Select Language:

English (en) Deutsch (de) Español (es) Português (pt)

Brazil Property Group and Market Intelligence - Brazil Real Estate for Sale

Rio de Janeiro

State Flag of Rio de Janeiro
  1. Introduction
  2. Costa do Sol
  3. Buzios, Armação dos Búzios
  4. Angra dos Reis
  5. Capital: Rio de Janeiro
  6. Parati
  7. Data Table for Rio de Janeiro


Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's best known postcard. Its image is closely linked with the Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains, football, samba and the attractive tanned and vivacious people. The Rio of the postcards is also the capital of the state of the same name - an exuberant state with a captivating natural beauty, shaped by its unusual geography and by the effervescence of its inhabitants who manage to combine the art of working and playing to the absolute maximum.

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro

For almost two and a half centuries, from 1716 to 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro has been the capital of the Colony, the Empire and the Brazilian Republic. Like a prima donna it has reigned over politics, the economy, culture and as the centre of the country's financial and social scene. With the transfer of the capital to Brasília in 1960, Rio lost its political status but not its charm or the title of "fabulous city". It has retained its integrity as a centre of culture and tourism and has continued to be the main gateway for incoming foreign visitors.

The joining together of the old capital and the state of Rio de Janeiro has created a significant economic force. The new state has become Brazil's largest producer of petroleum which is pumped from the Campos platform. This oil-field was discovered in 1974 and using Brazilian-made deep-water exploration technology, production from the Campos basin has reached the level of 52,600 m3 (330,000 barrels) a day, accounting for 70% of Brazil's total petroleum output.

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro

Many areas of the state are just as attractive as its capital. The coastline is one of the most beautiful in Brazil with bays, inlets and beaches of all kinds to suit all tastes. The beaches stretch from the Costa do Sol, north of Rio, to the Costa Verde, south of the capital. Inland, amid the exuberance of the forests is the mountain region with towns such as Teresópolis, Nova Friburgo and Petrópolis, one of Brazil's most important historical towns where the Brazilian Imperial family came to take their ease during the nineteenth century. Also inland is the Itatiaia region where the country's first national park was created in 1937 and the location of the highest point of the state, Pico das Agulhas Negras, rising 2,787 metres high.

The first coffee plantations were established in the old province of Rio de Janeiro, expanding throughout the nineteenth century as far as the Paraíba Valley in the state of São Paulo and other parts of Brazil. Even nowadays, some of the colonial estates in the Paraíba Valley make a most interesting itinerary for those interested in learning about the history of the period. The mansions once owned by the coffee barons have been turned into centres of tourism whilst the luxury and refinement of the coffee culture is retained in the colonial buildings and decorations.

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro

During the early decades of the twentieth century, agriculture in the state of Rio de Janeiro went into decline and was no longer a force in the state's economy. The phenomenon of agricultural modernization, bringing about major transformations within the sector throughout Brazil from the 1970's onwards, scarcely touched mainland Rio de Janeiro. Sugar-cane is the state's main crop, grown in the municipality of Campos dos Goitacazes. The state's economy basically revolves around its industrial park and tourism. Of particular significance are the industries concerned with metallurgy, steel, chemicals, foodstuffs, mechanics, publishing and graphics, paper and cellulose, mineral extraction and petroleum derivatives. The state's GDP accounts for 12.5% of the national GDP.


For many decades Rio de Janeiro was the second busiest and most important sea-port in Brazil, a position it is set to recover with the construction of a modern port complex located in Sepetiba Bay. The state was the cradle of Brazil's national steel industry with the founding in the 1940s of the state-owned Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, now privatized. The first car production plant, the Fábrica Nacional de Motores (FNM) was set up in the state of Rio but is now closed. Ninety five per cent of the Brazilian shipbuilding industry is based in the state with the presence of the major national shipyards; this sector has been through a long period of stagnation and nowadays depends on major investment in order to make a recovery.

After going through a period of economic stagnation, the setting up of a Volkswagen plant in Resende has clearly signalled the rebirth of the state's economy. The commercial vehicles factory has become the most visible symbol that Rio is again one of the most promising states on track for the international investment that is once again heading for Brazil.

Top of Page

Costa do Sol

The contrast between luxury and simplicity, the colonial and modern styles and the different ways of life characterize this coastal region, situated in Rio de Janeiro, to the north of the state capital and known as the Lakes region. The area comprises more than one hundred kilometres of beaches and sea-water lagoons. The main tourist attractions are the resorts of Búzios, Cabo Frio, Arrial do Cabo, Rio das Ostras, Maricá and Saquarema.

Búzios is considered to be one of the best places for water-sports with beaches such as Foca, Geribá Brava, do Forno, Olho-de-boi (a naturist beach that is difficult to reach) and Amores (also a naturist beach). Cabo Frio is noted for its historical past and the colonial style of architecture is reflected in monuments such as the São Mateus Fort, built in 1650. The vast dunes of fine white sand stretch as far as the attractive town of Arrial do Cabo whose population of nineteen thousand inhabitants is made up largely of fishermen. Its main attraction is the Pontal do Atalaia, a boulder pointing out to sea from which schools of dolphins can be seen. Rio das Ostras is a more modest town appealing to those in search of quiet places to fish. Although close to the state capital, Maricá has managed to retain the appearance of a village. Saquarema is known for the festival of surfing that takes place annually in May on the beach at Itaúna.

