Rio de Janeiro: Host to the World in 2016
Why 2016 is the year to go…
The Brazilian real is in decline against the dollar and has been since 2013, while at the same time, the upcoming 2016 Olympics have started to invigorate the country’s travel industry. Increased lift from Air Canada this year has made airfare reasonable for Canadians and thanks to the favourable exchange rate, cheap tickets to the summer 2016 Olympics are available —think $45-$75 for an event. Furthermore, hotel spaces — including a number of new 4- and 5-star properties — have increased by 20,000 to accommodate the increased traffic for the games in August. After the Olympics, the Rio Hotel Association will be trying to keep the new hotel rooms occupied; an increased focus on tourism means deals for savvy travellers.
Rio de Janeiro is known for…
The sky high spectacles! Christ the Redeemer watches from a towering 130 feet above the Corcovado Mountain. Visitors can brave the tough climb up on foot (with a guide), hire a taxi and save the sneakers, or zoom up on a 30-minute funicular ride to see what he sees. Also throwing shade on the city centre are a number of mountains, the most famous of which, in addition to Corcovado, are the Two Brothers and Sugar Loaf. Sugar Loaf tends to be less crowded, with a bit of a better view, while the other two are lauded as having the best lookout spots. The natural wonders are not limited to altitude, however, as the city also has beautiful beaches and the Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest urban forest. Rio’s prolific art and poetry has often been attributed to the natural beauty.
One insider tip…
Everyone who has been to Rio has a recommendation for how to get the best views but Travelzoo Deal Experts agree: nothing compares to seeing it from the air. Take a running leap off the side of a mountain with some cloth and an experienced hang-gliding instructor to fly like a bird over the city, before landing on the beach for an afternoon lie-out.
Best time to visit…
Carnival is in February, but finding affordable accommodation and flights for the four to five day festival would mean planning at least a year out. Those hoping to visit for the Summer Olympics should also be booking ASAP. For visitors with less specific goals, head to Rio between December and March for an escape from Canadian winter weather. It will be hot, however, so if you can’t handle the heat, head down for autumn (April and March) or spring (October and November).
Meat-eaters have to eat at a churrascaria restaurant, which is Portuguese barbecue, and not to be missed. Brigadeiros are sweet and simple chocolate balls for those with a sweet tooth.
- Passport needed:Yes
- Money used:Brazil uses the real. ATMS are the best bet for getting currency at a reasonable exchange rate though they’re not open 24/7. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted and also have a decent exchange rate. Most tips are included in the bill and extra is not necessary. Taxi drivers do not receive tips, but bellboys do.
- Visa requirements: Canadians need a visa to visit Brazil; it costs about $72 and takes approximately two weeks to process.
- Plugs: Plugs are three-pronged, two round and one flat. Visitors will need adaptors.
- Internet availability: Many hotels now offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby or rooms, and the new hotels built for the Olympics almost certainly will have good Wi-Fi access. There are some hotspots throughout the city, especially in tourist-heavy areas.