Rio de Janeiro Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Rio de Janeiro

Planning a short break to Rio de Janeiro? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Rio de Janeiro. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Museu da Republica Palacio do Catete

This museum is located in the gorgeous baroque palace, which served as the official residence of the Brazilian presidents from 1897 to 1960. There are three floors of exhibits that show the history and politics of the Brazilian republic.

One of the highlights is an exhibit by President Getulio Vargas with audio clips, newsreels, photos and personal effects. A softly backlit glass case houses a pearl-handled 32 caliber colt that Getulio used on the 24th August 1954 to blast a fatal hole in his heart.

An interesting exhibit is the video montage with 14 talking heads all named Getulio talking about, what it is like to bear the same name as the great man. Formal gardens surround the palace and there is a café in an artificial grotto. The wonderful Folklore Museum has a small branch on the property and it contains puppets and folk art from around Brazil.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

For more information go to www.museudarepublica.org.br

Quinta de Boa Vista

Set in the entrancing landscaped grounds of the former royal estate you will find pools and marble statues, the Museu Nacional and the Jardim Zoologico. The museum is housed in the imperial palace and has exhibits of Brazil’s past and its flora, fauna and minerals. The zoo houses animals from Brazil in their natural habitats. The highlight of the zoo is the Nocturnal House, where you can see night creatures such as bats and sloth’s. The Jardim Zoologico and the Museu Nacional are open from Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 4:30pm. The closest metro is San Cristovao.

Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM)

The Modern Art Museum is set in a striking concrete and glass building and has a collection of over 1 700 works from Brazil and around the world. The permanent collection offers everything from Picasso to Maz Ernst. There are also special exhibitions hosted and a movie theater that shows art films. There is a café, a bookstore and a film archive, which contains over 20 000 Brazilian titles. The closest metro is Cinelandia and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday.

Extra info is at www.mamrio.com.br

Jadim Botanico

The botanical garden was founded nearly two centuries ago by Dom Joao VI and has grown to 348 acres and there are over 6 000 species of tropical plants and trees. Some of the palms located in the botanical gardens are more than a century old. The botanical gardens are home to more than 140 species of birds. There are many paths, garden trails and several greenhouses, such as the bromeliad greenhouse, the orchid greenhouse and the tropical carnivores greenhouse, which is filed with pitcher plants and Venus flytraps. There is a café and a small bookshop on site as well as a botanical museum and cultural center. The gardens are open daily from 8am to 5pm.

For more information: www.jbrj.gov.br

Corcovado

There are two way to reach the top of the mountain, one is by cogwheel train, which is an extremely steep railway line that winds upwards past hillside shacks, through trees and tangled rainforest creepers up to the feet of Christ, or the second is by the winding road through the Floresta da Tijuca. The views from the train are delightful and you get a close up look at the thick vegetation, butterflies and birds. A train departs from Cosme Velho station every 30 minutes from 8:30am to 6:30pm daily. The train is about $18 whereas the drive through the forest is free. You still need to climb a series of steep, zigzagging staircases and landings before you get to the summit. Unfortunately there are no elevators or ramps for wheelchairs. The stylish Art Deco Christ stands at 30 meters high and is about 710 meters above sea level. The view of the bay, mountains and the city of Rio is absolutely incredible.

For more information go to: www.corcovado.com.br

Museu Internacional de Arte Naif do Brazil

This museum of art is sometimes known as primitive or ingénue art, but the practitioners paint from the heart and portray the daily life of the common people. Whatever they lack in technical skill they make up with cheerful and expressive drawing using vibrant colours. Two of the largest native art painting in the world are displayed here, on being the massive picture postcard view of Rio and the other a mural portraying the history of Brazil since 1500. The top floor of this museum is reserved for local artists and the lower level is reserved for international artist and is constantly changing. There are a number of pieces that are for sale. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

For more info: www.museunaif.com.br

Jardim Zoologico

Rio City Zoo – The zoo is green, leafy and pleasant and has about 2 000 different species on display, most of them Brazilian. The birds here are spectacular; there are toucans, macaws and other tropical species. An open aviary is on display, which allow you to walk among them while they fly around. There is a reptile house, primate displays and the world’s largest raptor a harpy eagle, which sits in its cage alone. The zoo is open from Tuesday to Sunday and an admission fee of $2 during the weekdays and $1.65 during the weekends. Children less than 1 meter tall get in for free.

Confeitaria Colombo

This elegant tearoom has not changed much since in was opened in 1894, the only thing added during a 1920’s renovation was the stained-glass window. There are three sections, two large deli counters on either side of the entrance that serve up sweets and savory snacks with coffee and other refreshments and the remainder of the ground floor is taken up by the elegant tearoom, which serves a variety of teas, sandwiches, salads and sweets on fine china. Upstairs is reserved for full lunches, which are really something to experience. The cuisine is Brazilian and they are open from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 7pm and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. The closest metro is Carioca.

For details visit www.confeitariacolombo.com.br

Copacabana

Copacabana is Manhattan with bikinis. There is maddening traffic, noise, packed apartment blocks and a world famous beach. Here you will see the essence of beach culture where toddlers accompanying their parents to the water and graying seniors walking hand in hand along the side walk. Athletic men play volleyball using only their feet and heads. On weekends two of the avenue’s lanes are closed to traffic allowing pedestrians, joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists the use of the roads.

Swimming here is a little daunting with the pollution levels and the strong undertow. At The Pao de Acucar end is Leme, which is a natural extension of Copacabana. A rock formation juts into the water forming a quiet cove that is less crowded than the rest of the beach. Along the sidewalk there are anglers who stand elbow to elbow and dangle their lines into the sea hoping to catch something. There are lifeguard stations along Copacabana beach and are open daily from 8am to 8pm.

Teatro Municipal

This elegant venue stages everything from opera, ballet and symphony concerts. The theatre’s ballet corps and symphony orchestra have regular performances throughout the year and the theatre plays host to many visiting companies.

Teatro Municipal not only offers its formal programming, but also an inexpensive noon-hour opera series and concerts in the foyer.

Ticket prices range from $5 to $13 and the closest metro is Cinelandia.

Details available at www.theatromunicipal.rj.gov.br

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