Sunday, May 10, 2015
My task as a your guide is very simple, giving you loads of fun when you decide to come to Rio, great people from Brazil and from all over the World experience my tours and they became good friends for life. Beautiful occupation when you really love what you do. When you imagine a tour guide you might picture someone with an uniform, treating you kind and show you in a very perfect way the main attractions of Rio de Janeiro, but when you come, you will find RAFA with sandals, giving you a tight hug and show you with passion all over Rio.
The fun started with the visit of Larissa and Luca from my own country...they left Campinas, a very important university city that produces genius to give Brazil the secure way of development and a great future. I made Rio fascinating and simple for them, and life gave mw wonderful friends, a real family that I know, I will meet them in Rio over and over again.
They came from the heart of of Black Forest, Freiburg im Breisgau, the sunniest and warmest city of Germany to enjoy life in the sunniest and warm tropical Rio de Janeiro, with them 1120 years of culture and with me a little bit more than 500 years of absolutely culture to the New World. Brazil gave me all the joy to welcome such great mother and son in my land. I just could show them too few...just the Rio that I adore and I could even put some Niteroi in their lives and taught the way to find Ilha Grande on their own. Rio de Janeiro away from the tourism industry, coming to my tours will be informal side of a city where your best friend RAFA lives. Mama Hilka and dear brother Lars, muchas gracias for everything.
This work provides me to express my love for Brazil. Deutschland always in my life and always will be present in my whole existance.
I am so fortunate to welcome fellow brazilians like me to show one of our incredible cities in the whole country. Rio de Janeiro is the gateway to Brazil and this shining couple is from our stunning State of Ceará...thanks to them, I am making more and more friends in Fortaleza. Gabriela and Guilherme spent two days with me and I simply gave them the best of Rio.
If you come to Rio de Janeiro you will find more than a guide, you will have a friend, and moments that will remain in your life forever. My intention is to make you always come back to see more and more.
Just come here with open heart, come here with the joy you need to find new experiences, just come here and meet me. You will laugh, you will take unforgetable photos. Texas sent me two amazing friends to see Rio and I had the task to make Rio simply remarkable for them, and I guess I made it...we had a ball!!! :) Thank you so much Lance and Taylor to make this day so special, from Rio to Niteroi, and for the record, Niteroi is a hidden surprise in Rio de Janeiro.
So now you know, Rio de Janeiro will give you a friend, someone ready to show you the place with the heart full of energy and love. this occupation means a lot to me and for more than 15 years I have been doing this. Write to me and tell me your plans and I will set up an itinerary just for you and whoever comes with you. I am ready to welcome from the solo traveller to the several groups.
Brazil is my company and Rio de Janeiro is my main office, and all over the country will be so easy for you to find out that in this side of South America there will be a home waiting for you.
Thank you very much dear traveller for all this work and great moments that you always grant to my life.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
São Paulo...it is a matter of love and hate, in my case, I adore São Paulo and of course I do not hate the city...some of my guests land in São Paulo and sometimes they spend the night, or they want to visit the city for one or two days, also if you are in a business trip you will be in São Paulo because it is simply the finantial capital of Brazil. If you are looking for nature, well, it is not a place for you, we are talking about the most populated city in Latin America, just Mexico city has more people than São Paulo and believe me, the city of Mexico is way more interesting. But a visit to São Paulo will teach you a lot about Brazilian Culture, you will be updated about everything which is going on in the country.
The city can be fascinating of you choose to see an art exihibitions...if you can understand portuguese, all the best threatre plays start there, if you like interesting graffiti (I mean real street art) you find there but you should be a deep researcher to find some of their street art. Right now you can see the best graffiti in the World in a great art event in the main park of the city called IBIRAPUERA.
