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Olympic Travel, Rio-Style

Olympic Rings Heart-shaped

If you’ve watched the Olympics on TV and thought about how exciting it would be to see them in person, this could be the year to finally cross that item off your travel bucket list.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host the Summer Olympic Games from Aug. 5–21 (Rio is in the Southern Hemisphere where it will technically be winter). This is a chance watch the world’s greatest athletes compete, as well as take in the sights and sounds of this lively and naturally beautiful city founded by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century.

Rio loves to party and knows how to do it well. The city’s beaches are centers of activity practically around the clock, filled with people playing soccer and volleyball, dancing, enjoying water sports, or just soaking up some sun. The promenade that borders Copacabana beach is lined with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. At the more upscale Ipanema beach, visitors will find cafes and restaurants as well as galleries and clubs.

But Rio is much more than beaches. To see a different side, visit the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Once a preserve of the upper class, it’s now home to artists’ studios and restaurants that offer some of the city’s best traditional Brazilian food. Or head to the Tijuca Forest, a tropical rainforest featuring creeks, waterfalls, and hiking trails.

Of course, keeping a watchful eye over Rio is the Statue of Christ the Redeemer. Completed in 1931, the Art Deco sculpture stands 125 feet tall, including its pedestal, and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Take a train up Corcovado Mountain to its base for a breathtaking view of the city.

Rio de Janeiro Boats  Carnival Woman In Costume, Brazil

In addition to all the gorgeous scenery, the main event for most visitors this August will be the Olympics themselves.

More than 10,000 athletes will compete in 28 sports at the Summer Games. In addition to perennial favorites such as swimming and diving, gymnastics, track and field, and basketball, two sports—golf and rugby—are being added for this Olympiad.

While tickets for some events may be scarce, an experienced travel agent can help figure out what’s available and how to get them. In addition, some street events such as road cycling, race walking, and the marathon can be watched along their routes for free.

As for getting there, several U.S. airlines serve Rio de Janeiro, with nonstop flights available from New York, Miami, Houston, and Atlanta. (Delta offers nonstop flights from Atlanta and United offers them from Houston.)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Once you arrive, Rio offers some terrific places to stay.

The Belmond Copacabana Palace, a 1923 Art Deco-style building that overlooks Copacabana beach, is a luxury property that’s considered South America’s premier hotel. Guests have included famous names from the worlds of entertainment and European royalty.

The Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro, a short walk from Ipanema beach, has one of Rio’s most coveted addresses. It’s renowned French designer Philippe Starck’s first hotel in Brazil. Guest rooms have private balconies that afford spectacular views.

The newly-renovated and upscale Miramar Hotel by Windsor, steps from Copacabana beach, offers on-call butler service and inventive cuisine at Restaurant Sa.

For help planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Summer Olympics, contact one of our travel agents.

Runners Athletes Olympiads

© Travel Leaders Group