sábado, 21 de junho de 2014

Basic tips to enjoy Rio de Janeiro with your family

Although Rio is surrounded by favelas, the most dangerous things in Rio (believe me) are drivers (car drivers, bike users, motorcycle drivers, bus and so on). When you decide to cross a street in Rio, please, pay attention to ALL directions, even when you are still at the pavements, bikers or motorcycle may come from unexpected directions. Red traffic lights may not be able to stop cars, bus, or moving machines (bikes, skates etc). I know it is a cliché to say: behave like a local, but in Rio behave like a local means "don't take expensive gadgets to the street. Take some money and enjoy the city."

Recommendation for sunny days:
Forte de Copacabana
Forte de Copacabana could be the first place to visit, because it is a beautiful location and you can have an idea of the geografy of Rio, in practical terms. 

You must pay to get into, but it is cheap (around 2 dollars per person, it means  R$6 reais, maybe kids have a discount). It is an army area. There is also an army museum, but you don't need to visit it (if you do you have to pay an extra fee). If the army guys ask anything you say: confeitaria Colombo (it is a café inside the army area, it is famous, lots of people go there. You can have coffee or lunch there, but if you just want to visit, it worth it). You can take your camera and take nice shots. You will see copacabana beach intirely, and if you climb the rock at the end of the place, you can’t miss it, your kids can do it, it is safe, you will see Arpoador, Ipanema and Leblon beaches (the Two brothers hills/Morro Dois Irmãos), and you will also see favelas (and from this distance you can take pictures). Go early or expect a queue.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 20:00. 

Lagoa - lake 
It is a neigbourhood among Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. It is a nice place to have a walk, to enjoy the view, you can take a paddle with your kids at the lake. You can have coconut water, lunch or just hang out. 
if you are in ipanema and want to go to the lake on foot, avoid Rua Texeira de Melo and Farme de Amoedo, there is a favela at the end of the street, (I mean, if you don't know how to behave when you see a favela). To go to the lake, then take Rua Vinicius de Morais. 

Parque Lage (native atlantic rainforest)
Rua Jardim Botânico, 414.
From Copacabana, take a bus (570, 574, 584, 162) at Rua Raul Pompéa.
It is one of my favorite places in Rio. A man built a huge house for his wife, they didn’t have kids, he died, his wife wanted to give the house to a friend, but the government didn’t accept it and the place became public. There is a café within the house. 
Free entry.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 19:00
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 to 17:00 
(during the weekends it is busier, I would go during the week).

Botanic Garden/Jardim Botânico (it is in my 5 top places in Rio).
Bus numbers: 570, 574, 584, 162
From Copacabana take a bus at Rua Raul Pompéa and stop at Jardim Botanico (almost in front of it).
Opening hours: From Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 to 17:00.
Tickets: Adults or kids: R$6,00 and for kids under six years old: free entry
http://www.jbrj.gov.br (although it is in Portuguese, there is a map of the area on the botton page).

The next two places, you may need a car/taxi:
Estrada das Paineiras
It is a road surrounded by forest. We use to go there on weekends to walk, to have a “shower” in some small water falls. 
Opening hours: 8:00 to 17:00. It is better during the weekends.
The best way to get there is by car. 

Floresta da Tijuca
Praça Afonso Viseu, Alto da Boa Vista - Tijuca
It is the biggest urban forest in the world  Besides the paths, there are water falls. It is a good place to visit during the weekend.
The best way to get there is by car. 

Santa Teresa
It is an old area that I like a lot, it a place that you should go during the day and really behave like a local, if you are more cautions tourist. Don’t take anything valuable (apart from money and a credit card), unless you have a Brazilian friend around.
There is a restaurant called Aprazível, it is expensive but the view and the place itself is remarkable. There others restaurants, which are great but simpler.

As you walk along the beach either in copacabana, ipanema or leblon, you will see “Posto”, which is a construction where you can have a shower or go to the toillet, but it is also a reference for orientation. 

It is safe to go swimming at Copacabana Posto 6 (right in front of Francisco Sá street), you can also go to the right where you will see stand up paddle and Forte de Copacabana. Generally it is clean and a family place. It is normal if other kids try to talk to your kids, that is the way we make friends, but keep an eye at you kids because there are too many people sometimes, kids may get lost. If you all want to have a swimming, ask you neighbor to watch your stuff, we all do this. I go often there, but my friends prefer Ipanema.

Do NOT go swimming in front of Othon Hotel in Copacabana. It is a tricky place for bad swimmers or kids (because of “aterro”, which means an embankment). 

