Questions about Rio

Old Jan 4th, 2000, 11:24 AM
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Questions about Rio

A friend and I will be going to Rio in March and have a few questions I was hoping someone could help me with.
1) Does anyone no of a good hostel in Ipanema?
2) We want to get away from the city some of the time, does anyone have any suggestions for good day trips?
3)We are thinking of taking a favela tour, has anyone done this?
Thanks for the help.
Old Jan 5th, 2000, 05:26 AM
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Hello, for information regarding youth hostels in Rio you can call (21)222-0301. The 21 is the area code for Rio. If you are calling from the United States you need to dial 011 55 before the 21. The phone number is the Assocation of Youth Hostels for Rio de Janeiro State.
If you want an inexpensive hotel in Ipanema, try the Ipanema Inn. It is just a half a block from the beach and it is in a very good neighborhood.

For day trips....I would go to Petropolis. You can take a bus from the Rodoviaria (bus station) in downtown Rio. Just buy a round trip ticket at the window marked Petropolis. They leave a couple of times an hour. The bus ride takes you up a beautiful mountain with wild flowers and small water falls. It takes about 1 hour and a half to get there. While in Petropolis make sure you visit the Imperial Palace - summer home of Dom Pedro, also visit the crystal palace, and the cathedral. Have lunch at Luigi's. Best homemade pasta in the world. Take a horse and buggy ride through the cobble stoned streets. If you can afford it, I suggest taking one of the organized tours to Petropolis, so you won't have to deal with any language problems. You can find a good tour operator through the concierge at any one of the major hotels along the beach at Rio. It doesn't matter that you are not staying at that hotel, you can still have a concierge book a tour for you.
Another small overnight trip from Rio, would be Parati - this is about 3 hours drive south of Rio. It is a beautiful colonial town. All the small pousadas there have there own schooners for day trips off the coast. The town itself has lots of boutiques and galleries and cafes. No cars are allowed in the small town, so it is a wonderful place to walk around.
You can arrange a favela tour with one of the better tour operators in Rio. It can be an intersting eye opening experience.
If you need more help please feel free to contact me.
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 10:31 PM
scam finder
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Ladies and Gentlemen:
I again wanted to warn everyone that the person responsible for the above response, namely Jill, is a professional travel agent who feigns to help you and then tries to loop you in to expensive hotels, restaurants and tours. She also tries to scare tourists into using the most expensive means of travel by harping on how unsafe Rio and every where else is. I don't know why the forum doesn't boot her off. If you have studied all her numerous responses, you will find many lies and discrepancies. She is a travel agent trying to make money. To the guy Mike - when you go to Rio - just ask the guys at the tourist info desk at the airport about hostels. They are very sympathetic and cool and you will get better info then this woman who must be very desperate for any kind of business.
Take care
The Scam Finder
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 05:32 AM
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In reference to "Scam Finders" disparaging remarks above....
Scam finder refers to me as a "professional travel agent".
That is correct. I have been working professionaly with Brazil for 18 years.
For over a 6 year period was a tour director in Rio de Janeiro - where I learned to speak fluent Portuguese and learned as much as I could about the culture and people of Brazil. Upon returning to the States I became the Official Travel Coordinator for NGOs travelling to the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, commonly known as the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio in 1992. Since that time I have been working in the Brazil Tourism field.
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 05:42 AM
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Continuing the thread above, I have never solicited business on this forum, and have only tried to give the most informative and economical options to the postings here. "Scam Finder" prefers to give advice like " just ask the guys at the tourist desk when you get there". I am sure this would be a very dull and uninformative forum if we all took his advice.

Mr. "scam finder" must have a personal vendetta against me...and has chosen to play it out on this forum - I apologize for the major waste of time that readers may have taken from learning about "traveling to Brazil" and entered into "Scam Finders" ravings....
I am sorry, I just felt I must defend myself. Perhaps it would be better to ignore "Scam Finder".
Sincerely - Jill Siegel
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 05:57 AM
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I live in Sao Paulo and know Rio quite well.
Ethics apart, the information given by Jill is very good, and free.
Remember Brazil has no tradition in hostels like US and Europe. People probably will be better off staying in hotels. It is a pity since hostels are the ideal place to meet people.
Once in Rio, and with interest in seeing the most beautiful young people of the country (I felt like typing the World), don´t miss a beach called Prainha, about 25 miles south of Ipanema.
Also Búzios and Ilha Grande (3 hours, or + 100 miles) are great destinations. Best to stay one night.

