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RIO DE JANEIRO

Rio de Janeiro is a city that has it all: great weather, great people, and great attractions. The amazingly beautiful Avenida Atlântica is flanked on one side by white beach and azure sea and on the other by the pleasure-palace hotels that testify to the city’s eternal lure. Nearly all of Rio’s attractions are found in the affluent Zona Sul, the neighborhoods on or near the beach. It is here that hotels, restaurants, shops, and nightlife are concentrated.

During the day, Rio life focuses on the beaches, the most active of which remains Copacabana. The famed Ipanema beach is only a short beautiful walk down the Avenue. Beach life there is more restrained, but no less seductive. The western extension, Leblon, is an affluent, intimate community flush with good, small restaurants and bars. The more distant southern beaches, beginning with São Conrado and extending past the Barra to Grumari, become richer in natural beauty and increasingly isolated.

Rio is an amazingly modern city given its 400-year history. Most of the best urban attractions are located close to each other in the city center. There are amazing churches and museums that help present the best of this vibrant culture. Rio’s restaurants serve some of the best steaks and meats to be had in the entire world, and the unique Brazilian style of cooking is not to be missed.

Moreover, Rio features the greatest party in the world "Carnival" every year. Visitors to Carnival won’t be disappointed when they see the amazing floats and beautiful people. Visitors to Rio come with high expectations, and those expectations are definitely surpassed by what they find in this amazing city. The people of Rio and its thousands of visitors are certainly dedicated to making that proposition come true.

SAMBA PARADE IN THE SAMBODROMO

The highlight of Rio Carnival is undoubtedly the Rio Carnival Parade called theSamba Parade or Samba Schools Parade, a totally unique event in the world!
The Rio Samba Parade is the review of a fierce competition between the Rio samba school. The judges and spectators watch the principal parades in the Sambodromo, which was especially built for this event. See how it is judged.

The Samba Parade in Rio de Janeiro is something everybody should experience at least once in their lives. The event is broadcast live to several countries. Watching on TV is comfortable but not any close to the fun that is being there. Definitely mingle with the crowds and watch the brazilians and Cariocas (the people of Rio). For the best and full blown experience, you can even march with a samba school.

The Rio Samba Parade is very distinct from all other street parades held at some other places in the world. It started as street festivities with groups of people parading through the streets playing music and dancing. The Carnival parades in Rio developed into something special, a competition between the samba schools. The main competition was originally held downtown. Until the mid-80s, bleachers for the spectators were simply assembled and disassembled every year on Av. Presidente Vargas, one of Rio's major arteries. Then the main parades were moved to the Sambodromo, specially built for this event. The preparation for the Samba Parade starts months in advance, as each samba school mobilizes thousands of supporters who will create the various parts of the school's display. First, the theme of the year is chosen. Then the school's samba song of the year is selected through competition, while the school's Carnival Designer creates the costumes and the floats. When ready, the sketches move into production. By December the rehearsals begin. In time for Christmas, the schools' annual samba songs are recorded and released to the record shops.

The Rio Samba Parade is not a street event where people move chaotically about as they like, but more of a highly orchestrated show of vast proportions. Every parader has a specific role and place according to his costume in a particular wing, of a particular section of the samba school he/she is parading in support of.

Each year the schools chooses a different theme for the Samba Parade. It can be a celebration of a particular period, or, famous figures of Brazilian history

It may highlight a special event or speak of anything that might move the spirit and imagination; like a special animal, or one of the elements; water or fire, etc. The school has to illustrate the chosen theme through all its work:

  •  the samba tunes, which are especially written for that year;

  •  the richly decorated floats and costumes of their 3,000 to 5,000 parading members designed by the school's Carnival Designer (the so calledCarnavalesco). Every school's parade is highly organized and designed. They line up in a unique way to present their pageant. The schools are divided into a number of sections and each section has a number of wings of about 100 people wearing the same costume. Sometimes even 2 wings (approx. 200 people) have the same costume. You will find more details about the role and name of some special sections of the Parade on the

    other side of this page.
    In between the wings, there are about 8 Carnival floats, separating the sections and ilustrating the school's theme. Most of them are pushed along by men from the School's community but some are motorized and have mechanical parts. The floats carry special guests along with some young and mesmerizing samba dancers in very elaborate, awe-inspiring costume creations.