Ipanema and Leblon beaches 
The view is wonderful.
Although Posto 8 is known as gay area, everyone is welcome and it is a safe area. 
Posto 9 a casual area (lots of youngs, sometimes they smoke marijuana).
Posto 9 and 1/2, in front of Joana Angelica street, it is a family area (open minded). 
Posto 10 and 11 are also ok, but I don't go there often.

Juice shops
You will see lots of juice’s shops. I drink a lot from their juice and I have never had problem. You will see people drinking açaí. It is a purple drink that I like a lot, made with a fruit (açaí) from the Amazon; try a small one (300ml), ask for “pouco xarope” (it means not too much of a guarana), banana and granola a parte (cereals a side). 

Suggar Loaf Pão de Açúcar (go there before you visit Christ statue, because Christ is much higher).
Av. Pasteur, 520. Urca.
Buses from Copa: 511 , 512.
Bus stop at: Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana.
Opening hours: from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 to 20:00.
Adults: R$62,00
Kids: R$31,00
Kids under 6 years old: free entry. 

Christ statue / Corcovado / Cristo Redentor 
(I would avoid going during the weekends because it may be  too busy, but if it is a sunny day, then it worth it).

From Copacabana to Cristo Redentor (Christ statue)
Bus numbers: 570 or 584
Bus stop from copacabana: at Av. Nossa Senhora de copacabana.
Bus stop at Cosme Velho, where you should buy a ticket and take a train to visit the statue. The trains runs every 30 minutes. After getting out the train, you can either take the stairs or the lift to get on the top. I would take the stairs, it is around 260 steps. It is up to you check with your kids, it they are fit.
ps: sometimes (not often) the service is interrupted because of maintence, without having time to spread the word. Check the website before you go.
Opening hours: from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 to 20:00. 
Adults: R$50,00
Kids (from 6 to 12): R$25,00
Under 6 years old: free entry 

It is a night life area. There are lots of bars and dancing places. One of the most famous is Rio Scenarium, because there are different music ambient. The location is incredible. You must pay an entry to go in (it is not a cheap place).

For not so sunny days or rainning days:
These places are more or less in the same directions but different stops. So you can take these buses: Bus from Copacabana: 127, 128, or take a metro/underground.

Casa Daros (at Botafogo area. You can go by bus from Copacabana, get out one stop after Rio Sul shopping mall, cross the subway and walk three minutes.)
Rua General Severiano 159. Botafogo.
It is an institution created by a swiss lady dedicated to Latin American art.
Opening hours: Wednsday to Saturday, from noon to 20:00, Sunday: from noon to 18:00.
Tickets: R$12,00 (small kids are free).
I heard that on Wednsday it is free entry.

Roxy Cinema
At Rua Bolivar, right on the corner with Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (it reminds me about Victoria Library in Melbourne. It is in the city center). It an institution, there are some free events, restaurants and art. I go often there either by bus or by metro (underground).
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday, from 10:00 to 20:00.
Metro station: stop at Carioca Station and walk 15 minutes to Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.

Museu de Arte do Rio - MAR (it is also in the city center).
Praça Mauá, 5. Centro (city center). Metro station: Carioca + 18 minutes walk.
It is a new musem. I haven’t been, but it looks nice from out side (check on google).
Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00.
Tickets: R$8,00, but Tuesday it is free to all.

Shops, which still sell products NOT made in China:
Boticário (products made with fruits as soaps, shampoo, creams, they are Brazilian made). You can find this shop at Copacabana (Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, almost in front of Roxy cinema). These shop can be found in ipanema and leblon.
Lupo (trifil and sloggi brands are also great): it a shop to buy cotton underwears, shirts and socks, at Rio Sul shopping mall and.
Bumbum (for biquinis, it is a famous brand. There are other shops for biquinis in Copacabana and Ipanema).
Rio in Box (souvinis shop at Copacabana, next to Rua Sousa Lima).

Oskley (it is an expensive shop, but they are cool). You can find them at Rio Sul and Ipanema.
Mercatto (for women cloths, it is not expensive), at Copacabana, Rua Santa Clara, in the direction to the beach, or go to Rio Sul shopping mall. I believe this shop is still producing its own clothes. 

Hortifruti (Grocery shop)
at Rua Siqueira Campos, 74. Copacabana. Rio de Janeiro (it is a good place for buying fruits and veggies).
Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 21:00
Saturday from 8:00 to 20:00
Sunday, from 8:00 to 14:00.

If you feel insecure, keep walking as you know where you are going, or get into a shop, someone will help you. We love visitors and we want them to enjoy the city as much as we do. 

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