Solo female in Rio

Old Jan 14th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Solo female in Rio

Any recommendations for a solo female (of a "certain age") in Rio?
I am generally more "at home" in cities than on beaches, where I get bored and burnt. I am interested in food, music, language, and generally "hanging out."
Also - any ideas for Rio-based excursions - I won't have a car.
Thanks
Jess
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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hi Jess: I went to Rio a few yrs ago while going thru Brazil. No problem solo female, but since the streets are generally empty but for prostitutes at night, take taxis. I would recommend:
hang glide from Pedro Bonito down to Sao Conrado beach
favela tour (I did Rocinha)
Tijuca forest (I arranged thru Brazil Nuts, Florida, who was expensive so just go thru a local hotel there)
take a cab to Lapa, a part of town about 20 mins from beach where big street parties
churrascuria - meat buffet - Mario's was the best when I was there
I did a samba school (Mangueira) but you should know some Portuguese to get anything out of it
Plataforma show, dancing, capoeira
walk from Ipanema beach around Arpoador beach to Copacabana
best swimming is at Arpoador, on the point between Ipanema and Copacabana, and the only place with a lifeguard when I was there, family oriented, food & shops nearby. If you go to Ipanema (cleaner by far than Copacabana), pay a guy on the beach to watch your stuff - the $1-2 is worth it. Don't bring anything much - towel, a few dollars as they sell lots of food on the beach and a disposable camera, sunscreen, in a plastic bag. I walk everywhere with a plastic bag rather than a purse, bumbag, wallet, backpack, etc and have never had it stolen
dinner at A Garota de Ipanema, where the guy wrote the song
drink caipirinhas, coco gelados and sucos (fresh juices)
If you can get out of town, try to go to Salvador de Bahia for a Tuesday night - huge party with drum band Olodum
Lots of quilos (kilos) restaurants around where you pay by weight for the buffet
Learn some Portuguese before you go!! Other than a few guides, no one spoke English, which was not a problem for me but totally surprised my brother, who went before me. I stayed at the Ipanema Plaza which was a total exception for me, like $500 a night, ridiculous but I went short notice and wanted to be right on the beach (and it was!). Try Hotel Arpoador, my brother stayed there for about $75/night, bit of a dump but central to restaurants, shops and right on the beach.
Have a wonderful time! You might not like beaches but you have to at least swim a bit - the water there was in the top 3 for me in the world for loveliness and you can people watch like crazy. There are little huts called barracas along the beach that sell food and drinks and the sunsets on the Ipanema boardwalk are gorgeous, and you can bike/rollerblade.
Also Iguazu falls if you have time, pretty cool, you can go to the Argentine side too. Boa viagem!
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Thanks - hearing about your trip makes me want to go right now!
I've actually been learning a bit of Brazilian Portuguese because I love the music so much.
Jess
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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For food I'd recommend Confeteria Colombo in Rua Alfandega in the historical centre. They have fabulous cakes and pastries and a gorgeous art nouveau interior. The espresso, caffezinho, is also really good.

Bar do Arnaduo in Rua Almirante Alexandrino in the area called Santa Teresa is also good for Brazilian specialitites like carne do sol (it comes with a range of side dishes like beans and collard greens).

Definately go to a samba rehearsel if you are not there during Carnival. The museums are also really worth visiting as well as the Botanical Gardens.

