Friday, May 31, 2013

Since you are in Rio you can also go to...

Rio is well-known by it's natural beauty, but the cities around it are also amazing places to visit. You have the option of visiting some other beaches or going to higher and colder place and enjoying winter the Brazilian way. Check the closest city from Rio you can visit:

(15km) Niterói: is located just on the other side of the bridge. You can go by boat from Praça XV in the center of Rio de Janeiro or you can cross the bridge Rio-Niterói by bus or car. If architecture is your passion you will love the Niemeyer Way, start from the Museum of Contemporary Art and along the way check the many projects created by thes biggest Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

"Curves are the essence of my work because they are the essence of Brazil, pure and simple."
Oscar Niemeyer

(72km) Petrópolis: the city started to be developed after Dom Pedro II, emperor of Brazil, built a vacation home there in 1845, nowadays the home is the beautiful Imperial Museum worth visiting. There are no beaches in Petrópolis and the weather is cooler than in Rio. There you will find many nice restaurants, such as Cocotte Bistro, or Casa do Alemão. Save couple of hours to visit the famous brewery Bohemia which is not only a brewery but also a museum located in a beautiful home from the 19th century, where you will learn about the beverage and have a beer tasting. The Crystal Palace is also a place you can visit to listen live classical music, it was inspired by the Crystal Palace of London. Another option is to visit the  Itaipava brewery, one of the most modern of the country (unlikely Bohemia, this one is not a museum).

(179km) Búzios: If you want to enjoy the beach, Búzios may be the right place for you. Búzios is one of the favorite destinations of Argentinians and Chileans, that's because even during the winter you can still enjoy the sun and the crystal clear ocean. During the day you can visit many beaches around, you can stay in Búzios or go to Arraial do Cabo and Cabo Frio, in the evening you can walk thought the Rua das Pedras where you will find nice stores to shop for decorations, clothes, and after that enjoy some nice restaurants in the city. There are also many nice new hotels in the city.

(256km) Paraty: Located between Rio and São Paulo this charming historical city is perfect for everyone and to be visited all year long. You will enjoy walking thought its cobblestone paved streets, will you fall in love with itsthe architecture, the restaurants, and the many stores where you can buy crafts, liquors and much more. 
If you have more suggestions please share it with us.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rio de Janeiro: Places to Visit

Hello dear readers!

This week we are talking only about Rio de Janeiro, I have already written about the city, hospitality, restaurants, and today let's talk about places you must visit while in Rio.

I've pointed out few places on the map so let's start with them, but zooming in there is much more! 
 - Ipanema Beach and Leblon: Why? Because Ipanema has a cultural importance on the history of Rio. The famous song 'Girl from Ipanema' was written in a bar across the street from the beach, many other famous musicians started their career there playing samba. Also it is still the beaches where cool people go, also there is a nice bike-path from Leblon to Leme where you can bike and admire the landscape and the cariocas. Besides all that, the beach is beautiful, light sand and blue ocean. In the evening stop by to watch the sunset, cariocas even clap to show how much they appreciate nature.
- Copacabana Beach: There is a real beach life in Copacabana, people walk everyday at the famous black and white sidewalk, drink coconut water, natural juices, play beach volleyball, futevôlei, frescobolbeach soccer, it is fun for everybody, you also spot the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel and the fireworks at New Year's Eve.

- Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer): Did you know you can go up to the Corcovado Mountain close to the statue? Yes, you can. The view from up there is breathtaking, it is one of the most beautiful scenario you will ever see in this planet. Before going up ask the tour guide if the visibility is clear (because they won't say if you don't ask)You can take a train that goes up thought the Tijuca National Park, the largest forest within a city in the world. Once you get there you can go up to the top by escalator or you can take the elevator. 

- Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf): Another amazing place from where you can see the whole city of Rio de Janeiro. To go up there you take a cable car. A truly fun experience. If you are a little more adventurous ask your travel guide about hiking up the Sugar Loaf.

