THE TOURIST RIO GRANDEAutumn 2016
“Rio comes Instagram ready, with an intoxicating mix of landmarks, cityscapes, beautiful beaches and equally as beautiful people.”
With pictures of Rio filling our TV screens this summer, you could be forgiven for feeling a sense of intense wanderlust. Perhaps you caught some of the Olympic action right here in St. Katharine Docks during our Summer of Sport? If you were sat watching beach volleyball on the piazza’s big screen, it’s totally plausible to swap a deckchair in the Docks for a sun lounger on Copacabana Beach. Travel to Brazil has become much easier in recentyears, with some well-organised package tours complementing the ‘do-it-yourself ’ options, and the choice is set to grow thanks to demand kick started by this year’s Olympics. Although Rio is not Brazil’s capital (that’s a title reserved for Brasilia), the city is the tourist heartbeat. But don’t be snobbish about visiting – the top attractions and clichés are a must if you want to truly embrace the city’s highlights. Your selfie stick will be working overdrive capturing the magnificent sights such as Sugarloaf Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain, and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
Your must-see list should also include the Tijuca rainforest and the city’s lush botanical gardens. Be sure to capture the moment at either sunrise or sunset, when the views over Guanabara Bay are nothing short of ethereal. But what really captivates visitors as soon as they arrive in Rio is the ambience – confident, sultry and brash to the point of overt, all mixed with a healthy dose of friendliness and passion. Rio residents are just as enthusiastic about their city as they are about sport – something that was evident during the Olympics as the gracious Cariocas (the name given to locals) shared their city with the armchair spectators across the rest of the world.If your main aim is to seek some sun after an unreliable British summer, take comfort in the fact that Rio’s average temperature is 27°C, with year-round warmth. Miles of golden sands form sweeping bays framed by verdant forests but if you need some respite, you’re a short walk from Rio’s increasingly sophisticated museums, galleries, restaurants and bars. Alternatively, why not escape winter’s Arctic blasts and surround yourself in sequins by visiting Rio in February when Carnival is in town? Swaying along with the samba rhythms may work up a bead of sweat or two but it’ll knock socks off scraping ice off your windscreen. Of course, Rio is now enjoying its Olympic legacy in the same way London has following 2012. It’s a great time to visit, an open invitation to explore. The only thing left to do is order a caipirinha from one of St. Katharine Docks’ bars and plan your Rio holiday.