By Nicole Eberhard, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The 2016 Olympic Games are fast approaching, with the Opening Ceremony taking place on August 5th, and the Paralympic Games kicking off on September 7th. With a large influx of tourists expected, from Brazil and abroad, travelers interested in attending the games are urged to start booking and planning as soon as possible.
There is no more time for procrastination as most airlines have opened up their flights for this period. Predictably, prices are seeing a sharp increase over this period. To keep the cost down, experts say to look out for alternative options such as flying into a city like São Paulo and taking the bus to Rio.
Keep in mind that the Santos Dumont Airport, which handles most of Rio de Janeiro’s domestic traffic, will be shut for a few hours during sailing competitions in Guanabara Bay. This will affect flight schedules for those flying from other destinations in Brazil.
After securing flights, it is time to buy tickets to the events, for those who haven’t got round to it yet. While the first two rounds of ticket releases are over, tickets are now openly on sale on a first come, first served basis, through an official reseller. Venues for the events are clustered around four areas: Barra, Copacabana, Maracanã and Deodoro. Sufficient travel time should be factored into getting between venues and events, as well as for getting through security and lines at venues.
Tourists booking accommodation are advised to plan around their chosen tickets. The most convenient option for most will be the Zona Sul (South Zone), thanks to its transport options to all event locations, as well as being the best situated for sightseeing Rio de Janeiro.
The biggest concentration of events, however, will be in Barra. The new subway line connecting the centre and tourist zones of Rio with this western zone of Barra will make the commute considerably easier. Travelers can stay in Barra and move easily to the south and centre of the city for sightseeing and other Olympic events. However, it is worth spending part of the trip in the Zona Sul, closer to the action and attractions of the Marvelous City.
In both zones, accommodation is booking out fast, with limited beds available. Luckily travelers don’t have to rely just on hotels and hostels. Airbnb is an official partner of the Summer Olympics, providing a plenitude of options. Pousadas offer another good option for those looking for a more personal experience. One word of warning: confirm the rate quoted has been adjusted for the Olympics to avoid a nasty surprise later on.
While the historic games are undoubtedly the biggest attraction at this time of the year, don’t miss the opportunity to discover Rio’s many places of interest. Some attractions can be easily combined with the games. The beach volleyball will be played on the iconic Copacabana beach, the marathon is ending in the Sambadrome, the home of Carnival, and the opening ceremony, as well as the soccer matches, will take place in the famous Maracanã Stadium.
However, don’t skip out on the other areas and landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. While the city is putting measures in place to ease congestion during the games, the traffic situation is still an unknown. For this reason, a safe tour option is a private walking tour. This is an easier way of moving around the city, with the benefit of a dedicated guide, and a great way to get insight into this exhilarating city.
If the Olympic madness gets too much, escape for a short break by booking a tour outside Rio. Paraty, Buzios and Ilha Grande are some of the incredible spots waiting to be explored that make the perfect breather in between the sports action.
Despite the higher prices and mad rush to secure tickets to events, the grand spectacle of the Olympics are sure to be worth it. Rio has proven its capacity to successfully host large events, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the yearly Carnival celebrations. Add this to the spectacular tropical backdrop, and one has the recipe for a truly special Summer Olympics.
This is a sponsored article written by Nicole Eberhard, English Content Editor for Rdj4u.com