We sailed into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at dawn giving us a spectacular view of the city against the backdrop of hills, the iconic Corcovado statue and of course Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Port of Rio de Janeiro
On arrival we had a welcoming samba band play traditional Brazilian music as we docked and started our disembarkation. After disembarking the cruise ship at the port we walked out to a wonderful display of artistic graffiti on the walls close to the pier.
Our hotel was right on the iconic Copacabana Beach so after checking in we took a walk along the long beachfront all the way to the Copacabana Fort at the south end of
Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km (2.5 miles) balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.
Copacabana beach, located at the Atlantic shore, stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed. Hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and residential buildings dot the promenade facing Avenida Atlântica.
Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revellers during the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, and in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
There were quite a number of people playing games on the beachfront such as a type of beach
Fort Copacabana is a military base at the south end of the beach that defines the district of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. The base is open to the public and contains the Museu Histórico do Exército and a coastal defense fort that is the actual Fort Copacabana.
In the evening we ate at the nearby Churrascaria Palace Restaurant which offered an incredible buffet along with a large choice of grilled meats.
Corcovado – Christ the Redeemer
The morning we visited Corcovado was cloudy and misty unfortunately so the stunning views over the city were limited but at least we managed to get some fleeting views of the magnificent statue.
Corcovado, means “hunchback” in Portuguese, is a mountain in central Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a 710-metre (2,329 ft) granite peak located in the Tijuca Forest, a national park. It is sometimes confused with nearby Sugarloaf Mountain. Corcovado hill lies just west of the city center but is wholly within the city limits and visible from great distances. It is known worldwide for the 38-metre (125 ft) statue of Jesus atop its peak, entitled Cristo Redentor or “Christ the Redeemer”.
The peak and statue can be accessed via a narrow road, by the 3.8 kilometre (2.4 mi) Corcovado Rack Railway, which was opened in 1884 and refurbished in 1980, or by the walking trail on the south side of the mountain that starts from Parque Lage. The railway uses three electrically powered trains, with a passenger capacity of 540 passengers per hour. The rail trip takes approximately 20 minutes and departs every 20 minutes. Due to its limited passenger capacity, the wait to board at the entry station can take several hours. The year-round schedule is 8:30 to 18:30. From the train terminus and road, the observation deck at the foot of the statue is reached by 223 steps, or by elevators and escalators. Among the most popular year-round tourist attractions in Rio, the Corcovado railway, access roads, and statue platform are commonly crowded.
The most popular attraction of Corcovado mountain is the statue and viewing platform at its peak, drawing over 300,000 visitors per year. From the peak’s platform the panoramic view includes downtown Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (lake), Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Estádio do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium), and several of Rio’s favelas. Cloud cover is common in Rio and the view from the platform is often obscured. Sunny days are recommended for optimal viewing.
The Maracanã, officially Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is a football stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The stadium is part of a complex that includes an arena known by the name of Maracanãzinho, which means “The Little Maracanã” in Portuguese.
Escadaria Selarón, also known as the ‘Selaron Steps’, is a set of world-famous steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”.
Running from Joaquim Silva street and Pinto Martins street, officially known as Manuel Carneiro street, the steps straddle the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro. There are 215 steps measuring 125 metres long which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. No sooner than one section of the steps were ‘finished’, Selarón started work on another section, constantly changing it so that it was an ever evolving piece of art. Selarón considered the work as “never complete” and claimed that “This crazy and unique dream will only end on the day of my death”.
Originally, tiles for the work were scavenged from various construction sites and piles of urban waste found on the Rio streets. But in later years most of the tiles were donated by visitors from all around the world. Of the 2000+ tiles, 300-odd are hand painted by Selarón depicting a pregnant African woman. Selarón didn’t comment on this except to say that it was a “Personal problem from my past”.
Later the work spilled over to steps at the foot of the Arcos da Lapa.
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro or as the Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro.
From the outside, the cathedral does not look very special with a rather drab concrete exterior but inside there are some wonderful stained glass windows which light up the inside of the structure.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Again given the local weather conditions at the time of our visit we did not manage to get any good views from the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain but the cable car ride was entertaining.
Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 m (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. It is known worldwide for its cableway and panoramic views of the city.
The mountain is one of several monolithic granite and quartz mountains that rise straight from the water’s edge around Rio de Janeiro.
The mountain is protected by the Sugarloaf Mountain and Urca Hill Natural Monument, created in 2006. This became part of a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2012.
A glass-walled cable car (bondinho or, more formally, teleférico), capable of holding 65 people, runs along a 1,400 m (4,600 ft) route between the peaks of Sugarloaf and Morro da Urca every 20 minutes. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972–73 and in 2008. The cable car goes from a ground station, at the base of Morro da Babilônia, to Morro da Urca and thence to Sugarloaf’s summit.
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