Off peak, on the beat
Unlike the lyrics of the famous Gilberto Gil song (‘’Aquele Abraço”), Rio de Janeiro is more than February and March. The Wonderful City is turning into an all-year entertainment hub that does not gravitate only around the summer months, albeit the importance of Carnaval for its economy. And one of the direct consequences is the reinforcement of the off-peak calendar. In August, visitor will still find a much quieter city than in the high season months, when tourists flood, but by no means there will be a lack of options for a good time on the warmer side of the Atlantic.
After all there is no risk of a lack of sunshine. August seems to have cut a deal with the Gods: it rains much less than in summer and the average temperature is 24 degrees, very similar to European summers. It’s a more agreeable climate that still guarantees loads of fun on the beach but that doesn’t suck so much energy in daily and nightly activities. Ideal, for example, for a stroll around the historic quarters of Rio City Centre or for a visit to Lapa. Rio’s bohemian neighbourhood where restaurants, bars and music houses mix up, is unique in the world.
These days a trip to Rio is also a chance to see upclose the change of vibe in the city. As well as important results in the efforts to pacify the favelas, with some now even becoming tourist spots, Rio is also getting ready to be the Olympic City in 2016. The work might complicat a bit traffic in town on one hand. But on the other, Carioca self-esteem has never been higher. Which is always good in the case of people known for being good hosts.
This August will be even more special thanks to a cracking events calendar. For art lovers, two of Rio’s main museums, MAM and MNBA offer a tour through a very special collection of Brazilian painting and sculpture. Sports fans must check the Brazilian leg of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and an incredible succession of local derbies, including Rio’s most popular classico, between Flamengo and Vasco.
While the national preparations for the World Cup have been the subject of criticism, Rio has just been aplauded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its preparations to the 2016 Games. The most recent inspection visit to the city ended up with IOC officials declaring themselves impressed by the City’s progress. Rio has already got more than half of the venues operational or needing minor reforms thanks to the city’s hosting of the 2007 Pan-American Games so it’s the city’s structure that demands more attention.
Barra, which will have 14 venues, is already under massive works for the construction of the Transcarioca, an express bus corridor that will link the region to the Tom Jobim International Airport in only 47 minutes, half of the current journey time. There will be also a new tube line connecting Barra to Ipanema. In total more than 600.000 people will now be able to benefit daily from quicker transportation to downtown Rio.
What to do in Rio in August