Rio de Janeiro: Gateway to Brazil

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July 26, 2012


SPECIAL REPORT | RIO DE JANEIRO     

By Julio Santos 

Great sunny beaches, warm weather, natural beauty, good food, lots of culture and history are not exclusively present in the traditional wonderful city. The “Off Rio” attractions present a fascinating snapshot of the main corners of the state that will make it worth extending your stay.

Anyone who arrives at Tom Jobim International Airport is welcomed right away with a good impression of the city of Rio de Janeiro as portrayed by the postcards. They are filled with images of a wonderful landscapes and landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf and the traditional beaches of Rio.

“OFF THE BEATEN TRACK RIO”

The beauty here goes far beyond what one can see in the city. The attractions located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, for those unfamiliar, is a must see for all it offers.  It is not only for its beauty, but also for its history, culture and tradition. One simply cannot miss a visit to one of the four main corners of our state – The Lake Region, Mountains, Green Coast and the Paraíba Valley.

LAKE REGION (REGIÃO DOS LAGOS)     

Sun, heat, and wonderful beaches lead to a pretty idyllic life in the Lake Region. During some points of the year activities include Carnival, New Year’s Eve and long holidays.  These are all landmarks of Lake Region, which has more than 100 kilometers of coastline.  Also called the ‘Sunshine Coast’, the region also enjoys an average of 300 sunny days a year.

The Lake Region is a place where tourism flourishes because of so many typical attractions of a tropical country. One of its well-known cities is Cabo Frio, which welcomes international and national visitors almost all year long from all around the globe.

Among one of the most visited cities, Buzios, emancipated itself from Cabo Frio 17 years ago. The city became internationally famous through actress Brigitte Bardot as she chose that city as her favourite spot.  Arraial do Cabo, with crystal-clear waters and Rio das Ostras, which is a city that is witnessing an economic boom brought by the oil business. These are places that need to be part of your journey.

THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION (REGIÃO SERRANA)                

  The mountainous region, with particular attention to the cities of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis and Petrópolis, all offer a wonderful mix of history, culture, good food and mild temperatures year round. The Itatiaia National Park covers an area that involves some cities of the region and it is an important conservation area with temperatures sometimes reaching below zero. Nova Friburgo still conserves traces of the Swiss colonization which began in 1820. Petrópolis brings the historical mark to the picture and is home to the Imperial Palace, which served as a summer residence for the imperial family. As Teresópolis is named after the wife of the Emperor Dom Pedro II, Dona Teresa.

GREEN COAST REGION (REGIÃO DA COSTA VERDE)          

Tradition also marks the region of Costa Verde, named after the luxurious Rain Forest and Atlantic coast. Some of the beaches are not always suitable for bathing, but the history and the exuberance of the region are its main features.

Angra dos Reis is the landmark of the only two existing nuclear power plants in Brazil.  Paraty, a land of good cachaça and historic streets and houses, enjoys international fame with the celebration of the International Literary Festival that is celebrated in July.

PARAÍBA  VALLEY REGION (REGIÃO DO VALE DO PARAÍBA) 

If you prefer to taste a bit of the colonial history of Brazil, you should take the road to Vale do Paraíba, located between the east and south of Sao Paulo from Rio de Janeiro. The region, once a wealthy region during the Coffee Cycle, still keeps important colonial mansions, many of them open to the public.  The state of Rio de Janeiro offers many alternatives for short trips, rich in history, culture and natural beauty. You just need to be up for a challenge and a few hours drive.

SERVICE

Lake Region (Região dos Lagos)

Besides the wonderful sunny weather, the cities of the region also offer an excellent infrastructure so the tourist can really enjoy their visit. Excellent hotels and restaurants together with its attractions are part of what the region has to offer and they’re all worth stopping by for a quick visit. Not to mention the tropical sunlight that bathes the region daily:

Where to stay:

Arraial do Cabo

- Ocean View: www.oceanviewhotel.com.br
- Estalagem do Porto - www.estalagemdoporto.com.br

Búzios

- Hotel Ferradura Resort - www.ferraduraresort.com.br
- Villa Rasa Marina Hotel Boutique & SPA - www.villarasamarina.com.br
- Casas Brancas Boutique Hotel & Spa e Hotel - www.casasbrancas.com.br
- Ferradura Private - www.ferraduraresort.com.br
- Hotel Ferradura Resort - www.ferraduraresort.com.br

Cabo Frio

- Malibu Palace Hotel - www.malibupalace.com.br
- Best Western Paradiso Del Sol - www.bestwestern.com.br
- Hotel Balneário Cabo Frio - www.hotelbalneario.tur.br

Rio das Ostras

- Grande Park Hotel - www.granadaparkhotel.com.br

Where to eat

Arraial do Cabo

- Churrascaria Picanha na Brasa
- Oriental Hissão
- Casa do Pontal

Búzios

- Pátio Havana
- Don Juan
- Shiitake
- Osso Perdido

Cabo Frio

- Labadee Restaurant
- Vira Verão
- Panela de Pedra

Rio das Ostras

- Beira Rio
- Mundi
- Ponto Tropical bar and restaurant

Main Attractions

Arraial do Cabo

- Pontal do Atalaia beach
- Praia  Brava  and  Praia  Farol  (beaches)
- Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Remédios
- Sport fishing and underwater

Búzios

- Rua das Pedras
- Orla Bardot
- Islands
- Capela Nossa Senhora Desatadora dos Nós
- Santana’s church
- Reserva do Tauá – Serra das Emerências