Old Jan 8th, 2000, 07:30 AM
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I agree with Paulo, I have found Jill's postings to be most helpful and extremely accurate. I have been traveling to Rio on Business and pleasure for the last 20 years - it is better to rely on helpful individuals like Jill, rather than take Scam Finders advice and wait until you get there to sort things out.
Scam Finder should take his ill will someplace else....
Old Jan 9th, 2000, 09:16 PM
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I would kind of have to agree with the scamfinder on this one. I have seen Jill's entries and they usually do cater to the rich and where it is understandable to assume she may get a referral. She can be of no help to a guy like Mike. I don't see any ill will that Marty refers too. So he also could be used to expensive travel. Jill admits to being a travel agent and this should not ber tolerated in the Forum because it suggests a conflict of interest. This is not a place for travel agents, Jill. Get a life! Big boys and girls can travel places now without plans, Marty. You ought to try it Marty. Mommy isn't going to be around to wash your face all the time. And keep it up scammer. Susan
Old Jan 10th, 2000, 07:47 AM
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How does referring someone to the Youth Hostel Ass., cater to the rich?
I also do not see how it is a conflict of interest for a travel agent to give good and free advice regarding travel. Some of us actually have chosen to work with what we know and love. A good travel specialist can save a traveler thousands of dollars, especially when they can give good advice regarding the Brazil Airpass compared to the high cost of traveling within Brazil without the airpass. If my motives were to make a lot of money, I would try to sell the most expensive type of travel, which I do not. A round trip ticket from Rio to Manaus is over $1000 without the airpass. With the airpass it is only $450.00 and can then also be utilized for further travel all over Brazil.
Don't you find this information useful?
Old Jan 11th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Scam Finder:
I know it's many years after these posts but would like to point out that Jill was just written up in Conde Nast Traveler's August 2008 issue and was named the top travel specialist with a focus on Brazil - the highest honor in the travel industry. So it looks like she wasn't such a "scammer" after all. Just felt the need to clear her name - she's been helping me plan my trip to Brazil this March and has been nothing but helpful. For those of you reading her posts, you can trust her.

Jill Siegel, South American Escapes, Montclair, New Jersey
Although she loves Rio—she lived there as a tour manager for six years and has figured out all its best (and worst) hotel rooms (it helps when you speak the language fluently and send 500 travelers to Brazil annually)—Siegel really loves directing her clients beyond Ipanema to places like Salvador da Ba-hia, the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, or the Pantanal, home to the Western Hemisphere's largest wildlife preserve (888-462-7428; [email protected]; $300).
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Old Jan 12th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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Hi Mike
How old are you and your friend? Do you speak the language or at least Spanish? I was in Rio in November for a week and had quite the rude awakening. And I traveled with a Brasilian. I would have loved to have had the variety of advice that you've received but at the time I guess these people were doing something else. I do remember a New Yorker that posted that he was in Rio the same week as I was and our impressions are 180 degrees. I'm 66 and I'd guess he's in his thirties. That's why I asked your age. I have stayed in hostels in Europe quite a bit and the ones (pausada's) in Brasil are quite different.
In Rio as in SP I couldn't get over the extreme crowded conditions, traffic jams and noise almost 24 hours a day and the rip off artists every way you turned. There is also a real problems with crime all over the country. And the favela's. The president of Brasil must be very proud that some of the worst slums in the world are a tourist attraction in Rio. What a point of national pride!
By the way there is a training hotel I believe in Epanema or close by that has very reasonable rates but doesn't cater to travel agencies. I guess they insist on a fee for referrals. Just some thoughts and a lot of them not very good but I usually arrange for my own travel although I used a travel agent for my airfare that specializes in Brasil travel. I don't think I saved any money but as has been mentioned experience in the industry can be valuable.
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Old Jan 12th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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I've mentioned this before on this site. I was scammed by two big hotels, one in SP and the other in Rio concerning toll free international calls. They only explain their policies as you are checking out and have no recourse. And Expedia who claims to accept collect calls also just thanked me for the info but didn't offer any relief.
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