Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and balneario beaches, such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo (Sambadrome), a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums.


Rio de Janeiro was established in 1502, two years after the first Portuguese arrived in Brazil. They entered by Guanabara’s Bay, which they thought was a river (rio) and named the city São Sebastião, King of Portugal, do Rio de Janeiro (River of January). Brazil achieved independence in 1889, and was named the capital and remained such for almost 200 years. In the 1960’s, the capital was moved to Brasilia. The territory was converted into Guanabara state, which formed an enclave in Rio de Janeiro state. In March 1975 the two states were fused as the state of Rio de Janeiro. The city of Rio de Janeiro became one of the 14 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, or Greater Rio, and was designated the capital of the reorganized state.

At the end of the 19th century, the city’s population exploded due to European immigration and internal migration (mostly former slaves from the coffee and sugar regions). By 1900 Rio boasted more than 800.000 inhabitants, a quarter of them foreign born.

The early 1920s to the late 1950s was one of Rio’s golden ages. With the inauguration of grand luxury resort hotels, the Glória in 1922 and the Copacabana Palace in 1923, Rio became a romantic destination for celebrities and international high society. In some ways, Rio’s quasi-mythic status as a tropical arcadia spans its entire history, but in the 1940s and ’50s its reputation as the urban Eden of Latin America was cemented as the world was introduced to Carmen Miranda, a Rio icon.

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Did you know?

The name was given to the city’s original site by Portuguese navigators in 1502, and mistook the entrance of the bay for the mouth of a river (rio is the Portuguese word for “river” and janeiro the word for “January”)

The statue of Christ the Redeemer was elected one of the world’s new seven wonders in 2007

One of the largest, urban rainforests in the world, right in the middle of the city, called Tijuca Forest

With over 50 kilometers of white and golden sand beaches, Rio is Brazil’s tourism capital

Average temperature in July is between 19°C -25°C (66°F – 77°F)

Samba is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil, and considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions. You’ll have the chance to learn more about this at the gala event!


The ISF Organizing Committee will be arranging for transportation options from airport, and between hotels and the venue, PUC-Rio. There will be an ISF 2020 help desk at the airport.

Galeão International Airport (airport code: GIG) – is the main airport serving Rio de Janeiro. It is the country’s second-busiest international airport, and is located 20km from the city center of Rio de Janeiro. For more information on bus, taxi and airport shuttles, click here.

Metro card (GIRO) can be purchased at the ticket offices of Metrô Rio stations or card machines for R$8,00 (R$3,00 fully refundable security deposit and R$5,00 minimum charge). Recharging your card can be done at the station ticket offices, Metrô Rio or internet card machines

Online recharge (via Metrô Rio website or Metrô Fácil app) has no minimum value and credits must be validated at the validation terminals. To access your purchase level, go to the Metrô Rio website or use the Metrô Fácil app. In addition to all stations in the system, the metro card is accepted on the surface subway. The benefits of using the card are more security, convenience and the convenience of online recharging. In addition, GIRO guarantees exclusive discounts with many partners. For more information …

For more information on traveling, safety and other tips for visiting Rio de Janeiro, click here.