Rio de Janeiro

Video By Sharecare Windows
It is no overstatement to say that Rio de Janeiro is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. Parts urban sprawl, beach paradise and tropical rainforest, the city and its mountains, shores and lake make up an incomparable natural landscape. The culture, too, is singular. Beautiful and bronzed, cariocas, Rio’s residents, have truly perfected a cool, laid-back attitude. Whereas São Paulo revolves around high-paced business, Rio is about beach lounging, heady nightlife, seductive samba and enjoying a slower pace of life. Perhaps best known for its debaucherous celebrations during the month leading up to Carnaval, Rio is nothing if not exotic. But Rio caters to all interests — the world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches for sun worshippers, the city's abundance of free museums and cultural centers for art enthusiasts and the mountains and Tijuca National Forest for active adventurers. Though Rio has its grittier side as well, the days of rampant crime are gone. Now even the favelas, Rio's colorfully-painted slum neighborhoods, provide a fascinating place for cultural immersion. As the city prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, the Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvelous City) will only get more exciting.