Golf Course Design Selected for 2016 Rio Olympics

Hanse Golf Course Design, a US based company, has been selected to design the 2016 Olympics golf course in Rio. The company was selected out of eight finalists for their proposal that featured the best design features and that highlighted the natural dunes and land contours. This golf course will feature the first Olympic golf tournaments in 112 years.

President of Rio 2016™, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, stated “As it marks the return of golf to the Olympic games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport.” Peter Dawson, president of the IGF stated “The IGF would like to thank all of the architects who worked hard on their bids and whose presentations demonstrated great vision. The selection process adopted by Rio 2016™ was extremely thorough and reflected the importance of the project. I am delighted Hanse Golf Course Design has been appointed to design the Olympic golf course which promises to provide an outstanding venue for the Games and a tremendous legacy for our sport in Brazil.”

The president of Hanse Golf Course Design has designed a number of renowned golf courses, and was voted “Architect of the Year” by Golf Magazine in 2009. Castle Stuart golf course in Scotland was also considered “Bes t New International Course” in the same year. Hanse will be working closely with LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, Amy Alcott, on the project. Close attention will also be paid to keep current environmental conditions and land as unchanged as possible. Gilbert Hanse will be relocation to Rio during the course’s build.

The Barra da Tijuca district of Rio will host the new golf course, which coincidentally is the where most of the 2016 games will be held. Once the Olympics in 2016 are over, the course will be used as a public facility in an attempt to increase golf’s popularity in Brazil.

2016 Summer Olympics to be Held in Rio de Jainero

Start packing your bags and planning your trip to Rio now! In the summer of 2016, Rio de Jainero will proudly host the Olympics! This will actually be the first time the Olympics will be held in a South American country, and Brazilians couldn’t be more excited! Most of the Olympic events and the Olympic village will be hosted in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio, while the rest will be featured in Copacabana Beach, Deodoro, and Marcana.

Note the pictures shown above – this will be the Rio 2016 Olympic torch! This is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful Olympic torches ever designed and is a sure sign of more great things to come as the city prepares for its guests.

All together 28 sports are on the schedule for the 2016 games, two of them being new to the roster: Golf and Rugby Sevens. Tiger Woods is even expected to compete. This should all make more some exciting competition!

Rio’s logo is noteworthy as well (see below) as it incorporates both the Olympics and Rio extremely well in its design. The logo was designed by an agency named Tatil, and represents contagious energy, harmonious diversity, Olympic spirit, and exuberant nature. The colors are yellow, green, and blue and display three figures embracing in a hug. It’s pretty neat how this was done because it also represents Sugarloaf Mountain.

Rio is sure not to disappoint as 2016 Olympic host city. Olympians and attendees the world over will be wowed by the superb hospitality found throughout Brazil, the energy and life felt in the streets of Rio, and the pure beauty of this city. Can’t wait to see what Rio has in store for us all!

Stay tuned for updates, news, and stories as we follow Rio’s preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Salvador – Welcome to Old World Charm

If you’re looking for some true old world charm in your travels, Salvador is the place to go. Simply follow the cobblestone streets of this friendly city to fun and adventure. Whether you’re looking to take in some rich Brazilian culture, dance the night away to some local Samba, sample some Brazilian gourmet food, explore the Amazon rainforest, or simply relax on the beautiful sandy beach – you can do it all in Salvador.

 

A great way to be introduced to the city before exploring on your own is to hire a “guia de Salvador”, or a Brazilian tour guide or to catch a ride on the Salvador tour bus. Once you have your bearings, you can choose from an abundance of attractions, such as the Igreja Sao Francisco, which is a beautiful church decorated with precious stones, gold, silver, and features beautiful ceiling art. Or maybe check out the Mam Museu de Arte Moderna, which is a modern art museum featured in multiple colonial buildings and is highly rated by tourists. One recommendation if you are still unsure where to start is to visit Salvador’s old city center, Pelourinho, and work your way out in the direction of the shore.

Now we get to the best part – the food. Salvador is widely known in Brazil to have some of the best cuisine and the best restaurants. Even the street vendors offer food so delicious that you’ll reconsider what you’ve been eating all your life until this point. Restaurants serving delicious local dishes are abound, but if you really want a memorable experience visit the Babagula dinner theatre. Not only are you presented with delicious meats one after the other by skilled waiters, but you can take in a show featuring Afro-Brazilian traditional dancing and Capoeira (Brazilian dance fighting). Delicious food and a show experience right from your table!

