Rio offers ideal winter escape

When the cold and wet UK weather starts to get you down, thoughts for many inevitably turn to sunnier warmer climes. And one destination with plenty to offer at this time of year is Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

When November arrives, bringing up the temperature and the Brazilian daylight savings time, Rio de Janeiro starts pulsing differently.

Cariocas (Rio locals) and tourists become infected by the summer vibe, which officially only reaches the Southern hemisphere on 21st December. Beaches, squares, parks and forests are swarmed by those wanting to enjoy the extra hours of sunshine.

Here are four attractions that translate the soul of the summer in Rio, according to the Rio Press Office.

They are the city’s benchmark and the favoured thing to do for most cariocas. The seafronts of Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon and Barra da Tijuca are always crowded on the weekends. However, from Monday to Friday, the late afternoon is one of the busiest periods around the beaches, with workers keen to enjoy the extra hour of sunshine and 30-degree nights. Picturesque sunsets are also a sight to behold.

The city, which grew between the mountains and the sea, houses the largest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca Forest; the home of several waterfalls. During the summer, the water has a mild temperature and helps you to forget the stresses of everyday life. Some are very accessible, such as the Chuveiro, Quebra and Gruta waterfalls, which can be accessed by short accessible trails.

Rio has the third largest network of cycle lanes in Brazil. Overall, there are over 450 kilometres of cycle lanes. Since 2011, the city has a municipal system of bicycle rental stations, and using them has become a habit among cariocas. You just need to download the app and sign up to rent the bikes. On weekends, areas such as Aterro do Flamengo and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freita, in Rio’s South Side, have a private bicycle rental service.

In November, the samba schools start getting into the groove. Most of them promote weekly exhibitions. Schools such as Mangueira, Salgueiro and Portela manage to gather 5,000 people every night. But it is not only the samba that moves the summer in Rio. At this time of year, the groups of Carnival dancers, which are dearly embraced by the cariocas, start making their street exhibitions. The gatherings take place in the late afternoon and are free of charge. One of the most traditional amongst these groups is “Orquestra Voadora” (the Flying Orchestra), in the gardens of Rio’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM), in Rio’s South Side, on Sundays.

Article published 27th November 2018