Culture & Lifestyle – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Tue, 09 Oct 2018 13:59:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 5 Reasons to Visit Paraty http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/5-reasons-to-visit-paraty/ http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/5-reasons-to-visit-paraty/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2018 12:00:56 +0000 http://rdj4u.com/blog/en/?p=511 Just 125 miles south of Rio de Janeiro lies Paraty, a beautiful colonial town located on the Costa Verde. It is renowned for its charming cobbled stone streets which run throughout the historic centre, where vehicles are banned but horses and carts can be frequently spotted. With its combination of historic buildings, beaches and jungle, Paraty is [...]

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Just 125 miles south of Rio de Janeiro lies Paraty, a beautiful colonial town located on the Costa Verde. It is renowned for its charming cobbled stone streets which run throughout the historic centre, where vehicles are banned but horses and carts can be frequently spotted. With its combination of historic buildings, beaches and jungle, Paraty is an ideal destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Rio and enjoy a calmer, more relaxed and more natural environment. Below are five good reasons to visit Paraty.


1. Architecture

Paraty Architecture

Discover Paraty’s charming colonial architecture and its mystic cobblestone streets.

Undoubtedly Paraty’s main attraction is its stunning colonial architecture, most of which has not changed for over two hundred years. Wonderful colourful historical buildings are positioned on the cobbled streets, where pedestrians and cyclists are free to roam, but the lack of cars means the streets are kept peaceful and quiet, free of traffic and pollution. This is notably the main reason that tourists choose to visit Paraty.

Book a city tour in Paraty to uncover its history and mystique


2. Beaches

Visit Paraty / Rdj4u

A boat ride will take you to navigate and discover many hidden beaches of clear water and white sand. Photo source: Rdj4u

Paraty is surrounded by many beautiful beaches. One must-do for visitors is a boat tour of Paraty Bay, which enables you to visit the best of these beaches and go swimming, snorkelling and diving, or simply sunbathe on the sand while listening to the waves lapping against the shore. Nearby fishing village, Trindade, is another hot destination for tourists, as it too has access to a number of fantastic beaches, such as Cepilho, which is ideal for surfing, Figueria, a nudist beach, and Cachadaco, a stunning setting with rock formations and natural pools.

Enjoy the Brazilian beaches of Paraty with this fun Boat Ride in Paraty


3. Jungle

Visit Paraty / Rdj4u

Taking a jeep tour you will be able to reach the mountains and to hike to the many “cachoeiras” or waterfalls around. Photo source: Rdj4u

Paraty is bordered by jungle-clad mountains, which blend harmoniously with the town’s old buildings, islands and beaches. You can experience the lush nature of the jungle with an off-road Jeep tour, which takes you to the cascading waterfalls, followed by the Gold Trail Exposition, a cachaca distillery, a farm and finally, a Bromeliad Exhibition with over three hundred different species of plants.

Discover the amazing jungles of Paraty with this Waterfalls Jeep Tour.


4. Art

Visit Paraty / Rdj4u

Julio Paraty is one of the brazilian artists that found in this city the inspiration for its art. Photo source: mapadecultura

Paraty is an important artistic centre, which plays host to old traditional craftsmen and modern artists alike, who are drawn to the region by its striking scenery and picturesque landscapes. There are a number of interesting art galleries and museums dotted around the historic centre, which exhibit paintings and sculptures as well as ceramics, jewellery and traditional handicrafts produced by the native Indians. For those interested in religious art, the Museu de Arte Sacra (Museum of Sacred Art), boasts some highly impressive religious works of art, alongside magnificently carved woodwork on its altars and doors.


5. Vibrant Atmosphere

Visit Paraty / Rdj4u

The streets of Paraty offer a genuine and vibrant atmosphere at any time of the day and night. Photo source: Rdj4u

Paraty attracts partygoers from all over Brazil, meaning the streets are constantly brimming with young, lively people. While it may be peaceful and quaint during the day, Paraty comes alive at night, when people make their way not only to bars and clubs but parties on the beaches and nearby farms too. Head to Café Paraty for live music, Porto da Pinga to sample local cachaças and Paraty 33 for some late night dancing.

. . .

You only need to visit Paraty for three to four days to satisfy your urge to be out of the city and spend time somewhere that is peaceful and beautiful, but which still manages to maintain a fun and lively vibe. If you’re planning on visiting Paraty, why not book a private transfer to Angra Dos Reis, the gateway to Paraty and Ilha Grande.

Click here to see and book more tours outside Rio de Janeiro

By: Camilla Day

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Rio de Janeiro [Infographic] http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/10-things-about-rio/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:00:27 +0000 http://rdj4u.com/blog/en/?p=2533 You probably knew that Rio de Janeiro hosts the world’s largest Carnival celebrations each year. But did you know that the city’s nickname is Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvellous City? Or that it is considered the cultural capital of Brazil? Discover 10 more interesting facts about this truly wondrous megacity with this Daytours4u infographic.   [...]

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You probably knew that Rio de Janeiro hosts the world’s largest Carnival celebrations each year. But did you know that the city’s nickname is Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvellous City? Or that it is considered the cultural capital of Brazil? Discover 10 more interesting facts about this truly wondrous megacity with this Daytours4u infographic.

 

Infographic: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Rio de Janeiro

 

All the previous travellers who have made Rio the most visited city in Latin America can’t be wrong! See for yourself why this is a city is so appealing to so many people from across the globe.