- Lapa: Have you read the post about appetizers? If you go to Lapa, you will listen to live samba music, and bossa nova enjoying those delicious appetizers, beer, and caipirinha. If you don't drink alcohol try the natural juices. You can take a cab and once you are there you can walk to the bars and restaurants.   

- Botanic Garden: It was created by the King of United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, Dom João VI. It is the biggest Botanic Garden of the country. Usually it takes 1 hour to see everything, just grab a map at the entrance and enjoy it. You won't need a tour guide.

- Santa Teresa: This is a more cultural destination where you can visit museums, buy souvenirs, pieces of art, take many pictures, and go to restaurants. It is a very charming place to visit, the best way to get there is by cab.

- Art Museum (MAR): If you like architecture and arts you can't miss it. The new museum is very beautiful inside and has an astonishing architecture from outside. 

More links about Rio:
Other cool places to visit

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rio de Janeiro: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Hello readers! Today's post is about food. This is a though post because I can't list all the good restaurants in Rio and because usually the food will be good everywhere haha so I will need your help. I will list a few and you will share your opinion too so we have more options. Deal or no deal? 

Breakfast - Many hotels, and hostels include breakfast but if you want to have breakfast somewhere else, or if your hotel don't serve breakfast you can have a delicious breakfast at a bakery. Click here to read the post about coffee.

CONFEITARIA COLOMBO - served on the second floor at Bar Jardim from 9 am to 11 am. On Sundays there's a buffet with fixed price of R$37.00 per person.
Website: Confeitaria Colombo
Location: Centro

BISTRÔ CASA DO PÃO - Sat, Sun, Holidays from 9 am to 1 pm
Website: Casa do Pão
Location: Rua General Garzon, 10 - Lagoa - Rio de Janeiro

LA BICYCLETTE - French Café, excellent coffee. I love the banana and oatmeal cake, and the whole wheat baguette. Detail: the check comes in a cute basket.
Website: La Bicyclette - Portuguese and French
Location: Jardim Botânico

CEREAL - open to public on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm.
Website: Cereal
Location: Santa Teresa

CONTEMPORÂNEO HOSTEL - Tue - Fri from 7:30 am - 10:30 am / Sat and Sun from 7:30 - 1 pm
Website: Contemporaneo
Location: Botafogo

GRINGO CAFÉ - Open everyday from 8:30 am to 11 pm
Website: Gringo Café
Location: Rua Barão da Torre 240 - Ipanema

Lunch - In Brazil lunch is a bigger meal than dinner, so you will find nice buffets worth trying, restaurants por quilo, that means you pay for the weight of what you put on your plate.

VIENA - per kilo (self-service)
Website: Viena
Locations: Barra Shopping - Barra da Tijuca and many other locations, usually inside malls

RÁSCAL - per kilo (self-service) - Mediterranean cuisine
Website: Ráscal
Locations: Shopping Leblon, Shopping Rio Sul and Casa Shopping

PORCÃO: Steakhouse
Website: Porcão
Locations: Many locations, you can check them all on the website.

Dinner - You can always go out for dinner and later on enjoy the nightlife in Rio. There are many nice bars where you can try out greatest appetizers and beers

POMODORINO - Italian Cuisine, they prepare an artisan pasta and serve with meat, fish or seafood.
Website: Pomodorino
Location: Avenida Epitácio Pessoa, 1104 - Lagoa

FOGO DE CHÃO - Steakhouse
Website: Fogo de Chão
Location: Botafogo

Website: Fasano
Location: Av. Vieira Souto, 80 - Ipanema

PIZZARIA CARIOCA DA GEMA - Brazilian and Pizza - The Pizzaria Carioca da Gema is next to the bar that carries the same name. Ideal if you want to eat and then enjoy the nightlife having few beers with your friends or to meet new people - 18 or older. Remember to make reservation - (21) 2221-0043 / (21) 2508-6952 
Website: Carioca da Gema
Location: Lapa

Sunset by Rodrigo_Soldon via Flickr

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rio de Janeiro: Hospitality

This post will be dedicated to the hospitality in general, it's a post for you who want a nice, comfortable hotel, for you whose focus is the city, for the adventure travelers and those who want to save money. You should as well concern the location. Later on, maybe next year, I will write another post about hospitality because there are many hotels being built for the World Cup and because many people will host the travelers at their homes. But for those who like to plan the trip in advance this is a helpful post. 

