The best known places in Brazil are probably Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, the Amazon Jungle and Iguazu Falls, maybe with The Pantanal thrown in for serious nature-lovers. Brazil is also renowned across the world for the quality of its beaches, and with 8,000km of coastline it is easy to understand why this might be. There are wonderful stretches of sand splashed along almost the whole length of Brazil’s Atlantic shores and on many of its offshore islands too.
|Christ the Redeemer - Rio de Janeiro|
You may be able to see it from the plane or boat as you arrive in Rio, but if not then a clear day gives you a guaranteed view of Cristo during the journey from the airports to the city centre or further on to Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. The first sight of the statue balanced on top of the sheer rock that is Corcovado is bound to bring a smile to the face of any overnight traveller. If you arrive at night, then the statue is lit up and can be seen glowing eerily through the clouds, high in the sky, with nothing but darkness underneath. He is an impressive sight, and one that you are unlikely to tire of seeing, no matter how many times you visit Rio de Janeiro.
Orientation may be a problem in Rio at first, with new visitors never sure whereabouts in the city they might be. Cristo often comes to the rescue, appearing between high buildings on the beach roads, or gazing directly at you in the city streets. He is a reassuring sight at all times.
The journey from the airport or marina will also take in Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the wires stretched across the gap between the crown of Pao de Acucar and neighbouring Urca at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. The first sight of the tiny cable cars rolling their way up to the top can induce a giddy sensation, even for people on the ground way below.
|Overlooking Copacabana Beach from Sugarloaf Mountain|
The first view of the curve of Copacabana Beach after exiting the tunnel from the city is another special moment, with 4km of sand full of Brazilian bodies, beach volleyball and football nets, with surfers catching waves in the background and patterned pavements and sand sculptures in front. The surrounding mountains are green and granite, and dwarf the high-rise buildings of Copacabana and Ipanema. The Two Brothers stare down the length of Ipanema Beach, another iconic image of Rio.
All of these exotic images will be implanted in your brain forever. If you have a hotel or apartment to check into, you may be surprised to find that even after a long journey to arrive in Rio, staying inside and relaxing is the last thing you want to do. There are so many sights and sounds out there that you may just drop your bags on the bed, take out your shorts and flip-flops, and head right back out, full of life and energy. Rio de Janeiro can have this affect on everyone, which is why we recommend that you make it part of your first visit to Brazil.
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