Travel in Latin America
The name Rio de Janiero awakens in the mind images of sex, hedonism, sun-tanned bodies, carefree days and nights. And though there are some ugly realities in 21st century Rio, the traveler can still live the dream.
Start at the place from which some people never leave--the beaches. Located to the south and southeast of the city along the Zona Sul, they consist of Leblon, Ipanema, Arpoador, Diablo, Copacabana and Leme. Here you can cover your nakedness with a bathing suit only a little larger than a handful of pieces of dental floss and fit right in.
Ride a cog railway up to one of Rio's most famous symbols--Cristo Redentor--the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer, 2,300 feet up on Corcovado (Hunchback Mountain). You can catch the train car at Rua Cosme Velho 513.
Enjoy the other great view of Rio from Pao de Acucar--Sugar Loaf Mountain. Go to the Praia Vermelha parking lot on Avenida Pasteur 520 and take the cable car up to Morro da Urca--715 feet up. Another cable car will take you to the summit of Sugar Loaf, 1,299 feet over the city.
Attend a soccer game at the Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, better-known as Estádio do Maracanã at Rua Profesor Eurico Rabelo. This is one of the largest open-air stadiums on earth, a temple where tens of thousands of Brazilian soccer fans lose their minds on a regular basis. When a game isn't scheduled, the facility is used for major touring musical acts.
Shake your money-maker at the world's greatest party--Carnival. Held during the week immediately prior to Lent, this spectacle centers around a series of massive parades involving "samba schools," or official performing groups, with dancers, marchers, musicians and huge floats, all adorned lavishly and illustrating that year's school theme. If you want a hotel room for Carnival, you have to reserve it well in advance.