Monday, August 29, 2011


It is great when you get to Rio de Janeiro and you find a friend. This is how I welcome all my guests...They are always sure that I will show every secret of Rio and provide a real personal experience as soon as I meet them. To visit Rio you should be in touch with the soul of Rio and you will have someone ready to show you this informal side of the city.

Hugo came to Rio, he is a social researcher in Costa Rica and he also comes from a country very well know about Nature Preservation, about unique landscapes and its very interesting wildlife, so I decided to show him also a big part of our nature in the coast of Niteroi and also I decided to introduce him to our people by visiting the old neighborhoods of Santa Tereza and Lapa, and naturally with a stop to see the incredible stairs of Selaron!

Selaron was in a fantastic mood when I introduced Hugo to him, he gaves us a whole explanation about his masterpiece which happens to be the whole old stairs of Santa Tereza. He is our most provocative character, he is an artist so he is not really worried about to express his thoughts and opinion.

If Rio has a face, one of the faces of the city would be Selaron and his remarkable work in the heart of our bohemian Rio. He can be found there, right in the limits between Santa Tereza and Lapa.

Rio can be an open air museum specially when we come across with lively and very impressive street art work!!! Graffitis in Rio are becoming more and more popular since the Government decided to allow artists to teach children how to do beautiful work all over the city, now they are concern to take the opportunity to make old, dirty and abandoned walls in something beautiful. Recenttly I just had a real class about STREET ART IN RIO thanks to the visit of my english friend Lee Bofkin, we went to many places in Rio searching for the best graffitis work in the city. Now I became a big admirer of my own people's art.

Of course in my tours I will always stop in this magnificent treasure...We have a of the most complete barroc sample of the country. São Bento's church is opened everyday and we always love to admire such a strong tradition in Rio...All the gold and the lovely wooden work that shows you all the art, tradition and knowledge of our interesting history!!! This place was built in 1590.

We had enough of history and traditions so we decide to discover the beauties of Rio, so we drove to the other side of Guanabara Bay. It is nice to stop at LITORANEA AVENUE to have an absoluty stunning idea of Rio's skyline, from this point we see the mountains of Rio, the city center and how amazing this bay is! A visit to NITEROI is a must in my tour...THIS IS MY HOMELAND, THIS IS MY NEARBY SHELTER WHEN I NEED TO CHILL OUT. So it is very important that you know some fantastic options when you spend more than one day in our city!

Very often when I mention that we will visit a museum, my guests complain about it. Going to a museum will take a lot of time, some others say that are not really interested...BUT IN THIS CASE, it is unique!!!

And going to MAC museum is not really visiting the MUSEUM. A brief stop in our CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM will be a great chance for you to see such a wonderful piece of Niemeyer's architecture combined with a fantastic location on the bay and also it is a great playground for amateur (like myself) and professional photographers. It is a beautiful part of our tour and I strongly recommend you to accept the idea of visiting it.

As I said before, NITEROI IS A WONDERFUL SURPRISE in any tour that I offer. Hugo was really delighted to see so many off the beaten path places like Litoranea Avenue, the island of Boa Viagem which provides a wonderful view to the Christ and the Sugar Loaf in the other side of our coast. Niteroi is like the Jersey's side when you are in New York, but I am sure that Niteroi is way greater than Jersey's, it is like being in São Francisco and spend some time in Salsalito!!!! This is the closest example that I could think about it, specially for my american readers. I am sure that Niteroi will be a city that you will adore!

Niteroi is always a party, the city is full of energy and you will see so many different places there. One very interesting spot is the island of Boa Viagem! :)

And Niteroi has PARQUE DA CIDADE, the viewpoint where people jump paraglyding, it is
where I love jumping and enjoy the view and energy of Rio. Air Activities are one of my hobbies and I am always honored to take my people to see such a surprising place!!! Hugo could understand better about Rio when he went there!!! This is indeed a place where you can see not only Rio de Janeiro but also the whole city of Niteroi.

And when we have some time we always visit the ocean side of Niteroi which we can see wonderful beaches like Camboinhas. And in Camboinhas we can find an interesting indigenous community, the MBOY TE tribe where you can really experience what the first navigators saw when they landed in our lands more than 500 years ago!!!

Camboinhas is also a wonderful place for us to enjoy the ocean, the water is clean, the people are very local and the views are simply amazing. Sunset there is one of the most beautiful in the region and we cannot really miss any opportunity to explore with the eye of a local the wonders of Niteroi!

When you come to Niteroi you will see a different Rio. Your tour will not be the regular ones, you will take home a lot of great memories and absolutely beautiful photos!!!

Rafael Torres Lopes

Tour Guide and Travel Planner

A Niteroi's product, hahahaha :)))))


Hugo González said...

Fue realmente inimaginable la experiencia vivida con rafa tour, en donde se logra no solo observar paisajes de gran riqueza natural y sociocultural, sino que ademas se permite reflexionar sobre la importancia del turismo como instrumento de inclusión social, cultural y economica, percibiendo siempre la importancia de un turismo basado en la solidaridad y valorando las diversidades de las actividades y las personas involucradas. Muchas Gracias Rafa, hay que repetirlo!!!!!!

Adriana González said...


Soy Adriana, la hija mayor de Hugo. Muy bonitas las fotos! Que interesante todo lo que me contó mi papá del viaje y de la experiencia en Rio, todo lo que visitó con Rafa.

De verdad que esta es una de las mejores formas de viajar para conocer realmente el lugar y la gente, la vida y la historia, la cotidianidad.

Espero poder ir pronto!!! Me encantaría conocer Rio :)