Everything is ready for one of the most important sporting events of the year. The Rio Olympic Games will be held from the 5th to the 21st of August; an international sporting event that never fails to draw in millions of onlookers and tourists wherever it’s held. There’s no doubt that this year’s edition is set to take place in a privileged location, and so the Olympics are just an additional excuse to treat yourself to a trip to Brazil right in the middle of summer.
If you are among the lucky ones attending this highly anticipated event, you may want to read up on some tips that might come in handy when preparing your trip to Rio.
Conveniently Located Accommodation
If you want to spare your feet countless walks up and down the city, it’s essential to set base camp in the city center, or at least in a well-connected spot so you can move around with ease. Copacabana, to the South of the city center and bordered by Avenida Atlántica is, without a doubt, the most advisable neighborhood for amateur travelers because everything is at hand, it’s well-connected, and there are plenty of gastronomic options and tourist attractions. However, Ipanema and Leblon are also good neighborhoods for travelers for their tranquility, elegance and pleasant atmosphere. And if hitting the beach, relaxing and shopping is what you want to be doing, Barra da Tijuca is the perfect area, full of crystalline water beaches and shopping malls.
If you are traveling to Brazil in August, don’t forget two things: it’s Brazil, and it’s August. That means you can start ridding your suitcase of practically everything, as all you’re going to need is a pair of shorts, a swimming suit, and a t-shirt. The heat in Rio can get overwhelming, and so it’s important that you choose accommodation with a good ventilation system or airco. Otherwise you might just end up melting at any time.
Your Basic Survival Kit
Now that you’ve emptied your suitcase of all unnecessary clothing, you’ll have plenty of space to carry the real essentials: high SPF sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a hat, sunglasses, a photocopy of your passport, and comfortable shoes.
Take Public Transport
Rio de Janeiro is an increasingly modern city, and the Olympics are obviously contributing to that rather intensely, so public transport is well-organized, and generally all tourist attractions are well connected. There are two subway lines joining the North and South of the city, where you’ll travel comfortably in climate controlled cars for which you’ll need a single ticket (R$3,70).
You can also take the bus for R$3,80 with lines joining the historical center and the South Zone.
Taxis are another good option for moving through Rio. They’re painted yellow and tend to be quite modern and safe, as they all have a taximeter to prevent any fare-related confusion.
Avoid Large Crowds
We’re not going to lie here: if you’re going to Rio in August 2016, you won’t find yourself alone there. The Wonderful City is expecting half a million foreign tourists to flock by for the 2016 Olympics, so chances are high that you may run into some of your country mates while strolling down the beaches of Copacabana or visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Besides being overwhelming, large crowds are the perfect setting for nifty pickpockets waiting for you to space out for a second.
There’s no magic formula to make the crowds go away but we do have a good tip against that: get up early. If you want to avoid hours of queuing, forget that evening mojito and go to bed early. You’ll be glad you did.
Eat Your Plate Clean
All of Latin America is renowned for its succulent gastronomy. Brazil is one of those places that will stay in your palate’s memory long after your holiday. The mix of African and Portuguese ingredients gives rise to intensely flavored creations.
Rio’s most typical dish is the Feijoada Carioca, a black bean stew with pork, sausage, rice, collard greens, and orange. Churrascos (grilled meats) are also a staple of Brazilian cuisine, as well as acarajé (a sort of deep-fried shrimp sandwich), pamoña, and vatapá or moqueca. You’ll just have to try them all.
Get Carried Away with Brazilian Cheer
Well, you got up at 6am to visit the Christ, the Pão de Açúcar, and the Maracaná Stadium, so you’ve earned that treat at the end of the day: head over to any of the clubs scattered around the city and discover the electro-samba, bossa-jazz or traditional music genres with live music while you sip on an authentic caipirinha.
It’s not for nothing that Rio is known for the most active nightlife in all of South America. So get your samba du Janeiro on!