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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 11:23 PM
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One of my favorite non-beach spots in Rio is the serene Jardim Botânico (the Botanical Garden). It is adjacent to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (the Lake) and the Jockey Club, very easy to get to by bus or taxi from Leblon or Ipanema. Many plants, of course, but also many birds and monkeys in the trees. I believe the Jardim is part of the unique ecosystem known as the Mata Atlantica. There are usually many people about the garden so you should feel safe. If you hope to take photos around Rio, it would be best to take one of those tiny point and shoot cameras that can be hidden in an inside pocket.
You might also enjoy a walk around the Lake. It offers some wonderful views of Corcovado (from below). Lots of folks jog and walk around the lake.
If you are interested in architecture, you might want to visit the Niteroi Museum of Contemporary Art. Designed by Brazil's most renowned architect, Oscar Niemeyer, it looks like a spaceship. The collection is small and unexciting, but the views of Rio across the water are breathtaking. It'll take you about an hour to get there by minibus from Ipanema or Copacabana (the minibus will say "Niteroi"). See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niter%C...ary_Art_Museum
Be forewarned: minibuses make a lot of stops.
If you are interested in music, check out the schedule for concerts at Rio's Teatro Municipal, which hosts both classical and popular music concerts, and dance performances. The building, which dates to 1909, is just gorgeous and will give you a sense for the history of Rio de Janeiro. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatro...Rio_de_Janeiro)
The next two suggestions are way too obvious, but I am going to mention them anyhow--don't pass up the chance to visit Corcovado (site of the Christ the Redeemer statue) and Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf).
It's good that you are interested in language as it will help to learn a little (or a lot) of Portuguese before you go. Brazilians are very friendly and helpful (if you need directions, advice).
I have to tell you, much of Rio's culture revolves around the beach. So even if you don't feel like sunning on the the beach, you might want to take a walk along Ipanema beach, especially if you find yourself there on a sunny day. On Sundays, the beachfront traffic lane is limited to pedestrians only. Here, you can watch the Cariocas doing what they do best--enjoying life.
As a side trip, you might be interested in visiting Parati (sometimes written as Paraty, pronounced Pa-ra-chee). It is a colonial town by the sea about 125 miles south of Rio. It is very picturesque and full of historic buildings. It's touristy, too.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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Your replies are very helpful, and I am beginning to see a fabulous trip take shape.
I am used to Paris and New York, where a single woman can just get on the metro and go anywhere, night or day, to a restaurant or to a club to hear music - when you get there, you get the same treatment as anyone else, even though you are alone, and you can ask them to call you a taxi to go "home."
How might that be different in Rio?
Thanks.
Jess
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Wherever I stay, I get a business card with the hotel's name & address (written in the local language), and ask the front desk guy how much a taxi should cost to wherever. Then when you get a cab, you'll know about how much to pay (often confirm before you start to move) and on the way home, even if they don't speak a word of English, you can hand them the hotel's card. I've done that in Japan, where nobody spoke English, and Arab countries, where I couldn't write Arabic. It also helps if you have had a few drinks and can't remember your hotel! (Only happened once, in Surfer's Paradise, I swear...)
Having said that, I've been in a place downtown somewhere (I think Havana) where they warn you only to take "official" taxis, but since there were none, asked an "unofficial" guy on the street (you'll see a bunch of cars and these are the ones the locals take), negotiated a price, and got into a jalopy with no upholstery or seatbelts. I know it's risky, but - knock on wood and trust your instincts - I've never had a problem.
Of course definitely see Sugarloaf and the Christ statue.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Good advice re: taxis. I did that in Tokyo years ago and it worked well. I did take an "unofficial" taxi in Mexico City last October, and lived to tell about it, but at least I speak a little Spanish.
Speaking of language, Brazilian Portuguese as spoken in Rio seems to differ from the Brazilian Portuguese that is taught - Cariocas seem to speak "Brazilian" but with the European "sh" for "s" at the end of words, phrases and in certain other situations. I'm also thinking of a few language lessons when I am there - it's on my list, anyway, which - thanks to you guys- is growing. I know it's a year away, but am thinking of going a week or two BEFORE Carnival, in hopes that it will be cheaper, but that the locals will be greared up and in a good mood. Right now I would give anything to get out of New England. Last year I was in Africa; this year I am broke, like everyone else!
Jess
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Airfares drop dramatically after Carnival, if that's a factor.

Rio is definately not like visiting London, New York or Paris you do need to be more careful and aware of your surroundings. Definately get cabs in the late evening, they are very cheap.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Hey Jess, good thread you got going here, lots of good tips for you. I usually go to Rio every year about 1 or 2 weeks before Carnaval, I just got back as a matter of fact. I like to go during this time because of what you said, the locals are getting ready for Carnaval and not all of the tourists are there yet, so the prices are still good. I think it's the best time to go, the summer is in full bloom, beaches are packed, Rio is at it's best.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:40 PM
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That's good to hear, Dondiega. I'm hoping for next year. I'm slowly teaching myself a little Brazilian Portuguese (there is a lot of free stuff on the web, with audio also), and beginning to sing along with some of the music and chat with some of the Brazilians I know here - there is a sizeable community here in the Boston area.
Jess
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