How to Visit Rio de Janeiro
Probably the most photogenic City in South America, Rio de Janeiro has been a haven for artists, explorers and of recent jet setting businessmen and international tourists. The unique fabric of this fabled city is constantly evolving and surprises await those exploring its iconic beaches and well-trodden landmarks. Take in the greatest of what this city has to offer, staying at some of the best properties and navigating with your personal guide to key sights.
Copacabana Beach -vs- Ipanema Beach
Rio de Janeiro's two most iconic beaches are situated perpendicular to each other, easily connected by a short vehicle ride or by foot, observing the beachgoers, sandcastle artists and restaurants, going along the large ocean front boulevard. Each beach also has two famous hotels, the Hotel Fasano on Ipanema Beach and the Copacabana Palace on Copacabana beach.
Copacabana beach is much larger than Ipanema with more hotel options and seeing more visitors. Copacabana Beach has a rich 20th century history of illustrious characters that have all passed through halls of its landmark hotel, the Copacabana Palace. The property is anchored in the heart of Copacabana and is as much a destination as the beach itself.
Ipanema beach on the other hand attempts a more nuanced approach to beach life. The narrower beach is often filled in parts with locals playing footvolley and numerous residential buildings are beachfront as opposed to large hotels on Copacabana. This is not without mentioning the Hotel Fasano, designed by the eclectic and unique Phillip Stark. Between the modern rooms and rooftop pool overlooking the beach, the hotel glimmers with Rio's most stylish and those looking to relive a hollywoodesque golden age. Ipanema Beach has an air of exclusivity that reaches its climax at Hotel Fasano.
Visiting Christ, the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. When and Why?
Both of these iconic landmarks see countless visitors per day and it requires some intentional planning to navigate the crowds and do so during the best hours. Christ the Redeemer is best visited as soon as it opens both to avoid the worst heat of the day and also the lighter crowds. Sugarloaf is open later into the evening and if you ever hoped of getting an incredible night view of the city with it lights, Sugarloaf is the place to do this. If not interested in visiting during evening hours, it would be recommended to do so when it opens, for the same advantages discussed with Christ the Redeemer.
When to Visit
Rio is home to some of the biggest celebrations in the world, most notably for carnival and just before during the New Year celebrations. It's also become a preferred gathering place for those looking to bring together the world for events like the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. Visiting at these times brings considerable crowds and increased prices, although for those searching such once in a lifetime experiences, the extra effort brings great rewards. Weather sees minimal variation throughout the year and you can typically count on it being warm to hot with episodes of rains depending upon time of year.