Visiting the “Temple of Soccer” in Rio de Janeiro

Whether you are soccer fan or not, Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro is a “must” on the list of places to visit. I have been very fortunate to spend some unforgettable times in Rio and visited “The Temple of soccer” on various occasions. Although not an expert in soccer, I do enjoy the “jogo bonito” and have learned some interesting facts.

#SaltodeMaity from outside of Maracana stadium.

  • Maracana has been the host of 2 World Cup Finals. The first one in 1950, when favorite Brazil played against underdog Uruguay, and the unexpected outcome was called “El Maracanazo”. To say the least, Brazil lost having home field advantage, and became one of the biggest upsets in sports history.  

Photo of Maracana in 1950. Courtesy:

Second Final -the last World Cup final  in 2014 when Germany won against Argentina. I was lucky enough to be there, on that day, in this amazing stadium.

Germans celebrating their victory over Argentina at Maracana.

Panaromic view of Maracana during the World Cup Final 2014.

-Its original “birth” name is Estadio Mario Filho, but since it was built in a neighborhood called Maracanã, people just started calling it that way.

Outside Maracana during the FIFA World Cup 2014

– It was at the Maracana that world famous Pele scored his 1000 goal in 1969.


– Madonna, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner have performed at Maracana. Pope John Paul II also held massive masses in 1980 and 1997.

What you need to know if you get to Rio and want to visit Maracana:

Footprints of Pele. Photo:

-Opens every day from 9am – 5pm and if interested there is a Museum inside were you can find photographs, championship cups, and Pelé’s famous No. 10 jersey. Tours prices vary from R$25 – R$85

-Regardless of where you are staying, you can find reliable transportation, either bus or subway. Heavy traffic might get to you, so try using the “metro”- its cheaper, faster, better. And if you are lucky…you might meet interesting people. I did.

Public bus in Rio de Janeiro.

-If your visit to Rio coincides with a soccer match PLEASE get there early, and make it a day! Be sure to take many photos and enjoy the experience.

World Cup 2014 Final