Top of Page

Buzios, Armação dos Búzios

Once the preserve of pirates and slave traders, the peninsula of Buzios, 105 miles (169km) northeast of Rio de Janeiro, is today the haunt of the rich and famous of the world who flock to the city to enjoy the 24 or so beaches in the vicinity. The peninsula was popularized by legendary movie star Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, and her statue still graces the main street of Buzios, the Rua das Pedras. The peninsula is a sophisticated beach resort with a very active night life and fine restaurants. The west coast beaches offer calm, clear waters while the east coast ones, facing the open sea, are a little wilder and draw the surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Among the most popular beaches are Azeda Beach, Joao Fernandinho Beach with several bars and known for its seafood, Ferradura Beach, and Geriba beach, popular for surfing. The enchanting Rua das Pedras winds through the town center and features shopping, restaurants, bars and extensive nightlife.

Top of Page

Angra dos Reis

Angra dos Reis has a bay that is ideal for boat trips by schooner, yacht or launch with innumerable places there the conditions are excellent for fishing and diving. There, each year on January 1st the New Year Marine Procession takes place, a long procession of boats of all types, some celebrating on board. The Ilha Grande is the best-known attraction in Angra. Its mountainous landscape and forests contrast with the richness of the coast with its peaks and inlets. Rivers flow down from the hills forming lakes and waterfalls, adjacent to hundreds of beaches and coves. Its 193 km2 can be crossed by paths giving access to the half wild beaches, such as Canto, Abraãozinho, Morcego and Grande das Palmas. The most popular beaches on the island are Abraão, Vermelha, Araçatiba, Longa, Aventureiro and Lopes Mendes, the last two being ideal for surfing.

Top of Page

Capital: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro

Tucked between the mountains and the sea, Rio de Janeiro is an unusual city on account of its geography and is certainly the part of Brazil that is best-known world-wide. At the very mention of the country even those with only the slightest knowledge of Brazil, automatically associate it with the "fabulous city". The capital of Rio de Janeiro is endowed with a natural beauty that ranges from the beaches that indent the coastline, such as Arpoador, Ipanema and Copacabana, to the peaks that punctuate its landscape, such as the Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountains. Rio contains the largest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca Forest, which was completely replanted during the second half of the nineteenth century. The city is still one of the main sources of national culture and is the cradle of three types of Brazilian music - the choro, the samba and the bossa nova.

Many attribute the exuberant and infectious gaiety of Rio's citizens to the city's pulsating night-life, just as they attribute the poetry that springs from its corners and the flourishing of the arts to Rio de Janeiro's privileged geography. Side by side with this picture postcard city is another one set on the hillsides - the land of the overcrowded favelas and poverty but also the birthplace of Brazil's most popular festival, the annual carnival, known as Carnaval. Carnaval draws together rich and poor and all races to enjoy themselves in the clubs and on the streets with the added attraction of the world's largest samba parade that takes place in the Sambódromo, built in 1982 and designed by the Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer.


Forty per cent of the state's population of 5.6 million inhabitants is concentrated in the capital and spread over more than one hundred and fifty districts. Some of these are of the traditional kind such as Santa Teresa which is reached by crossing an ancient aqueduct known as Arcos da Lapa. Other neighbourhoods are modern urban centres such as Barra da Tijuca on the waterfront. In addition, Rio de Janeiro has some of the most prestigious universities in Brazil with more than sixty post-graduate research centres covering different areas of learning.

In the downtown area, the monuments and public buildings dating back to the time when Rio was the capital of the Colony, the Empire and the Republic of Brazil are amongst the country's finest cultural inheritances. The golden age of the city of Rio de Janeiro has left a legacy in the form of numerous major works of art and public buildings, such as the former headquarters of the Bank of Brazil, nowadays a dynamic cultural centre, the Municipal Theatre, the National Museum of Fine Art, the Itamaraty Palace, once seat of the republican government as well as the Foreign Office, the National Museum at Quinta da Boa Vista (former imperial residence), the National History Museum and the National Library, as well as monuments and beautiful examples of religious architecture, such as the Candelária and the São Bento Monastery.

Top of Page


Considered to be the most complete monument of the colonial period in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the town of Parati is situated on the banks of the bay of the same name, an extension of the bay at Angra dos Reis. Its old mansions and the narrow cobbled streets lend an air of great historical beauty. The town was occupied at the beginning of the sixteenth century as a result of the opening up of roads linking the provinces of São Paulo and Minas Gerais to that of Rio de Janeiro. Amongst the town's most important historical monuments is the church of Santa Rita notable for its architectural profile. Parati's beaches and islands are also a tourist attraction. The nicest ones are at Trindade such as Brava, dos Ranchos, Figueira and Caxadaço.

Top of Page

Data Table for Rio de Janeiro

Capital Rio de Janeiro
Area 43,797.4 km2
Towns 92
Location Eastern part of the South-East Region
Population 14,367,083 inhabitants (2000)
Population in the Capital 5,900,000 inhabitants
Climate Tropical
Mean Annual Temperature (capital) 24º C
Time in Relation to Brasília The same
Density of Population 328 inhabitants/km2
Urbanization Index 96% (2000)
Infant Mortality 24 per thousand live-born (2000)
Illiteracy Rate 6% (2000)
Contribution to GDP 11.2%
Representation at National Congress 49 Members of Parliament
Vegetation Swamps along coastal strips, tropical forests along the coastline and inland


  • IBGE 2000 and Projections for 2002
  • Abril Almanac
  • Gabeira, Gabriel Luiz - "Synthesis of the Brazilian Economy", Rio de Janeiro, National Trade Confederation (CNC), 1999