Rio de Janeiro, or more simply known as Rio, is Brazil’s second largest city, located to the south, on the shore of the incredible Guanabara Bay. It is a popular travel destination and is world renowned for its sandy beaches, numerous attractions, mesmerizing landscape and festivals. It is also popular for being home to Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Sugarloaf Mountain, Cristo Redentor, Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí and Estádio do Maracanã. There is a sizeable number of Muslims living in Brazil and the Muslim population in Rio de Janeiro is quite diverse, with individuals of Moroccan, Pakistani, African, Indian and Egyptian backgrounds. The city also has a good number of Muslim exchange students as well reverts from all over the world. Muslim tourists will find that Rio is not extremely Muslim-friendly even though some Halal-friendly facilities can be found.
When in Rio, it is a must to visit one of its many famous beaches, for just a bit of relaxation and for some fun in the sun. Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana are a few popular areas that have wide, sandy beaches and are popular among locals and tourists alike. Copacabana is a vibrant neighborhood known for being home to a world renowned beach that stretches for 4 kilometres. It also houses two historic forts, located at both ends of Copacabana beach, namely; Fort Copacabana and Fort Duque de Caxias. The area offers beach goers a wide array of facilities ranging from showers to food outlets to chairs that can be rented. However, as most beaches in Rio, the one in Copacabana is probably not as family-friendly as one would like. This district also offers a high number of hotels and a large selection of attractions.
Another must-visit when in Rio is the Tijuca Forest, which is considered to be the largest urban forest in the entire world. This beautiful Atlantic rainforest is a mountainous hand-planted one and is a popular attraction in Brazil. Those visiting the park will come across breathtaking views, several waterfalls, exotic plants, wildlife, such as Saguis and Capuchin monkeys, and birdlife like buzzards and hawks. There are also scenic picnic areas and walking tracks that are perfect for families. Tours of the park are also conducted and will ensure that visitors learn more about Rio and its natural surroundings.
Other attractions that are worth a visit include; Escadaria Selarón, which is a renowned set of steps consisting of 2000 tiles collected from all around the world and Fortaleza de São João which is a star fort from the 16th century, and also Escadaria Selarón.
There are a couple of airports that serve Rio de Janeiro, one is the Santos Dumont Airport, which is located approximately 11 kilometres from the center and has only domestic flights. The second is Rio de Janeiro/Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport, which is located 14 kilometres away from Rio de Janeiro and has both; international and domestic flights.
There are no known Halal restaurants in Rio de Janeiro. However, Muslim tourists could make inquiries regarding Halal food at the mosque. Also, Brazil is a big producer of Halal meat, most of which is exported, therefore Muslim visitors should be able to locate a butcher that sells Halal meat. If unable to find any Halal restaurants, Muslims are advised to try out the seafood and vegetarian dishes at local, non-Halal restaurants, after ensuring these dishes do not consist of any non-Halal items. Muslim visitors must also be aware that most restaurants in Rio de Janeiro do serve alcohol.
Sociedade Beneficente Muçulmana (Society for the Benefit of Muslims) is a mosque and community centre that serves the Muslim community in Rio de Janeiro. It is located in Tijuca, a northern district of the city. Another masjid in Rio that offers facilities that can be used by Muslim visitors is Mesquita da Luz. However, because it is difficult to find other prayer facilities, Muslim travelers are advised to perform their prayers in their hotel rooms whenever possible.