Of course you can’t forget about Salvador’s gorgeous beaches. The most popular are Flamengo beach and Stella Maris beach. These both are excellent spots to relax on the sand, grab a cold beer, take in the scenery, and maybe catch a decent wave or two. The waters surrounding these two beaches are actually excellent for surfing. If you prefer some calmer waters, though, and more Brazilian locals than tourists you can visit one of the other three popular beaches – Jaguaribe, Itapoa, and Piata.

Salvador is one of the most ideal vacation spots Brazil has to offer, simply because it has everything: Great food, beautiful scenery, plenty of culture and entertainment, and beautiful beaches. Not to mention the Salvador locals are thought to be among the friendliest and most laidback in all of Brazil. Who knows? You may decide to take up permanent residency yourself after your visit!

5 “Must Do” Things in São Paulo

Sao Paulo is a giant city, there’s no arguing that. For the traveler that has limited time this can be a nightmare, especially with all the attractions, museums, and events Sao Paulo has to offer. So, what to do in this busy urban city? Here’s five things that are definitely worth your while.

1. Banco Santander Building – The layout of this city is truly a thing to behold. Seeing it from ground level is one thing, but seeing it from a birds eye view is something completely different. If you don’t want to fork out the money for a helicopter ride, go to the Banco Santander building. When you arrive, take the elevator all the way to the top. The view is simply amazing, especially if you go at sunset. You’ll truly find it hard to believe that there was no admission fee.

2. Oscar Freire – Some would say Oscar Freire in São Paolo blows Rodeo Drive out of the water. Oscar Freire is a street that features all the big name designers and displays all the latest in Brazilian style. Even if you’re not a fashion enthusiast, simply go here to people watch.

3. Art Fairs- Various art fairs have a habit of springing up randomly all over the city. One of the oldest and most regular art fairs is held on weekends in a parking lot adjacent to Praça Republica , downtown São Paulo. Keep your eyes and ears open and you are sure to find more. Catching one of these is definitely worth your time.

4. Sala São Paulo – Originally built between 1926 and 1938 for use as an import/export railway terminal, the Sala São Paulo was eventually converted into a cultural center which now houses the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Not only is this building architecturally gorgeous, but the beautiful sounds one can experience here are phenomenal. It’s actually thought to boast the best acoustics in South America.

5. Mercado Municipal - Don’t forget about the food! Exotic foods and spices, miscellaneous merchandise, vendor samples, and people watching all under one roof! Not to mention the beautiful building. You are sure to see foods here you didn’t even know existed, some even fresh in from the Amazonian rainforest! The Mercado Municipal is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Fun and Serenity at Lopes Mendes Beach

To reach Lopes Mendes beach you must first take a 3 hour bus and boat trip from Rio de Janeiro to the beautiful island of Ilha Grande. Ilha Grande is considered to have some of the nicest beaches in Brazil, with Lopes Mendes being one of them. In fact, Vogue Magazine voted one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world about 3 years ago.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy here. Snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, sailing, and sunbathing should keep you busy while visiting the beach. Snorkeling is definitely something you’ll want to check out as the marine life is abundant and beautiful – you may even get a visit from a family of sea turtles! As for relaxing and sunbathing on the beautiful white sand, this beach is truly the beach to kick your feet up and get away from it all. While the beaches in Rio de Janeiro are beautiful and have no shortage in the way of fun, they are very busy. Lopes Mendes beach is a quieter and more serene beach, perfect for those who prefer a vacation away from the hustle and bustle.

If you tire of the beach, the island has plenty of other things to enjoy. Try some delicious fresh seafood at one of the 30 local restaurants. Be sure to try the Brazilian fish stew! Or maybe dancing the Samba in the main square is more your style. You can even do some hiking – Papagaio Peak is only about a 2-3 hour hike to the peak and presents an unforgettable view at the top. You may even run into some rainforest wildlife on the way up!

So remember, if in the Rio de Janeiro area or just vacationing in Brazil, don’t pass up spending a day or two on Lopes Mendes beach!

Brazil Hotel Recommendations

While Brazil certainly doesn’t lack in things to do, like their beautiful sandy beaches, exciting nightlife, tropical rainforests, and delicious food, eventually you’ll need to put your feet up. Brazil has an abundance of luxury and affordable hotels to help you do just that! If you’ve never been to Brazil, though, finding the right hotel can be a daunting task. Here are some recommendations, sorted by city, that can help make it easier.

