Tagged in: World Cup cities

Fortaleza - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Fortaleza

If you watched the matches of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, you’re probably already familiar with Fortaleza, one of the six host cities for those games. With a population of approximately 3 million, it is one of the largest cities in Brazil. It’s located in the Northeastern part of the country and you can get around the entire area easily by bus, metro and taxi.

 

BEACHES

Beach - 2014 World Cup

 

Since it’s located along the ocean, one of Fortaleza’s major tourist attractions are its beaches. It should average about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the area during World Cup, which is perfect beach weather.
Head to Mucuripe Beach if you want to get a look at the traditional fish markets of the area. For shopping and dining around the beach, go to Meireles Beach where there’s a daily handicrafts fair. Alternatively, check out Iracema Beach for more of a nightlife / party vibe. This is the easternmost beach, located closest to the center of the city. You can enjoy surfing and kitesurfing at several of the area’s beaches. If you want to enjoy sunbathing, your top choice beach is Praia do Futuro Beach.

 

CULTURE

 

If you want to soak in the culture and attractions of the area then there a few key things you need to put on your itinerary. First off is Theatro José de Alencar, named after the famous author and influential romantic novelist who was also a lawyer. The theatre has live performances almost nightly and is considered one of the major architectural landmarks of the city.
Another landmark is the clock at Ferreira Square, which is considered the heart of the city. It’s a great urban city square and you can enjoy walking around and checking out the historic buildings all around it.
Get some great views of the city from Ingleses Bridge and Metal Bridge. Finally, make sure to see some of the famous cathedrals in this Roman Catholic city such as the Metropolitana Cathedral and the Fortaleza Cathedral.

 

FOOD

 

Make sure to enjoy the traditional grilled meats of a rodizio while you’re in Fortaleza. A rodizio is a type of all you can eat restaurant where the waiters keep bringing you samples of food until you’re full!
Churrascaria Gheller is a favorite restaurant for those meats, not only because it’s tasty, but because dinner is accompanied by the entertainment of a stand-up comedian several days each week. Also, don’t hesitate to try the seafood at the fish market or the nearby beach restaurants since the city is known for its fish.

 

YOU’RE SO HOT!

 

Be careful if you seem to be getting a little more attention than usual from gorgeous young Brazilian women while visiting Fortaleza. Its not that you don’t deserve it, but be aware that Fortaleza is considered the prostitution capital of Brazil.

 

WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE

 

Estadio Castelao - 2014 World Cup

By Fábio Lima/Portal da Copa/Março de 2013 [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Fortaleza stadium is called the Estadio Castelao. It was built in 1973, but renovations for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup have seen the stadium’s seating limit increased to 60,342, an underground parking lot with 1,900 spaces, fully refurbished dressing rooms and a new roof. Even access to the stadium has been upgraded. Four exclusive bus lanes, a light rail vehicle line and two metro stations, were created to make it easier for fans to reach the venue. The complex it will form part of will include restaurants, movie theaters, a hotel and an Olympic centre.

 

 

Brasilia - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Brasilia

Considered the youngest city in Brazil, Brasilia serves as the federal capital of the South American country and its Federal District. It sits along the Brazilian Highlands to the Central-west region and was founded in April, 1960 to serve as the new Brazilian capital. With an estimated population of 2,789,761 as of 2013, the city is one of the most populous cities in the country and boasts of one of the highest GDP per capita among the major Latin American cities.

 

Modern city

 

Brasilia has a unique, modernist landscape which was designed by renowned urban planner Lucio Costa & architect Oscar Niemeyer. It boasts of a mix of urban zoning and swooping freeways featuring a restaurant sector, a banking sector and an embassies sector, with the lower-income population being forced out to the nearby satellite cities (cidades-satelites).

 

Food options available

 

Believe it or not, Brasilia does not have its own traditional, regional cuisine, probably due to the fact that it’s relatively young. It’s inhabited & visited by Brazilians from all over the country including many international guests and has arguably one of Brazil’s best restaurant bases. Here, you can find delicacies from various regions with bias on the Midwest. Additionally, there are many great places with rich influences from French, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish or Italian cuisine.

Things to do in Brasilia

 

Explore the Metropolitan Cathedral

One of legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer’s greatest masterpieces, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a completely unique building both in Brazil and in the world! Tourists come from different parts of the world to see the stunning glasswork inside the building.

 

Metropolitan Cathedral - 2014 World Cup

 

Take a tour of the TV Tower

One of the world’s tallest buildings, Brasilia’s TV Tower offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding areas. You can choose to go all the way to the top or simply tour the bazaar & street fair at the base of the tower during weekends.

