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jcasale Jan 20th, 2005 05:05 PM

Any Advice for Rio?
A whole group of us is going to Rio in March and then on to Manaus and the Amazon. We will be doing several tours to the "must see" places such as Corcovado Mountain and Sugarloaf, but we have a fair amount of "free time" on Monday. Any places that we should definitely not miss or even restaurants that are good for a great Rio experience? Ages of the group run from 42-74. We are staying on Copacabana Beach.

fernando Jan 20th, 2005 06:56 PM

Be careful. I donīt want to scare you but I underestimated the magazines recommendations about safety. I thought that, since I live in Mexico City, I couldnīt be robbed anywhere and I was assaulted in Rio. This event happened near the area where Ipanema and Copacabana join together. At night avoid to walk in isolated places and on the beach. The tourist police was very helpful because I was lucky to find a couple of patrols right after the assault and they recuperated 90% of my belongings but at the police station there were many persons, all foreigners doing all the ususal and boring procedures after their bad experience. Donīt separate from your group of friend.

Hope this helps.


Dondiega Jan 21st, 2005 06:12 AM

How about just spending a day at the beach. Try restaurant Porcao which is a Chuascarria, go to the one in Flamengo parque as it is very big and situated with the best view of Sugar loaf (Pao de Azucar) behind it.

miguelgcuadra Jan 21st, 2005 08:12 AM

How about walking along Copacabana and Ipanema. I find Ipaneama lot more charming than Copacabana. Lunch at Marious, all you can eat churrasqueria an the end of Copacabana, water front.
Also, botanical garden is beautiful.

miguelgcuadra Jan 21st, 2005 08:17 AM

Hello Fernando, am very curious because I have been to RIO many times and never had an incident. Where were you and what were you doing when you were assaulted??????
I am always very careful, do not mingle with the locals but my Carioca friends, dress and act like the natives and never flash money or an expensive watch..

Dondiega Jan 21st, 2005 12:56 PM

Yes a good walk from Copacabana to Leblon is a nice thing to do then when you get to Leblon you can stop and have lunch at Jobi's.

fernando Jan 21st, 2005 05:38 PM

Hello Miguel Cuadra:

I fully agree with your comments. Ipanema is much more charming than Copacabana and the Marius or Marious(?) restaurants at the end of Copacabana are great. I only tried the Sea Food restaurant which featured an incredible buffet.

When I was assaulted, I was walking from the Ipanema area back to my Hotel (Sofitel) which is exactly in the "border" between the two beaches. It was around 10:00 pm. I think we were 300 mts away from the hotel and there was not many people walking by nor shops and restaurants. I was told, there is a Fabela in the surroundings. I always say that itīs a question of luck, you never know. I was dressed with sport pants but probably my mistake was to carry a back pack. Again, I under estimated the advises.

Hope this never happen to any of the readers.

Have a good weekend and Salud!

Dondiega Jan 22nd, 2005 04:41 AM

That area between Ipanema and Copacabana is called Arpoador and although during the day it is quite nice when it gets dark you should be taking a taxi through there. This is standard procedure in Rio that when it gets dark at night do not walk around in the back streets.

Marius - while it is a fine restaurant and I have been eating at this restaurant for over 20 years, I find lately that Porcao in Flamengo has more of the original atmosphere of a chuascarria and the food is better. Marius recently remodeled and I feel looks like the inside of a restaurant in Long Island now, it has lost its original decor IMHO.

MelissaHI Jan 24th, 2005 07:35 PM

uh oh! I was just about to post regarding safety in Rio. I will be there in February with three guy friends, but I am a Chinese female. One of my friends said that they will all think I'm a Japanese tourist, which scares me. Then another friend in my group warned that Carnival is a very popular time to rob
tourists. We have also been advised to carry "bandit money" so there is something to give them and they don't either beat you up, is that correct???

miguelgcuadra Jan 25th, 2005 07:35 AM

Melissa, whoever is telling you that is exagerating... things do happen, but not to everybody and all the time.
Are you aware that Brasil has a huge population of oriental people, with features very similar to you.
Carnival could be a time of year in which there are more robberies, there are lot more tourist , lots more drinking and partying and all these are opportunities taken by delinquents.
You have to be very careful, do not walk around dark places by yourself, specially at night stay where most of the people are. dress very casual , do not wear any expensive jewerly. always ask hotel clerks if whatever area you want to go is safe.
If you are planning a visit to the Sambodromo, be very careful, it is very close to the fabelas.