Rio de Janeiro

Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel (4 Star): This 117 room hotel is nestled right in the famous Copacabana district and is right on the waterfront. Kick your feet up and enjoy the hotel’s rooftop leisure facilities, private beach service, and abundant wining and dining options. The Porto Bay Rio is well known for its personalized service and high level security to ensure your safety. For the women, they even provide a special touch: fresh flowers, chocolates, bathrobes, and slippers.

Promenade Casa del Mar Hotel(3 Star): This hotel is perfect for those looking to spend less but not lose the comfort of a superb hotel. Located in the Barra da Tijuca district, this hotel overlooks the ocean. With its many amenities, such as a gym, sauna, pool, internet access, barbecue area, and coffee shop, you’re sure to enjoy your stay.

Sao Paulo

Maksoud Plaza Hotel (5 Star): Right in the heart of Sao Paulo, this business class hotel screams convenience and comfort. All guestrooms are equipped with satellite television and internet access and voicemail service. You’ll find they offer superb personal services, such as babysitting services, 24 hour room service, laundry and dry cleaning services, salon, and others. In need of some relaxation? Try their massage services, jacuzzi, spa, and indoor pool. The Maksoud Plaza hotel is perfect for business trips or vacations.

Brasilia

Naoum Plaza Hotel (5 Star):

The Naoum Plaza Hotel has certainly earned its 5 star rating. If you don’t fall in love with the beautiful guest rooms, you are sure to enjoy their world class services, such as massage, jacuzzi, laundry service, salon, hotel bar and restaurant, sauna, and hotel shops.

Amazon Rainforest

The Ariau Amazon Towers: If you’re looking to get out of the city and explore some of Brazil’s breathtaking Amazon rainforest, this hotel is sure to enhance your experience even more. The Ariau is the world’s largest tree top hotel and is simply stunning. Not only do you get to sleep in an incredibly unique hotel, but they offer one of a kind services: Canoe trips, piranha fishing, swimming with pink dolphins, helicopter rides, and much more! Plus, you can’t beat their fabulous Brazilian wining and dining!

Welcome to Rio de Jainero – Paradise Among Paradises

Rio de Janeiro may not be the capital of Brazil, but it’s certainly the place to be. Famous for its laidback beach culture, thriving night life, beautiful landscape, and annual Carnival, you don’t want to pass up experiencing this amazing city! You’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime.

First on the list of must-see Rio attractions is the harbor. The harbor is so unique that it’s actually one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World! Rio’s harbor features a unique entry from the ocean and several distinct geographical locations outdoor adventurers won’t want to miss, including Sugar Loaf Mountains and Corcovado Peak. Trips up Corcovado by train cost about R$43, but the price is worth the view – especially if you want to see the Cristo up close and personal.  Sugar Loaf Mountains, or Pão de Açúcar, is comprised of 2 mountains (one taller and one shorter) that make up Brazil’s top landmark. The beautiful view is a truly unique experience, especially at sunset. For the more adventurous travelers, there are also hiking options for both the Sugar Loaf Mountains and Corcovado.

Next stop – downtown! Historic buildings, interesting sights, shopping, and the most delicious food are found in downtown Rio and its surrounding areas. Stop for lunch at one of Rio de Janeiro’s “comida a kilo”, or buffet style, restaurants where you pay by the amount of food on your plate! And it’s not just any ole’ buffet food, it’s authentic and delicious Brazilian food! Be sure to try Brazil’s most famous dish fejoada, a black bean stew filled with sausages, pork, and beef. Yum! Once you’re belly’s full, head over to one of Rio’s many museums and cultural buildings, including The Paco Imperial, Museo Caso do Pontal (collection of local arts and crafts), and even the Museu Carmem Miranda (yes, there is a Carmem Miranda museum!). Don’t forget to grab a trinket or two along the way from one of the many local stores!

Ah, the beaches of Rio. There’s an unbelievable fifteen to choose from, all beautiful (and one is even nude). These Brazilian beaches feature a unique and inviting “beach culture” where you are sure to have some fun in the sun. Catch a wave, rent a beach chair and relax in the sun, or purchase some refreshments from one of the thousands of walking vendors. If you’re unsure which beach location you should visit, the Copacabana (Brazil’s most famous beach) is sure not to disappoint, or you can soak up some rays at Leme beach or Barra da Tijuca. Rio’s beaches and boardwalks are also where you can expect to find some of the best night life.

So grab a towel and a Portuguese language book, bring your appetite and your sense of adventure, and experience Rio de Janeiro!