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Quick Guide To Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is busy, noisy and full of adventures to be had. To experience South America in full party mode, visit Rio de Janeiro at Carnaval time, but stay in a boutique hotel so that you have an oasis of calm to return to.

Where is it?

Rio de Janeiro is on the Brazilian coast, looking out to the South Atlantic Ocean, with Salvador to the north and San Paulo to the south. The climate is hot all year round, with occasional rains in the summer, but the party temperature is always high.

Where can I stay?

Although Rio de Janeiro attracts high-living, high-rolling visitors, it caters for a wide range of tourists, from those in palatial hotels to backpackers making their way through Brazil.

For a real treat, however, book into a boutique hotel, which offers a cool, calm retreat away from the hustle and bustle of this 24-hour city. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and both its residents and visitors like to live life to the full while they are there. If you need to recharge your batteries, a boutique hotel is the perfect place to stay. Try the 5-roomed La Maison, which is just a stone's throw from the beach, but once you're inside is a haven of peace and tranquillity, with a swimming pool and sundeck for guests to use when the beach has become too busy to handle. To really get away from it all, try La Suite, a boutique hotel with just seven rooms and 180 views of the ocean, the beach and the Cagarras Islands as well as the point of Arpuador, the rock that separates Copacabana from Ipanema. Here, the beach and great shopping are only a few minutes away by car, which means that you get the best of both worlds.

What can I see?

People-watching is an occupation in itself in Rio de Janeiro. Once you've had your fill of beach beauties and surf dudes, take yourself off to some of the many museums that show the works of a range of Brazilian artists; or take a walk in some of the beautiful tropical gardens. If you want to spend your time walking rather than dancing, then take a trip into the mountains for some unforgettable views.

How do I get around?

Travelling in Rio de Janeiro can be an adventure. Buses are cheap, but not necessarily reliable or safe, so you're advised not to take valuables with you if you decide to take a bus across town. Taxis are a more comfortable option, and usually a safer one, although you still need to be careful.

A good hotel will be able to arrange affordable, safe taxi services for you. For an altogether different experience, try the subway which, although it doesn't cover the whole city, is clean, cheap and fast.

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Chic Retreats is a collection of small, sophisticated hotels around the world that offer the traveller a true taste of luxury and service. Visit their website by clicking on Boutique Hotels. .

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