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IFLY tips Rio de Janeiro

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Copacabana Beach (½ -1 day)
Rio Copacabana
If you didn’t go to Capacabana beach, you didn’t go to Rio. The most famous beach in the world is 4,15 kilometres long and is curving sinuously along elegant Avenida Atlantica, as far as Copacabana Fort. There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and residential buildings dot the promenade. Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revellers during the annual New Year's Eve celebrations.

You can spend all day here enjoying the sun and the sea. But if you decide just to go a short time; it is the best beach to see beautiful sunsets. And from this beach you’ll get great views on Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Corcovado (3 hrs)
Rio Corcovado
One of the most important landmarks of Rio de Janeiro is Corcovado. It is located at a 710 metres high hilltop in Tijuca National Park. The 30 metres high statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ crowns the mountain. From Corcovado you’ll get great views on the city, the mountains, the sea and the beaches.

For those who are not able to walk a lot, you can go up by mini bus or tram and the last 220 steps leading to the statue are now mechanized with panoramic elevators and escalators.

You can go up by tram. Take a taxi first to ‘Corcovade Trem’. A ticket for the tram and entrance to the park is R$46. This tram will bring you all the way to the top.

You can also go up by car. You can go to Paineiras parking. From there you can take an authorized van to the monument for R$19,36. If you go up by car, you should go to the ‘Heliponto’ as well for more great panoramic views.

Ipanema Beach(½ -1 day)
Rio Ipanema
Ipanema Beach, in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, between Leblon and Arpoador is a more trendy than Copacabana and it is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. In the streets behind the beach you’ll find many world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes.

The beach is two kilometres long and in the middle section of the beach is a special gay area. At the beach you will find many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.

Lapa or Selaron steps (1 hr)
Rio Selaron
Escadaria Selarón, also knows as Selaron Steps or Lapa Steps, is a set of world-famous steps in Rio de Janeiro. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as his ‘tribute to the Brazilian people’.

In 1990, Selarón began renovating the dilapidated steps that ran along the front of his house. It started as a side-project to his main passion, painting, but soon became an obsession. It was long and exhaustive work but he continued on and eventually covered the entire set of steps in tiles, ceramics and mirrors. It is great to see and it is open 24 hours for free.

The steps run from Joaquim Silva Street and Pinto Martins street, officially known as Manuel Carneiro street, in the Lapa neighbourhood. There are 250 steps measuring 125 metres long which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world

There is also a very nice local restaurant at the foot of the steps, where you can have lunch or dinner. And, as it is a local restaurant, they serve mainly meat.

Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião (1 hr)
Rio Cathedral
One of the most sensational buildings, when it comes to architecture, is the Sao Sebastiao Cathedral, better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. This is cathedral was built between 1964 and 1979.

The New Cathedral, as it is sometimes called, is located in the centre of the city. It is conical in form and some people think it looks like a UFO. But the interior of the building is beautiful and the acoustics is wonderful. With a 106 metres diameter and an overall height of 96 metres, it has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people.

It is located at Av. República do Chile, 245 in Centro next to the Lapa neighbourhood. The Cathedral is open to visitors every day from 7 am to 6 pm. The entrance is free.

Sugar Loaf Mountain (½ day)
Rio Sugar Loaf
Sugarloaf Mountain (in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar) is a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres above the harbour, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined sugar.

The only reasons to go there are the cable car rides and the panoramic views. So if it is not a clear day, please don’t go there. You have to take two cable cars to reach the summit. The first ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca, 220 meters high. The second car ascends to Pão de Açúcar.

The bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. The climb takes three minutes from start to finish. Departures are available every 20 minutes between 8 am and 8 pm and the fare is R$53 for a round-trip. To go to Sugar Loaf, take a taxi to Teleférico Pão de Açúcar.

Helicopter flight (6-60 minutes)
Rio Helicopter
A great way to enjoy the beauty of Rio de janeiro is from above. So why not do a panoramic flight in a helicopter. Helisight offers flights departing from several locations nearby touristic sights as Lagoon, Sugar Loaf and Dona Marta (Corcovado).

There are several options for flights. The shortest flight is six minutes and the longer flights take one hour. The prices vary from R$210 to R$1210 per person. Flights take off only with a minimum of three people. To see all options or book your flight, check their website.

Favela Alemao (½ day)
Rio Alemao
When visiting Rio de Janeiro, you have to visit a ‘favela’, a squatter area where the poor people live. A huge favela is Favela Alemao.

A great and safe way to experience this area is by Alemao Gondola, a cable car going all the way through the Complexo do Alemão. This cable car is used both by local residents and tourists.

It is open all day. Just take a taxi to Teleferico de Alemao and take the cable car from there. A oneway ticket costs R$5 per person. You can disembark from several stations, but best is to go to the last stop, disembark there, walk around a bit and take the cable car back. During the ride you get great views on the favelas, so get your camera ready.

Santa Marta favela (2 hrs)
Rio Santa Marta
Favela Santa Marta is a favela located in the Botafogo's and Laranjeiras' part of the Morro Dona Marta in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. This favela is close to the centre of Rio and became very famous when Michael Jackson shot the video of ‘They Don't Care About Us’ in the neighbourhood.

The favela is one of the steepest in the city and best way to visit this area is by Santa Marta Elevator, which is more like a combination of a tram and an elevator.

To go there, take a taxi to Dona Marta. You can take the tram, watch the Michael Jackson statue and walk around yourself. You don’t need to wait for the elevator if you want to go back, you can just walk down. If you don’t dare to do it yourself, you can take an organised tour, this one for example. http://soulbrasileiro.com/tour/favela-tour-santa-marta/

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Language of the world

Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Rio de Janeiro.