Rio de Janeiro from A to Z

Twenty-six facts, in alphabetical order, about the sultry Brazilian city.
Take a quick refresher course of your ABCs and get the lowdown on the reasons why you need to visit this glorious Brazilian city.

Acai
A small dark purple berry, native to Brazil, acai (pronounced a-sigh-ee) is a local “superfood” that’s claimed to have five times more antioxidants than blueberries.

Bodies
Large and small, young and old, no one’s ashamed of showing some skin around the beaches and streets of Rio.

Christ the Redeemer
Arms spread wide, radiating his benevolent presence over the city, you don’t need to be a Christian to appreciate this 38m tall statue.

Drums
Music is everywhere and everything in Rio and drums are its tribal heartbeat.

Excitement
The party that puts all others to shame, you can’t beat Rio’s carnival for size (two million people on the streets each day) and revelry.

Favelas
Sprawling ghettos, some overlooking the ocean, these communities come with their own laws, schools, and drug lords to rule over them.

Green
Thanks to a warm and wet climate, everywhere you look in Rio is covered in tropical plant life.

Hangovers
You haven’t partied, or suffered the head-pounding consequences, until you’ve had a night on cachaça, the local spirit distilled from sugar cane juice.

Ipanema
The Bondi of Rio, this is where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy the beach culture the place is famous for.

Jiu-jitsu
A combat sport, focused on grappling, chokes and holds, that’s become something close to a religion.

Kilo
Comida por quilo” or “food per kilo” is the quirky food trend around Rio where the cost is calculated by the weight of whatever you pile on the plate.

Locals
Known as cariocas, they’re renowned for being fun and friendly.

Maracanã stadium
Arguably, the world’s most famous soccer stadium. Catching a game here is the equivalent of going to Sunday mass in the Vatican City.

Nights
Long, hot, and intoxicating.

What might be considered raunchy, possibly even obscene, in other countries, passes as normal around Rio.

Obrigado
Portuguese for hello. It’s obrigada, if you’re a lady.

Portuguese
The local language, thanks to the Portuguese, who rocked up in the 16th Century. Make sure you try some picanha, which is the local bbq.

Quote
“Curves are the essence of my work, because they are the essence of Brazil, pure and simple.”– Oscar Niemeyer, famous Brazilian architect, born in Rio.

Ronaldo
Widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all-time, Ronaldo is another famous Rio local.

Samba
A hip-swinging dance, invented in Brazil, almost impossible to perform as a white Australian.

Thongs
Part of the unofficial uniform.

Undercover
The “dancing” you see on the beach is often capoeira, a martial art that was disguised as a dance, so slaves could practice it without alarming their masters.

Views
Take the cable car up to Sugerloaf Mountain and you’ll see why Rio’s known as Cidade Maravilhosa or Marvelous City.

White
The single colour that two million people dress in along Copacabana beach for reveillon (New Year’s Eve).

X-Rated
What might be considered raunchy, possibly even obscene, in other countries, passes as normal around Rio.

Yellow
One of the primary colours of the Brazilian flag, you see bright yellow all over Rio, from bikinis to those little cocktail umbrellas.

Zaza Bistro Tropical
Rated the number one fusion restaurant in Ipanema by Lonely Planet.

Know your Brazilian ABC’s? Pack a bag, grab your passport, and learn ’em all right here.

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