Dondiega Jan 25th, 2005 05:15 PM

Mellisa, Rio is not Disneyland, it is a very real place with very real problems. They have petty theft problems so the advice your friends gave you is correct. The thing about people thinking that your a Japanese tourist scares you? What is that? Don't waste your time about what people think, just be aware of your surroundings and you will be ok. Sao Paulo Brazil has the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan so there are many Japanese walking around Brasil and no one cares where their from because they are probably from Brasil and speak perfect Portuguese.

MelissaHI Jan 25th, 2005 11:00 PM

Oooh, sorry Dondiega. I re-read my post and I guess it could sound kind of offensive. I was "scared" that people might think I was a Japanese tourist, since they are often targeted in other destinations with the assumption that they are affluent travelers. I have read about the large asian population in Brazil, though. I guess since I've never been there it's hard for me to comprehend. Thanks for the advice!!

MelissaHI Feb 16th, 2005 02:28 AM

Just got back today. My friends & I also really enjoyed Porcao. Make sure you are hungry! All the meats and salads were very good there. Another spot we craved was Casa de Feijoada. This restaurant serves feijoada every day, not just Wednesday and Saturday.

We also enjoyed Siri Mole & Cia, but the patrons there that night were smokers and the ventilation was not that great so it wasn't the optimal experience.

Just a quick warning: I wanted to take one of those Saturday tram tours, which starts in Centro and takes you up into Santa Teresa and the Bonde Museum. We cabbed it all the way there only to find it is closed, as the workers are on strike! So we wandered around the sights of Centro, which was still pretty interesting....not to mention food is so much cheaper in Centro.

italyss Feb 16th, 2005 09:30 AM

Yes, in rio, you should never carry anything or wear any type of jewelry on the streets. I stay in Ipanema, where I feel safe, though sometimes I think that I let my guard down. After reading this, I'll be more careful next time. Wow, Dondiega, my friend lives in Arpoador on Rua Francisco Otaviano. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have walked over and back to Ipanema in the evenings! I guess that I have been lucky. I never wear any jewelry,and I hide my watch in my pocket (no purse of course). Thanks for the tips.

miguelgcuadra Feb 16th, 2005 10:32 AM

Melissa, you are one more on the list that felt in love with BRASIL..
You owe a favor to all us that posted before your trip, to pay, you tell us and future reader-travellers how safe or unsafe you felt, what's your opinion about safety ,etc....

MelissaHI Feb 17th, 2005 07:05 AM

ha, ha! OK, miguelgcuadra, I will pay! First of all, <b>thank you</b> for all your advice to my questions!

I stayed in an apartment on Rua Joaquim Nabuco, which connects Ipanema to Copacabana. I was there with 3 guy friends, one of whom is fluent in Portuguese and had been to Rio several times. He knew his way around very well whereas the rest of us had never been to South America. He (and everyone else) had warned us not to bring anything nice or expensive, so we only brought disposable cameras and did not wear any jewelry....I just wore a cheap digital watch and carried an ugly purse. However, once I arrived, I saw many people (local as well as tourists) with designer bags, expensive watches, and digital cameras. My guess is that it's not <b>impossible</b> to bring nice things or a digital camera, but it just reduces your risk of getting robbed.

My friend, in fact, brought his iPod, computer, and a digital camera. Like I said on another thread, he was really stupid....he took his iPod and digital camera to Ipanema beach and was dancing around with them, which called attention to himself. Sure enough, when he turned his back for a split second, his iPod, digital camera, and pants were gone! He had to walk back to the apartment in his speedos. Also at the end of our trip we heard about two girls who visited Salvador for Carnaval and they were robbed at gunpoint, they had their digital cameras taken.

The 3 of us first timers never had any trouble, though. I even wandered Ipanema by myself a lot--jogging, shopping, watching the Carnaval festivities, whatever--day and night (not too late) and never felt unsafe. I simply kept my wits about me and was very aware of my surroundings. When I was at the Hippie Fair, I kept my bag close, but was further assured by the presence of many policemen. Actually, I kept my purse slung diagonally across my body all the time, and always kept one hand on it to ensure no one would try to unzip it or easily slash it.