By the way... while I'm writing this post I'm surprised to find out that many hotel already don't have vacancies for the World Cup. So hurry up! 

$$$$$ COPACABANA PALACE - Copacabana Beach 
Website: Copacabana
Breakfast not included

$$$$$ HOTEL SANTA TERESA - Santa Teresa
Website: Santa Teresa 
Breakfast not included

$$$$$ SOFITEL - Ipanema
Website: Sofitel
Breakfast not included

Website: Windsor
Breakfast included

$$$ IPANEMA PLAZA - Ipanema
Website: Ipanema Plaza
Breakfast included

$$$ TROPICAL BARRA HOTEL - Barra da Tijuca
Website: Tropical
Breakfast included

Website: Ibis
Breakfast not included

$$ .OZTEL - Botafogo
Website: .Oztel
Breakfast included 

$CASA AMARELO - Santa Teresa
Website: Casa Amarelo
Breakfast included

Website: Adventure
Breakfast included

Website: Spot
Breakfast included

$ BOSSA IN RIO HOSTEL - Santa Teresa
Website: Bossa in Rio
Breakfast included

Website: Contemporaneo
Breakfast included

*Dear readers, I couldn't list all the hotels located in Rio, so if you need any help please contact me and I will do my best to help you. Hope you have an amazing trip!

Maracanã StadiumRua Professor Eurico Rabelo - Rio de Janeiro, 20271-150, Brazil ‎

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rio de Janeiro: About the City

Hello everyone!
This week we will talk about this marvelous city called Rio de Janeiro. Let's learn about the city, the cariocas, the local culture, talk about hotels, restaurants and a lot more. Did you know that Rio awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2012 because of its landscape? Well deserved! 

Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state with the same name, located at southeast of Brazil the city is formed by rocky mountains, forests, and beautiful world famous beaches. It has over 6 million inhabitants, being the second largest city of the country. The residents of Rio are called cariocas, which are known for their lifestyle, for enjoying the beach like anyone else in the world, for their constant good mood and for the pride of their beautiful city. Among the notable cariocas who have made a difference in the world's history are: Ronaldo (football player), Tom Jobim (musician), Walter Salles (film director), Paulo Coelho (writer), Oscar Niemeyer (architect), Chico Buarque (singer, composer, songwriter), and Nelson Piquet (Formula one driver).

Rio used to be the capital of Brazil until 1960, and is the main destination for tourists, maybe that's why so many people still believe Rio is the capital. Besides the tourism, the industrial activities are also very important for the economy in Rio. The Campos Basin produces the most of the total petrol produced in the country. Important national companies such as Petrobras, Vale and the telecom company Embratel are located in Rio. The city has also many universities such as the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC - Rio), among others. 

In 2014, 32 nations will enter the final tournament with the 64 matches being played 12 different venues across this vast country. Rio will host 7 games including the finals, at Maracanã stadium, better known as Maraca. The stadium of Maracanã was built in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup Brazil and was the largest stadium in the world, it has received a crowd of up to 200,000. For the 2014 World Cup it had it's capacity reduced to less than 77, 000. In June, Maracanã will also host 3 games at the Confederations Cup. 

Watch the video made by FIFA to show what Rio has been making to host the Confererations and World Cups.

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Magazine - Episode 1

By the time the video was made Mano Menezes was the Brazil's national coach, but in November 2012 he was substituted by the 2002 World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, known as Felipão, right after assuming the national team he declared: "We have no choice but win this World Cup".

