The 'Real' Rio

Rio de Janeiro "Cidade Maravilhosa". I have a different view. A few pointers on 'what' and 'what not' to do in Rio!

The 'Real' Rio

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jala on October 22, 2002

Depending on how long you stay in Rio, there’re many tourist points to see. Whether you’re there for 4 or 14 days, you’ll fit them in easily.

The Corcovado Mountain along with the Cristo Redentor is a must see. Once you’ve reached the statue, after a fair trek up the never-ending steps (it’s a tram ride most of the way!), you’ll be glad you did because the view really is amazing. If you’re lucky to get a clear day you can see every other tourist point you may want to visit. These being the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf), the beaches of Leme, Copacabana, Aproador, Ipanema and Leblon. To the north you will see the Maracana football stadium, and the MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art) building – it resembles a UFO over in Niteroi. You will also see the Rio – Niteroi bridge, a spectacular sight in itself.

Other tours are the magnificent Tropical Islands, only a two hour drive to paradise! Angra dos Reis and Itacaruca are popular with tourists, though not like the over crowded Copacabana/Ipanema beaches. Take a schooner to the islands and go for a swim in the clear warm waters. Just perfect!${QuickSuggestions} I would recommend guided tours only, as tourists on their own are an easy target for petty crime. Many hotels in Rio offer tours to all the highlights of the city with reputable companies. Most of which have hard-to-say-no prices! In fact there are too many to choose from.

Bag snatching and pick-pocketing is rife in Rio so it is best to be very aware. The whole time I was there, especially when walking down streets without tour guides, I kept all money concealed in a money belt under clothes. Simply putting your wallet or purse in your pocket isn’t enough; you’re only inviting trouble. Wearing flashy jewelery, watches or simply designer clothes is also a big no-no. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that only 3 blocks from Copacabana beach/Avenida Atlantico is the start of the favelas (shanty towns), so that may give you an idea of what to expect.

It’s also strongly recommended not to carry a lot of cash with you. Also I would advise against taking your credit/debit cards out with you. Credit card theft is common here.${BestWay} I wouldn't advise walking around the city, especially a long distance from your hotel, especially at night, and especially if you're female! If possible try and find a hotel that has a restaurant or one that is close to restaurants; you will feel much more comfortable that way. Take 'Sul' taxis, they're yellow, with a blue strip down the middle, I was tricked a few times by other taxi drivers posing as 'Sul' as they look just the same, but without the company name, but they charge you twice as much!


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jala on October 22, 2002

Although it's situated on the large sidewalk of Avenida Atlantico (parallel to Copacabana Beach) it's in a comfortable quiet spot, (close to the seafood restaurant Reef).

The food is great, although I'm ashamed to admit I only tried the pizzas and a banana split! Though in my defence Brazilians don't cater much for vegetarians.

The service is also very good, the waiters are very friendly, you feel as though you've made a new friend every time you visit! (And I visited there a lot!)

On a Friday/Saturday night they have live music, traditional brazilian Samba mainly.

A good time no matter what hour you visit.

Avenida Atlantico
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Siquerra's Churrascaria

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jala on October 22, 2002

Pay by the kilo is the name of the game here.

It's a buffet style restaurant that has just about any kind of food you can think of; sushi, pastries, salads, stews, meats, cakes, the lot!

Though you have to be careful, because sometimes certain foods aren't as obvious as they seem! (Believe me) Either stick to the plainer looking dishes or be prepared to get your phrase book out (or a nasty surprise)!

Siquerra's Churrascaria
Rua Siquerra Campos
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jala on October 22, 2002

Help is a good name for this club. As I'm sure half of the people that leave the place are going to need it!

Help is apparently the biggest disco in South America, although I hadn't heard much about it before I actually step foot in the place.

It's worth a look inside just to see the wonderfully 70's decor. There isn't just one mirror ball, but the whole balcony is a huge strip of mirror ball - bizarre. It's also worth it to hear the music played by the dj's, certainly a blast from the past!

If you're female and you feel you must go there, be sure to take a man with you! Also girls, don't dress too well or too revealing, as you may blend in with one of the many prostitutes in there (!).

