Its praises have been sung in lyrics familiar the world over. Those girls (and boys) from Ipanema—and Copacabana, Leblon, Lapa, and fast-gentrifying Santa Teresa—are proud to call themselves Cariocas. And no wonder: despite its problems (the notorious favelas, or slums, are plagued by drug- and gang-related unrest), the city has myriad charms. Peaks swathed in emerald jungle rise up between shining apartment towers, and the ultra-rich and the very poor mingle on Rio’s beaches. Culture mavens ﬁnd bliss among Centro’s Modern-architecture masterpieces, while fashion fans get their ﬁx from homegrown designers. After dark, the entire city pulsates with samba and bossa nova.
Cooling off after a hot day on the beach with a tangy star fruit sorbet at Mil Frutas—or any other of its 80 exotic flavors.
Partying with the locals and taking in the pageantry at Carnival—at least once in your life. The wild annual four-day festivity always starts just before Easter and ends on Fat Tuesday.
Taking a 123-year-old train to the summit of Corcovado, home of the world-renowned statue of Christ the Redeemer. (Not to mention, stunning 360-degree views of the city!)