 

Visit the National Park

The Park boasts of numerous hiking trails that takes you to the thick, lush forests in the middle of the Brasilia’s center. The two popular ones are the 20-minute Capivara course and the hour-long Cristal tour (which is ideal if you’re the more hardy hiker), and both will take you around the park. One of the biggest activities here, however, is visiting the mineral springs which are located at the heart of the park. You will find 2 areas of mineral springs, both which are believed to aid in healing.

The Estadio Nacional de Brasilia (Stadium)

 

Estádio Nacional de Brasilia - 2014 World Cup

By Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa (Portal da Copa) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Soccer is one of the major passions of the people of Brasilia so it’s little wonder that the strikingly beautiful Estadio Nacional stadium was given a significant role in the 2014 FIFA World cup. A multi-purpose stadium, Estadio is currently used mainly for football matches and has a capacity of 72,788.

 

The present day stadium sits at the same location where the Nacional Mane Garrincha, named after legendary Brazilian footballer Garrincha, stood. Designed in 1974 by Icaro de Castro Mello, the original stadium was completely demolished in 2010 to pave way for the new stadium. Estadio Nacional features many bells & whistles as well as a lowered pitch for better viewing for the spectators.

 

Additionally, it was built on carbon neutrality which makes it a great venue for both the world’s famous sport and Mother Nature. With a total cost of US$900 million, the stadium is the world’s 2nd most expensive football stadium after Wembley Stadium of England, and will play host to seven games during the World Cup, including an important quarterfinal match.

 

Getting to Estadio Nacional de Brasilia

According to the Stadium Guide, the stadium is found just 2 kilometers from the city’s metro station Central and can be accessed using public transportation. It’s easy to get to it from the center of Brasilia.

 

Food options available

There are numerous restaurants near the stadium offering a great variety of dishes. One common delicacy is the typical Brazilian steakhouse concept that goes casual with burgers & grilled steaks and a side of rice & beans, which is the national staple. Other dining options include Brazilian Pizza served rodizio-style and traditional churrascaria.

 

 

Recife - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Recife

Recife is a large city with 3.8 million people in the metropolitan area and located in the North-East part of Brazil. There is a lot to like in Recife; it’s really a “place of the people” and is rich in culture. The city is super festive, the fans are very spirited and patriotic, and there’s no denying that it’s a really exciting experience to be in the midst of people who are so passionate about their sports. This is one of the most active football fan bases in the country.

 

 

Recife is almost equally passionate about its music scene, so be sure to take in some of the local talent while you are there. The most popular type of music is forro, a traditional Brazilian music and accompanying dance. It’s especially popular at the June Festivals, which take place across the country throughout the last half of June. Recife is a terrific destination for enjoying those parties and taking in the culture.

 

 

The city is situated right on the beach, so the other main thing to do here is enjoy the coast. Eating oysters on Boa Viagem beach is a must. This is the most popular tourist beach, with a long sandy stretch that offers lots of beach activities including volleyball and football. Other top Recife beaches are Piedade for surfing, Candeias for reef photography and the urban low-wave beach of Pina. Pernambuco, which is the Brazilian state that Recife is the capital of, has lots of other amazing beaches all up and down the Pernambuco coast. Recife is also considered South America’s shipwreck capital so it’s a haven for scuba divers.

 

Recife - 2014 World Cup

 

 

While in Recife, other places to check out include the historic architecture of the old town section (Recife Antigo), Saint Peter Cathedral, Malakoff Tower Cultural Centre and Museu do Estado de Pernambuco at Five Points Fort are a few of the other historic places that should be put on the itinerary. It’s also a good idea to visit Dois Irmaos Park for a day to check out the zoo, natural science museum, and botanical gardens that cover a large portion of the city.

 

 

Good to know: Unlike many of the other cities hosting World Cup 2014, Recife is expected to be rainy. Plan accordingly!

 

 

The local stadium for the Recife World Cup Games is a new stadium called, Arena Pernambuco. It’s located in the city of Sao Lourenco da Mata, which is about a forty-minute drive from downtown Recife. Arena Pernambuco is like a small town itself. It has 42 bars as well as restaurants, shopping, a cinema and even residential units. It is built with sustainability in mind and features some of the best solar power details of any World Cup stadium. It is located right next to the Capibaribe River.

 

Arena Pernambuco - 2014 World Cup

By Portal da Copa/ME [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

This stadium seats more than 46,000 people. It is recognized as offering a really close proximity between the public and the field, closer than most of the other World Cup 2014 host stadiums. That should make games especially fun to watch here! The stadium opened last year and was one of the stadiums to host the 2013 Confederations Cup.

 

 

Belo Horizonte - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in English) is the capital city of Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state situated in the southeastern region of the South American country. With a population of 2,479,175 as of 2013, Belo is not only Gerais’ most populous city, but is also the 6th most populous city in Brazil. The city was inaugurated on December 12th, 1897, when it was known as the Minas City (Cidade de Minas). The current name was definitively adopted in 1901.

