One day in Rio de Janiero only allows you to scrape the surface of what is one of the most stunningly picturesque cities on earth. All the more reason, then, to dive straight in and get an unforgettable overview of the ‘greatest hits’ of this sultry, swaggering city by the sea.
If you have a head for heights, then taking the exhilarating cable car ride to the summit of Corcovado is a must; it serves up a twin treat for the senses.
Stand under the arms of the vast, looming statue of Christ the Redeemer at what feels like the top of the world. This flawless, fabulous work of art is Rio’s equivalent of the Statue of Liberty. From that exalted summit, you can drink in the view of the magnificent city sprawled below you, with designer yachts dotting the bay like toys scattered across a sparkling blue carpet.
Perhaps no other city on earth is so devoted to the twin gods of hedonism and people watching. The blinding white sweep of sand called Copacabana is worth a leisurely stroll to check out the locals from a café bar washed by warm Latin breezes. And if the sound of samba drifts around in your head, then a diversion to Ipanema might be irresistible.
Depending on the time of year that you visit, it might be possible to see some of the world famous samba schools at practice as they gear up for the Carnival each February. Nothing typifies the ‘feel’ of Rio quite like the subtle combination of dance and music that explodes into life each Carnival season.
Football fans might also want to check out the famous Maracana stadium, as much of a temple in this soccer mad city as any of the great gothic confections of the old world.
And it almost goes without saying that being there in February makes taking in the whole amazing spectacle of Rio’s unrivalled Carnival mandatory. For three exhilarating days and nights, a thunderous, joyous cacophony of vibrant colours, irresistible salsa and sensuous rhythms unfolds around you like some fantastic, all out audio visual assault on the senses.
Take care wherever you are; pick pockets are a fact of life. But don’t let that put you off from diving into everything on offer. Savour the sunset from one of the beach bars along Leblon, where people watching is raised to the level of an art form.
For information on cruises that offer Rio as a port of call on their South American itineraries, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677.
Written by Anthony Nicholas for The Cruise Line. Copyright 2012.