Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Seen from the peak of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf), Rio is undoubtedly a Cidade Maravilhosa – the mountains, the sea, the music, the soccer, caipirinhas, beaches, churrascarias, Carnival, and the wonderful people come together to make something truly special. Standing atop Corcovado is Christ the Redeemer, visible from nearly every part of the city. The Tijuca National Park is a 39-sq-km tropical-jungle preserve with beautiful trees, creeks and waterfalls, mountainous terrain, and high peaks. It has an excellent, well-marked trail system, and is home to many bird and animal species, including iguanas and monkeys. And while you can’t think of Rio without thinking about Carnival, they are just as famous for their white-clad New Year’s Eve celebrations on the beach.