 

All-round city

 

Surrounded by the Serra do Curral mountain range, Belo Horizonte is nicknamed “Garden City” for its status as one of Brazil’s most arboreal cities. The city is a stage for major cultural spectacles and its calendar is always filled with excellent events offering programming for different tastes. There are 3 universities, numerous libraries, and a historical museum. It is also a reference in both business & health tourism and according to the International Congress and Conference Association’s (ICCA), ranks 7th among the Brazilian cities that receive the most international events.

 

Belo Horizonte serves as the distribution & processing center of an endowed agricultural and mining region as well as the nucleus of a fast growing industrial complex. The chief manufactures here are steel, steel products and textiles, but gem stones, gold and manganese mined from the surrounding regions are processed in Belo. When it comes to tourism, this Brazilian city attracts people both from Brazil and around the world. Moreover, the climate is cool and refreshing since it sits at 850m above sea level.

 

Food options

 

Belo preserves the traditional mineira culinary tradition that features simple ingredients and great creativity with some historical aspect in it. One can find typical food options, regional drinks and excellent international cuisine ranging from Italian, Japanese, and French to Spanish Cuisine. All these are available in the diverse restaurants that maintain high standards in customer service. For those who prefer the local gastronomy, they can pick from tasty coffee, artisanal beers, a sugarcane alcohol called cachga or Minas cheese known as queijo minas. In fact, Belo is known as pao de queijo (The Land of Cheese Bread).

 

Things to do in Belo Horizonte

 

While the city is mainly associated with sports (in particular soccer), it has more to offer visitors in terms of nightlife, sightseeing and outdoor activities. Below are some of the top things to do in Belo.Visit the Sao Francisco de Assis Church (Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis). For a small fee, visitors can get to see this unique church which boasts of a bold and authentic design. Its beauty is further enhanced by the stunning paintings on the external & internal panels by Portinari as well as the surrounding gardens that were designed by Burle Max.

 

Visit the Zoo-Botanical Foundation of Belo Horizon (Zoologico – Fundagao Zoobotanica de Belo Horizonte).

 

One of Latin America’s most extensive zoos, the Zoo-Botanical Foundation is home to the first ever butterfly sanctuary in the region. There’s also a center in the zoo that’s dedicated toward the conservation & preservation of species under threat of extinction.

 

Go shopping at Shazam

 

For comic fans or those looking for a souvenir to take back home, Shazam offers a unique and shopping experience and is a must visit! It’s a shop located at the Maleta building and has several vintage book shops in addition to its bars.

 

Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto (Mineirao).

 

Mineirao - 2014 World Cup

By Copa2014.gov.br (Brazilian Government) (Copa2014.gov.br Link da imagem [1]) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

With about 72,000-seater capacity, Mineirao is one of the largest stadiums in Brazil and is mostly used for soccer matches. The full name of the stadium is Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto which originates from Jose de Magalhes Pinto, the Governor of Minas Gerais between 1961 & 1966 when the stadium was built. It will play host to 6 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including a semi-final match. At its opening, Mineirao had almost double its current capacity and in fact it recorded a 132,834 attendance during a 1997 match between local club Cruzeiro and Villa Nova. Its capacity has been gradually cut down for safety reasons.

 

Venue for concerts

 

Since its construction, Mineirao has hosted several music events albeit just a few of them. They include the performances by Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and Alex Brasil.

 

Getting to Mineirao

 

The stadium is just 6.5-miles from the center of Belo Horizonte which will provide the proper match day feel. There are buses or taxis that provide transport to the stadium, although these may sometimes be congested!

 

What to eat

 

Minas Gerais offers both locals and visitors a rich cuisine to choose from. Mineiros really love their food and it’s therefore little wonder that traditional dishes are a main feature in most of the excellent restaurants. They include cheese bread (pao de queijo), roasted young lamb (Leitao a pururuca), a combination of beans and vegetables (feijao a tropeira) and tutu a mineira, but you can also choose from a variety of foreign cuisine.

 

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most popular tourist destination in Brazil. It’s the capital city of a state by the same name and one of the largest cities in The Americas. It has a population of more than six million. More than that, it’s got a variety of popular destinations including the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana and the modern world wonder, Christ the Redeemer. There are a lot of amazing things to see here, making it a favored place to see the World Cup 2014 games live.

 

Christ the Redeemer - 2014 World Cup

 

 

Fun fact: Brazil lost the first World Cup in 1950 on its home turf in a 2-1 upset against Uruguay in a match known ever since as “The Maracanazo.”