Here are some ways to experience some of the most interesting things in Rio de Janeiro for yourself.

  • Visit the Christ the Redeemer statue with a Christ the Redeemer City Tour.
  • Explore some of the 50km worth of pristine beaches. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, whether you’re looking for a relaxing spot to tan, a fun and safe place for your kids to play, seeking good surfing waves, or want to find the trendiest stretch of sand to see and be seen.
  • Take in the magic of the Maracanã stadium. Do a tour of the stadium or attend a local football game and truly experience the Brazilian football fever.
  • Skip the cable car queues and climb Sugar Loaf Mountain. With a bit of hiking and climbing, in a safe environment, you’ll be rewarded for your effort with the best views of Rio.
  • Enjoy the local music scene, from Bossa Nova to Samba and Forró.
  • Learn more about the history of Rio de Janeiro and uncover more fascinating facts about the Marvellous City on a Historical Walking Tour.
  • Celebrate the biggest party in the world all year with the Carnival Experience. On this tour you will discover everything that happens behind the staging of the carnival, how the samba schools are organized and you can even wear fantasy costumes full of brightness and color.

Discover more interesting things you didn’t know about Rio de Janeiro for yourself! Plan your travels to Rio with Rdj4u.com.

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Where to find the best caipirinhas in Rio http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/find-best-caipirinhas-rio/ Thu, 04 May 2017 17:48:03 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11480 After living in this wonderful city for five months I’ve developed certain weekly habits and my week is not complete unless i’ve sat down in the local bar with a caipirinha in hand. This native drink is not only delicious but seriously packs a punch due to the fact it’s made up of only a [...]

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After living in this wonderful city for five months I’ve developed certain weekly habits and my week is not complete unless i’ve sat down in the local bar with a caipirinha in hand. This native drink is not only delicious but seriously packs a punch due to the fact it’s made up of only a few key ingredients: limes, sugar, ice and cachaça. Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit made from sugar cane and goes perfectly with the limes and sugar to take the edge off this sour cocktail. When in Rio you are never too far away from a Caipi and below you can find out the best places to savour this Brazilian classic.

Best caipirinha / Rdj4u

During your trip to Brazil, do not forget to try the best caipirinhas in Rio / Source


Bar da Cachaça

The Bar de Cachaça is located in the centre of Lapa, Rio’s party neighbourhood, and at the weekends is full to the brim with Rio’s partygoers sampling some cachaça before moving on to somewhere else to dance. This bar specialises in different types and flavours of Cachaça and the options are limitless. It costs five reais for shot sized measure of cachaça and the idea is that you try a few and if you enjoyed what you tried; each different cachaça is available by the bottle. However, it’s not just its individual cachaça that makes this place so popular, they also make one of the best caipirinhas in Rio. Priced very reasonably this bar is the perfect place to try a caipirinha whilst watching the carioca nightlife rush by.

Discover the bars of Rio with this bar tour in Rio de Janeiro

best caipirinhas in rio / rdj4u

Rio is full of hotels and restaurants who can offer you caipirinhas / Source : Flickr 


Splash out for a caipi with the perfect view

Due to Rio’s mountainous terrain there are plenty of hilltop bars and restaurants where you can sip on a Caipirinha and soak up the famous nighttime skyline. Santa Teresa is one of Rio’s hilltop neighbourhoods and home to a favourite restaurant of mine: Aprazivel. Due to its expensive prices Aprazivel is more of a ‘one off’ or special occasion option, however it is still definitely worth a visit due to its incredible view and tree-house like atmosphere. The restaurant consists mainly of outside wooden seating and the whole place has a beautiful bohemian feel to it. If you’re on a tight budget and like me wish to avoid the gourmet food with big price tags then you could treat yourself to a Caipibella, this drink adds a twist to the traditional Caipirinha by adding carambola (star fruit)  and passion fruit. The price is not forgiving coling in at 31 reais for the Caipibella put its delicious and the surroundings are incomparable, therefore if you can visit make sure you do so.

Do a pub crawl in Rio de Janeiro to taste the best caipirinhas and make some friends with Rdj4u

Best caipirinhas in Rio / rdj4u

The cachaça is the main ingredient of the traditional caipirinha / Source


Sample a caipirinha from one of the many street vendors

Although for the last option you would have to dig deep into your wallet, caipirinhas are not traditionally expensive. In fact it is incredibly easy to get your hands on a cheap caipi just about anywhere in the city from one of the street vendors. Whether it’s in Lapa, Praça Tiridente or on Copacabana beach, there is always a caipirinha nearby, provided by one of  the hundreds of street vendors: Ranging from about 5 to 10 reais most of the stationary vendors make the caipirinha fresh in front of you and on the whole the quality is good. My personal favourite spot is the last caipirinha hut before the Aquaduct in Lapa. It is run by two women who remember all of their customers and greet any returning clients with a big hug a kiss, their caipis are on the cheaper scale at 5 reais each and qt the weekend they offer free refills of cachaça. Ths is perfect place if you’re looking for real bang for your buck and for the opportunity to meet two friendly cariocas.

best caipirinha in Rio / Rdj4u

The best caipirinhas in Rio are the ones you make yourself / Source: Flickr


Visit the Rio Fruit Market to buy all you need to eat and drink like a true Brazilian

Make your own!

