Virtual Vacations: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Posted on: June 19, 2021.

There are few incredibly beautiful places on Earth, so remotely located, that they are physically difficult to travel to. Such trips are highly challenging, at times logistically, at times financially—at times both.

While digitally scouting for a location to write about for this week’s ‘Virtual Vacations’, the city of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil, South America, captured our interest, making us zero in on the place.

The Virtual Vacations article this week is the SIXTH location in the Yokibu Editorial Special Series that promises to be both entertaining and informative, vividly descriptive, and vibrantly narrative.

How did “Rio De Janeiro” get its name?

The river leading to the city was first discovered by a Portuguese expedition that sailed through Guanabara Bay, which opened into the river. There are more than a hundred islands scattered across Guanabara Bay!

The discovery was made on January 1, 1502—New Year’s Day. Consequently, the Portuguese named it ‘Rio De Janeiro’, which in English means ” River of January “—a name by which the city became known.

Rio De Janeiro (RDJ)—a Brazilian seaside city on the coast of the South Atlantic Ocean—is of significant international tourist interest, favorited for its beaches, favelas, natural formations, monuments, and culture.

What are RDJ’s attractions?

Sugarloaf Mountain

Rio’s most famous natural phenomenon—one of the several monolithic granite and quartz mountains in the area. Provides spectacular, panoramic views of the city.

Every 20 minutes, a glass cable-car runs along a 1.4-kilometer route between peaks. Provides a thrilling 360-degree-view of the surrounding cityscape.

Christ the Redeemer

One of the seven wonders of the world, built of reinforced concrete and Swedish soapstone over nine years—one of the world’s largest art deco statues, located at the peak of Corcovado mountain.

Provides sensational views over Rio—undoubtedly the city’s most famous cultural icon and landmark.

Jardim Botânico

An immense 137-hectare garden, home to more than 8000 different plant species—attracts many visitors each year who marvel at its beauty.

Visit for a moment of tranquility—rows upon rows of palm trees, the Amazonas section, a large lake filled with water lilies and the 600 species of stunning orchids—amidst the hustle and bustle of Brazilian life.

Ipanema

Among the world’s most famous beaches and arguably one of the city’s most expensive areas—world-class restaurants, elegant shops and stylish cafes.

Ipanema Beach—an extensive stretch of sand along the South Atlantic Ocean, that transforms into a melting pot of international tourists—is a sport lover’s paradise of ongoing games of volleyball and soccer.

“Escadaria Selarón”—Multi-colored Mosaic Steps

One of the city’s most unique attractions—215 colorful, eye-popping, mosaics steps leading up from Joaquim Silva Street—artist Jorge Selarón’s touching tribute to Brazilian art.

215 steps are covered with fragments of blue, green and yellow tiles and ceramics—work still in progress—bearing origins from over 60 countries around the world.

Santa Teresa

A quaint, bohemian, hilltop neighborhood of cobblestone lanes, a marvelous kaleidoscope of colors created by the sidewalk mosaics, walk-in galleries, and fantastic palatial mansions—lovely for taking casual strolls.

Originally marked by a convent built in the 1750s, it is somewhat of an upper-class borough today—a gathering place for intellectuals, renowned artists and innovative designers.

Santa Teresa’s maze of winding alleys, numerous museums, and its cultural center—Parque das Ruínas—make for a compelling visit, spending a day with lovely strolls.

Signing off… with interesting facts about Rio De Janeiro—

The Rio Carnival party of 2004 attracted a record 4 lakh foreign visitors, declared by the Guinness Book of Records as the “biggest carnival party in the world”.

Furthermore, every year, about five million people participate in hundreds of street parties called “blocos”, held by samba groups from the city’s favelas (slums), crowding on the streets of Rio!

The mythical King Momo—a joker whose history originates in Ancient Greece—presides over each year’s carnival, normally played by a chubby, happy fellow who is comfortable wearing a silly crown with a cape.

Rio locals are called “Cariocas” and almost one-fourth of Cariocas live in more than 1,000 slums, or favelas, in Rio, that provided the most affordable housing option since the end of the 19th century.

Amazingly, Rio de Janeiro has the world’s “bluest” sky, according to a survey of 20 different destinations including New Zealand and South Africa, over 72 days, by scientifically approved spectrometry results!

The music style we now know as “Samba” was first created in the favelas of Rio by former African slaves and their descendants who settled down to live there.

Rio’s National Library is the eighth largest library in the world with 15 million items, established in November 1807 by the Royal Family of Portugal reaching Brazil in 14 ships, fleeing Napoleon’s troops.



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