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World CupYou’ll be able to see Christ the Redeemer from various spots throughout the city. If you have a chance, though, you should really hike up the mountain and see its impressive majesty up close. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city below when you reach the top. Christ the Redeemer is located on Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park. The park is also home to Cascatinha Waterfall, the Mayrink Chapel with beautiful mural artwork and several other attractions. However, if you just want to get great views of the city with less of a workout then head over to Sugarloaf Mountain where you can ride a cable car up to the small village of Morro da Urca at the top.

 

Acai Berry Drink - 2014 World CupSome of the other attractions that you’ll want to hit on your Rio de Janeiro trip include the many museums (especially the modern art museum), the zoo and botanical gardens, and the Ilha Fiscal castle. Samba is the local dance and there are plenty of opportunities to take lessons or see shows. You can get around by taxi, bus, subway and scooter. Rental cars aren’t generally recommended unless you plan to take day trips out of the city. You can also take a ferry out to the island of Paqueta in Guanabara Bay to enjoy some relaxing sunshine away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

 

A nice treat to enjoy on a hot day in Rio de Janeiro is a frozen acai berry drink topped with guarana syrup. You can find this at various stands throughout the city, especially at the beaches. Chilled coconut water is another good alternative. As for food, you’ll be able to get a range of different meals at restaurants for all budgets here in this large city. Go to at least one churrasco to enjoy the grilled meat that Brazil and Argentina are both famous for!

 

Brazil’s stadium, Estádio do Maracanã, is a famous World Cup stadium since it was the first to host the inaugural games in 1950. Back then, the stadium accommodated almost 200,000 people, making it the world’s largest stadium. Since then it’s been revamped, though, and brought down to a more modern size. Renovations began after the 50th anniversary and new renovations took place more recently before the World Cup.

 

Maracana Stadium - 2014 World Cup

 

Nevertheless, it still seats more than 78,000 people, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and the largest host stadium for World Cup 2014. The stadium will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The historic façade of the building remains intact but the inside is all brand new with a massive array of LED lights, 360 cameras for video display and a new fiberglass roof with water sustainability features.

 

The Maracanã stadium, which is officially named Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, but is always called by its nickname, is located within walking distance of the Rio de Janeiro Zoo and the National Museum of Brazil. The stadium itself is considered a major tourist attraction of the city as well.

 

 

Sao Paulo - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is not only the largest city in Brazil, but is one of the seven largest cities in the entire world by population. It has more than 11 million people in the city proper and nearly double that in the larger metropolitan area. This means that you’ll find plenty to do here from exploring historic architecture to enjoying contemporary culinary treats.

 

Like many large cities, Sao Paulo is divided up into districts and some of them are a particular draw for tourists. Mooca is this city’s version of a Little Italy. Liberdade is the Asian district. Brooklin is the financial district and Praca de Se is the large city center square. There are more than 12,000 restaurants in Sao Paulo, including lots of ethnic cuisine in each neighborhood, so there are lots of places for you to eat your heart out!

 

Se Cathedral - 2014 World CupIf you want to check some of the most famous landmarks off of your list then start with the famous Catedral da Se, which is the largest church in the city and one of its notable attractions. Other important buildings are the Banespa Building skyscraper, modeled after the Empire State Building, and the Edificio Italia skyscraper, which offers great views from an observation deck. You’ll also want to visit the famous Sao Paulo Municipal Theatre, an opera house where you can still see performances today.

 

For more contemporary attractions, start at the Sao Paulo Aquarium, the largest aquarium in all of Latin America. Then head over to the zoo, which is the largest zoo in Brazil. There are also dozens of beautiful parks throughout the city, including some that preserve the Atlantic forest, so plan to enjoy a lot of nature even in this terrific urban space.

 

When you get ready to head indoors, museums are a top best. For a rich understanding of the area’s history, check out the Massive Latin America Memorial and the monumental Paulista Museum, each of which recognize different aspects of the area’s culture from the past. Visit Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo if you’d like to see European art in South America or Oca do Ibirapuera for native Brazilian art.

 

 

Fun Fact: Sao Paulo is also called “Sampa” for short. The people who live in the city proper are known as Paulistanos, while the people from the surrounding metropolitan area are known simply as Paulistas.

 

 

Arena Corinthians - 2014 World CupSao Paulo’s stadium is called Arena Corinthians, although many are calling it simply Arena de São Paulo for World Cup. The stadium’s construction pushed really close to the deadline to be ready before the games begin. It hosts the opening match of the World Cup with Brazil facing Croatia.

 

The history of this stadium has been marked with problems. The initial plans for a new stadium date back to 1978. A series of financial issues postponed that development. Funding was finally approved for building to begin in 2010, specifically in order to host the World Cup. The construction of the new stadium has cost about $430 million.