Avenida Atlântica, Copacabana beach
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MAC - Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jala on October 24, 2002

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's not, nor is it a sailors hat, or a spaceship either - so what is it? It's the MAC of Niterói of course (well, what else would it be).

Just go there, even if you're not into art, but having said that the building is a work of art in itself. It's designed by Oscar Niemeyer who also designed many of Brazil's capital 'Brazilia's' buildings.

There're also good views from the Museum, you'll be able to see the Sugar Loaf, and maybe even the Christ Statue (but then you can see him from most places).

To get there, either go on an organised tour, or hop in a taxi; I'd advise you get your taxi driver to wait for you while you mooch around, as there are no taxis waiting outside.

If you do take a taxi, you'll pass over the Rio-Niterói bridge, which stretches over the Guanabara Bay. Otherwise organised tours are more likely to take you there by ferry.

Contemporary Art Museum (MAC)
Pria Da Boa Viagem
Niteroi, Brazil

Tropical Island tours

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jala on October 24, 2002

There are a number of tours of this sort available, I went on two: Angra dos Reis and another actually called Tropical Islands (Itacaruça).

The best by far was Angra dos Reis; it's a true paradise. First of all you're picked up from your hotel early in the morning, then take a drive south to what is called the Costa Verde. Here you'll see beautiful scenery of many other small ports and fishing villages. The atmosphere is much more relaxed, plus there are a number of hotel resorts in the area - if you can't bear to leave!

Once you arrive at Angra Bay, you'll take a schooner boat to one of the many 365 islands. There's room for a spot of sunbathing on the boat, plus they usually have a traditional Brazilian band playing too, which creates a wonderful atmosphere. Next stop is an island, which our tour guide called ‘Pleasure Beach’, I think I would have called it ‘Paradise Island’! The water is clear, the sand is white, it’s something you only see in brochures, but you can make it a dream come true if you take this trip. (I’m sold, how about you?!?)

After the first island, you’ll then move on to a bigger island where there’s a buffet style lunch waiting for you. You’ll probably spend a couple of hours there, go for a swim, or chat to one of the many other tourists on the trip with a cold beer from the bar.

If Rio’s main beaches are too busy for you, then this is the place for you!

Tropical Island Tours
Angra dos Reis/Itacaruça/Ilha Grande
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio Sul Shopping Centre

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jala on October 24, 2002

It's a 4 floor shopping centre, and the price range seems to rise with the escalators!

My favourite store would have to be Renner, and it's on the 1st/2nd floor. It's a department store with a lot of choice; clothes, home stuff etc. The prices are very good, and the quality is even better.

Another good one is Mundo Verde on the 1st floor, an alternative health/spiritual type of store. It has all the usual items; candles, insense, gems, but also has a few select pieces by what I think was a local artist. And they'll gift wrap for you too.

After all that walking you'll be glad to find the 3rd floor with the reataurants/bars. Pizzas, Italian, Mexican etc.

Guapo loco, the food here at the Mexican restaurant is delicious, and very quick at serving too. No sooner had I ordered that my food had arrived! Well priced too. Shopping centres are great, because no matter where you are in the world, it somehow feels like home.

Rio Sul
Avenida Lauro Muller, 116
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, 22299-900
+55 21 25457200

A warning about Rio's beaches

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jala on October 25, 2002

You usually go to the beach to relax, but on one of Rio's beaches it's a different story entirely.

If you're planning on going to one of Rio's beaches, don't let ANYONE distract you or anyone you are with, because chances are, they're about to steal something from you.

Whether you're on the beach or one of the sidewalk cafes, don't leave your bag unattended, better still don't take a bag at all. But if you really have to, take a nasty looking carrier/shopping bag, so that way they aren't going to think there's anything valuable in there.

The most common way that things get stolen are by thieves in groups. It could be any situation but the idea is the same. One of them will come to distract you, probably trying to sell or asking for something, then while you're looking the other way, their accomplice makes a run for it with your bag. It's very common here, so watch out for it.

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