    The costumes are extremely imaginative, colorful, elaborate and detailed. They are truly original, designed and made from scratch each year. They have mirrors, feathers, metallic cloth, silk and sometimes gems or coins. These costumes take months to make. The work starts roughly 8 months in advance.

    Each samba school has its own distinctive colors (of its flag) and costume style. The color scheme is reflected in many parts of their parade. The biggest and most elaborate costumes are worn by the main floatees (destaques), members chosen with honor by the samba schools to wear these special costumes.Even though complete nudity is not officially allowed, sometimes floats carry topless or almost-naked beauties, male and female, wearing only body paint, lots of glitter and a smile. You may think of the whole event as a tropical opera or rather like several operas happening on one night. It is beautiful to watch and the experience for the paraders themselves is so intense that the memories last for a lifetime.

  •  page4image21240GENERAL INFORMATIONS ABOUT BRAZIL

Brazil is a land which, according to a popular saying: “was blessed by God and is naturally beautiful” Brazil is continental in size, the fourth largest national territory in the world. In fact, its land expanse is greater than Europe and larger than the continent of United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). A visit to Brazil means the unexpected discovery of a place of warm tropical sun and 5000 miles of white-sand beaches, of coconut groves and mango trees, of music and dance, of baroque colonial towns and villages, plus impressive cities of 21st century opulence and sophistication. Brazil ́s allure is not only in the climate, the landscapes and the architecture, it lies in the people themselves, whose sense of cordial hospitality and friendship create the perfect environment for your special interest travel. As a whole the climate is excellent all year round. From north to south, unique attractions are ready to amaze and excite participants on any kind of Special Interest Program who are eager to see and learn about new, different things. Brazil offers a wide range of hotel accommodations ranging from deluxe resorts to lodges deep in the rain forest with something sure to match the budget and characteristics of any travelers. Whatever choice you make , personal attention and warm hospitality will be yours everyday of your stay.

HEALTH

There are no compulsory health requirements for entry into Brazil. Precautions are advised for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Polio and Malaria. We suggest you contact your local G.P. for current advice and recommendations or telephone one of the organizations listed below. You are advised to have full medical insurance coverage. Please note that if you are entering Brazil via Peru, Ecuador or Colombia, you will be required to provide an up to date yellow fever vaccination certificate for immigration purposes. Avoid eating and drinking local products from street vendors and restaurants with suspect hygiene or refrigeration practices.

It is advisable to drink only bottled water at all times.

MONEY

The Brazilian currency is the REAL; 100 centavos = 1 real. Bank bills are in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2; coins are 1.00 real; 50 centavos, 25 centavos, 10 centavos, 5 centavos and 1 centavo. All banks and exchange offices accept travelers checks and foreign currency. It is advisable to take US Dollar travelers checks or currency as this is more readily exchanged than other currency. There is a currency exchange black market, but you are strongly advised to ignore anyone who approaches you asking if you want to change money. Credit Cards - Access, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted in the majority of hotels, shops and restaurants. Banking Hours - 10:00-16:00 Monday to Friday (may vary in some banks) ATM machines are also available in the main cities. There is a limited amount to be withdrawn daily. After 10:00PM it is only possible to withdraw up to 100,00 Reais.

Depending on the bank no withdrawals are allowed after 10:00 PM.

TIME

Brazil spans several time zones, however the Brazilian Standard Time is 3 hours earlier than G.M.T. and 2 hours earlier in the summer (Oct to Feb).

ELECTRICITY

Brazil spans several time zones, however the Brazilian Standard Time is 3 hours earlier than G.M.T. and 2 hours earlier in the summer (Oct to Feb).

LANGUAGE

The official language is Portuguese. Some English is spoken, particularly in the main cities, but the nearest thing to a second language is Spanish with which you will generally be able to make yourself understood.

CLIMATE

The climate varies from arid scrubland inland to impassable tropical rainforest of the northerly Amazon jungle and the tropical eastern coastal beaches. The south is more temperate. Rainy seasons occur from January to April in the north (average number of days when there is some rain is 22); April to July in the northeast (average number of days when there is some rain 14); December to March in the Rio/Sao Paulo area (average number of days when there is some rain is 10).

TAXES

Airport taxes are usually included on the ticket price. To promote tourism and conventions, most of the hotels charge a non mandatory fee that runs from U$ 1,00 to U$ 7,00 per room per night depending on the hotel category as a contribution to the Convention Bureau. If guests want to deny the payment they must inform to the reception clerk upon check out.