Come to visit us! We are waiting for you!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Songs: Ivete Sangalo

When Ivete was the Banda Eva's leader and vocalist, from 1993 to 1998, the band sold more than 3,75 million copies, in 1999 she left the band and since then the success of her solo career only increased, and she became the biggest Brazilian artist. Ivete is the queen of carnival in Bahia, a singer, songwriter, and actress who connects with her fans in a way that no other artist can do. She calls them by their names, meet them after her concerts, she is the most charismatic artists you've ever seen. That's why she became so famous and so loved by Brazilians and her international fans. 

In 2007 Ivete performed at Maracanã to over 50 thousand people to record her DVD "Multishow ao Vivo - Ivete no Maracanã", it was the best seller DVD of 2007 in the whole world, selling more than 600 thousand copies.  Here you can watch her singing Corazón Partío with the renowned Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz.

In 2010 Ivete performed at Madison Square Garden to 15,000 people. On the day after her performance The New York Times published: "She was indefatigable onstage, doing fast samba footwork in high heels through a three-hour set". 
Watch her performance at The Garden:

"Ms. Sangalo strutted through the routines of an arena diva with spirit. Yet after the confetti shower and the big exit — ascending with a bunch of balloons — she came back for another unchoreographed half-hour that was thoroughly Brazilian and the best part of the concert. With her band somehow picking up cues amid the crowd, she vaulted through a half-dozen carnival songs, full of references to the streets and neighborhoods of Bahia’s capital, Salvador, with the whole arena singing along. Even in New York she was playing to a home crowd". (The New York Times)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brazilian Football

Hello dear readers!
You all know that the amazing Spain has won the last World Cup in South Africa, and that Italy has won the 2006 World Cup in Germany... 
Take a look on the most recent FIFA's ranking*:

  1. Spain
  2. Germany
  3. Argentina
  4. Colombia
  5. Belgium
*updated on October 18, 2013

Brazil is not even on Top 10... so what makes Brazil always a favorite? What makes Brazil so special when we talk about soccer / football?

Brazil is the only country to win the World Cup 5 times, the only country to be present in every single edition. On Fifa's all-time ranking Brazil is still the number one, followed by Italy and Argentina. Have you heard names such as Ronaldo? Rivaldo? Kaká? How about Pelé? Yes you sure have, and you have heard many other names because Brazilians have always been among the best players in the world. Football is by far our biggest passion, our most popular sport. Our players are serious about winning, but not so serious after every goal scored! They love to perform dances, create different choreographies to each game, they are always smiling, showing the world the beautiful game. Football has the power of uniting people from different backgrounds, it reflects the happiness that is always present in our lives. 
Brazil has always been a happy place on Earth, and lately it has shown that is also synonym of progress, opportunity, and stable economy. Brazil is modern, and diverseWe are ready to host amazing events starting next month up to the following years and you are invited to come to our country and celebrate with us.

Friendly Games:

Next game: June 3rd, 2014
Brazil x Panamá at Serra Dourada - Goiânia

Next game: June 6th, 2014
Brazil x Serbia at Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Buy your tickets at

The video below shows how Brazil got their famous uniform.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Catholic Churches Worth Visiting

On July 22nd the Pope Francis comes to Brazil on his first official international travel for the Apostolic Journey. In Brazil over 120 million people follow the Roman Catholic religion, more than any other country in the world. Today I will show you the amazing churches you can't miss.

Rafael 1984 on Flickr
National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida - Every year over 9 million people visit this Shrine which is the second biggest of the world, smaller only than the Saint Peter Basilica at Vatican. in 1717, when the city was lacking food, three fishermen fished, as a miracle, the image of Virgin Mary from the Paraíba do Sul River, a sign that the city of Aparecida would be blessed. From that time on Aparecida became a religious destinatination for Brazilians and international tourists.  Address: Av. Júlio Prestes, Aparecida - SP. Distance from São Paulo: 188 km, from Rio: 269 km.