I must tell you NEVER BOOK YOUR FLIGHT where you will land in Guarulhos and take any plane from Congonhas Airport...NEVER!!! That means that you will cross the city and traffic in São Paulo is by far one of the worst traffic in the World. And if you use Guarulhos airport. And if once you are in São Paulo and need to go to this airport, just leave your hotel or apartment with 6 hours in advance. I am not joking, I am super serious! Best way to hang out in the city will be METRO during the day and evening, and TAXIS at night (always after 11:00 pm), and talking about METRO, I agree, the system is perfect and one of the best that I have ever used. The São Paulo metro really works specially if you need the YELLOW LINE, for more info, just go to their website which is METRO SÃO PAULO
Back in 1901, Luz Station was open for the public, it is a big hub in São Paulo where you can connect the metro with the suburban train. Great iron contruction with a lot of english influence. It is one of my favorite places in the heart of old São Paulo, from there you can visit the amazing PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE MUSEUM which you do not need to understand or speak portuguese to realize how fantastic this so diverse language is, you will learn about native tribes that have been presented in Brazil way before the first portuguese that colonized our country, you will see some of the greatest photos and art made by brazilian artists, lots to see there and I highly recommend.
In the surroundings of Estação da Luz you can play with arts, charges made by some of our best artists that could show our real situation with great humor. Another change to see the best of Brazil's art, São Paulo has one of the most important art museums in the country called PINACOTECA. Also located in front of Luz Station, two interesting places so easy to find.
São Paulo has several amazing hotels, b&bs, hostels, renting apartments, specially in the neighborhood that we love to stay which is Avenida Paulista Area, all the facilities are there, and I am sure in these hotels breakfasts are fantastic, but we never miss a chance to go to a wonderful local bakery called BELLA PAULISTA, I am sure you also want to go there, so here is their address:
Rua Haddock Lobo, 354 - Cerqueira Cesar (close to Paulista Avenue around Consolação Area)
When you think about São Paulo...the first things that comes to your mind is food...just like every enormous metropole in the World, São Paulo has absolutely marvelous eating options, I prefer referring to those eating options like GASTRONOMY. And São Paulo has very traditional restaurants such as O GATO QUE RI, specialized in Brazilian Food. I am a cat person so I could never be in a better place, the name of this restaurant in english is THE SMILING CAT, simple and delicious like that, I highly recommend this one, you can find O GATO QUE RI at Largo do Aroucha, super traditional district in the old part of São Paulo and the address of this discovery is Largo do Arouche, 37 - Republica Area
When you are in São Paulo, never miss visiting the italian neighborhood of Bixiga...this is where Italia and Brazil meet, pasta with Samba and Feijoada with Tarantella, many italian cantinas there...some of the oldest and I am talking about 90 years old restaurants packed with history and the best pasta ever. São Paulo had a massive italian immigration...and the best place to go is C QUE SABE, that means YOU KNOW. hahahah :)))))
Here is the address:
Rua Rui Barbosa, 192 - Bela Vista
I know there are more to do in São Paulo, it is a huge city, any visit in São Paulo can be fun, though it is not one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil but it is worthy going there if you have the chance. More places that I recommend you to see would be CONJUNTO NACIONAL in Paulista Avenue, it is a big mall of many amazing book stores, the green Ibirapuera Park and so many other places!
I can also make São Paulo easier for you, if you write to me in advance, I am a tour guide there as well.
RAFAEL TORRES LOPES
Tour Guide and Travel Planner
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Every tour request I have I always add this place in our itinerary...a unique neighborhood of Rio located in the west of the city, a place where you can really understand the daily life of our people, one district which is not part of any tourism route or travel book. Only locals and RAFA knows...this is the wetlands of Marapendi where we take a small boat to explore in VERY CALM waters 7 islands. In five islands people live and 2 islands are preserved area.
|a cute rodent called Capivara|
Of course in our day in Marapendi we may find some good friends of all types, it is a very nice way to see the fauna of Rio, but we cannot promise that you will find these friends because they hate to make appointments. But for sure these friends love living in Marapendi! :)
|with the famous Tour Guide Marcone Lima|
The chance to have fun in places that you will never imagine visiting, the gorgeous opportunity to eat in local places, the wetlands have amazing authentic restaurants with the best sea food, it is so close to the ocean and the Gastronomy is all based in great fish and lovely shrimps and squids. So if I mention Marapendi Wetlands in our itinerary just accept. It is a unique place in Rio de Janeiro.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner