Overview of Rio de Janeiro

Geography of Rio de Janeiro

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Brazil is not only a large country in South America, it is the fifth largest country in the world with an area of 8,514,877 sq km and population of 198,739,269. Located in the North Easterly side of South America, the country occupies roughly half of the continent. Brazil is unique is sharing a common boundary with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador and is also largely bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic coastline is an impressive 7,367 kilometres with islands belonging to Brazil just off the coast.

The topography of the country ranges from the basin around the enormous Amazon River to the highest point, Pico da Neblina, at 2,994 m (9,823 ft). The Amazon's entire 2,000 miles lies within Brazil and sculpts much of its character. The river carries more water to the ocean than any other river system in the world. The basin that enshrines the Amazon hosts the most rapidly depleting rain forest in the world, losing about 52,000 square miles annually.

Brazil's climate is humid with either a tropical or subtropical climate. The rainy season occurs during the summer months and can cause devastating land slides. In Eastern Brazil, there are regular droughts. Winter brings mild temperatures and less rain than the summer.
Average annual minimum temperature is 20 °C (68 °F) with the average annual maximum temperature is 30 °C (86 °F), and the average annual temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). Yearly precipitation is 109 cm.

The country spans three time zones. The westernmost time zone is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. The time zone of the capital (Brasília) and of the most populated part of Brazil (including Rio) is UTC-3 (two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time). Daylight saving time occurs from October to February.

Rio de Janeiro

The city of Rio de Janeiro is artistically bordered by magnificent mountains, white-sand beaches and spectacular blue ocean, and lush rain forests. Residents of the city are known as Cariocas. The undisputed cultural capital and major international transportation hub of Brazil, the city is a dense, cosmopolitan gem.

Rio is geographically located at 22 degrees, 54 minutes south latitude and 43 degrees 12 minutes west longitude. The area of the city is 1182.3 square kilometres or 456.5 sq miles. The city is dense, with about 6.1 million people in the city and 11-13.5 million in the greater metropolitan area.

The city sits within the geological structure called Brazilian Crystal Basement where rain forest, Atlantic Ocean, and a mass of city dwellers come together. The Tijuca Forest defines much of the landscape as the largest urban forest in the world. On Corcovado, one of the area's highest points, there is the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. Another peak, Sugar Loaf, is also a landmark and towers over the entrance of the bay.


Barra da Tijuca district. 17 other municipalities come together to form the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan area. These include Duque de Caxias, Itaguaí, Mangaratiba, Nilópolis, Nova Iguaçu, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Magé, Maricá, Niterói, Paracambi, Petrópolis, São João de Meriti, Japeri, Queimados, Belford Roxo, Guapimirim.

The historic and financial center of the city, this area includes notable buildings, such as: the Paco Imperial, historic churches, the Municipal Theatre, the National Library, the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, the Museu Histórico Nacional, Passeio Público, and the arches of the Arcos da Lapa.
Along with these monuments of history, the area houses some of Brazil's largest headquarters. Petrobras, Eletrobrás and Vale are three of the largest Brazilian corporations. Main thoroughfares of Avenida Rio Branco and the Avenida Presidente Vargas unite these two sides of Downtown.

South Zone/Zona Sul:
This area actually consists of smaller districts including: São Conrado, Leblon, Ipanema, Arpoador, Copacabana, Leme, Glória, Catete, Flamengo, Botafogo and Urca. Very tourist-friendly, the South Zone has Rio's famous Atlantic beach coastline. This is also the richest region of the city and the most famous, Copacabana in particular. This is the site of the impressive New Year's Eve parties (Reveillon).

North Zone/Zona Norte
This zone holds historical attractions of Manguinhos, Quinta da Boa Vista, and the National Museum. It also holds the site of Maracanã stadium, where the 1950 World Cup final, Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2007 Pan-American Games, final match of 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for football in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Samba schools are also prevalent. This area also holds the International Airport of Rio de Janeiro.

West Zone/Zona Oeste
This region is the furthest from the center of Rio de Janeiro. It includes: Barra da Tijuca, Jacarepaguá, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Vargem Grande, Vargem Pequena, Realengo, Padre Miguel, Bangu, Campo Grande, Jardim Sulacap, Paciência and Santa Cruz. There is a mix of industrial, agricultural, and Terra Encantada - an amusement park.

Barra da Tijuca
This is a famous, newer neighbourhood located southwest of the city on the Atlantic Ocean. Known to locals as "Barra", it has beautiful rock formations and wonderful beach territory. The area has been influenced by the American lifestyle and offers sports such as surfing, kite surfing, and body boarding. The neighbourhood also boasts that it is one of the safest due to its lack of ghettos and ample security.

Update 29/05/2010

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