Unlike in Europe where cocktails are almost exclusively served in bars, in Brazil it’s commonplace to make a pitcher of caipirinhas at home to share with friends. It can also be the most cost effective option depending on which cachaça you buy. 51 is the cheapest and arguably most popular brand of cachaça, costing just 11 reais per litre bottle. However it must be said that it is not exactly known as a good quality cachaça. If you can, try and find a carioca to show you how to make a caipirinha, there are certain tricks you need to know in order to make the perfect Caipi. For example, some say you should remove the white pith from inside the lime as it makes the drink more bitter. However i’m not one to ask advice from, even after months of practice my caipirinhas are not up to scratch. Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the Brazilians!

Discover many activities to do in Rio de Janeiro with Rdj4u

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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How to improve your Portuguese in Rio http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/improve-portuguese-rio/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:13:26 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11458 Almost five months into my stay in Rio and I’m finally getting to grips with the language. Portuguese can be tricky, but Rio has its own unique version of the language which can only by mastered by speaking to the lovely Cariocas. As the locals are so friendly and eager to get to know anyone [...]

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Improve your Portuguese / Briton's tales from Rio Rdj4u

Almost five months into my stay in Rio and I’m finally getting to grips with the language. Portuguese can be tricky, but Rio has its own unique version of the language which can only by mastered by speaking to the lovely Cariocas. As the locals are so friendly and eager to get to know anyone who comes to visit their city, you will inevitably pick up some phrases. However, if you’d like to speed up the process and impress the locals with your fluency, below you can find just out how to do so.

Improve your Portuguese with a Briton's tales in Rio / Rdj4u

Practise the language it is also a great way to make Carioca friends when you first arrive


Language exchanges

Although tourists come to Brazil to learn the tuneful native language, there are many cariocas who would like to learn ours, or any other language for that matter. To avoid paying for Portuguese lessons you can use websites such as Language Exchange “https://www.conversationexchange.com/” in order to get in touch with native Portuguese speakers in return for offering them conversation in English. You can communicate via skype, by being a pen pal or do what I did and meet face-to-face. I still meet with my friend who I made through Language Exchange every week, twice. One hour in English then an hour in Portuguese. Not only is it the perfect opportunity to practise the language it is also a great way to make Carioca friends when you first arrive. On websites such as these you have to create a profile with details such as age and location. Therefore it is easy to find someone your own age who knows the city well and can offer you some advice.

How to improve your Portuguese with a Briton' tales in Rio / Rdj4u

I then went to see my favourite Brazilian band, Natiruts / Source


Listen to some Brazilian music

One of the best ways to learn any language is by listening to music. Brazil has a famous musical history that stretches beyond the legendary songs “Girl from Ipanema” and “At the Copacabana”. Due to Rio’s thriving music scene, if you find a current Brazilian band that you enjoy, there’s a high chance you’ll be able to see them in concert. In which case you can become a true fan by learning the words and then belting them out amongst the Cariocas. I’ve been to do outstanding concerts since arriving, I went to see Jorge Ben Jor at Nivea’s free concert on Copacabana beach and the whole evening was fantastic. He is famous for his song “Mas Que Nada” and when he began to play the whole crowd went wild, and everyone (including me!) knew all the words and sang along. I then went to see my favourite Brazilian band, Natiruts, at the Casas de Show Metropolitan in Barra de Tijuca. They are a very popular reggae band and during the concert I met lots of like-minded young cariocas who helped me to understand the lyrics!

Improve your portuguese with a Briton's tales in Rio / Rdj4u

Although a slightly unorthodox method of language dating, why not try speed-dating?


Try your chance at finding your true Brazilian love!

Although a slightly unorthodox method of language dating, why not try speed-dating? Some friends and I gave it ago before and it was a hilarious evening and I was able to truly put my Portuguese to the test. The concept is headed by a Language School, Caminhos, (http://caminhoslanguages.com/) and pairs Cariocas and gringos. The idea is to practice the language and find a potential love interest. You have five minutes with each person and can later decide if you would like to see them again. Although the whole notion may make some want to wince, it’s really just a fun way to put your language to the test and make some new friends. Although not everyone will find their one true Brazilian love, almost everyone is guaranteed a fun night as the party continues until the early hours of the morning. This year it will take place in the Pura Vida hostel in Copacabana on the 28th of April. (https://www.facebook.com/events/1704219023211663/)This evening requires you to harness the one essential aspect of learning a language: confidence. You have five minutes to ‘wow’ the person in front of you which will require you to sharpen your communication skills in Portuguese. Not to mention there is a free Caipirinha included in the 30 reais ticket price!

. . .

In Rio it’s not difficult to strike up a conversation with Cariocas. In a city where the beaches are always full of locals and tourists alike, there is plenty of intermingling between local and foreign culture. Its outdoor nightlife also provides the perfect scenario for meeting and getting to know the locals as popular spots such as Lapa and Pedra do Sal always have a mixed crowd of both Cariocas and foreigners. Therefore once your Portuguese is up to scratch, you can begin to confidently insert yourself into the Carioca culture and get to know the people at the heart of the city.

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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What to do in Rio when it rains http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/what-to-do-in-rio-when-it-rains/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:16:09 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11399 As I Brit I do often chuckle to myself when my carioca friends complain about the rain, as the rainy season here is the equivalent to our summer at home! However, as Rio is known for its sunny beaches and spectacular scenery, its tropical storms, particularly during March, can get in the way of doing [...]

