Jakob and Rafael are friends for more than two years, and they both have something in common; a great love for Brazil and Brazilian Culture. They are in Rio de Janeiro to promote the secrets of Brazil all over the World, specially in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, and also in USA, AUSTRALIA and all the other countries of EUROPE.
Jakob Toksvig is doing a lot of travel research in Brazil and he is thinking to find a way to make life easier for all visitors and he is now in the tourism business and decided to make an interview with his friend Rafael, an experienced and talented tour guide in Rio and other spectacular places of Brazil specially the places where tourists never go!!!
Read the entire chat below:
JAKOB TOKSVIG - How many years have you been a guide?
RAFAEL TORRES LOPES – I would say I was a tour guide way before I knew the real meaning of a tour guide. Since my childhood I was always interested in different cultures, my mother put me in an english school and my world changed, it was a bilingual reality, and in a time where internet was less than a dream..I already exchanged letters to friends overseas, so they came to Brazil to visit me and I took them to all the places I really liked to go; then I had the chance to work for many international companies and I dealed with people from all over the planet and of course I made some good friends and they visited me and when they came to Rio for the first time I was always the person in charge to show the beauties of Rio. After such a long time always with foreign friends my mother came to me and asked: “WHEN YOU TAKE PEOPLE TO SEE RIO THEY GET SO HAPPY THAT THEY ALWAYS COME BACK...SO WHY DON’T YOU EARN MONEY WITH IT???”
At this time I was studying foreign affairs to be a diplomat and I worked in a busy attorney office, and thanks for that CLICK, I changed my life completely and decided to study tourism and I finally became a tour guide. I have been working as a tour guide for 7 years now and this will be my work for the rest of my life because I love what I do. It is great to provide happiness to people who choose your own land to visit and I really enjoy to give anyone the chance to see my land exactly how it is...something away from the touristic industry, something more local and genuine.
JAKOB TOKSVIG - Where have you been doing your guiding? Rio and Brazil?
RAFAEL TORRES LOPES – I started my career doing my tours in the city, so I always used my car and take my people everywhere in Rio, and I started going out of the city, showing them the surroundings of Rio, places like NITEROI, BUZIOS, PARATY, THE WATERFALLS OF OUR MOUNTAIN REGIONS SUCH AS MAGÉ, PETROPOLIS, FRIBURGO OR TERESOPOLIS.
My work mix daily informations, history and lots of information about fauna and flora..natural sites like beaches and forests, mountains and also cultural tours such as visiting the old town of Rio and also exploring the exciting night life of Rio with its samba houses and very informal snack bars that we call BOTEQUIM.
I was getting a lot of experience in Rio and way before starting to work with tourism I used to travel all around Brazil and some countries here in South America. I worked for VARIG AIRLINES and that helped alot for me to visit different states of the countries, and once I was visiting these states I always travelled to the countryside to get in touch with local cultures, with their traditions and of course I always wanted to see beautiful sites, unique places that there was not even a name, so I went deep to the brazilian lands, and I got to know alot about my own country and my own people!!!
Then thanks to my experience as a guide, I started to write travel articles for some independent websites in Brazil and also abroad, so they used to pay me to go to a certain place in Brazil and write complete reports about news areas for potencial travellers visit, then I travelled even more.
As a result of many years travelling the country and thanks to my tour guide official license, I could make tours specially in the Amazon which I have deep interest! Then I thought about starting the amazon journey exactly where the Amazon start, in the unknown State of Maranhão and also to explore the region where the Amazon ends in Brazil, at the also unknown state of Roraima, of course I also cover Manaus Area, but too touristy for my taste!
Then I also started to organize tours in the north-east coast of Brazil, such as Salvador, João Pessoa, Natal and part of the northeast coast of Maranhão too.
More in the south I am very keen on Iguazu Falls Region and the island of Florianópolis.
After a long time travelling in Argentina and Uruguay I also promote tours there and recently I am studying possibilities to cover Venezuela up north of the continent!!! I don’t stop!!!
JAKOB TOKSVIG - What do you think about Rio?
RAFAEL TORRES LOPES – Very simple!!! When you live your life in a very intense way and you simply love your life then you can understand when I say that RIO IS MY LIFE!!!
For you to understand Rio you really need to forget all your sense of organization, you have got to loose your way to think everything correctly, you’ve got to accept that not always things are like you are willing to be!!! RIO IS A LAND OF IMPROVISATION so open your heart to improvize and release your wishes!!!
Rio has a very informal way and you must be prepared for the warm and frank CARIOCA reception. You might get a kiss, or you might be squeezed by a tight hug by someone you have never seen in your life, but believe me, it is normal!!!
On the other hand you have to think that Rio is a great urban city, we are 6 million people here, so you will come across with crazy trafic, poor communities and lots of troubles that you know a big urbe can bring!!! On the other hand, in the middle of this endless confusion you will always find someone with a friendly smile ready to help you whenever you need; everywhere you look you will see something green, something beautiful and something spectacular, you know that when you get lost all surrounded by crowds of people, noisy cars and crazy city mess...if you just head anywhere in the city for half an hour you might come across with gorgeous beaches, incredible restaurant by a tranquil lagoon or somewhere in the mountains that you can play with monkeys!!!
RIO STILL HAVE ITS GLAMOUR, RIO KEEPS ITS CHARM...All you need is a positive mind and your open heart to understand this fabulous unique town in Latin America. Rio can be so informal that for sure you will feel yourself at home many times!!!