Rio de Janeiro State
Recognizing the importance and the synergic relationship
between the capital and the dozens of cities that dot the State, I LOVE
RIO provides eye-opening information about the cities, districts and
communities that lie outside the famous capital of the State.
All crevices and corners of the State are explored in
the pursuit of hidden cultural, gastronomic and social gems. The Website
explores the historical development and beautiful landscapes of many
unique regions, revealing the important role that each plays in the
overall fabric of the State.
COLONIAL HISTORY AND SPECTACULAR NATURE
Because of television, movies, and travel magazines
many travelers have an idea of what the world-famous city of Rio de
Janeiro is about: the unmistakable statue of Christ the Redeemer has
been one of the most iconic representations of Rio and Brazil for nearly
a century. Rio's samba, soccer, beaches, and carnival celebrations have
been in the media for decades.
Beyond what is already famous, there is much more to
know and experience in the surrounding areas - a region that is still
largely unknown outside Brazil. Rio, as the city is more commonly
referred to, is located in the State by the same name, the State of Rio
de Janeiro - home to a wealth of natural and cultural landmarks,
beautiful beaches, mountains, and green natural reserves.
There are 26 federal states in Brazil, 27 in total
with the federal district of the country's capital Brasilia. The State
of Rio de Janeiro is bordered by the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito
Santo, São Paulo, and the by the atlantic ocean.
Surrounding the capital, each region of the State
of Rio de Janeiro is home to a variety of places of great touristic
and cultural interest. While some regions are home to undiscovered
islands and secret beaches, other regions showcase century-old
traditions and colonial architecture. Other parts of the State are
high in the mountains or surrounded by forests, and while all
different, all regions in the State offer the unmistakable Brazilian
The State of Rio de Janeiro is divided in eight
regions - Região Metropolitana, Região Serrana, Região Norte Fluminense,
Região Sul Fluminense, Região Noroeste Fluminense, Região das Baixadas
Litorâneas, Região Médio Paraíba, and the gorgeous Região Costa Verde.
Located in the Região Metropolitana, Niterói sits in
the Guanabara Bay just across from Rio de Janeiro city, with a distance
of about 10 kilometers between the two. Niterói is home to a rich
variety of cultural and natural attractions, some of which are truly
spectacular, easily accessible from Rio de Janeiro city and should not
be missed. Founded by araribóia, a tupi-guarani chief who helped the
Portuguese repel the French invaders, it is the only Brazilian city to
have been established by an indigenous leader.
Further away from Rio de Janeiro city, the regions of
greatest tourist interest in the State are island-rich Costa Verde
(green coast), the Região das Baixadas Litorâneas, also known as Costa
do Sol (coast of the sun) home to beaches and lakes, and the Região
Serrana (mountainous regions) in the interior of the State, home to
green hills, mountains, and forests.
Costa verde's name reflects its abundant rainforests
while Costa do Sol was so named because of the many world-class beaches
in the region. The green coast is home to landmark destinations such as
Ilha Grande, Paraty, and Angra dos Reis, with beautiful ecological
state parks such as the Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina. The Costa
verde displays many elements of the beauty of Brazilian nature in stark
contrast with each other, having on one side the ocean and directly
facing it, incredibly lush forested mountains.
Angra dos Reis is famous for its beautiful beaches
and numerous islands which pepper the crystal waters, ranging from
deserted beach idylls to sophisticated areas of development. The most
famous and celebrated of these is Ilha Grande, or 'big island', where
picturesque beaches meet lush Atlantic forest and laid back bars,
restaurants and Cafés. Visitors can enjoy boat and yacht trips around
the region and observe diverse marine life. In Angra dos Reis itself
attractions include the historical center, colonial houses, convents,
churches and charming restaurants.
The quaint colonial town of Paraty is a time-travel
experience: with over 400 years of history and beautiful architecture
nestled in its cobbled streets, it is home to some of the most pristine
and idyllic beaches in the State, including Trindade Beach and Sono
Beach with crystal clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. There
are also delightful waterfalls a small distance from the main town.
The Costa do Sol, with its over 100 kilometers of
beaches, is also known as Região dos Lagos, or region of the lakes,
after the many lakes and lagoons found there. Here, the peaceful
Cabo Frio, the secluded Arraial do Cabo, the ever chic Búzios, and
Brazil's surfing capital of Saquarema are just some of the many
great places offering phenomenal beaches, picturesque vistas, and
Known as brazil's capital of surf, Saquarema is about
100 km from Rio de Janeiro. This region was originally inhabited by
indigenous Tamoio tribes of fishermen, who specialized in mollusks, easy
to find due to the geography of this coastal area. Here, there are 60km
of coastline to explore, and 12 beaches for surfing enthusiasts to
Araruama is the largest town in the Região dos
Lagos, home to vibrant commerce, an expanding role in the life of
the State, and the famous araruama lake, a lagoon ideal for
windsurfing. Also in Araruama is the beautiful and still secret
praia seca, a long white-sand beach ever more popular among those
who enjoy undeveloped, natural beaches and still want to stay close
to Rio de Janeiro city.
Cabo Frio, located around two hours from Rio de
Janeiro city, is famous for its ocean beaches, white sand dunes and the
historically significant fort 'Forte de São Matheus.' It has a popular
group of islands for those enticed by the curiosities and charms of
small fishing villages where one can buy a vast array of delicious
seafood, as well as engage in the well-loved past-time of amateur or
professional fishing. Cabo Frio is also one of the most important cities
for beach fashion in the country.
Rio das Ostras boasts a long stretch of clean, calm
coastline, comprised of 15 enchanting beaches, ideal for surfers.
Visitors enjoy the vast array of bars, restaurants and kiosks which
offer delicious local cuisine as well as the lagoons, parks and reserves
that are rich in fauna and flora. The city also receives a celebrated
annual jazz festival.
Arraial do Cabo offers some of the best diving spots
in Brazil with plenty of dive boats leaving for beaches ideal for guided
underwater fishing adventures surf. The Reserva Extrativista Marinha de
Arraial do Cabo (Extractive Marine Reserve of Arraial do Cabo) is a
stunning ecological area in the region, populated by traditional fishing
Made famous since the 70's by French actress Brigitte
Bardot, a must-visit hotspot and playground for the well-heeled is the
celebrated Armação dos Búzios, normally called just 'Búzios.' With
beautiful beaches and great nightlife this is the fashionable beach town
of the day, attracting a wide array of Cariocas and international
visitors to its scenic coastline. The buzzing and elegant nightlife
boasts an eclectic assortment of bars, restaurants and clubs making
Búzios the ideal location for a glamorous getaway.
Macaé is one of the most prosperous districts in Rio
de Janeiro, receiving a high level of business tourism as a result of
its offshore oil industry. It hosts the biennial Brazil Offshore
conference for oil and gas which brings together around 800 exhibitors.
The city also has areas of great natural beauty, including beaches,
national parks, islands, coastal lagoons, mountains, waterfalls and
The região Serrana, is a mountainous area home to
the historically important city of Petrópolis, at one point capital of Rio de Janeiro State, and the charming Nova Friburgo. The Região Serrana offers
travelers the majesty of the Serra dos Órgãos mountains, and due to
its moderate climate, this area attracts many visitors year-round.
Petrópolis, one of the most popular and stunning
mountainous locations of Rio State, is endearingly referred to as
the 'Imperial City' because the monarch Dom Pedro II made it his home.
It is surrounded by lush Atlantic Forest and pulses with art, music,
dance, culture and tradition.
Teresópolis, nestled atop a magnificent mountain
range, is frequented for its fresh, cool air and beautiful natural
parks, replete with diverse flora, fauna and springs. A sweet craft,
clothing and gastronomy market also takes place every weekend.
Nova Friburgo, framed by the Atlantic Forest, offers
a range of tours and treks to experience waterfalls, mountains, streams
and environmental reserves. It is also well loved for its high quality
pousadas, restaurants and gastronomy - including fondues and raclettes,
goats' cheese, cookies and homemade chocolates.
Cachoeiras de Macacu is named in honor of the many
beautiful waterfalls (cachoeiras) of the region, and earned the town the
title of 'health-resort town.' This unique place is located in the
Região Serrana, less than 90km from the capital. A town with the word
'waterfalls' in its name evokes images and sensations of peace and
Located in the 'valley of coffee', the harmonious
mountain town of Miguel Pereira sits at an altitude of 618m, and is
surrounded by the lush green mountains of Brazil's interior. Miguel
Pereira has a balanced and high oxygen level, giving it a wonderful
climate all year round. Renowned for its luscious climate, this town was
declared a climatic resort, and is now officially regarded as the 3rd
best climate in the world, the 2nd best in Brazil, and the best in the
State of Rio de Janeiro.
Throughout Rio de Janeiro State, the mata
atlântica's tropical and sub-tropical forests are teeming with
biodiversity. Its representative species of flora and fauna species
make the Região Serrana one of the most diverse on the planet.
For those who come to Rio de Janeiro and want to
experience an additional side of the region, there are many nearby
destinations offering a range of attractions and easily reached for
a one-day tour or for a week-end.
Less known locations such as Rio das Ostras and
the waterfalls of Cachoeiras de Macacu are wonderful places to visit
and are becoming more and more popular with both Brazilian and
international visitors alike.
Rio's tourist industry is constantly evolving and
is a fundamental component of the state's fruitful and sustainable
development. There are a significant number of companies dedicated
to travel around the State, some of which offer adventurous
excursions, while others focus on nature and environmental education
or high-end beach pampering. To ensure that the tourist industry
functions in a co-operative and efficient way, many public
institutions oversee important business infrastructure to facilitate
interaction between enterprises and promote exposure.