Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Dear Reader, this is me waiting for lunch...yes, there is a place called Barra da Guaratiba where I have a friend who owns a restaurant that we wait for the food enjoying the nature, the sun and a glorious pool. And going there, no matter what season you are (we just need the sun out in Rio) you will always have delicious grilled fish with views to die for. 

This is the Rio I love showing to my guests...places that you do not find on a regular tour, or even in travel books. 

And I must confess, all my life through, taking my guests to see nature made me rejoice like a child.

We will see places like fishing villages where we will be the only ones to speak a foreign language, we will meet locals and experience Rio just like the locals love doing. 

We can just reach these beaches on foot, no cars can get there, only our adventure spirits, names like Perigoso and Do Meio will come up on your travel list. And we will have loads of fun. 

And not only that...

This unique place is not a tourist attraction, it is just a regular neighborhood of Rio, one of the quietest and secluded districts of Rio, people live in islands, lots of chances to see daily life in Rio...this place has a name, Marapendi...the famous wetlands that I always mention in my endless emails messages that I write exclusively to people who request unique tours in Rio.

It will be a day in Rio de Janeiro that will always remain in your memory, it will be the rare opportunity to really go deep in the stunning and real places that every traveller love to explore. On the other hand, it is my homely Rio, all the places that I enjoy going when I have some free time. I appreciate privacy in my days off, I avoid crowds when I just need some rest, and I decided to share with you. It will be one of the options of what to do in Rio when you visited all the main spots of the city!

You know what, let your memory be your travel bag, and for sure I will feed a lot this bag! :)

Tour Guide and Travel Planner


Fun fun fun!!! THIS IS ILHA GRANDE, wow...I know it is work but you know me, the delicate line between leisure and work follows me all the time, and this island is my place of total pleasure. No matter if I am on holidays or when I organize tours there!

Ilha Grande means "paradise", this is the meaning of this place for me...It is not far from Rio so we can have a day trip exploring the beaches, taking speedboats to see secluded inlets like Lagoa Azul or Lagoa Verde. 

When you find something amazing in your life, it takes a little effort, right???

Okay, so be prepared to wake up very early, we have to be at the main pier at 8:00 am, so we need to leave Rio at least by 6 in the morning. But this sacrifice will take you to one of the most stunning places in the entire Brazil. More than 101 beaches, trails in the jungle, one mineral water pool in the forest, some other falls in the way. Nature in virgin you should never miss this awesome place if I give you a suggestion about what to do in Rio when you visited the whole city...LET'S GO TO ILHA GRANDE!!!

If you are the kind of person who thinks: Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees...then we should go to the island RIGHT NOW!!! :)

Ilha Grande lives in my heart! When I am there, I feel my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy and I need to share this happiness with you!

When I say, "um Rio gostoso pra voce", that means a delicious Rio for you, I want to give you a different way to look to Rio. You know, more than a guide, I am a facilitator, so be sure you will have loads of fun and get to the island in the cheapest way possible!!!

I have an advice for you, we can perfectly have one day on the island, we get there in the morning and take the last boat back to the continent in a location called CONCEIÇÃO DO JACAREI, which is the best starting point if you want to go to Ilha Grande, once we get there, we will have three options:

OPTION ONE - We will get to the island and explore Abraão Village which has pleasant beaches, a slow pace of life, lots of nature and we will see a mineral water pool which is called POÇO, we will choose a quiet place for lunch and we will have a great day!

OPTION TWO - A schooner will be waiting for us at 10:00 am and take us to some beaches, the boat will stop at a nice beach for lunch but we will share the boat with more than 20 people (sometimes more), it is fun, but if you want some privacy, this will NOT work for you. Still not an expensive option.

OPTION THREE - it will give you privacy, lots of quality in your day, it will optimize your time and you will see more places, it will be a little bit more expensive but we will have a speedboat that we will share with at least 10 people and we will have more flexibility to choose a place for lunch and we will enjoy the island much more!

Let me tell you one thing, and you know, all my advices come from my heart and my experience as a traveller, get prepared to spend at least one night in Ilha Grande, I will help you choosing a nice place to stay, the island is packed with pleasant, comfortable and great POUSADAS (it is a mix of cottages and bed&breakfast) which are not expensive, with a good 60 USD or less you can spend the night there. 

With one day more in the island we can take the amazing trails that will take us to ADAN AND EVE paradises like Dois Rios, Santo Antonio beach or even the famous Lopes Mendes where we can chill out like the first portuguese navigators. 

Well, I can make it possible, all you have to do is writing to me, check my email below. 

Tour Guide and Travel Planner

Sunday, September 10, 2017



Good Evening Dear Readers, this is how I normally start when I send email messages to my guests and friends all over the World, and I must thank you for writing to me so often, I deeply appreciate it. 

But I have to write about this wonderful news...I just had a close friends lunch on one of the most hidden gems of Rio, a wetland region in Barra da Tijuca called MARAPENDI (yes, if you hire me as a guide, certainly I will take you there. 

We had a day off, and my good friend, actually one of the closest friends I have, she is like a sister to me, Grazi, suggested us to have a lunch together with her family, husband Alan, Mother, another good friend Rosina, and Father, Bertrand, wonderful friend and my everlasting partner Marcone Lima (who is also a Guide). Grazi told us about a super trendy restaurant on the water called LAGUNA - check their website - - 

The ambiance is sooo greenish, all surrounded by many tropical species, we could eat listening to the birds, amazing conversation and we are sure that France and Brazil will always be on the top of any agenda. And they are our friends from such a long time. I must thank for this lovely and very kind invitation. 

The images cannot tell you how delicious all those dishes are, the Brazilian way of preparing sea food, and we had the famous BOBO DE CAMARAO.

It is one of my favorite stews: The rich BOBO DE CAMARAO or Shrimp in Creamy Yuca Sauce. Just as any other dish from Afro-Brazilian cuisine, BOBÓ has a soul!!!

It originates from Bahia, the state with the largest number of Black African descendants. Unique like its people, Bahia has the most exquisite cuisine in Brazil, which evolved when cooks improvised on both traditional African and Portuguese recipes by using locally available ingredients. Its differences from all of the other regional cuisines of Brazil set it apart completely.

Like most dishes from Bahian Cuisine, BOBÓ is prepared with the three ingredients referred to as the "HOLY TRINITY OF BAHIAN CUISINE" - coconut milk, malagueta pepper (its heat level is about the same as Tabasco), dende oil (a heavy oil extracted from the fruits of an  African palm tree, that adds flavor and also a bright orange coloring to the foods)

Our big thanks to this wonderful family which we know for many years, love grows, understanding and respect continues. We had a fantastic time at Laguna's, come and join us to a wonderful and hidden Rio that you have no idea that it exists. 

I am ready, lots of love, 

Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner