Rio de Janeiro

With spectacular mountains and sparkling beaches, it is no surprise that those moving to Rio de Janeiro find the pace of living a little more relaxed.

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As Brazil’s second largest city, Rio still offers excellent opportunities for career-minded expats due to its steadily growing economy. From the lively neighbourhood bars to the flamboyant carnival, the city’s unique, vibrant culture is inescapable. Once dubbed ‘the friendliest city in the world’, Rio is a warm and hospitable place that offers expats an exhilarating and rewarding new life.

Rio de Janeiro Suburb Profiles

Ipanema / Leblon

Long overshadowed by the famous shores of Copacabana, Ipamena and neighbouring Leblon have come into their own with a more urbane, cosmopolitan atmosphere.  The area boasts some of the best dining, shopping and nightlife in the city and is currently the top choice for expats moving to Rio de Janeiro.


Lagoa is a beautiful, affluent suburb curved around the shores of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. This upmarket neighbourhood has some wonderful waterfront bars and restaurants and will host most of the water based events at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Santa Teresa

Nestled on hillside close to central Rio, Santa Teresa is a beautiful, historic neighbourhood with winding streets and striking colonial architecture. This bohemian suburb has plenty of apartments and townhouses, many offering stunning views over across the city.


Its proximity to both the beaches of Copacabana and the bustle of the city centre make Botofogo a popular choice with ‘Cariocas’ and expats alike. This warm, friendly suburb is home to some of the best botecos (neighbourhood bars) in Rio and the vast Cobal Public Market.

Transport / Getting  Around Rio de Janeiro

As host to both the World Cup and the Olympics, Rio has invested heavily in its transport infrastructure. The city has an extensive and widely used bus network with over 1000 routes covering the area. Buses are generally cheap, safe and comfortable, in particular the ‘executive’ air conditioned Frescao fleet. The clean, modern metro system is becoming increasingly popular with locals and tourists alike with stations running from Pavuna in the north right down to Casablanca and beyond and further expansion in progress. Rio’s roads are well maintained and reasonably easy to navigate but, as in any major city, can become congested during peak times. Taxis are numerous, safe and easy to find with their distinctive yellow paintwork however, if reliability is essential it is worth paying a little extra for a radio taxi that can be booked in advance.

Leisure Activities and Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer towers over the city from the top of the Corcovado Mountains and a trip to this wonder of the modern world is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Another of Rio’s unique sights, the dramatic peak of Sugarloaf Mountain, is accessible via cable car from Praia Vermelha beach and offers spectacular views over the city and Guanabara Bay, particularly at sunset. Rio also boasts two world famous beaches and the pristine shores of Copacabana and Ipanema are the ideal place to enjoy the sunshine, sip a Caipirinha and people watch. Brazil is a country that takes music and dancing seriously and in the days leading up to Lent the entire city erupts in a festival of Samba, street parties and parades during the world’s largest carnival. Football is another national passion and the Macaranã Stadium has hosted several high profile matches as well as music concerts and other sporting events. It has played a central role in the 2014 World Cup and will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Fun facts about Rio de Janeiro

  • Rio is home to one of the world’s highest ocean front mountains, Pedra da Gávea with several hiking trails leading to the breath-taking summit.
  • While Brasilia is now the country’s capital, Rio held the title for more than 200 years until 1960.
  • When Portuguese explorers first discovered the area on 1st January 1502, they named it ‘Rio de Janeiro’, or January River, as they mistakenly believed Guanabara Bay to be the mouth of a river.
  • When the famous Christ the Redeemer statue was unveiled in 1931, it was to be illuminated by remotely controlled lights switched on from Rome by communication pioneer Marconi himself, however, bad weather blocked the signal and the lights were switched on by local workers.


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