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What to in Rio when it rains / Briton's tales from Rio Rdj4u

As I Brit I do often chuckle to myself when my carioca friends complain about the rain, as the rainy season here is the equivalent to our summer at home!

However, as Rio is known for its sunny beaches and spectacular scenery, its tropical storms, particularly during March, can get in the way of doing some of the usual tourist activities. During the last month I’ve had the chance to explore alternative activities that rainy Rio has to offer. Below you can find out all about how to escape (or embrace) the wet weather in Rio, whilst still taking advantage of what this Marvellous city has to offer.


Museums and Art Exhibitions.

Rio is bursting at the seams with a huge range of exhibitions. From the famous Museum of Tomorrow to smaller museums, such as the Museo de Indio, which for me was particularly interesting.

Depending on how lucky you are, and if it rains on the right day, some Museums let you in for free! The Museum of Tomorrow offers free entry on a Tuesday and MAM (the Museum of Modern Art) on a Wednesday, as well as many others which allow visitors in on a Sunday for free.

However, my personal favourite rainyday exhibition was to the Fabrica Bhering. This enormous building, formerly a chocolate factory, is now home to multiple different artists’ studios, as well as independent clothes stores and cafes. Sat in the heart of Santo Cristo, the Bhering factory, which from the outside looks borderline derelict, boasts fantastic art exhibitions where you can see both the finished products and the work in progress whilst actually watching the artists at work. There are also vast rooms with interior design displays and alternative well-priced cafes. You can explore the entire building, and its free entry! Due the size of the building, once a month, Fabrica Bhering becomes the perfect venue for a variety of events, often live music performances that take place on the stage in their workshop area outside.

What to do in Rio when it rains / Fabrica Bhering

My personal favourite rainy day exhibition was to the Fabrica Bhering.


Shopping

A rainy day in Rio is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of its fantastic shopping opportunities. Rio has everything from dirt cheap essentials, to artisanal markets and famous designer shops. Rio Sul is one of Latin America’s largest shopping malls, and for any Europeans visiting Rio you can be sure to see some familiar brands which can be hard to find in South America. The mall is home to numerous international brands, as well as a huge food court and cinema. You may just find that you have no choice but to enjoy some retail therapy here if it’s pouring outside.

However, Rio is certainly not just about big brand names there is always some sort of market being held offering a range of uniquely carioca products and handmade wares. As well as Ipanema’s hippie market on a Friday, and general pop up markets that appear just about anywhere through the city, there is also the Babliona Feira Hype, a huge monthly pop up market near Lagoa. This hipster market offers everything from craft beer and burgers to independent swimwear shops. It is well worth keeping the whole evening free for this event as it features live music, an under cover and outdoor picnic area filled to the brim with pop up food stalls, not to mention the main attraction, hundreds of independent clothes shops!

Get wet!

Although some of Rio’s sites simply aren’t the same in the Rain due to their breath-taking views, if you don’t mind getting a bit wet (but still being warm!) there are plenty of outdoor activities to experience in Rio. I recently had a friend to stay with me in Rio and we decided to tackle the Botanical gardens in the rain. So, armed with an umbrella, we spent a few really enjoyable hours frolicking in the rain through the beautiful gardens. The botanical gardens are ideal in the rain because you are able to have the whole place to yourself. There are also multiple wooden shacks in the gardens where you can take a break, and listen to the rain hit the roof whilst looking out on the many spectacular views there are to see in these gardens.

Our ride on the Santa Teresa tram was also made more atmospheric by the rain. As we travelled over Lapa’s aqueduct, listening to the pitta-patta of the rain on the tram’s rooftop, we all bunched together in the cosy tram in order to soak up the bird’s-eye view of the city. Santa Teresa itself is still well worth the trip in the rain because of its boutique shops and restaurants. My friend and I took a break from the rain and popped into the neighbourhoods’s Cultiva Brasil, a little cafe known for having the best pão do queijo and açaí in the whole of Rio!
March is Rio’s rainiest month and as we enter April the storms are becoming less frequent and the temperature is settling providing us with a welcome spell of cooler weather. Just about perfect for this Brit who has spent the majority of the last four months sun burnt!

What to do in Rio when it rains / Rdj4u

The botanical gardens are ideal in the rain because you are able to have the whole place to yourself.


By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u

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How to survive Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/how-to-survive-carnival/ Fri, 03 Mar 2017 20:30:16 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11193 Pre-plan your blocos During Carnival, it is impossible to avoid being swept up in the sound of drums and music blaring out from each and every neighbourhood. You are truly spoilt for choice as there are hundreds of blocos every day, fortunately, there is an official agenda for all the blocos to help pick the [...]

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Pre-plan your blocos

During Carnival, it is impossible to avoid being swept up in the sound of drums and music blaring out from each and every neighbourhood. You are truly spoilt for choice as there are hundreds of blocos every day, fortunately, there is an official agenda for all the blocos to help pick the best blocos for you. Although it’s tempting to simply walk out into the streets and follow the music, my advice would be to pick a few specific blocos from the agenda that catch your eye, because blocos vary in size, theme and music.