Cabo Frio

- Ilha do Japonês (island)
-  Praia do Forte  (beach)
- Praia das Dunas (beach)
- Praia do Peró (beach)
- Forte São Mateus
- Convento N.Sª dos Anjos, – Rua dos Biquinis

Rio das Ostras

- Praia Costazul (beach)
- Praia Areias Negras (beach)
- Lagoa do Iriri (lake)
- Park of the birds
- Sítio Arqueológico Sambaqui da Tarioba

Mountainous Region

Enjoying a lower temperature all year long, the Mountainous Region offers good food and cosy accommodations. More specifically in Petrópolis and Teresópolis, visitors are able to take a deep look in the history ofBrazil. Here are some of our suggestions:

Where to stay

Petrópolis

- Hotel Casablanca Palace - www.casablancahotel.com.br
- Grande Hotel Petrópolis - www.grandehotelpetropolis.com.br
- Clarion Hotel – Itaipava - www.clarionhotel.com

Nova Friburgo

- Grande Park Hotel – www.granadaparkhotel.com.br- Pousada Refúgio dos Fal -www.refugiodosfalcoes.com.br/
- Parador Lumiar - www.paradorlumiar.com/

Teresópolis

- Hotel Rosa dos Ventos - www.hotelrosadosventos.com.br/
- Bel-Air Hotel - www.belairhotel.com.br/
- Hotel Fazenda Recanto das Águas - www.recantodasaguastere.com.br/

Where to eat

Petrópolis

- Dical Branconott Restaurante
- Parador Valência
- RestautanteChico Verissimo

Nova Friburgo

- Churrascaria Quinta Rica
- Dona Mariquinha
- Assim e Assado Restaurante
- Taberna Friburgo

Teresópolis

- Atma Empório Ecológico
- Rancho Restaurante
- Brasa Viva
- Rancho Restaurante

Main Attractions

Petrópolis

- Imperial Museum
- Palácio de Cristal
- Santos Dumont House
-  Petrópolis Museum
-  Quitandinha Hotel

Nova Friburgo

- Praça do Suspiro
- Estadual dos Três Picos Park
- São João Batista Catedral
- Santo Antônio Chapel
- Indiana Jones waterfall
- Três Picos de Salina

Teresópolis

- National Park  Serra dos Órgãos
- Granja Comary
- Cascata dos Amores
- Matriz de Santa Tereza
- Orquidário Aranda
- Cascata do Imbuí

Green Coast Region (Região Costa Verde)

The combination of the luxurious greenery and the ocean is one of the main attractions of this wealth region ofRio de Janeiro. If you like to sail or travel by boat the region offers infinity islands ready to be explored specially in Angra dos Reis. One can also enjoy a contact with the culture and history ofBrazilby attending the International Literary Festival (Flip) in Party, home to historic houses and its flavourful spirits called cachaça. Here are some of our suggestions:

Where to stay:

Angra dos Reis

- Meliá Angra Marina & Convention Al Inclusive Resort - www.pt.solmelia.com/Angra-dos-Reis
- Vila Galé Eco Resort Angra All Inclusive - www.vilagale.com.br/Eco-Resort-Angra
- Portogalo Suite Hotel - www.portogalosuite.com.br
- Golden Tulip Porto Bali - www.goldentulipportobali.hotelsone.com

Paraty

- Othon Pousada Villa Del Sol Hotel - www.othon.com.br/hotel/paraty/othon-pousada-villa-del-sol
- Meliá Angra Marina & Convention Resort - www.melia-angra-marina.com
- Hotel do Frade & Golf Resort - www.hoteldofrade.com.br

Where to eat

Angra dos Reis

- Casa da Picanha
- Fromágio
- Dom Paco
- Chez Dominique
- Cheiro Verde

Paraty

- Alquimia dos Sabores
- Banana da Terra
- Cervejaria Caboré
- Le Gite De Indaiatiba, Thai Paraty

Main Attractions

Angra dos Reis

- Praiado Aventureiro (beach)
- Praia Vermelha (beach)
- Praia das Éguas (beach)
- Ilha da Gipóia (island)
- Ilha de Cataguás (island)

Paraty

- Ruas da cidade
-  Santa Rita Church
- Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church
- Forte Defensor Perpétuo
- Sobrados
- Casa da Cadeia
- Engenho da Boa Vista

Paraíba Valley Region (Região do Vale do Paraíba)

A unforgettable stroll through the region famous old farms will leave you with a taste of coffee in your mouth. Home to the grand plantations of coffee in the past, the region still boasts the glamour of the Coffee Barons and they cannot be left out from your trip. Cities like Valença, Vassouras ou Barra do Piraí are definitely worth visiting.

Where to stay

- Hotel Fazenda Parador Maritacas Spa Resort (Barra do Piraí) -www.paradormaritacas.com.br
- Vassouras Eco Resort (Vassouras) - www.vassourasecoresort.com.br
- Hotel Vivenda Les 4 Saisons (Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin) - www.les4saisons.com.br
- Pousada Fazenda Ponte Alta (Barra do Piraí) - www.pontealta.com.br

Where to eat

- Laponia Rotisserie Chopp Bar (Resende)
- Parrila Penedo Restaurant (Itatiaia)
- Aono Costa Restaurant (Barra Mansa)

Main Attractions

- Obelisco Getúlio Vargas (Volta Redonda)
- Memorial Volta Redonda
- Zoológico Municipal – Parque Muncipal da Criança (Volta Redonda)
- Fazenda da Bocaina (Valença)
- Serra da Concórdia (Valença)
- Cachoeira do Bonito (Valença)
- Nossa Senhora do Rosário Church (Valença)
- Fazenda Taquara (Barra do Piraí)

 



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