I guess it helps that it was Carnaval....I know that this is typically a dangerous time for tourists since Rio is swarming with them. However, this can also work in your favor when walking around as you are assured that there will be many people around.

We had to be on guard with taxi drivers, mostly. One guy who didn't speak English well in the first place kept trying to swindle us into taking a tour of Santa Teresa with him, even though it was clear he didn't even know how to get there (we wanted to get to Centro). We finally made him stop the taxi and we left in a huff without having to pay. Corcovado is also teeming with people who say they will drive you up to the top for a private tour, saying the tram shows you nothing.

Since I am from Hawaii, I didn't need to buy new clothes; I just wore shorts &amp; tank tops from home. Rio was extremely hot, though! My friends got sunburned. Be careful of the sun, wear lots of sunscreen, and bring portable body wipes with you as you will sweat a lot. Be prepared to do a load of laundry or two if you pack light.

I ended up getting stranded in Sao Paulo for a day, staying near the university. I was still on guard, but I found the people there to be much sweeter and more customer service oriented than in Rio. Not to mention products were so much cheaper!

IndyMegan Feb 17th, 2005 10:46 AM

Couple suggestions: Santa Maria was great, a cute bohemian neighborhood. A lot of the houses are bed-and-breakfasts now - one of them is owned by a couple acrobats, and they have a practice trapeze in the backyard! People who stay there get a free lesson! If you're there on a Sunday, don't miss the Hippie Fair in Ipanema, great flea market. I though the &quot;rain forest&quot; - can't remember it - was disappointing. If you're adventurous, you can hangglide from a mountaintop down to Ipanema beach. Wish I had the guts to try that, it looked like a blast. Finally, another restaurant recommendation in Centro - Rio Scenarium. It's an old antique store, three stories, and a lot of the merchandise is still scattered throughout the restaurant. Dance floor included, of course!

beachwahoo Feb 18th, 2005 09:40 AM

We are a group of 5 in your age group also going to Rio and Manaus in March. We are going to Manaus first. I would be interested to know if you are working with a tour company and which one, and also where you are staying in both areas and how you decided on them.

jcasale Feb 23rd, 2005 06:33 AM

We worked through a travel agent in Miami who specializes in Brazil (Fredson Travel). I worked specifically with Edson Alessi who is from Rio so has been a bit help. The itinerary was based on one that I had seen on, but Edson gave us a better price for the same package. Mostly we picked the hotels by using his recommendations and the guidebooks that I had purchased. We are staying at the Orla Copacabana in Rio and the Hotel Tropical in Manaus before boarding the Amazon Clipper. Hope this helps. Have a great time!

pschatz Feb 24th, 2005 05:29 AM

We just returned from Rio and stayed on Veriera Sauto near the Ceasars Palace. Walking Ipanema was comfortable and we did let our guard down. By recommendaiton, we went to Kilograma in Copacabana (don't) and when we walked outside for our cab, we felt truly vunerable. We used a taxi we met for a tour to the Christ statue. The driver was great and he made our trip very enjoyable on sereral occassions. The reality was that he grabbed my shoulder bag on the way to the statue and told us to be alert. In front of us were two on a motorcyle. Before our eyes, the passenger pulled out a GUN, yes a gun an we were not in Disneyland. We thought they were after us but they sped up and pulled over the sedan in front. Our taxi driver sped by and within seconds found a patrol and alerted them and then patrols came from everywhere. We kept going to the Christ statue as we had a few words of thanks for taxi driver's care for us to express. Don't let you guard down. What they saw about Rio is true; unfortunately. If you are a tourist you probably have something someone wants. Locals don't seem to be as harrassed.

If you want a one day tour with some realiable and safe and honest, I recommend calling Carlos and he speads English (very rare in Rio). Cell phone was 55-21-9911-3829. If you are there, the last eight numbers are all you need. We paid him 150 Reales for about 5 hours of drivng and showing us many things. Best money we spend in Rio. Don't miss surgar load and Christ Statue and a visit to Netegori contemporary art musuem is very intersting.

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