Get the most out of your exciting holiday in this fabulous city, pay attention to some sound travel tips from those in the know.

Arriving in Rio at Christmas time may sound like the holiday you have always longed for, but only adequate planning and some key bookings made really early on in the year will ensure you get to truly enjoy those main festive days, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Whatever your budget, your age or the number in your travel group, your time, money and opportunity will be wasted if you have to spend hours in travel agents or tourism offices once you are in Rio, trying to get from A to B.

If this is your first time in Rio city and you want to spend only 2 or 3 days taking in the “must see” tourists sights before heading off to famed festive resorts outside the city such as Búzios, Petrópolis or south along the Costa Verde to Paraty, then forward booked accommodation in all resorts and pre arranged transport to and from is vital. Pressure is always on accommodation in resort towns at this time of year, some bookings are made a year in advance, for peace of mind; don’t even think about chancing it once you get there. Unless you have driven the motorways in Rio or Sao Paulo like a local, hiring a rental car and driving to your out-of-Rio destination any time from mid December to late January is a crazy idea. Traffic gridlock (for hours, really) in unaccustomed Rio summer heat, getting lost because you can’t read those vital road signs is just so easy to do. Depending on your budget, a tour package with transfers included, with English speaking driver, or a taxi and bus ride with dictionary in hand, will get you there safer and faster.

Dress for the heat, the sun and the crowds appropriately. Carry at least a litre of bottled water with you when out walking locally and when travelling to and from your resort destination in buses or tourist vans. Keep your carry on bags, backpacks and last minute souvenirs to a minimum size and weight. There is never enough space for both you and your bags to be comfortable on board.

Finally, a word to the wise on the state of your stomach. With all that rich festive food and the heat, now is not the time to test the spicy street stalls, those glorious snacks from Bahia or the exotic fish dishes (moquecas) from Espírito Santo. Go easy on those caipirinhas!