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Rio de Janeiro Geography



Rio de Janeiro. This diversity adds to its outstanding beauty. Though Rio is primarily a metro city, it has developed around the Tijuca Forest, which is the largest urban forest in the world.

22°54'S   43°12'W

Rio de Janeiro is close to the Tropic of Capricorn and is geographically located on the far western part of a strip of Brazil's Atlantic coast. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro state, which lies in the southeastern part of Brazil. The city was founded on an inlet of Guanabara Bay (Baía de Guanabara), and Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar) is situated at the entrance. The Atlantic Ocean is on the south of the city, and Sepetiba Bay (Baía de Sepetiba) is on the western side.

The Centre (Centro) of the city is on the plains of the western shore of Guanabara Bay. The North Zone (Zona Norte) extends to the northwest on plains and consists of marine and continental sediments and rocky mountains. The South Zone (Zona Sul) is cut off from the centre and the North Zone by coastal mountains.

Rio de Janeiro municipality covers an area of 1,221 km2 (486.5 sq mi) and Metro region covers an area of 4,539.8 km2 (1,759.6 sq mi). The main river that flows through Rio is the Cabuçu or Piraquê. The main islands include Laje; Villegaignon; Cobras; Fiscal; Enxadas in the Guanabara Bay, Cotunduba, Arquipélago das Cagarras, Rasa, Arquipélago da Redonda, Arquipélago das Tijucas, Palmas e Peças and Frade in the Atlantic Ocean and the Bom Jardim; Nova; Cavado; Guaraquessaba; Tatu; Pescaria in the Sepetiba Bay. Rio region also includes a few lagoons like Jacarepaguá Lagoon, Marapendi Lagoon, Lagoinha and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Most of them are scenic and have a good hotels, restaurants and facilities for outdoor activities. The city’s long coastline measures 246,22km long and is divided into: Guanabara Bay (Baía de Guanabara), the Atlantic Ocean and Sepetiba Bay (Baía de Sepetiba).


Rio has a tropical savanna climate. The city experiences humid, hot summers and warm, sunny winters. Occasionally, the inland area's temperature can reach 40°C (104°F), but mostly it is around 30°C (86°F). Regions which are near the sea are somewhat colder due to the ocean winds. In summer there can be heavy rains causing floods. During the hot summer, the evenings are cooler due to heavy and rapid rains, making the temperature bearable. Because of its geographic location, the city often receives cold fronts advancing from Antarctica during autumn and winter. The mountainous areas register more significant rainfall since they constitute a barrier to the humid wind that comes from the Atlantic.

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