Survive CarnivalBlocos vary in size, theme and music

Buy your Sambódromo ticket well in advance

Before arriving in Rio I hadn’t realised that Carnival is actually an official competition to see which samba schools can put on the best show. This takes place in the Sambódromo; an open air stadium within which the competing samba schools parade equipped with enormous floats and hundreds of dancers. My evening at the Sambódromo was by far the most memorable moment of Carnival as I joined the ninety thousand people in the crowd each cheering for their local samba school. I went on the penultimate evening and thus had the pleasure of seeing all the semi-finalists. From 10 pm until 4 am in the morning the spectacle was truly captivating. Each school has their own theme, colours and gigantic floats showcasing the breathtaking talent of the dancers. Although I personally believe it was worth the money, I did end up paying 360 reais for my Sambódromo ticket as I left it until the week before to buy it. So if you’re lucky enough to be spending Carnival in Rio next year be sure to book your tickets early!

My evening at the Sambódromo was by far the most memorable moment of Carnival

Bring some water and don’t wipe yourself out too quickly

The official Carnival is only four days long but Wow! It is an intense four days. As there are endless options throughout the city it is very easy to hop from one bloco to the next all day long. Almost all the blocos are during the day, and it is common to start as early as 7 am. Therefore, in order to fully take advantage of what Carnival has to offer it is best to try and preserve energy for the coming days and not overdo it too early on, as that’s exactly what I did. Although I did make it out almost all day everyday during Carnaval I became a bit over excited on the first day. I was up, glittered and tu-tu’d by 7 am and dancing through the streets of Santa Teresa by 8 am. I swiftly moved on to a bloco in Gloria and then another in Flamengo. After a brief stop at home to re-glitter and grab a bite to eat, I was off out to one of the evening blocos. I returned home in the early hours of the morning with an alarm set for 7 am, ready to start again.

Needless to say, the next morning was more than a struggle. In the blazing sun of the previous day, I had forgotten to drink any water leaving me very dehydrated. As the last night’s Caiprinha began to settle in it has to be said that I had a little less spring in my step when marching through the streets that following morning. Although I could obviously still enjoy Carnival it was a shame to not be able to share in quite as much energy as the people around me, as Carnival is truly one of the most highly energized experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part of. During the four days I was skipping, cart-wheeling, jumping and singing as I became completely swallowed up by the Carnival spirit, truly testing my stamina.

I made so many friends and was able to join in with the Cariocas

Don’t hold back with your costume

As I headed out on the first day with my yellow bikini top and green TuTu, not to mention tonnes of glitter, I thought perhaps it was all a bit to brash. I soon discovered that there is no such thing as brash, or over-the-top in Carnival. I saw everything from a man dressed as a giant flip-flop to women wearing nothing but tassels! In Carnival the wackier the better, but if you’re a Gringa like me, you may want to choose a lightweight costume. A brief attempt of dressing like a Roman, draped in a bed sheet, meant I quickly realised there was no way I’d survive the heat in that particular outfit. More than this, you might want to make whatever you wear practical for dancing, as for me, Carnival was a work out!

. . .

Carnival was honestly some of the most fun few days of my life, I made so many friends and was able to join in with the Cariocas and let loose for four straight days. Now as the city awakens from its Carnival hango ver, we begin what the Cariocas refer to as the real start to the year.

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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How to Prepare for Rio Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/how-to-prepare-for-rio-carnival/ Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:00:10 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11177 We offer some insider tips on how to prepare for Rio Carnival – from getting your flamboyant outfits ready to learning some basic samba moves.

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Carnival is just around the corner and Rio is electric with excitement. ‘Pre-carnival’ has already started and Rio’s streets are full of colourful costumes. Thousands of Cariocas and tourists are dressed from head to toe in glitter and feathers accompanied by the sound of samba drums ringing out from all corners of the city. As Carnival only happens once a year, there are a few things to consider in order to fully take advantage of Rio during the biggest festival of the year.

how to prepare for rio carnivalRio Carnival is known for it’s flamboyant costumes – pretty much anything goes

GET YOUR OUTFIT READY – WHERE TO BUY

Carnival is known for it’s flamboyant costumes: bright colours, headdresses and tiny underwear! Uruguaina market can supply you with all of these and so much more. At this time of the year the market, which stretches over multiple streets, houses hundreds of stalls that overflow with Carnival related accessories. The market is very easy to access as it has a metro station with the same name. However, if you are short for time and don’t wish to make the journey, there are other options throughout the city. Stalls on the beachfront or on most high streets and plazas sell just about anything you could ever need to look the part for Carnival.

WHAT TO WEAR

When it comes to Carnival, you can get away with wearing anything! Generally speaking the rule of thumb is a lot of colour. If you would like to buy yourself an authentic Carnival costume, such as those worn in the parades at the Sambodromo, samba schools throughout the city sell them. A word of advice; as these costumes are highly detailed, they can reach prices of about 250 reais.

When it comes to the dress code for the blocos, feel free to get creative! Be it a giant parrot, a Brazilian football player, or wear just a brightly coloured swimsuit – anything goes. However, there are some blocos which are themed and people seem to go all out in order to keep in tune. There is a huge variety of themes, ranging from Animals to Zombies. The one I’m most looking forward to is the Beatles themed bloco: my friends and I are currently in the process of making an 8-person yellow submarine!


You might also like to read: Carioca Fashion: What to Wear in Rio De Janeiro


The majority of blocos and the official parades in the Sambodromo move to the sound of samba

TEST OUT THE BLOCO ATMOSPHERE

Although Carnival is officially 4 days long, the build-up actually starts a couple of weeks before. This period, known as ‘pre-carnival’, is a perfect chance to get a taste of Carnival before it officially begins with hundreds of blocos popping up across the city. I have been to a few smaller blocos near to where I live in Zona Sul and was so impressed by how much effort goes into these street parties. Women on stilts, amazing samba bands and the most talented dancers I’ve seen since I arrived… and Carnival hasn’t even begun!

