Tuesday, September 7, 2010


And I made it special....When Nerin requested a tour telling that he would bring all his family for a wonderful adventure in Brazil. I accepted the challenge with a lot of passion and we planned every detail.

I went to the airport and with a big hug I met Nerin, Vina, Nimita and Nikita...just by seeing their smile I thought that we would have such a great time!!!

Right in the first day, the weather was splendid so we went to the Christ which is something that every visitor does, but when they do something so touristy which I also think it is essential; I always show my guests some secrets that I know in the city.

But going to the Christ (other people say CHRIST, THE REDDEMER - I'd rather say Christ as my relationship with my friend up there is very close) is the best way to understand the city and realize how wonderful and unique Rio de Janeiro is!

One of the secrets, most of my guests know, is a hidden beach in the west of Rio, a teny paradise that people always think about California, but it is a treasure that very few have access...JOA beach. I always say it is a surprise but after so many times mentioning about this incredible corner it will be not a surprise any more. But I am here to make you experience places where the native cariocas love to go.

It is for sure one of the most interesting places in Rio de Janeiro in my humble opinion...Only if you are a real researcher you will hear about this place which is not a touristy attraction. It is just a simple neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. It is a place where people still sleep with door and windows open. It is a countryside life in the urban Rio de Janeiro. This place is called Marapendi, it is my photography playground and one of the places that I adore to observe birdlife.
I just catched a rare spoonbill flying close to the Ilha Primeira in one of the NATURE RESERVES in the area.
Well, I am not a birder, but I always try to study about birds more and more...also check here my pictures of so many TOUCANS. Tucanos in Portuguese.

One of our most amazing stops was at Prainha Beach, one more hidden paradise of the city. I like taking my guests there so they know that Rio is not only Copacabana and Ipanema. No doubt, it is beautiful places but you should see more of Rio when you come here!!!
When I have a guest here I face them as they are good friends of mine and here that all deserve to have a wonderful time.
Nimita was very happy to witness one of the most beautiful places of Rio de Janeiro.

Recreio was another beach that we visited after driving all over Barra da Tijuca, we had a great time to see one of the most unknown beaches in Rio. We had a nice time there with a lot of coconut water. This is the most famous beach in the West Coast.

They liked Rio so much that a visit to the Christ was not enough, they were longing for they decided to take a helicopter and see Rio from above and they went to so many places...I also help my guests to get in a helicopter tour when they want to see Rio in such a privileged way.
The best and easier way to get into a helicopter ride is in Lagoa, they have very efficient staff over there!
When you go to the Christ and also to the Forest of Tijuca...well a compulsory stop will be in Santa Tereza...this old neighborhood, actually, one of the first settlements of Rio, gives you a chance to understand more about the portuguese influence in our society. Walking in the Streets of Santa Tereza is also very pleasant, you see the real people who make Rio such a charming city. And when you have a stroll around the "hood" you can see the famous stair that only one man had changed everything. Selaron 20 years ago placed tyle by tyle and as a result Rio has a real HUMAN MASTER PIECE.

Copacabana is for sure one of the gateways of Rio and we have to walk around and feel the positive vibe of Rio. Well, a must see place is the other end of Copa, the fishing place Leme. That day was wonderful, very clean and blue water and LOTS OF COCONUT WATER, for sure!
The beach promenade is always packed with people walking all around, working out or simply enjoying the beach.

Our last day was very LOCAL...we took the ferry boat to the weekends, they use the old ferry boat which are more scenic than the new one...Crossing the Bay was special, it reminds the ferry in Staten Island, but here it is not for free! but with very few money you can take the Barcas and spend the day in Niteroi.
Our driver met us in Niteroi and our time was very short I had no doubt, we explore the ocean side of Niteroi.

After visiting the beach of Piratininga where we saw Rio from a very different perspective...we had our grand finale in our Guarani Tribe, a chance that my guests have to visit a real indigenous community. We had a great time there.
Our natives have some problem with the rich people in Camboinhas beach but if we continue visiting them and promote a visit to their community, they will be protected. I always ask my guests to buy their crafts or even stop in a grocery store to buy food and other supplies for them!!!
My Indian Family went there and we left something to help this wonderful people. The official name of the tribe is Tekoa Mboy-Ty which means SEED. which explains why they believe their ancestors are buried in the sand dunes.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

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