Cathedral of Brasilia
Cathedral of Brasilia - one of the most famous projects of the architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Cathedral has 16 columns that meet in the center and separate again on top. It started to be built in 1958 and was finished in 1970. 
Part of the Cathedral was built bellow the ground level, so from inside it looks bigger. Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios, lote 12 - Brasilia, DF. Hours: Mon - Fri 8 am to 6 pm / Sat 8 am to 5 pm / Sun 8 am to 6 pm

Cathedral of Sé - The beautiful Cathedral in gothic architecture style is located in the centre of São Paulo city, it's construction started in 1598 and finished in 1612. The dates are impressive considering that Brazil was discovered in 1500, but in 1954 the Cathedral was totally remodeled. Address: Praça da Sé - São Paulo, 01001-000 Hours: Mon - Fri 8 am to 7 pm / Sat 8 am to 5 pm / Sun 8 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. For more information visit: Catedral da Sé.

Mosteiro de São Bento
Mosteiro de São Bento - The first construction is dated 400 years ago, but this beautiful, huge construction you will see is the forth one, from 1922. The project was made by Richard Berndl, professor at the University of Munich, one of the best architects in Germany. On the last Sunday of each month, after the mass you can stay for brunch, the food is prepared by the monks and good chefs from São Paulo. To buy the tickets please call +55 (11) 2440-7837 talk to Silvia. You can also buy bread, pastries at the Mosteiro's bakery, or online, check the website: Bakery   Address: Largo de São Bento (Centro) - São Paulo.

São Francisco de Assis

Church of São Francisco de Assis - At Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, both the church and the region are worth visiting. The chuch was projected by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1940. Inside you will admire the paints of Portinari. Address: Avenida Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 3000 - Pampulha - Hours: Tue - Sat and holidays from 9 am to 5 pm. Sun 12 pm to 5 pm. Sunday mass: 9:30 am.

Catedral Basilica - It is said that the city of Salvador, Bahia has over 365 churches. The Basilica Cathedral is the most impressive of the city, it has golden altars on the side, rich in details. Pay attention on the celling made of tridimensional images. Address: Terreiro de Jesus (Pelourinho) - Hours: Mon - Sat 8:30 am to 11:30 am / 1:30 pm to 5 pm. On Sundays it's open only for masses, at 9 am and 6 pm.
Church and Convent of Sao Francisco

Church and Convent of São Francisco - this church impresses for the amount of gold it has all over the place. It was build with the financial help of the Portuguese King and Christian followers. The church has a baroque style, very rich in details; the marble floor imitates rugs. Avoid visiting the church at mass hours (Tue at 7, 8 am and 4, 6 pm / Wed and Thu 7:15 am and 6 pm / Fri 7:15 am / Sat 7:30 am / Sun at 8 am), it's free but it's not allowed to walk around and take pictures. 
The church is open on Mon from 9 am to 5:30 pm / Tue 9 am to 2:45 pm / Wed - Sat 9 am to 5:30 pm, on Sundays is necessary to book a visit. It costs R$ 5.00 (around US$ 2.50). Address - Largo Cruzeiro São Francisco - Pelourinho - Salvador

São Francisco da Penitencia - Creative Commons/Enrique Lopez Tamayo Biosca
Igreja de São Francisco da Penitencia - If you are in Rio, this is a church worth visiting. When you look from outside you can't tell how impressive it is inside. 
The church has a baroque style, from the front door, you can take a nice a picture. Address: Largo da Carioca - Centro - Rio de Janeiro. Hours: Mon - Fri 9 am - 12 pm /  1pm - 4 pm.

Nossa Senhora do Carmo da Antiga Sé - Also in Rio, this church has lot of historical importance. It was there that occurred the consecration of Dom João VI as King of Portugal in 1816, and Dom Pedro I and II as Emperors of Brazil. 
To learn more the Sound and Light click here, screw the page down to read it in English. Address: Rua 7 de setembro, 12 - Centro - Rio de Janeiro. Hours: Mon - Fri 7 am to 4 pm / Sat and Sun 9 am to 12 pm.       
Nossa Senhora do Carmo da Antiga Sé - Flickr: LL Silva

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beach Culture: Beach Soccer

Hello everyone! As we saw on my last posts Brazilian have invented many fun sports such as futevôlei, frescobol, and capoeira. Did you know that beach soccer was also invented here? Yes, it was. It started in Copacabana beach and is now played in 75 countries.
The beach soccer started to be played in 1992 in Rio and in 1996 the first Pro Beach Soccer Tour was organized in Europe, Asia and US. The sport quickly became very popular, in May 2005 FIFA decided to take over and organized the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, when France was the winner followed by Portugal and Brazil.
The game is played on the fine sand, at least 40 cm deep, free of shells or anything that may hurt the players. The court has 35-37 cm  length x 26-28 cm width. The match is played by two teams of 5 players each, including the goalkeeper. The number of substitutions are unlimited and the player who was substituted can return to substitute another player. The players are allowed the wear only a jersey, and shorts, an elastic binding to protect the feet may be worn too, but no footwear is permitted. The goalkeeper can wear long pants and gloves.

The match has three periods of 12 minutes each, this game requires excellent physical conditioning, skills and ability and usually many goals are scored in each match. It's a beautiful game to watch. Hope you enjoy it!

Sun, Sand, Sea, Soccer, Sweat... the perfect 5 S! 
Does anyone want to Swim? Sure! See ya!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Hello everyone! Today we're gonna talk about this interesting Brazilian game called capoeira. Yes, I said game because in contrast to what many people believe, capoeira is not a fight. Mestre Nenéu from Salvador explains that "the capoeiras never play against each other, but with one another".

by diglips on flickr 
The origin of capoeira is still in discussion, but is believed that capoeira was invented in Brazil by African slaves coming from Angola.

by henrique sfeir on flickr
There are two types of capoeira, the Regional and Angola, there are some differences between them, but both have the same principles such as greeting one another before de game starts lowering the body close to the berimbau, being clean and wearing the correct outfit.

by garrynight
Berimbau is the main instrument that gives rhythm to the game. The origin is also unknown, in Cuba this very instrument is called sambi, pandigurao, or burumbumba. Berimbau is made with a curved piece of wood, a steal wire, and a dry cabaçaThe instrument you see on his right hand is a rattle made of straw called caxixi, on the inside there are dry seeds to make noise. The other instruments used at capoeira are: reco-reco, pandeiro, agogô and atabaque.

Actors such as Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy use capoeira techniques to train their fight scenes.  Watch now a scene from the movie Only The Strong from 1993 where the main character plays capoeira with the Brazilians.

While in Brazil you will end up spotting a group of people playing capoeira. In Salvador on weekends evenings at Terreiro de Jesus, and on Saturdays night there are presentations at Santo Antônio Além do Carmo. You can always consult your traveler agents for more locations in other cities. Ask also about capoeira workshops.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SONGS: Skank

I've chosen this band for today's post because they are one of my favorite Brazilian bands. Skank's songs are always present in nice moments of our lives, they are considered a pop/rock band but usually they mix reggae beats and the result is great. Hope you enjoy!
The band was formed in 1991 in Belo Horizonte, the songs on their first album were very original, they introduced reggae beats to their pop songs, and this mix worked very well. They became famous quite quickly. Their second album in 1994 sold more a million copies. With their third album "Samba Poconé" they were invited to play in many European countries, in South America and US.
In 2010 they recorded a DVD at Mineirão, one of the stadiums that will receive matches during Confederations and World Cup.

They have won the Multishow Brazilian Music Award for best song, best concert, and Samuel Rosa has won as best singer in 2010.

Watch the video of their show at Mineirão, Belo Horizonte: Skank - Jackie Tequila

More... they will play at Rock in Rio in September.