There are also a few better-known, larger blocos that take place before Carnival. A good example is the bloco on Ilha de Paqueta, an island in Guanabara Bay. The Bloco is reached by boat and begins when the shuttle ferry transforms into a giant boat party where everyone is dressed head to toe in colour and sequins. The party on the island runs from 10am until 10pm, and although the ferry trip lasts an hour, this bloco is very popular and well worth the visit to the island.

Helpful Hint: Although the talented women in the parade can samba for hours in stiletto heels, I personally found a supportive pair of closed-toe shoes offered far more comfort. With all those people dancing through the streets, there’s bound to be a few trodden toes!

LEARN SAMBA TO DANCE THROUGH THE CROWDS

The majority of blocos and the official parades in the Sambodromo are accompanied by samba drums and crowds of Cariocas stepping fast to the beat. There are Samba schools dotted throughout the city, ranging from the famous Mangueira and Salgueiro samba schools that make it into the final parade year after year, to much more low-key samba schools which you can find in almost any neighbourhood. If you want to blend in with the rhythm of Carnival, then a private samba class or two in the company of Rdj4u will help you do just that.

Alternatively, if an official lesson is not what you’re looking for, you can turn up to any bloco and ask a few Carioca’s to teach you a few basic steps and almost everyone would be happy to oblige. However, there is absolutely no need to be a professional samba dancer to enjoy Carnival nor to know any specific steps. In reality, you can simply tap your feet to the rhythm and enjoy the spectacle around you and still have the time of your life.

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The whole city is overflowing with anticipation as both Cariocas and resident Gringos like me prepare to break free from our day-to-day routine and experience 4 days of pure celebration and fun! For front row seats to the action, get your hands on some official Carnival parade tickets with Rdj4u.

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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A Weekend Escape from Rio to Paraty http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/weekend-escape-from-rio-to-paraty/ Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:42:54 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11156 Replete with tranquil beaches, verdant rainforest, and secluded waterfalls, Paraty is always a great weekend escape from bustling Rio de Janeiro.

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With Carnival just around the corner, my friends and I decided to take a relaxing weekend away before all the madness begins. We chose Paraty because it was only a few hours away and is known to be a peaceful paradise, and we were not disappointed.

from Rio to ParatyLife on the road in the beautiful colonial town of Paraty

GETTING THERE

In order to get to Paraty you have a number of options; rent a car, go by bus, or book one of our reliable transfer services. As I am in a group of four, and we wanted to travel a bit while in Paraty, a car ended up being the best choice for us. Although the idea of driving through the city and for miles further in unfamiliar territory made us nervous, in reality, the journey was incredibly straightforward as we were on one main road for the majority of the journey. If you don’t want the hassle of renting a car and driving in a foreign land, then our shared transfer between Rio and Paraty is undoubtedly the way to go.

WHERE TO STAY

In Paraty there are many hostels or Airbnbs dotted all around but most are either in the historic centre or on the surrounding beaches. We, however, stayed on Jabaquara beach. A smaller neighbourhood about a 15 minute walk from the centre, sat upon the most relaxed stretch of sand. Although one of my favourite aspects of the Carioca life is its lively beach atmosphere, Jabaquara was a refreshing contrast with just a few local families paddling in the calm waves (a huge contrast to Rio’s lively seas).

In Jabaquara, and many beaches throughout Paraty, there are watersports on offer such as kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. My friends and I went kayaking from Jabaquara and were told to go around a small peer and find a deserted beach, where you can run and jump off the peer. It was idyllic, and very cheap – only 15 reais for an hour of kayaking.

from Rio to ParatyBeautiful beaches and cool, tranquil waters are the order of the day in this little paradise / Image Source

WHERE TO GO DURING THE DAY

Toboga Falls

Aptly named “Slide” Falls, Toboga Falls is a huge, wide waterfall, with a relatively slow running cascade which allows visitors to slide down the flat rock beneath as if it were a slide and land in the icy cold pool below. Although not for the faint hearted as it appears daunting and fairly dangerous at first sight, it would actually be quite difficult to go wrong when sliding down. Once you’re at the top, you carefully cross the top of the waterfall in order to reach two men who are waiting for you. They instruct you on how to take up the correct position, and give you a healthy push. Although, as a spectator the experience looks relatively painful due to sliding over different levelled rocks, in reality it is totally painless. More importantly, flying into that freezing water at the end is the best way to cool off on a hot day. If this sounds like your idea of fun, take a look at our Waterfalls Jeep Tour.

Trinidade

After an exciting morning at the falls, we decided to go to Trinidade, a nearby beach town known for it’s relaxed hippie vibes. On arrival, we walked through the centre of town, passed countless shops and street-sellers selling artisanal jewellery and other crafts. We also stopped for some fresh seafood which was incredible and comparatively cheap than in Rio. We then walked to Meio beach where the waters are calm and cold (in comparison to the very warm water in Jabaquara) where there’s a small rock you can climb in the middle of the beach in order to get a spectacular view.