 

If all goes as planned, Arena Corinthians will open with 68,000 seats, making it one of the largest stadiums to host World Cup 2014. Almost 20,000 of those seats are actually temporary seats that will be removed after the World Cup. The stadium will be retrofitted after the games are done and is expected to actually be truly complete in 2015. It will also be one of the arenas for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

 

 

Natal - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Natal

Natal is one of the most beautiful host cities for the 2014 World Cup. It’s a beach city with lots of opportunities to enjoy sand, sun and surf. Its nickname is the City of the Dunes (and its new stadium is named after that as well) because of the amazingly beautiful sand dunes located all up and down the coast here. Buggy rides on the dunes are one of the area’s most popular activities.

 

Sand Dunes, Natal - 2014 World Cup

 

 

BEACHES

 

There are lots of different beach tourist attractions here. One of the most popular beaches is Maracajaú, an area of crystal clear water with stunning coral formations. It’s a must-see if you’re interested in Brazil’s natural beauty. There’s also a water park near that beach so it’s a family-friendly destination with fun for all ages.

 

This is only one of more than one dozen beaches. You can visit Gracandu for jet skiing, Tabatinga to see dolphins, Buzios to ride sand dune buggies, or Sibauma to see traditional fishing villages, and make sure to go to Porto de Galinhas, often called the best tourist beach in Brazil.

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

Cashews - 2014 World CupOne of the most unique tourist attractions in Natal is the World’s Largest Cashew Tree. It’s 1600 feet in circumference, making it seventy times larger than the average cashew tree! It’s called Cajueiro de Pirangi. It’s a magical forest land in the midst of Brazil. You can also enjoy the magic of nature in the city at the Dunas State Park, the second-largest city park in all of Brazil.

 

Natal is really kind of like the relaxing resort area as far as cities go in Brazil. It has a population of less than 1 million. It’s more affluent than many of the other 2014 World Cup host cities, and it’s considered one of the safest, quietest urban areas to travel in Brazil.

 

Beyond the beaches and parks, there are some key tourist attractions in Natal. One is the Forte dos Reis Mago, a historic fort built in the 16th century. Other attractions not to miss include the Ponte Newton Navarro bridge, the 19th century Teatro Alberto Maranhao theatre, and the Igreja do Galo church and museum. For more ideas, visit the Centro de Turismo de Natal, which is an attraction in itself since it was built in the 19th century and houses an art gallery, restaurant and artisan craft shops.

 

Fun fact: A new airport was constructed in Natal to make sure that 2014 World Cup visitors would find traveling here to be comfortable and convenient.

 

WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE

 

Brazil spent billions preparing for the 2014 World Cup and much of that money was spent on demolishing outdated stadiums and replacing them with new up-to-date buildings. This is the case in Natal, where the Machadao Stadium was taken down a few years ago and the Arena das Dunas started going up in its place.

By Portal da Copa/ME (Portal da Copa do Mundo de 2014) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Portal da Copa/ME (Portal da Copa do Mundo de 2014) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The stadium’s plans received some of the highest praise when construction first began. It’s a beautifully-shaped round building with a manmade lake surrounding it. It is designed to seat 45,000 people. The stadium is located right off of a main highway for convenient travel and is situated about halfway between the beaches of the Atlantic coast and the Old Town center of the city. Substantial lodging, shopping and dining options have all been built as part of the project.

 

 

Cuiaba - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Cuiaba

Cuiaba is a modern Brazilian city and the capital city of Mato Grosso. The city has a rich history and known for cattle farming. It’s home to more than half a million residents, most of them farmers, and river boats remain an important component of the city’s transport network. For the last ten years, there has been a surge of development projects such as hydroelectric plants and road networks in the area. Cuiaba is home to Arena Pantanal, where four group stage games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup are scheduled to be played.

 

The city offers a mix of cultures including African, European and American with a majority of the local museums reflecting this. Although it’s a cowboy city, Cuiaba is well known for its great music, dance, cuisine and craft work. Due to its proximity to the Amazon, the city experiences a hot, humid, tropical-like climate.

 

The City’s Attractions

 

While in Cuiaba, there’s amazing restaurants, late night clubs, bars, shopping malls and open air shopping. In downtown Cuiaba, you can enjoy live music and get fresh coconut water. Other things which you can do while in the city is taking guided hikes and canoeing. When you’re hungry, you’ll have plenty to choose from including Italian, Arab, French and local Pantaneira cuisine. While taxis offer a cheap mode of transportation around town, most hotels organize pick-ups and drop-offs for their customers.

 

Here are a few of Cuiaba’s must visit list:

 

Basilica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Cuiabá
This is a well built, stylish and modern cathedral which is open every day and has mass conducted between 6am to 6pm.

