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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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carnaval, carnival, brazil, recife, salvador, rio de janeiro,

Carnaval in Brazil

For more photos and videos from Carnaval 2014 in Brazil, explore the Sambódromo and Sambodromo do Anhembi location pages and browse the #Carnaval, #Salvador, #Olinda and #Recife hashtags.

In Brazil, it’s jokingly said that the year only really begins after Carnaval, the annual five-day festival before Ash Wednesday that marks the beginning of Lent. Brazilians take Carnaval seriously: most of the country shuts down to take part in the festivities and some participants begin planning their costumes and events up to a year in advance. The cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória are known for giant parades led by samba schools, which bring in millions of viewers in person and through televised broadcasts. Smaller parades, or blocinhos, are also very popular as anyone can join in the parade as it progresses.

In the northeast, Carnaval is heavily influenced by Afro-Brazilian culture—and especially by its music. Huge crowds follow trucks blasting live music performances from famous Brazilian stars. This year’s singers include Claudia Leitte (@claudialeitte), Ivete Sangalo (@veveta), Gilberto Gil (@gilbertogil), Preta Gil (@pretagil) and Daniela Mercury (@danielamercury).

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Location Feature, rio de janeiro, brazil, hang gliding,

A Bird’s-Eye View: Hang Gliding over Rio de Janeiro

For more photos and videos of hang gliding in São Conrado, explore the Pedra Bonita location page.

Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is known for its breathtaking views and natural beauty, a combination that makes nearby Praia São Conrado one of the world’s premiere hang gliding spots for tourists and locals alike. Hang gliders experience a bird’s-eye view of iconic landmarks such as Pão de Açúcar and the Cristo Redentor statue on Corcovado mountain. The setting allows hang gliders to savor an adrenaline rush while feasting on Rio’s jaw-dropping skyline. A few daredevils have shared their experience through photos and videos on Instagram.

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Rio de Janeiro, local lens, User Feature,

Local Lens: Exploring Rio de Janeiro with @ticianaporto

In this series, we let local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around their hometown. To explore more of Rio de Janeiro, follow @ticianaporto on Instagram.

As the community of Instagrammers has grown and connected people across the globe, so too has our ability to share some of the personal, hidden and beautiful locations in our hometowns.

In the second of a two-part series of local guides to Rio de Janeiro, Carioca Instagrammer Ticiana Porto (@ticianaporto) shares her favorite places to capture in the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City). Ticiana has lived in Rio for 10 years and has challenged herself to take and share a different photo of the city each day since 2011.

To kick off your visit, Ticiana suggests cycling along the seaside, starting in the eastern beach community of Leblon. “Head west and you’ll reach the famous sidewalks of Ipanema and then Arpoador, a small peninsula with a great view. Stop for a photo and a coconut in Arpoador, then keep cycling along Copacabana Beach to the Leme neighborhood.” Not a fan of cycling? Ticiana also encourages visitors to stop and spend an afternoon on Ipanema Beach, drinking caipirinhas and admiring the fashions. “In Ipanema, everyone goes to the beach dressed and ready for their night out after.”

For some grand views of Rio de Janeiro, Ticiana has three favorite spots:

  1. See Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) atop Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf).
  2. From atop Corcovado, check out the view of Floresta Atlântica and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas extending out to sea.
  3. Spend an afternoon in Santa Teresa and take in the view of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) from Parque das Ruinas (Ruins Park).

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local lens, user feature, Paulo del Valle, rio de janeiro,

Local Lens: Exploring Rio de Janeiro with @paulodelvalle

Since launching, we’ve seen the community share their favorite local spots with the rest of the world through Instagram. In this series, we let local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around their hometown. Explore more of Paulo’s favorite locations in Rio de Janeiro on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Mirante Dona Marta and Parque da Cidade location pages.

As the community of Instagrammers has grown and connected people across the globe, so too has our ability to share some of the personal, hidden and beautiful locations in our hometowns.

In the first of a two-part series of local guides to Rio de Janeiro, Carioca Instagrammer Paulo del Valle (@paulodelvalle) shares with us his favorite places to capture in Rio de Janeiro.

In the center of the city, Paulo suggests visiting Pedra do Arpoador (Arpoador Rock). Arpoador is a small peninsula in the Zona Sul (South Zone) dividing Rio’s two main beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana. The peninsula’s rocks create a left break for surfers, one of the best surf spots in the city. In the summertime it’s possible to see the sun setting over the sea from Arpoador, which is a rare event in Brazil as much of its coastline faces east. “Everyone likes to go here to watch the sunset,” Paulo explains. “During the summer, we can see the sun going down over the sea and there is a tradition that, once the sun has set, everyone cheers. The view is beautiful!”

Not far away is Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a lagoon in the middle of the city. “It’s where people like to jog and do all kinds of things, like skating, stand-up paddle, slack line and cycling. The lagoon is also a beautiful place to photograph the sun setting behind one of Rio’s iconic mountains, Dois Irmãos.”

Want to go beyond the iconic scenes of Rio’s Zona Sul? “Mirante Dona Marta (Dona Marta Belvedere) is the place where you can shoot one of the most beautiful landscapes in Rio de Janeiro. On your left you can see Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) and on your right the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). It’s not a place where everyone goes, since you can only get there by car, but it’s absolutely worth it.” For another great view of the city, head to Parque da Cidade de Niterói (Niterói City Park) where many hang gliders begin their flight. “There you can see the best views of the city itself. The park is in Niterói, a city 30 minutes from Rio by car.”

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cristo redentor, photo feature, rio de janeiro,

Cristo Redentor

Want to see more photos? Check out pictures taken at Cristo Redentor, tagged #CristoRedentor or #Corcovado

It may be just the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world, but Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro is certainly the most famous.

The Art Deco statue was built between 1922 and 1931 atop Corcovado mountain to serve as a symbol of Brazilian Christianity and peace. Thousands of tourists flock to the statue everyday, so get there early if you hope to snap a clear shot - the Cristo’s a popular guy!