodation.

Most of the serious violence affecting Rio is drug related and concentrated in the favelas. In addition, there are certain areas that should be avoided.

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Similarly, tourists who choose to walk between Cosme 00404 and the Corcovado have been subject to assaltos hold-ups ; risky situations are best avoided by taking the train or walking in a group. Robberies, hold-ups and thefts 30 usually at poor rates and in some large travel agencies.

Exchange departments of banks often close early, sometimes at 1pm, although more often at 2pm or 3pm. Airport banks are open seven days a week, others only Monday to Friday. Criminals know that any injury to a foreign tourist is going to mean a heavy clampdown, which in turn means no graneeoriente for a while. So unless you resist during an incident, nothing is likely to happen to you. That said, having a knife or a gun held on you is a huge shock: On no account resist or chase after the offender: Also, prepare for the worst by locking your money and passport in the hotel safe caixa — the one in your room is more secure than the one at reception.

Do not carry your valuables in a pouch hanging from your neck.

The Rough Guide to Rio de Janeiro

And keep Drugs Police The notorious drug wars in the favelas are unlikely to have any impact on foreign tourists. But you should be extremely careful about using drugs in Brazil. Foreigners — usually single young men — occasionally get targeted for a shakedown and grwndeoriente drugs planted on them. Grandeoroente is not as common as you might think; most of it simply passes through Brazil from Bolivia or Colombia bound for Europe — and visitors to the city are unlikely to come across it.