 

Palácio de Instrução
This is a natural history museum which is open every day from 8am to 5pm. Here, you can learn a lot about Brazil, but it will mostly be devoted to the war between Paraguay and Brazil which occurred in 1960s. The admission fee is about $0.35 USD. In the natural history wing, you will see a wide assortment of (stuffed) animals, awesome headdresses, arrows and Indian clubs.

 

Praça de República
This is Cuiaba’s centerpiece, a small green square which is surrounded by a small natural history museum, a cathedral and tourist office. Most of the city’s hotels are found just a few blocks away from the square.

 

Arena Pantanal – The Venue of the FIFA World Cup.

 

Cuiaba Arena - 2014 World Cup

 

Cuiaba’s Arena Pantanal is host to four of the group matches during the World Cup. The facilities in and around the arena will help the visiting population, fans, and media professionals and will leave a legacy for the local community for the years ahead. The arena makes it easy for all the people who will cover the world’s most popular sporting event to work efficiently and easily.

 

Before entering into Arena Pantanal, people will have to use designated entry lines where security checks have been established. There are many turnstiles where people will be passing through. Other places for installing ticket problems, getting information and buying food and drinks are available. Moreover, the stadium offers access to pre-numbered seats, a stadium media centre and a visit to a broadcast compound. A well equipped press conference room is also available within the stadium. This is where interviews are granted and where important advertisements are made.

 

The gates to the stadium will be open three hours before a game starts and there will be volunteers who will guide the fans through fenced off corridors which are installed with security scanners. The fans are advised not to carry backpacks or any sort of bags into the stadium. Buses and trains are the available means of public transport which the fans can use to access the facility.

 

 

Curitiba - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Curitiba

Curitiba’s historic status means that it is one of the few cities hosting both 1950 and 2014 World Cup events. It is situated in the Parana state and it is one of the Brazil’s most important political and economical nerve centers. It originally developed as an agricultural region, but with a population boost, it has become an urban development. The city itself covers an area of over 160 square miles and is home to more than one million inhabitants. There is a large number of Portuguese and European immigrants.

 

Curitiba has a substantial tourism industry in addition to its economic developments. The main tourist attraction points are sites that pay homage to its different ethnic groups. For example, Tingui Park is a large natural park which contains a memorial dedicated for Ukrainian citizens. It also contains a church with fascinating icons and images, and is a replica of another church in the Parana state. The botanical garden is a place of natural beauty, drawing on exotic plants and wildlife grown in a greenhouse environment. The Oscar Niemeyer Museum is named after its famous architect, and the unusual building is shaped like an eye. If you are a music or arts fan, then you cannot miss the Paco de Liberdade. It used to be the place for the Old City Hall, but has since transitioned to an arts destination with music and bookstores. Tangua Park is another amazing park covering over 200,000 square miles, containing a large lake and an artificial waterfall. It is a popular area for bike races and those just enjoying themselves after a hard day’s work.

 

Tingui Park - Curitiba, Brazil - 2014 World Cup

Oscar Niemeyer Museum - Curitiba, Brazil - 2014 World Cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love history, then you can’t miss the Rua das Flores or the “Flower’s Street.” One of the foremost pedestrian streets in Brazil, it is now populated by tourist shops, cafes, flowerbeds and artists selling their work. Venturing on to the Tiradentes Square, there is the impressive Curitiba’s Cathedral built back in the 1800s. It is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. If you are an architectural fan, don’t miss out on the Old Town or Historical Center, full of old buildings and churches. Other popular places to visit include the Wire Opera House, Brasil Telecom’s panoramic tower, and the Federal University of Parana. The University is one of the best in the country and is situated in the Santos Andrade square.

 

Curitiba has something for everyone, whatever your taste. With its numerous woods and parks, it is the ideal place to spend your time outdoors during the summer. Accommodation ranges from hostels to excellent hotels such as Hotel Deville Curitiba. It is also one of the safest cities in Brazil and has a low crime rate. It has restaurants catering to all tastes, such as Italian and Mexican eateries as well as your usual sandwich bars. For top end restaurants, check out Saanga Grill and Le Rechaud. If you fancy Japanese, then there is Ippon Japanese and Taisho.

 

The Arena da Baixada is one of the host venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In fact, it is one of the few privately owned stadiums in Brazil and is home to Atletico Paranaense. The stadium was built back in 1914 and was named Estadio Joaquim Americo Guimaraes. It was eventually taken down with a new stadium taking its place and in 2005, a Japanese company purchased the naming rights. Once the contract expired, the stadium went back to its original name. It has a capacity of more than 40,000 and is popular among its fans. It is situated in the Agua Verde part of Curitiba, just south of the city center. It is within walking distance, but you can definitely take the bus.