We originally went to this beach in order to get to the Cachadaço natural pool, which from Meio beach is said to be a 40-minute walk through the woods. However, after our active morning at the waterfalls, a swim and a climb up the rock we all collapsed on the beach and dozed off leaving us too tight for time to go to the natural pools. Although, I was truly disappointed to miss it as it’s known for its colourful array of fish and its crystal clear waters – I think I’ll just have to go back in order to see them!

from Rio to ParatyEnjoying some classic Brazilian drinks whilst on a night out in Paraty

WHAT TO DO AT NIGHT

Paraty is not a town known for its hard-core nightlife; the main street at night is flooded with locals and tourists alike casually drinking and eating in the many restaurants and bars. There is also often live music in the main square at the weekends. However, Paraty’s tranquil atmosphere means that big nights out and nightclubs aren’t all that common. Yet, we did manage to find a few places with a great lively atmosphere.

Bar do Wagner

Bar do Wagner is a very small bar but with a huge personality in the centre of Paraty. The bar features a tiny room with DJ decks at one end and a small bar at the other. It mainly plays samba during the week and hosts a DJ night at the weekend. Due to its size, the party spills out on to the street in front where everyone either dances samba or gets lost in conversation, sometimes even with some gringos like us! It’s a casual but fun atmosphere; definitely worth a visit.

Forró Boat

Every Thursday and Saturday night in Paraty’s docks, at the end of the peer, there is a party to the sound of forró – a Brazilian genre of music – held on one of the boats. The boat stays docked for the entirety of the night, and is always full of locals willing to teach you how to dance forró. The party goes on until 4 am and drinks are served all night. A truly authentic evening in Paraty, and for me, it was the perfect chance to practice my Portuguese!

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Now, I’m back in Rio and the preparations for Carnival are just beginning: blocos every day and the decorations are already going up. The crazy Carioca atmosphere is contagious!

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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3 Experiences in Rio for the Seasoned Traveller http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/3-experiences-in-rio-for-the-seasoned-traveller/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11130 Climbing up Corcovado, cycling around the Lagoon, and watching a local football game – we bring you three experiences in Rio with a difference.

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Although throwing down my canga on the sand and frying on Ipanema or Copacabana beach is an essential weekly activity, taking a more active approach and exploring Rio by foot (or on wheels), whilst embracing the amazing summer climate offers an alternative and enriching experience of the Marvellous City.

experiences in rioThe 360 degree views from the statue of Christ the Redeemer are well worth the challenging climb

CLIMBING UP CORCOVADO

Corcovado is the mountain on top which stands the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The usual means of getting to the top is by taking a tour, however you can also take a trek to the peak through the verdant rainforest. The corcovado hike usually begins in the beautiful Parque Lage, where, before we started on own our adventure, we popped into the Escola de Artes Visuais, an art school within the most beautiful old mansion. It’s well worth a quick visit before embarking on what will essentially be a two-hour workout.

The walk through Tijuca Forest was incredible as all the forest’s inhabitants seemed to come out and welcome us. We saw countless monkeys, a toucan, a snake, and endless amounts of other wild animals. The trek is said to take between two and three hours, but if you’re in good shape, you can complete it in one hour and fifteen minutes. There is also a small section which is slightly more challenging, however there are iron rings and a rope to help you climb during this part – it looks daunting but in reality it is fairly easy to navigate your way through.

Once the path ends, you have to walk up the road for ten minutes but you’re already surrounded by breathtaking vistas. Once at the top, not only do you have a huge sense of achievement after the climb but you also understand the scale of this monumental statue. The best part by far, however, is the view: a complete 360 degree panoramic view of the city and surrounding mountains; it’s truly unbeatable.

experiences in rioTake to two wheels and embark on a great adventure around Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon

CYCLING AROUND THE LAGOON

The cariocas are well-known for being active people, and bikes become not only a great option for commuting but also for exercising. All around Rio there are the Itaú bikes – they’re orange and parked in bays throughout the city, but you also have several companies offering bike rental services or tours. There are plenty of options when it comes to biking in Rio as there are cycle lanes lining the beachfronts, but one of the best trails, for its beauty, safety, and landscape, is around the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.

It is a leisurely bike ride which takes about an hour, and because the route is so straightforward with a very clearly marked two-way system, it’s easy to just sit back and take in the views. Around the lagoon there are cafes with outdoor seating that are perfect if you need to step out of the sun and rehydrate for a moment. There are also opportunities to do water sports – mainly rowing and stand-up paddle boarding are on offer. The lagoon is also in a perfect location, just next to the Botanical Gardens and very close to Ipanema – we simply veered off the lagoon cycle lane and within five minutes we were back on the beachfront. The perfect way to get some air and see a different part of the city. If this sounds appealing, you can book a bike tour in Rio here.

experiences in rioThe atmosphere at Estádio São Januário was both authentic and electric

SUPPORTING A LOCAL FOOTBALL TEAM

Being a Briton doesn’t necessarily make you a football lover, but it is impossible not to get swept up in the football fever here in South America, particularly in Rio where football and carnival are the inhabitants’ two main passions. Of course there are many other options than going to the famous Maracana, and all of them are equally authentic.

We recently went to a football game between Vasco de Gama and away team, Resende at the Estádio São Januário. We arrived excited but with relatively low expectations, but once we walked into the stadium we couldn’t believe our eyes because the fans we’re already full of such enthusiasm: all jumping in unison and waving enormous flags. The atmosphere was so electric – from kick-off to the final whistle the noise never stopped and as always, the Cariocas never failed to include us.

