Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Yes Sir, another iconic place of Rio, the Sugar Loaf, we all know it as PÃO DE AÇUCAR which literally means a "Sweet Hill". This is how the first Portuguese named the amazing mountain they saw from miles in the Ocean.

Cable cars are used to get to the two hills, the Urca Hill which you should NOT explore first, and finally, you take another cable car to the last hill, the real Sugar Loaf; this is where I usually go first because the views from there are superb, so for sure we will go there. Especially if we have two days to explore Rio!

NOTE: If we have just one day, we are not visiting the Sugar Loaf because we have much more places to see in Rio and if you have more days, it is very easy to go on your own. BUT IF WE HAVE TWO DAYS, then we can go, no problem. But stay tuned for my next paragraph.... JUST PAY ATTENTION:


No other place in Rio you can have such an image...And Niteroi holds much more. 

Okay, now tell me...when you are thinking about going to Rio, have you ever heard about NITEROI????

Big mistake not to think about it...your incredible photos will be taken there, Niteroi is a vivid part of Rio. It is an escape for all people in Rio who look for quiet and privacy, we use Niteroi to be away from the big URBE (big city).

Just like the translation says, Niteroi means hidden waters, from the ocean you do not see the city, the mountains hide small paradises that I am here to take you and this will be an A PLUS in your plans regarding your first trip to Rio. 

It is good that Niteroi is not popular but it is exactly like the relationship between NEW YORK and NEW JERSEY, or SAN FRANCISCO and OAKLAND; or from the Aussie point of view...something like MELBOURNE and GEELONG.

So if I suggest you in my first message to you, believe me: WE ARE GOING TO NITEROI!!!

I am sorry, maybe I am not normal, I am just Rafa...Niteroi provokes your creativity, Niteroi is futuristic and teaches the country how to combine style and quality of life. Niteroi is one of Niemeyer's favorite places so he gifted the city with the best of this amazing architecture like the MAC MUSEUM, more than a museum it is a landmark that will give you breathtaking views of Rio and Niteroi itself.

Rio and Niteroi is a perfect combination to feed our hearts with fun and leisure.

It is impossible not to love Niteroi, my german friend (and guest) Jen loooooved the city and we explore so many unusual places together, he brought his lovely wife Roxi that introduced Niteroi with her romanian side, and I love to make Niteroi an international point for curious travelers. Only in Niteroi we have unique views to Rio, we share the same bay (the magical GUANABARA BAY)

Think about BEACHES in Rio, can you name some???

No doubt you will say...COPACABANA...for sure you will say IPANEMA...if you go deep in your research you will find LEBLON...Good, that's it. 

BUT WHAT A HEC IS ITACOATIARA???? Yes....Itacoatiara, this name will never be on your list, but this is the big secret I will happily tell you...not far from Rio we have amazing spots where you will see places just like the Portuguese navigators saw for the first time, and NITEROI IS FILLED WITH SURPRISES!!!

And to end this post with style, NITEROI has the unknown PARQUE DA CIDADE, a place that you will see it is simply way more complete than the Sugar Loaf and the Christ altogether. 

So please, I hate to interfere in your plans, but as a BRAZIL's expert, I strongly suggest you...DO NOT IGNORE NITEROI, this could be the highlight of your trip.

It is easier to ask me which place I DID NOT VISIT in Brazil, and Niteroi is present in my top five favorite places!


My name is Rafael, guests and good friends call me Rafa, and you will meet me in your tours in Rio because I will love to show you unique, classical and different places. I am a registered tour guide for 18 years now and I think my real goal in life is helping travel business in Brazil, and you are the only one who can always giove me inspiration to go on. Thank you dear Reader to follow my blog and keep visiting because once in a while I will be updating, always showing you new places and ideas about anything that happens in Rio, the rest of Brazil and the whole South America. In few words, I am honored to be brazilian and very proud to make my land easier for you!


Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

For more info, please write to me,


I agree, dear Reader, when we think about Rio, the open arms of the Christ comes to our mind and this is really a must see. Where in the world you are welcome by Jesus ready to give you a hug???

