Brazil's key tourist destination is positioned within a spectacularly wild, natural landscape. This seductive city is easy to visualize: flamboyant Carnaval, beaches packed with locals in skimpy bikinis, the mountaintop statue of Christ the Redeemer with his outstretched arms and the rhythm of the samba beating in the background. Rio de Janeiro is divided by a mountain range into two areas: the North Zone and the South Zone. The South Zone holds most of the city’s sights, including the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, paved with decorated black-and-cream swirl pattern mosaics, as well as Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Take a funicular ride up to Sugar Loaf peak for a bird’s eye perspective on how the natural harbor is surrounded by high peaks that meet the sea at the beaches. The 100-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer at Mount Corcovado is the most recognized landmark in Rio. You can take a tram up to the statue, which has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. For soccer (football) fans, a visit to the Maracana Stadium is required. Other attractions include museums, colonial buildings, baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, forts and gardens.