Sunday, May 30, 2010


Niteroi is as essential to my tours as the earth needs the water. Niteroi is the greatest surprise of my tour and in my opinion it is a must see destination when you arrive in Rio de Janeiro, and the high light of my tours in Niteroi is when we reach the top of a very unknown hill called Viração...this is a city nature reserve called PARQUE DA CIDADE, this hill is part of a very important mountain range called TIRIRICA.

When people ask me where is the most interesting sunset in Rio, I always say, it is not in Rio, we have to go to another city and see a place that hardly anyone knows, and it is simply NITEROI. The locals call it as THE SMILEY CITY!!!

And you really small when you come to Niteroi, and I was raised in Niteroi and my tour to Niteroi is much more than a single and ridiculous visit to the CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM. Niteroi has all the conditions to be maybe the best part of your trip to Rio!!!!

In April we passed through a terrible time, very heavy and harzadous storms hitted all the State of Rio. Floods everywhere and our hilly neighborhoods were all destroyed by endless landslides, specially in the poor locations many people lost their homes and worse...we lost more than 300 people. And NITEROI WAS SPECIALLY AFFECTED. And the access to our beautiful PARQUE DA CIDADE were seriously demaged and the city hall (something that we call PREFEITURA) closed the road to reach the top. It is impossible to go there by car and my little secret will have to wait, at least I will not be able to go there via "normal" ways (later I will tell you how we get there OUT OF THE "NORMAL WAYS").

The Forest Guards are always aware to stop people from reaching the top using the trails, the main gate is closed and we do not know when they will open the gate, the control is quite restricted. You will find signs in the trails telling that you must be careful and you are not allowed to go through the forest.

But all my friends and guests know that I am quite adventurous...somehow I think I am a mix of Indiana Jones and Jacques Cousteau and I love getting myself into the woods, I love the wilderness and observing the birds, other animals like mammals and reptiles, and I love identifying species of plans, so I know some safe trails that can lead us to the top. So if you have good legs and energy...we can still visit this hill which is as important as going to the Christ or to the Sugar Loaf when you wish to see Rio and the surroundings from the top!
I am really specialized to take you to places where no regular tourists go, as I always say...I really deal with genuine travellers!
So if you are well travelled, your place is by my side!!!
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

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