Find out about some of the places the Olympic Flame will pass through before the official opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Games.
Before lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on 5 August, the Olympic Torch will visit 335 cities in all the regions of Brazil. The trip started on 21 April, in Olympia (the birthplace of the Olympic Games), in Greece. The Torch Relay began in Brazil on 3 May, in Brasília, the country’s capital, and will make an epic journey across the Central-West, Southeast, Northeast, Northern and Southern regions of the country. During the Brazilian leg of the relay, the torch will be carried by around 12000 people and will fly a distance of almost 10000 miles. According to Embratur, the torch, which represents the Olympic Games, will pass through 83 selected ‘celebrated cities’, including the 27 state capitals and the Federal District.
As well as those carrying the torch, the relay will include a convoy of vehicles, which will travel through 500 cities, of which 300 are due to host the relay and 200 will be spectators to the passing Olympic Torch. Amongst the main cities, some of them are recognised tourist destinations in Brazil.
Brazilian tourist destinations which the Olympic Flame will pass through
– Pirenópolis (GO) – 4/5
– Diamantina (MG) – 10/5
– São Matheus (ES) – 18/5
– Salvador, Bahia – 24/5
– Campina Grande, Paraíba – 2/6
– Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco – 5/6
– Delta do Parnaíba, Piauí – 9/6
– Barreirinhas, Maranhão – 13/6
– Belém, Pará – 15/6
– Rio Branco, Acre – 21/6
– Chapada dos Guimarães, Mato Grosso – 24/6
– Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul – 25/6
– Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná – 30/6
– São Miguel das Missões, Rio Grande do Sul – 4/7
– Laguna, Florianópolis – 10/7
– Ilha Bela, São Paulo – 25/7
Brasília (3/5) – Witness the beauty of the planned city
Brasília, studied by architects from all over the world, is a true open-air museum. Oscar Niemeyer’s sinuous lines and Lucio Costa’s incredible planning are visible in the many monuments, public buildings, squares and landscaping of Brazil’s capital. A destination for civic and cultural tourism, the city’s role in the business and leisure sectors is constantly improving, with eco-tourism and adventure tourism just a few miles from the city centre.
Brasília has a host of iconic attractions, such as the Esplanada dos Ministérios (Ministries Esplanade), which houses the Executive branch of Federal Government, the Três Poderes Square, the National Congress, the Palácio do Planalto – where the President lives – and the Cathedral and Palace of Alvorada. For leisure, the city offers the City Park, the Paranoá Lake, with clubs and restaurants along its shore, and the Pontão do Lago Sul (South Lake Point). The Ermida Dom Bosco Chapel is also an excellent place for enjoying nature and the sunset. The Ministry of Tourism has invested around R$ 23.8 million.
The infrastructure aims to transform the capital into a top national and international attraction. The most recent project, which had a big impact on the FIFA World Cup, was the trilingual signposting installed around the city’s principal tourist points. Another project was the refurbishment of the Ulysses Guimarães Conventions Centre, which now allows for bigger events, and was the justification for Brasília’s claim to be Brazil’s music capital.
Caldas Novas (6/5) – The cradle of Brazil’s thermal springs
After Brasília, the torch will pass through the cities of Anápolis (4/5), Goiânia (5/5) and Caldas Novas (6/5), in the state of Goiás. The circuit of these sources of thermal water is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Goiás. The planet’s largest network of thermal springs convenes around the city of Caldas Novas, with a naturally heated river, swimming pools and fountains, as well as an artificial beach. In the heart of the Cerrado tropical ecoregion, it really is possible to learn how to surf.
For those who like a party, the city has plenty of options. Festivities usually take place in the city’s hotels, but, in the centre, the party starts as soon as night falls. Bars and restaurants fill up with tourists and locals, who dance to live music – almost always regional Sertaneja country music – and enjoy tasty local food, which includes an abundance of fish, poultry, and delicacies from the Cerrado, such as Pequi (Souari nut). Peixe na telha (Fish on a tile) is a particular speciality offered in many restaurants. The city has more than 100 thousand hotel beds, regular flights and welcomes more than three million tourists each year.
Ecotourism: day-trips to enjoy nature
Still in the Central-East region, the relay will pass by some ecotourism destinations. In the state of Mato Grosso, the Olympic Flame will go through four cities: Várzea Grande (23/6), Chapada dos Guimarães (24/6), Nobres (24/6) and the capital, Cuiabá (23/6). Tourists who follow the torch relay will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of a state which is home to three of the five typical Brazilian biomasses: The Cerrado, the Pantanal (Wetlands) and the Amazon.
Among all the immense natural wealth, Matos Grosso is an environmentally protected area, formed by a plateau: The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park. It is a place which shows its beauty across a variety of different environments, which helps people to better appreciate the Cerrado’s flora and fauna. The park takes in the Alto Paraguay River Basin and the origin of the Cuiabá River, one of the main tributaries of Mato Grosso’s Pantanal, another of the state’s unmissable attractions. Cuiabá, one of the cities which the Olympic Torch will spend a night in, is one of the ways of getting into the immense area, extremely rich in minerals.
Chapada dos Guimarães: Situated about 21 miles from Cuiabá, the Chapada Park is home to incredible natural scenery, which attracts as many foreigners as it does Brazilians. Anyone who visits the place is able to take in the walls of the canyon and the region’s waterfalls. According to the Secretary of State for Development, there are 487 waterfalls spread throughout archaeological and paleontological sites.
‘Too’ Pretty: In Mato Grosso do Sul, the neighbouring state, the torch will pass through eight cities. Among them, the capital, Campo Grande (25/06). For nature lovers, it’s worth taking the time to discover Bonito (the name means ‘Pretty’), which is about 155 miles from the capital. It is an unmissable place for anyone who likes nature, diving, abseiling, horse-riding, ecological walks, amazing waterfalls and regional gastronomy, often cooked over wood burning stoves.
Safaris, horse rides along the whole of the plateau, canoe trips to watch the sunset and forest trails to get closer to nature are easily come across. The region’s Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses offer three to five day packages and, generally, include a nature guide, trips, meals and, sometimes, transfers between the airport and accommodation.
A voyage on the Barra do Sucuri River begins at the confluence of the Sucuri River and the Formoso River. The water’s astounding transparency means that it’s easy to see the enormous variety of colourful fish inhabiting the river.