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When visiting different places, travellers are usually on tight itineraries and try to get the most out of every day. I have learned in Rio though, after taking things easier, that sometimes the most enriching experiences are off the well-trodden tourist routes.

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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How to get the best views of Rio de Janeiro http://www.daytours4u.com/en/rdj4u/how-to-get-the-best-views-of-rio-de-janeiro/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 14:30:02 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11071 From Pedra da Gávea and Tijuca Rainforest to the bars of Maze and Alto do Vidigal, we run you through where to go to enjoy the best views of Rio de Janeiro

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Rio offers an array of peaks and hills that provide unimaginable views of the colourful city below. Most famously there is the whimsically named Sugarloaf Mountain and the Corcovado Mountain on which stands Christ the Redeemer, yet there are many more stunning viewpoints to be discovered. Travellers traditionally stay in Rio for just a few days and become so enchanted by the beaches that they overlook some amazing off-the-beaten track adventures. If you fancy getting away from the well-trodden routes, there are plenty of spectacular scenice vistas to gaze upon.

The towering rainforest-covered peaks of Rio offer simply extraordinary vistas of the landscapes below

PEDRA DE GAVEA

Pedra de Gavea is the highest mountain in Rio, and its peak boasts the best view there is to offer. To reach the very top you’ll either need some advanced climbing experience or a professional guide. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic guide who made our journey completely painless.

The trail begins at the foot of the mountain in Barra da Tijuca, and after a few steep twists and turns the path gradually disappears, leaving us mainly clambering through rocks and forest. With a guide, however, all of this is made easier as he informed us where to put our hands and feet when the route became tricky. On the way up you pass several peepholes through the trees where you begin to get a taster of how breathtaking the final view may be. Along with the panoramic vistas, you’re surrounded by nature – different insects and wild fruits, not to mention the constant cacophony of bird song.

The higher you climb, the more challenging the path becomes and to reach the final peak (although by this point the view is already unimaginable), you need to put on a harness and climb the rocks using ropes, which the guide has secured higher up. This all sounds relatively daunting, but in reality it’s just a necessary safety precaution as not one member from our group ever once slipped or needed the rope for support.

It is worth checking the forecast because as we reached the peak of the mountain, the sky had completely clouded over and a storm had begun. Surprisingly we didn’t mind at all, although we missed out on the best view of Rio, the sense of achievement and adrenaline we had from the climb made getting to the top unbelievably satisfying. There was also something incredible about being up in the clouds as a storm was beginning; very atmospheric.

If this sounds like your idea of a good adventure, book a spot on our Pedra da Gavea Hiking Tour.

views of rioThe trail to the summit of Pedra da Gavea is hard going but the views are well worth the climb

WATERFALLS IN TIJUCA FOREST

My friends and I were looking for a trek that we could do on our own, and in Rio’s soaring temperatures it had to be somewhere where we could escape the heat and take a refreshing dip. We found the perfect solution: the waterfalls inside Tijuca Forest.

We were dropped off at the eastern entrance of the rainforest and walked up the hill for about 20 minutes until we reached the first waterfall. As it is the easiest to access, this waterfall is the most popular. With ice-cold water up to your knees and a beautiful cascade in the corner, it is no surprise that this was a favourite spot for local families, with young children splashing about, happy to be out of the sun.

The second waterfall is much larger with waist-high water and an opportunity to fully submerge yourself underneath the falls. Although this trek is doable alone there is a tricky rock to climb over between the two waterfalls, so it might be best to go with someone who has been before or is used to climbing.

For those of you looking for a more comprehensive visit to this vast urban jungle, take a look at our Tijuca Rainforest Jeep Tour.

views of rioParty until the early hours at Alto do Vidigal and you can enjoy watching the sun rise over the city

FAVELA TOP-BARS – AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW

Unbeknownst to me before I arrived, throughout Rio’s city, people have taken advantage of the high vantage point throughout the Favelas and created popular bars and clubs with unparalleled views – they have proven to be the best nights out for me so far.

One of the most famous favela bars is Maze, set on top of the community Tavares Bastos, near Catete. On arrival at the bottom of the hill, you are greeted with either a mini-van which takes large groups up to the club, or a moto-taxi, a motorbike that takes one at a time charging on average five reales. Maze features live music every weekend and hosts a live jazz night once a month. As it’s easy to get lost within the community, staff in high-vis jackets guide you from where you’re dropped off, through the windy streets to the entrance of the club. The real gem however is the ceramic rooftop. As you climb up the spiral staircase you can see the glimmering pieces of ceramic tiles that cover the walls of the terrace. Combined with numerous viewpoints, it gives the impression of being on top of some sort of Gaudian tower.

Alto do Vidigal is a club on top of the pacified favela, Vidigal, and is essentially a bigger version of Maze with possibly an even better view. The key to the best night in these hill-top venues is to embrace your stamina and wait until sunrise as watching the sun come up over the silhouetted city below is the classic end to a fun-filled night.

If you are intrigued about the culture and social intimacy of these communities, book a favela tour here and take a guided tour.

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The more time I spend in Rio the more I realise that the city is more than beautiful beaches, there are endless options for all types of visitor. The friendly cariocas make the experience, they always seem to be willing to give up their time to share their city with us – they seem very proud of it and they should. Follow our blog for more unique and insider experiences in Rio!

By: Lucy Gavan, student of Spanish and Portuguese culture at the University of Bristol in England, currently living in Rio as part of an exchange programme with Rdj4u.

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