Less than one month until the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro will start. As one knows the South American country, one expects a firework of emotions and surprises, as one is already used from the World Cup, 2014. People who still want to go there should act quickly now to snatch a place in the sun. Because place and time for Rio 2016 run low:
Hotels and tickets
According to the Association of Hotels about 90 percent of all hotel rooms for the period of the Olympic Games are booked out in Rio de Janeiro. Especially five star hotels are almost completely closed out. No surprise. Because first of all richer tourists will enjoy the trip to the metropolis. Finally, the tickets cost 20 up to 1,500 euros, depending on the event, which isn’t affordable for each tourist. The opening ceremony on August 05 is already fully booked out, but one can still get tickets for other events such as the marathon or canoeing. For the closing ceremony, there are, for example, currently only tickets in the price range A for about 800 euros per person. Especially the more popular sports such as beach volleyball, triathlon or football have been sold out in a while. One can only get occasionally tickets for the group games or the quarter-finals. Here one can find information about the remaining tickets: ingressos.rio2016.com/rio2016.html
Hotels in lower categories are also partly booked out, but who wants to stay in Rio can search for a small pousada, a guesthouse. The standard of these room is indeed low as well as the price. However, one shouldn’t be shocked if one or another cockroach crosses your way or if the breakfast is miserable. So it’s the best to look for recommendations at travel sites such as TripAdvisor at first. Here you will quickly find that in Leblon, Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca almost all hotels, guesthouses and private rooms are booked out. But if one is willing to go a longer time by metro, one will certainly still find a nice place. For the more adventurous, there is also couch surfing.
Flight and visa
Getting a cheap flight ticket is probably difficult at the moment. On the one hand it’s summer season in Europe, on the other hand, the prices reach an all-time high at such events. If one is lucky – and take some time for comparing – one may find an outward and return ticket for a total of 700 euro. But at most flight agencies the price won’t be less than 1,000 euros. So here are a few tips: Experts have found out that the flight prices are the lowest on Tuesday in weekly average. And at weekends there is a huge price rise. Furthermore, one can save some money if one books a ticket directly at the website of the airlines and not from third parties. Who has knowledge in Portuguese, should also compare prices on Brazilian websites. Here the average of the airfares is about 20 percent less.
Perhaps the best airline is Air France, which regularly flies with a transition flight in Paris to Rio de Janeiro. More alternatives are TAP Portugal and British Airways, which mostly go from Germany to Portugal, England or the USA and then to Brazil. Direct Flights to Brazil are very expensive, but one can significantly save some time. If one has a transit in Brazil, one shouldn’t forget to pick up the luggage and re-check it in. Because for domestic flights there is no passing through. In addition, one should know that for up to 90 days, there is no need for a visa is in Brazil, but one hs to take a valid passport. If one takes a transit flight in the USA, however, one needs an ESTA certificate – similar to a certificate of good conduct. This one can get in Germany at the airport or in advance.
Diseases and security
Although the risk of Zika is currently curbed, nevertheless one should use repellent. Since German mosquito sprays are ineffective against the Egyptian tiger mosquito, one should buy a repellent in Rio de Janeiro in a pharmacy. Especially on hot days it’s needed to be used regularly. At sunrise and sunset, it’s also recommended to wear long clothes because mosquitoes are very active at that time.
If one only stays in Rio de Janeiro, a prophylactic vaccine against yellow fever in a tropical institute in Germany isn’t mandatory. But until a few years ago such a vaccine was mandatory in order to travel to Brazil. However, not all states suffer from that disease. If one has a transit journey to the centre of Brazil, the tropical areas or the extreme south, then you should necessarily be vaccinated. These are namely the risk areas of the country.
There are also some considerations related to the security in Brazil. Primarily, it’s never advisable to carry a large amount of cash. And showing off with luxury items can make one an easy goal for a robbery victim. Finally, the robberies in the metropolis have risen up to one third since last year. If one has the misfortune to be robbed, one should hand over the money without any resistance. Especially in crowded areas such as Copacabana, at gatherings of people – so beware at the public viewing! – and in the favelas raids are unfortunately part of the daily business. If one likes going to visit the favelas, one should neither go without a local guide nor at night time.
Sightseeing and Public Viewing
Public Viewing will also be a big part in the Olympics. The German Consulate General, e.g., has at the beach of Leblon a community centre called “OliAle” (Olímpico Alemanha). In addition, the harbor, about 40 to 50 kilometres far from the Olympic venues, will be a meeting point for all tourists without any tickets. Overall 80,000 people are expected daily at the Boulevard Olímpico. Of course, the most important events will also be broadcast in all restaurants and bars and one can watch the sports far from the venues.
Those who wishes to explore Rio de Janeiro beyond sports shouldn’t miss the district of Lapa at night. Between the stunning architecture and the aqueduct one can find there namely the best tourist hotspots. The best samba of the city one can experience for example at Rio Scenarium. More alternative music is played at the jazz club Leviano where one can listen all night to blues, swing and so on. And there is also quite good food in Lapa. So one can’t just listed to club sounds at the Barzinho, in English the small bar, but one can choose from the extensive menu card and order traditional Brazilian dishes. Locals also recommend the Marguetta, an exclusive restaurant in Leblon, where one should absolutely try cheese ice cream with goiaba.
Far away from the tourist spots there is the Botanical Garden. Here one can relax at sweltering heat or if one wants to enjoy some peace. Because that will hardly be possible at the Copacabana. Of course, one should definitely visit the popular sightseeing spots such as Christ the Redeemer and the Sugarloaf, which is reached by a cable car with about 104 years. Another attraction is the Urca Hill, the little sister of the Sugarloaf, from which one can overlook the Bay of Guanabara. Indispensable for museum enthusiasts is also the Museu do Amanhã.