TIPPING

In most restaurants and bars a 10% service fee is added to the bill. More sophisticated places may add on 15%. If service is not included it will be stated at the bottom of the bill : Serviço não incluído. Cab drivers do not expect a tip, but it is normal to round up the final price. You should be aware that the amount shown on the taximeter may not always correspond to the amount you are due to pay - look out for a separate sheet taped to the window which will tell you how much the amount on the meter equates to.

BRAZILIAN FOOD AND DRINK

The most common dishes feature various meats, rice and the ubiquitous Brazilian black beans (feijão), whilst restaurants often offer all-you-can-eat barbecues and buffets. Brazil also has many regional varieties of cookery. An example is the Bahian cookery, which includes dishes such as : Vatapa (shrimps, fish oil, coconut milk, bread and rice), Sarapatel (liver, heart, tomatoes, peppers, onions and gravy). From Rio Grande do Sul a typical dish is Churrasco (a kind of barbecue). From the Amazon comes Tacaca (thick soup with shrimps and garlic). All alcoholic drinks are available, including excellent large style beers: Skol, Brahma, Antarctica and Cerpa. The most popular local alcoholic beverage is Cachaca, most commonly served as 'Caipirinha' with slices of lime. Soft drinks include Guarana (a carbonated cola-like drink) and many varieties of excellent fruit-juices (sucos) including several vitamin-rich fruits you will never have heard of. Coffee tends to be served as a very strong. If you want to avoid sugar in sucos or coffee you should specifically ask for this.

CLOTHING

Brazil's climate ranges from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. Throughout the country, however, dress is informal. Generally, light cotton shirts, shorts, dresses and trousers are ideal for day wear, whilst in the evenings long- sleeved shirts and leather shoes are normal. You will not normally need a jacket and tie in Brazil. In their winter (June/September) it is worth bringing something warm, as the temperature can be quite cool in the south of the country.

SHOPPING

As with the food, in a country the size of Brazil there are many local specialties for the shopper. In most major cities shopping centers stay open until late (up to 10.00 pm), while street shops close at 6pm. Good-quality arts and crafts are available at regular outdoor markets, which are colourful and entertaining places for tourists to visit.

GENERAL SECURITY

Brazil, especially Rio, has had a bad reputation for personal security and many potential visitors have been put off travelling there. Much of this reputation can be put down to wild exaggeration, but it has had the beneficial effect of spurring the various city authorities into doing something about it. There are now far more tourist police, who are a great deal more helpful to visitors, and there is much better patrolling of problem areas. Although there is far more being done to improve security, an awareness of the following will lessen the risk to you and your belongings:

VALUABLES

Be aware that most crime is opportunistic and the best way to avoid theft is to blend in and stay in safe areas (if in any doubt please ask your tour guide or hotel receptionist / concierge whether where you want to go is safe). Take the absolute minimum when going out. A camera is a necessity for most travelers but if it is possible to keep it in a jacket pocket, then do so. It is not advisable to take valuable jewelry or a visible wristwatch. Money should be taken in travelers checks, with the receipt numbers retained separately in case they are lost or stolen. Cash kept on your person should be kept to a minimum. Where possible, leave any valuables, documents and passports in your hotel safety deposit box (most good hotel rooms in Brazil have safes, but you will normally have to pay a daily fee for this service). If you have to take a bag while you are out, hold it in front of you where you can see it. Beaches: A great deal of Brazilian culture and Brazilians' spare time revolves around the beach. As a result the beaches can be great fun and very relaxing places. However, please bear the following in mind if going to the beach: beaches in and around the major cities tend to be quite crowded so the advice given above is especially applicable; never visit the beach after dark; always take a mat to lie on as sand flies are quite widely prevalent; please bear in mind that the sun in Brazil can be more direct and stronger than you will experience in Europe, so extra precautions are necessary; some areas, particularly in Rio, have dangerous undertows so you should stay near other bathers and observe the warning flags: red: dangerous / White - Water is safe.

Ipanema and Copacabana offers a landscape scenario, fully erect in the philosophy of respect for the environment, creating a typically Amazon angle. Tables, sofas, benches and stools extremely rustic design, give the visitor the feeling of being in a real house of simplicity Amazon in the breathtaking scenery offered by Logon. The menu highlights the indigenous ingredients of the Amazon readapted in finger food as international style to accompany an aperitif in the atmosphere of soft lighting in this particular room. 

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