Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Most Brazilian favelas may have vivid reputations. But this one broke from its violent past in 2008 when first removing gangs and then taking on a swirl of complementing candy-cane colors thanks to the Favela Painting initiative. With its plentiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and backdrop of samba and bossa nova rhythms, it’s easy to see why people love Rio de Janeiro.
Made famous in song, Ipanema Beach is still the place to stroll, sunbathe, and be seen. The most prominent Art Deco statue in the world, Christ the Redeemer, beckons visitors to Corcovado Mountain. And if you’re coming for Carnaval, Rio’s annual celebrations are bacchanalian extravaganzas of feasting, music, dance, and costumed revelry.