Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Hey Mr. Reader...this is Ipanema...famous beach in Rio where the local fashion dictates their way of life to all over Brazil. When we think about Rio, we do think about Ipanema, and it is right, part of the city's spirit you can feel it there...it is the territory where the beauties want to be seen and see beauties...well, I know, I do not belong to this group but when I need to go to the beach and I do not want to go so far, this is where I go!!!

When we have a common agenda where we are free, we always try to do things together, and because of the heat we decided to go to the nearest water. More than 40 celcius outside and the water a little bit warm, but we need to get some fresh water and being in the sea this is what we love. 

Ipanema is also the birth place of the World Famous Rhythm Bossa Nova, lots of the main songs were composed there, such as the famous GAROTA DE IPANEMA written by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Morais. 


With just one click you will see exactly the moment when Bossa Nova became famous with the voice of Frank Sinatra and Tom Jobim at Madison Square Garden, actually I heard that this wonderful music hall is about to close...is that true???

Anyway...the World discovered that Rio is a must go city and Brazil a country that you have to visit in the list of fantastic trips of your life!

Naturally, I am always with my camera in hand to register some images of my Rio de Janeiro. You know photograph is one of my hobbies, so it is a pleasure for me to share where my eyes look to....Ipanema and the Two Brothers Hill (yes it is not the Sugar Loaf as a lot of people say!!!!

As Ipanema is very close to another great neighborhood in Rio, I also walked around the beautiful Lagoon, oficially named Rodrigo de Freitas, but we all know it as LAGOA...Always a great thing to do going there with my friends Noeme and Sonia...they are also part of my family, they are my cousins.

Just want to show you how special is Rio and I am sure we will have a great time together. Ipanema and Lagoa are places where you can easily go my yourself. It is not so far from the hotel you are staying and it has easy walking distance from places to places.

Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

Monday, January 19, 2015


If you are a real traveller, you will be looking for unique places and amazing food experiences; you will love to eat in a very local place and taste the food; by getting to know what people eat you can understand the local culture better. So Niteroi is right in the other side of the bay and I lived there for 20 years of my life and believe me. NITEROI HAS TO BE PRESENT IN OUR TRAVEL PLANS...As a result we always stop at A MINEIRA, wonderful restaurant that feed the folks in the neighborhood of São Francisco.

I am a tour guide for 14 years and I always go to a Mineira since 16 years ago...that means, I was not a tour guide when I went there for the first time, and I have always been loyal to this wonderful PALACE OF BRAZILIAN FOOD.

The prices varies between 20 to 25 AMERICAN DOLLARS, prices are different during the week and in the weekends. With this price you can eat all you want and desert is included; beverages are not part of this place; they accept any credit cards and brazilian cash. People are friendly and I know everyone!!! So I will take you there and you will have a marvelous gastronomy experience; my colleagues will also take you there!!!

SO MARK MY WORDS...Once you are in Niteroi, lunch will be at A MINEIRA.

For the record, this place is so popular that you might find a lot of people outside and this will make us wait a little, if the lines are two big we have two different options that you will also love!!!

When we go to Niteroi, this is what you will see...amazing views from a complete different angle...we see all over Rio and the coast of Niteroi as well; you will be in a place where very few tourist go...and let me tell you one thing...when you are with me, I do not see you as a tourist, for me you are a traveler!

One of my hobbies is PHOTOGRAPHY, and coming to Niteroi, eating the best food in Brazil, you will have these photo opportunities, this is a sample of my photography work and I hope you like it. 



Rafael Torres Lopes

Saturday, January 17, 2015


This world is so much the same that it is difficult to guess where this photo was taken from...It could be in San Andrés, Colombia (right, Dalia???), this could be somewhere in Durban, South Africa (correct, Davina???) or in one of the beaches of Noosa, in Australia (is that right, Lance???) but it was in Rio, not so far from the city and so close to Buzios. 

This Paradise on Earth is called ARRAIAL DO CABO

Yes...a little bit more than two hours by car and you will be in this paradise, the most beautiful beaches can be reached by boat and once you get there you will wish to be like Tom Hanks in Castaway (with the difference that you will always have a boat to go back to the continent), these virgin sides of the Peninsula will take you to some stunning hidden corners like Praia do Farol and Praia do Forno. 

We love going to Arraial do Cabo, Marcone and I for leisure and also when we take our guests to this magical scenery, for sure, fun is guaranteed. In the way to those beaches we can see dramatic rock formations...it is more or less the same sensation the portuguese had when they got there for the first time 500 years ago!!!

When you go to Arraial do Cabo, or simply Arraial as people like to say, it is always better spend one noght there, so you have two days to enjoy all the nature in this unique place. But we can go there for a day, it will be tiresome but possible. You will be tired but all that you will see and do there will be valid. 

Sunsets are simply remarkable!!!

It is close to Buzios, around 40 minutes drive when you come by Ship and I have plans for us when you choose coming to Rio

Just contact me and we will have looooooooads of fun, 

Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner