City of God: Rio de Janeiro
Rio is an awe-inspiring city where impossibly steep granite mountains rise from the ocean between glorious stretches of golden sand. Brash skyscrapers vie for space with impeccable colonial buildings, and lush forests tumble down hillsides into densely populated residential areas.
As well as these twin icons, Rio boasts a wealth of attractions and activities, plus great food, music and entertainment – enough to keep a visitor busy for any length of stay. A natural port of the Guanabara Bay in southeast Brazil, the city was founded by the Portuguese on 1 January 1502. They named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January), under the mistaken impression that it was an enormous river mouth. Since then, it has grown to a city of over 6 million people, with a further 5 million in the greater metropolitan area.
The cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city) revels in life, with the beach, football, samba and Carnival the principal diversions. High above all this fun and frivolity are Rio’s ever-present landmarks – the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the summit of Hunchback Mountain and Sugarloaf with its historic cable car.
Beachfront property in Rio de Janeiro is by far the most popular investment and gives very good rental returns of 8-10% per annum. Rio is visited by millions of international tourists land here each year, making the buy to let property investments very realistic indeed.
The capital was moved from Rio to Brasilia in the 1960′s, in an effort to decentralize the power found in Rio. All the jobs associated with such political power transferred to the interior of the country. This, along with a slowing economy and increased economic pressure from Sao Paulo, Rio is trying to redefine its role in the Brazilian economy.
From a record low in 2002, the Brazilian Real has doubled in value against the US Dollar and rallied against other world currencies, so the country is not as cheap as it used to be. However, Brazil is still affordable and gaining in popularity – 2007 saw a 15% increase in visitors, mainly headed for Rio. With Brazil set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, that trend is likely to continue.