And yes, we are huggers, do not be surprised when you meet a brazilian and this person will open the arms to give you a hug. This is how we are, WE LOOK IN THE EYES, we easily give you large smiles, we love to meet people and we love to hug and kiss. A hand shaking is not (and never sufficient). So we will visit the Christ and the Christ will be present in our ONE DAY TWO and TWO DAYS TOUR.

When you meet me, you will quickly notice that I do not want to be just a TOUR GUIDE, noooooo, I want to be more than that. My big passion is giving you the broad and unforgettable experience. Rio has the classics, like the Christ, Sugar Loaf or Copacabana...Come on, this is just the salad....


So in this journey, you will see more or the city. As I always say...RIO HAS A BODY and a SOUL, I want you to dive profoundly in the soul of Rio, so we will see a marvelous and big masterpiece made by one man, the colorful steps of our dear Selaron and we will have fun in one of the oldest districts of Rio, the bohemian Santa Teresa with its amazing street art, very colorful, food festivals and traditional Portuguese restaurants with the best of Brazilian Food (which is another cool attraction of Rio) and also a chance to know more about the colonial architecture and stunning views of our Bay

Rio is blessed by Mother Nature, and there are so many unique spots where my people simply have a ball, during this day we will see part of the Tijuca Forest. We love saying that it's our lung!! :) Fresh air, lush green corners, some animals and lots of big smiles to see the best places of Rio. Most of those places the tourists never reach because of the difficult access; but I deal with travelers (I never see you as TOURIST) and we are moved by curiosity, so in one day we will see much more and one of my best-kept secrets is TIJUCA FOREST.

I am sure when you travel, you will look for a lot of outdoor activities, and this exactly what I want to give you. We will have time to explore places where just locals go, the private beach of Joa that still keeps the wild taste, dramatic cliffs and gorgeous sea; and the picturesque neighborhood of Marapendi which has several islands that we can visit and watch closely the daily life of our people; in a simple boat ride we can see animals, stop in incredible restaurants and understand why we love our city so much. 

If you are reading this posting, it means that you already know me, or you are looking for a tour guide in Rio or you saw in any of internet spots about my blog. It is a space I have to share cool information about what to do in Rio, the places I love to go, the places I love to promote. So this is me, Rafa, a tour guide for 18 years and because of that, I became an INFORMAL AMBASSADOR for all great travelers in the Globo. I am here to make Rio very special for you. 

More than a tour guide, I want to be your friend in Rio, the rest of Brazil and the whole South America where I am also a guide, and always pleased to help you plan a very complete trip in South America. I am proud to belong to this Continent, so for everything you need when BRAZIL comes to your mind please do remember this old friend who will be very happy to assist you.

Much love, 

Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

More info, please write to

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Folks, of course, I know that going to the Christ is like visiting an icon of Rio, but to reach the statue you will have to do some little sacrifices. Big lines when you are in the city during weekends or any day during high season, the ticket machine simply shuts down and no one can buy the ticket...traffic, the tram breaks in the way forcing you to walk long distances to the hill or simply frustrating your trip by going all the way down back to the Stations.

Lots of risks that you will have to consider and for sure, it is not the Guide's Fault, but this will seriously affect your time which most of the time is really short. 

In some cases, the very simple decision of going to the Christ will be a big problem. 

Rafa has a solution...hehe hehe :))))) In many places in Rio we can have amazing views of the Christ, not so far from the entrance we have a lookout where you can see all over the city and the Christ will be there to enrich your backgrounds. And Mirante Dona Marta will be there!

Trust me, I will take you to amazing places where the Christ will be always present. I am not saying I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE YOU TO THE CHRIST, please do not take me wrong, I am just saying that we have more options and we can optimize our time seeing more interesting things of Rio. 

Rio has amazing secrets and you will have a wonderful time seeing different places like some of the places below:

MARAPENDI WETLANDS...a very unique neighborhood in the west side of Rio, people live in this amazing treasure. It is an explosion of nature that very few people know! One of my favorite places in Rio.

The Christ is part of the Tijuca Forest, and in the forest, you can also spot the statue from different angles, just like I did when I took this little Buda and his parents to the Vista Chinesa.

So trust me your expectations and wishes when you come to Rio, I will give you fun, unusual places, laughs and many reasons for you to always return to Rio de Janeiro which is not a tourist destination for me, Rio will always be a home to all my guests!

Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner