• See the "marvelous city" of Rio de Janeiro

    2010-01-22

    When the Portuguese explorers of old stumbled on Guanbara Bay, the site that would later become Rio de Janeiro, they named it "Cidade Marvilhosa" or marvelous city for the fortification they hoped to build on the spot. It's more than 400 years later, and the city still manages to live up to the lofty title.

    Rio is the second largest city in Brazil and easily the country's most famous. From the monolithic statue of Jesus that overlooks the city from high, to the lively and decadent beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio is a city worth exploring.

    Nature lovers would be reluctant to not visit Pao de Acucar or the sugar loaf mountains. Travelers can ride an aerial tramway to the top of the taller mountain and catch a breathtaking sunset fall over the horizon.

    History nuts will enjoy the Palacio Gutavo Capanema, a French designed government building that is considered to be a pioneer in many techniques now common in modern architecture, or the Museo do Carnaval, which records the history of the country's top cultural celebration.

    Gourmands will want to dine at one of the many rodizios, or Brazilian steakhouses, that fill the city to sample some authentic local cuisine.

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