Rio de Janeiro is divided into a few geographic zones: Zona Sul (South Zone), Zona Norte (North Zone), Zona Oeste (West Zone) and Centro (downtown). Each of these zones is subdivided into bairros (districts).
- Zona Norte – This is where Rio’s International Airport Galeão/Tom Jobim (GIG) is located, at the Ilha do Governador district. The main bus terminal for interstate buses, Rodoviária Novo Rio, is also located here.
- Zona Oeste – ICE will be held at the Riocentro convention center in Zona Oeste. This zone includes the Barra da Tijuca (or simply “Barra”) district.
- Zona Sul – The districts of Ipanema, Copacabana and Leblon, where other suggested hotels are located, are in Zona Sul. Most tourist destinations are also located in Zona Sul.
- Centro – This is considered downtown Rio and includes the city’s historic and financial center. The Santos Dumont Airport (SDU), offering domestic flights and shuttle service
to São Paulo, is located in Centro.
Learn more about Rio with these videos.
Rio offers ocean, mountains, museums and more
Rio de Janeiro is the cultural capital of Brazil. Over its nearly 500 years of history, it has been the springboard for all the country’s principal cultural exports and the port of entry for major international art exhibitions or musical events bringing top names from the classical to the contemporary.
Rio’s architecture embraces churches and buildings dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, blending with the world-renowned designs of the 20th. Rio was home to the Portuguese Imperial
family and capital of the country for many years and was influenced by Portuguese, English and French architecture. Today, these wonderful old buildings contrast with the high-rise ultra-modern intelligent structures, in a city that knows how to progress while at the same time preserving its past.
There are more than 50 museums, with collections that help to relate Brazil’s 500 year history. They can be found in buildings listed as national historic heritage, or in award-winning buildings, illustrating the creativity of Brazilian architecture. The principal cultural centers, such as the Modern Art Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Bank of Brazil Cultural Center are geared today to show international exhibits under conditions of safety and conservation identical to the best museums in the world.
In the borough of Santa Teresa, the Montmartre or Soho of Rio, there is a row of houses dating from the start of the 20th century, with around 50 ateliers where more than 80 artists work, and who during the year open their doors to the public to show works of art that vary from the classic to the contemporary. In Lapa, a neighboring borough nearer to the center of town, antique shops live alongside dance halls, both preserving important cultural habits of the city.
In the field of music, Rio is the birthplace of the samba, which has its greatest celebration in February, during Carnival. The parade of the principal Samba Schools is a unique and unforgettable spectacle.
In the South Zone, along the sea front, the city preserves the memory of names such as Tom Jobim and João Gilberto, who wrote the first chords of the Bossa Nova. The greatest names
in Brazilian popular music have always gravitated to Rio from all over the country, for various reasons such as the number of clubs offering live music, the fact that the international recording companies set up their head offices here, or because Rio is the home of the greatest TV network in the country.
Nature also has its cultural influence. One has just to visit the Botanical Gardens, with one of the most important collections of plants in the world — or the Tijuca Forest, the green heart of
this marvelous city.
On weekends the main roads along the beaches, from downtown to the South Zone, are closed to traffic and the lanes are transformed into a leisure area that is paradise for walkers, roller-bladers, skate-boarders and bikers who take full advantage of the space, bringing out the kids and walking their dogs. The banks of the lagoon are also crowded with holidaymakers and their families, and the kiosks with their snacks, cold draft beer and coconut water are very popular.
There are public courts for various sports, including tennis and even baseball. Another way of passing your leisure hours is just to lay back and enjoy the view. Wherever you are staying, or whatever convention center that happens to be hosting your event, there will always be a lookout point nearby from which you can appreciate the spectacular views of the city. These moments will
stick in your memory, to be recalled when you are back in your own country, thinking of the beauty of Rio and the warmth of its inhabitants.
The average temperature in November is 75°f (24°c) for Rio de Janeiro, with an average monthly precipitation 6.26 inches (159mm). Situated on the Atlantic coast, Rio can be a windy
place. A southwest wind may signal the arrival of a storm, and northerly winds are often associated with cooler temperatures in summer.