Visit Brazil – Host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Soccer fans by the thousands will be heading for Brazil in June and July of 2014 as the country hosts the FIFA World Cup, many of whom will no doubt take some time to explore the attractions of this vibrant destination in South America. Known for its colorful street parties, and particularly the annual Carnival, Rio de Janeiro is one of the host cities for the World Cup, with the others being Brasília, São Paulo, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Recife, Cuiabá, Manaus, Natal and Curitiba.
With the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue towering with outstretched arms over it, the city of Rio de Janeiro has many historic, cultural and natural attractions to enjoy. Rocky mountains give way to white sandy beaches, while the renowned Sugar Loaf mountain guards the entrance of Guanabara Bay. Measuring 30 meters in height, the Christ the Redeemer statue stands on top of the Corcovado mountain on the edge of the city. The 700 meter tall mountain is sometimes covered in mist, giving the statue the appearance of standing on clouds. It is one of the city's most visited attractions and on a clear day offers incredible views of the city and surroundings.
Visitors to Rio de Janeiro may want to take advantage of the city’s extensive network of cycling tracks to get around. In addition to paths running alongside most of the prominent beaches – Copacabana, Ipanema, Flamengo, Centro and Marina da Glória – there are up to six kilometers of cycle paths winding through the spectacular Tijuca National Park. Claiming to be the world's largest urban forest (a status often ascribed to Johannesburg, South Africa), the Tijuca Forest is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, many of which are endangered and/or endemic. Within the park's boundaries are the Mayrink Chapel, Cascatinha Waterfall and the pagoda at the Vista Chinesa lookout point.
In addition to the FIFA World Cup, events in Brazil during 2014 include the Carnival on February 28 to March 4; the Street Child World Cup from March 27 to April 5; the Sao Paulo Fashion Week from March 31 to April 4; the Boi Bumba Festival in Parintins on June 27 to 29; the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Final at Icarai Beach on October 18 to 19; and New Years Eve at Copacabana Beach on December 31.
Picture attribution: Allan Fraga - Wikimedia Commons