 

By Brazilian Government [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brazilian Government [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The stadium is situated in an upper-class residential area, but there is still plenty to do. Around the Avenida Sete de Setembro, there are many restaurants catering to tourists. If you are looking for nightlife and clubbing, try the city center or the Batel area. There are a few good hotels such as the Four Points by Sheraton and Slaviero Hotel, but they tend to be a tad expensive. If you want something cheaper, there are plenty of choices in the city center which is not too far away.

 

 

Porto Alegre - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. The city itself only has a population of 1.5 million, which isn’t huge for a Brazilian capital city. However, the larger surrounding metropolitan area has almost 4.5 million people, putting it in the top five largest metropolitan areas in the entire country. As such, Porto Alegre is considered one of the centers of Brazil, particularly when it comes to politics and the economy.

 

It achieved this in large part because of its location. It sits at the intersection of five large rivers, right on the bank of Rio Guaiba. The place where the rivers converge is called the Lagoa dos Patos or Duck Lagoon. The massive size of this waterway allows for transportation by even the largest of boats. That amazing port is what has made Porto Alegre such an important commercial area for Brazil.

 

ATTRACTIONS

There are a few historic buildings to check out if you’re interested in the political and economic attractions of the city. First is Piratini Palace, a massive governmental building constructed in the 19th century. It has unique architecture and is decorated inside with amazing artwork. The Mario Quintana Culture House, the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art, and the Julio de Castilhos local history museum are other key places to put on your itinerary.

 

If shopping is on your agenda, check out the Public Market, home to over 100 different shops inside of a beautiful historic building. For urban nature, spend a day at Farroupilha Park, where there is a beautiful outdoor fountain, sculpture garden and a small zoo or check out the beautiful Porto Alegre Botanical Garden. Visit Harmonia Ranch inside Harmony Park to see what a traditional gaucho farm is like.  Head to the historical street João Alfredo at night for downtown Porto Alegre’s bar and music scene.

 

Porto Alegre Public MarketBrazilian Skewered Meat

 

FOOD

Getting hungry? One of the most-desired foods for World Cup 2014 visitors is local Brazilian churrasco; the slow-grilled meats for which the country is known. This dish originated in the south where Porto Alegre is located so this host city is one of the best places to try it!

 

Fun fact: Porto Alegre is one of the most sustainable cities in Brazil. It was one of the first cities in the country to launch a recycling program. It is also located close to the country’s largest wind energy farms.

 

WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE

The official name of Porto Alegre’s stadium is Estádio José Pinheiro Borda, but everyone knows it as Estadio Beira-Rio, which means “stadium by the river”.

 

The stadium was built in 1969 to hold 56,000 people, however, renovations began a few years ago to get the stadium ready for the 2014 World Cup.  It now holds about 50,000 people and is one of the largest stadiums in South Brazil.

 

The newly-renovated stadium also has several bars and a wealth of shopping, and if you happen to want to get married during the World Cup there’s even a chapel inside. It’s located right next to Parque Gigante, a sport center with gyms and pools. It’s a short distance away from the historic center of the city where many of the popular attractions are located.

 

This stadium is situated just off of the Guaíba River. Its location provides some of the most beautiful views from any stadium hosting a World Cup match. It’s located on a major highway, about a twenty minute taxi ride from the airport, so it’s convenient for visitors.

 

 

Teatro Amazonas

2014 World Cup Cities: Manaus

Manaus is the capital city of the Amazonas State, a large region located in the northwestern part of Brazil. Although the city itself is developed, with a population of about 1.8 million, this remains one of the more remote areas of the country.

 

That makes it a great place to visit during the 2014 World Cup if you also want to get a chance to see some of the tribal history of the area and the natural rainforests that make Brazil so special.  Tour boats are the best way to see the rainforest’s plant and animal life from here.

 

ATTRACTIONS

Even if you don’t venture into the rainforest, it’s worth it to check out some of the nature available in the city itself. The local botanical gardens and zoo are a great start to seeing local nature.

 

There are also plenty of parks in the city to enjoy, the largest of which is Park of Mindu. State Park Sumauma, the Adolfo Ducke Forest Reserve and Hill Aleixo are some other great green spaces in Manaus.

 

This is also a lovely place to enjoy the water since the Solimões and Negro rivers intersect here to form the Amazon River. During the last weekend of June you can see the Procissao Fluvial de Sao Pedro, a boat parade on the water that celebrates Sao Pedro, the fisherman’s saint.

 

Amazonian Sunset

Brazilian Rainforest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CULTURE

This area truly is rich in culture, having preserved the tribal traditions more than any other part of South America and its worth taking the time to explore and you can start by getting the basics from the local museums, including the Natural Science Museum.

