Rio de Janeiro - With the Olympics celebrations in full force, it isn’t just Brazilians excited for the festivities.
South Africans have headed there in their masses, as data shown by global flight search and travel deals website Cheapflights.co.za reveals.
The data shows a massive surge in flight searches out of South Africa to Brazil, with flight searches up by 281 percent over this period.
Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.co.za said: “Our data shows that South Africans have headed to Rio – either to support their Olympic team, or simply because they have been inspired by the city’s colourful reputation.
“The big rush was before the games started, then the Olympic ‘boost’ tails off significantly for departures from South Africa towards the end of the games.
“This would seem to suggest that those travelling out for the Olympics are tending to schedule their ‘non-olympic’ activities before the games, rather than after. It also means that those who are inspired by what they see of the city during Olympics coverage, should still be able to pick up good deals for last minute travel shortly after it ends.”
For those planning a trip to the “Cidade Maravilhose”, or “The Marvelous City” as the locals name it, Cheapflights shares the top tips for exploring the city:
1. Getting around Rio
Like many big cities, traffic in the city centre is a nightmare. Those in the know follow the locals’ example, and head to the metro for quick travel around the city centre. The city also offers a good public transport system, including bus and train networks. Visitors can purchase a travel card called the RioCard during the Olympics which provides unlimited access to the stadium via bus, metro and train lines.
2. For the foodies
Visitors can’t leave Rio without having tried the traditional black bean stew called Feijoada, a hearty dish made up of stewed beans, pork crackling, potatoes, orange slices and many other ingredients.
Casa da Feijoada – or the “House of Feijoada” - in Ipanema offers an authentic dining experience, but the dish can be found all over in anywhere that serves local food, each chef throwing in their own secret ingredients to give theirs an original touch.
Visitors should also be open-minded and try the different street food stalls around the city, and around the stadium during the Olympics.
As well as the usual street food that can be found the world over, there are a multitude of local delights to be tasted, from Brazilian “pastels”, deep fried pastries filled with chicken, cheese, hearts of palm or other vegetables; “bolinho de bacalhau”, little cod fish balls that are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside; to fruit flavoured popsicles and “brigardeiro”, cheeky little chocolate bonbons.
3. Samba through the night
Rio is not known as the City of Samba for nothing – and offers some amazing Samba classes in the city where the samba dance moves were invented. The locals recommend Rio Scenarium, a bar with a high energy environment that attracts locals and foreigners, with three floors and decorated in antiques.
During the Olympics, the festivities at the Olympic Boulevard promise to be nothing short of spectacular, including samba dance-offs.
4. Join in the Olympics fun, even without a ticket
The local Port District will be transformed into a fan park and entertainment area for the duration of the Olympics, including big screens to catch all the action, food trucks, bars and live screenings of the games.
There will also be a hot air balloon that takes passengers 150 metres high to see views of the city; as well as an exhibition housing stories from past Olympic games. Entry is free to the fan park and it will be open from 9am to 10pm every day for those who haven’t managed to get tickets to all of the games.
Adapted from a press release for IOL