When we speak of ‘world cities’ such as Rio de Janeiro, suddenly we have an image in our minds: an iconic image of that city, in Rio’s case The Jesus Christ statue on the top of the mountain which opens his arms and embraces the whole city, or even the whole universe. It is a sublime view from Corcovado: the Atlantic Ocean, the hills covered with the greenest trees, the bays, the beaches which follow one another… Even the ‘favelas’, the shanty towns right behind the luxurious skyscrapers, with all the contrast and the beauty of the city, you get a full image of this ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, ‘the marvellous city’, and you hardly understand which one is the sea, which one is the river, which one is the lake… Another breath taking view is from the Sugar Loaf Mountain: Pão de Açucar. Standing 400 meters from the sea level, the shape of this mountain looks like a sugar loaf and it looks at the Guanabara Bay which is the exact place the Portuguese arrived in 1502. You need to take a cable car to reach to the top. When you are at the top you can see on your right the famous Copacabana Beach, the beach just in front of the hill is the Red Beach. It is as stunning as Corcovado, so you need to pay a visit to both of them!
A real treasure inside this metroplex is the Botanical Garden in Lagoa area, which is the upper parts of Ipanema and Leblon beaches. It is a huge garden with hummers of different species of plants brought here from various parts of he world. It is also one of the places where Tom Jobim, the creator of Bossa Nova, the pianist and composer, and the namesake of Rio International Airport, spent time in the botanical garden in Rio.
Rio de Janeiro is a city where mountains merge with the sea and shanties stand next to the most upscale apartments. One of these hills is Santa Teresa whose houses have garden gates that barely allow a glance within. The steep streets are windy and narrow but this is a neighbourhood where artists choose to live and tourists tread the cobblestones and one can feel the calming aura of the mountains along Rio’s packed shore line.