Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the south Atlantic coast. Although it became the capital of Brazil after the discovery of gold inland in 1763, it lost its capital city status to Brasilia in 1960.
Its harbour is surrounded by spectacular geographic features which make it one of the seven natural wonders of the world. They include:
The beaches in Rio de Janeiro are extremely popular because they are wide and clean, with soft white sand. They offer many services for visitors, including: free showers, chairs to rent, lifeguards and walking vendors selling everything from sunglasses to cold drinks. Copacabana beach is popular for surfing, with a popular way of riding the waves called ‘to grab an alligator’ (meaning you wait for the wave to come behind you then swim on top of it until it crumbles next to the sand).
The annual carnival takes place each year to celebrate Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday). It was created by football journalists in 1931. Parades are held across the city over a four-day weekend. Samba dancing schools all over the country compete with each other for the ultimate prize - a trophy and bragging rights!
Tourists also like to visit:
The favelas are areas of poor-quality housing slums, which are located on the city's many mountain slopes. These shantytowns are dangerous places to visit because many criminals live in them. Muggings and gun crimes are big problems – even the police are afraid to enter some favelas.