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Since the first time I saw a postcard of Rio de Janeiro I wanted to go there. 

Although Rio is famous for its vibrant carnival (during February) with gigantic floats, extravagant dancers, excellent performers, streets filled with millions of people, and a great music vibe; this actually would not be the reason why I recommend Rio as a travel destination.

Yes, if you love carnivals, this is the one to experience as it is world-famous and who can compete with the sound of the Samba.  But Rio has so much more on offer.  This 2nd largest city of Brazil (São Paulo being the largest), is beautiful.  It truly earns the title of being one of the world’s most beautiful and worth visiting places.

Portuguese navigators named the city Rio de Janeiro (which means River of January), thinking the beautiful bay was a huge river mouth. 

brazil rio

Iconic Beach Visits

In Rio, you will find the iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.  Both are very busy and popular beaches and Copacabana has a 2.5-mile beach with a walkway, lined with towering hotels and buildings on one side and the beautiful ocean on the other. However, Barra da Tijuca Beach (the longest beach) and Leblon beaches are also beautiful and just a bit quieter (yes only a little bit). 

I think the best beach to visit is Arraial Do Cabo:  A beautiful tropical beach with white sand and light blue clear water.  This beach is just outside of Rio city, but definitely worth a visit:  Especially if you book one of the boat tours to explore.

The Real Reason

In my opinion, one of the real reasons you would want to go to Rio de Janeiro is the breathtakingly beautiful views.  Reaching any high point, you will have the most amazing views ever. 

The 38 m towering statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Mount Corcovado is something I cannot describe.  Only when you stand there on top of the mountain do you realize the magnitude.  Being the Top attraction in Rio de Janeiro, you must go early and I would strongly recommend buying your tickets online before going.  It is jam-packed and very, very busy.  But this is why you come.  This is what you have to see and experience. Obviously, the views from here are awesome and if you’re looking for an Instagram photo hotspot – this is it.