ACCOMMODATIONINRIORio has a hotel to suit every taste and budget.Copacabana and Ipanema are the most popularareas in which to stay, offering a selection ofthree to five star beachfront hotels. These districtsalso offer exclusive accommodation options. Themost famous of which is, without doubt, theCopacabana Palace, an art-deco landmark onCopacabana Beach. For a more modern twist, thePhillipe Starck-designed Fasano in Ipanema is theepitome of high fashion and modern lines. Heading away from the beaches into the historic Santa Teresa area, there are a selection of charming boutique hotels. We particularly like the Santa Teresa Hotel with its wonderfulviews over downtown Rio to Botafogo Bay. Rio de JaneiroThe cariocas (residents of Rio) have a saying thatGod created the world in seven days, the eighthhe devoted to Rio de Janeiro. As you stand ontop of the Sugar Loaf Mountain at sunset, withthe city curling its way around the granite peaks,forests and golden beaches below you, and withthe iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, armsaloft, watching over you from Corcovado, youmay be inclined to agree. The sheer beauty and vibrancy of Rio isbreathtaking. It is a city that will keep you busyand probably tire you out, whether you areexploring Tijuca, the world's largest urban forest,relaxing with the locals on the golden sands ofCopacabana or Ipanema or taking the ricketytram to bohemian Santa Teresa district. Youcould also take in a football game amid the singingand drumming of the huge crowds at the mightyMaracanã, explore one of the city's 'favelas'(shanty towns) with one of our specialist guides, or wander around the Museum of ContemporaryArt in Niteroi, housed in a voluptuous buildingwhich the architect claims was inspired by all that is famous in Rio. At night the city doesn't sleep, with great optionsfor relaxed live music and samba shows plus ahost of world class restaurants serving fineBrazilian and international cuisine.60Rio de JaneiroCopacabana Palace, Rio de JaneiroSanta Teresa Hotel, Rio de JaneiroWe can also offer private, fully servicedapartments across Rio with some of the bestviews the city can offer. They make ideal optionsfor family holidays or travel with a small group of friends.HOMESTAYSINRIOStaying in the home of a carioca gives anauthentic taste of Rio and we can match yourhost to your interests. A local organisation hascreated a network of Rio professionals who rentout rooms in their homes on a bed and breakfastbasis. Properties are scattered across the city and,whilst accommodation is relatively simple, theexperience is rich.
Around Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro is an excellent starting point fromwhich to get out and explore the surroundingcountryside. A couple of hours north from Rioyou are soon surrounded by Atlantic rainforest,the perfect environment for walking and trekkingand one of the best places in Brazil forbirdwatching. An excellent option is the Serra dosÓrgãos National Park, famous for its organ pipelike rock formations, and nearby the Serra dosTucanos birding lodge which has recorded over200 species of bird in its grounds alone.www.audleytravel.com/brazil ?01993 838 610 ?Brazil61CarnivalSome of the most striking and colourfulimages of Brazil are taken during its worldrenowned Carnival, which takes place everyyear in the build up to Lent. Carnival time isan opportunity for Brazil to let its hair downand take to the streets to enjoy the dancingand music it is so well known for. For theinternational visitor it is an eye opening andsomewhat frenetic collision of colours andsounds, of scantily-clad Brazilian bodies andice cold beer. The biggest celebrations take place in Rio,where thousands of brightly-coloured featherand sequin clad dancers samba their waythrough the parade ground of theSambadrome to the intoxicating beat ofdrums, whistles and the 'whoops' of thecrowd. Rio is the place for the grandestcostumes and most impressive parades butfor a more participatory and perhapsauthentic experience of Carnival, thenortheast towns of Salvador, Olinda andRecife come alive at this time of year. Visitorscan immerse themselves in the action, joiningthe crowds of revellers that stream throughthe streets following huge papier macheheads, samba bands and 'Trio Electricos' -Serra dos TucanosFavela, Rio de JaneiroCopacabana beach, Rio de JaneiroRio CarnivalCopacabana beach, Rio de Janeirohuge floats covered in speakers carrying someof Brazil's most famous live bands and singers. Carnival celebrations tend to last for about a week and there is little respite from thefestivities, especially in the northeast. We alsorecommend the Winners' Parade which takesplace in Rio the weekend after Carnival itself,featuring the winning samba groups from theprevious week's parades. It offers a wonderfultaste of the vibrant colours and sounds ofCarnival without the same levels of intensity.Mosaic staircase, Santa Teresa