 

Manaus is the only 2014 World Cup host city in the Amazonas, and that means it’s also the host city closest to the biggest event of the summer – the Parintins Folklore Festival. This festival, also known as Bumba Meu Boi, is second in size only to Carnival and offers a great opportunity to experience local dance, music, storytelling and food. Make sure to try the bolinhos de bacalhão, a local fried codfish dish.

 

For a different type of culture, check out Teatro Amazonas, a decadent historic opera house built in the 1880s at a cost of $10 million. The opera house closed in 1924 but then re-opened in 1997.

 

Fun fact: Manaus was at the heart of the rubber boom in the late 19th century. It was one of the richest areas at that time and much of the city’s impressive historic architecture was built then.

 

WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE

This nature-rich, culture-rich part of South America is a pretty unlikely place for World Cup matches and in fact they had to build a brand new stadium here specifically so that they could serve as a host city for Brazil 2014. They started the $300 million construction project in 2010 and opened for the first match in March 2014.

 

By Brazilian Government - Portal da Copa - Atribuição 3.0 Brasil [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brazilian Government – Portal da Copa – Atribuição 3.0 Brasil [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Arena da Amazônia project was controversial. Designed by the German firm gmp Architekten, there were three construction-related deaths during the building process. Also, a coach from the English team made some negative comments about how he didn’t want to have to play in the middle of nowhere, comments that sparked some angry words back from the Manaus mayor. Now that the building is up, though, many visitors are excited about seeing the 42,000-seat stadium get put to use.

 

The Arena da Amazônia stadium was constructed to honor the culture by being made in the shape of a traditional local basket. This unique stadium is designed to recycle rainwater for both the field irrigation and sanitation systems. The rest of Brazil should be dry during the games but there may continue to be rain in this region. Even if there’s not, the humidity levels are generally above 90% so expect to be wet and warm when watching the matches here. Luckily, there are cooling properties built into the design of the building and there are a lot of in-stadium restaurant options so you don’t have to leave the building if you don’t want to.

 

 

Salvador - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Salvador

Salvador is located in the northeast part of Brazil in the state of Bahia, a place known for art, culture and music. The area has some of the strongest African culture in South America. It is a very historic city, being the first colonial capital in Brazil and is one of the oldest in the Americas.

 

Salvador is a large urban city with a population of about 2.6 million, which makes it the third largest city in Brazil. However, the population spreads out in the surrounding area and the surrounding metropolitan region is only 3.5 million people strong, which makes it just the 7th largest metropolitan area in the country.

 

Salvador - 2014 World Cup

 

If you want to get perfect tourist pictures while you’re in Salvador, make sure to go to the famous Dique do Tororo (Tororo Dam). It’s a historic dam built by the Dutch in the 18th Century. However it was revamped within the last decade with artistic sculptures and a beautiful pond. It’s perfect for taking pictures. There are also many restaurants and shopping options in the area.

 

You’ll also want to check out the many historic buildings in the region for some interesting architecture. The main feature is the 19th century elevator (Elevador Lacerda) that separates the Lower Town (the port and beachside area) from the Upper Town; the two sections have been divided for centuries. Other important historical sites can be found in the historic city centre where the architecture dates back as far as the 17th century.

 

Lacerda Elevator - 2014 World Cup

 

You might find it interesting to know that both the lower and upper parts of the town are actually on the beach. The lower parts are on the bay, where the port is, while the upper parts are on the Atlantic Ocean. Both areas offer lots of beach activity. Swimming, sailing and surfing are all popular activities for Salvador visitors. If you enjoy being outside, there are several amazing parks in the city including, Park of The City, which is an Atlantic forest preserve. If you’d rather be indoors for awhile, Museu de Arte da Bahia (art museum) and Museu da Cidade (history museum) are two sure bets.

 

Fun Fact: Salvador’s official name is São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, which translates to City of the Holy Saviour of the Bay of All Saints.

 

The stadium for World Cup games in Salvador is Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova. Itaipava is the name of a brewery that is sponsoring the stadium. They’re sponsoring $100 million until 2023. This is the first stadium in World Cup 2014 to get naming rights agreements like this.

 

Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova - 2014 World Cup

 

Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova is a brand new building. Unfortunately, it’s experienced a number of problems since opening just last year. At the inaugural game there were many complaints from spectators who couldn’t see important moments because of blind spots from their seats. There were also puddles in the stadium, which foreshadowed the collapse of a part of the roof after heavy rains in May 2013. Nevertheless, games were played at this stadium for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and it has been fixed up for the 2014 World Cup. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke just did his final inspection of the stadium recently and said that he’s been impressed with the work that’s gone into making it game-ready.

 

Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova is one of the larger stadiums for World Cup 2014, with a seating capacity of 56,000. Six of the games will be hosted here. There are nearly forty food kiosks here and the stadium is located within walking distance from the picture-perfect Tororo Dam.

 

 

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