Tag Archives: Brazil Travel

Rio’s Slums- the new tourist attraction.

For many years the favelas or slums of Rio de Janeiro were run by drug gangs and were no-go areas for tourists. However, since Rio were confirmed as hosts of the World Cup 2014  and Olympics 2016, the Brazilian government have brought in a huge pacification project to drive drug trafficking out of the favelas and give control back to the local police force,  making them safer places for the community and visitors alike.

The government hope that once the threat of the gangs is taken away and social change projects implemented, the local communities will flourish and they will benefit from the influx of tourism to Brazil after the international events.

View from favela do Vidigal.
View from favela do Vidigal.

The favelas are not without their attractions, set in the hillsides of the city, they boast some of the most incredible views of the city.  Santa Marta, once one of the city’s most dangerous slum and the first favela to become part of the Police Pacification Units, is now held up as a model for other changing favelas. In August 2010 a government project was set up to make the slum a tourist hub and train local people to become guides. A lookout point in the favela, now has a statue and mural of Michael Jackson to celebrate the spot where the 1996 music video ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ was filmed.

Bonito - MS - Foto: Pedro Serra - Leia mais em www.blogsemdestino.com
Michael Jackson mural in Santa Marta
Michael Jackson statue, Santa Marta
Michael Jackson statue, Santa Marta

Only a few steps away is the fantastic cafe Bar do Zequinha (Rua do Mengão), which serves up cheap and tasty fare- make sure you try their speciality  Frango à Passarinho- Fried Chicken with garlic sauce.  In the Praça Cantão (Song Square) weekend concerns and dance parties are held. The local samba school also rehearse here and you can watch them from Bar do João (Rua Jupira), just across the street.

With the success of Santa Marta, many other favelas have followed suit. The now famous Bar do David (Ladeira Ary Barroso), situated in Chapéu Mangueira is a popular place at weekends for locals and tourists alike to sample the signature fish feijoada.

bar-do-david
Bar do David

Similarly the Feijoada do Pituca cafe in neighbouring Babilônia favela, which serves up fantastic feijoada and often has live samba playing, has become popular with tourists taking the now safe nature trail in the area.

Before the pacification projects, only very few tourists visited. Now they are coming in their droves. The local people are not only benefiting financially, but emotionally, they are proud of their culture and community and welcome visitors with open arms.

A NOTE ABOUT VISITING FAVELAS:

While Chimu Adventures fully advocate the pacification of Rio’s favelas, we do recommend taking a few precautions when visiting. It is preferable to visit during daylight hours and seek advice from your hotel or tour guide about travel arrangements.

For more info visit www.chimuadventures.com 

Rio de Janeiro – The hot spots

Rio de Janeiro is the words on everyone’s lips and why not? Its possibly the best city in the world! With stunning beaches, incredible topography and home to some of the most iconic tourist hot spots, Rio de Janeiro is THE PLACE TO BE!

Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

This blog often explores the unsung heroes and hidden gems, but in Rio, one cannot ignore these unmissable highlights.

Christ redeemer

Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer

Rio’s Christ statue is one of the world’s iconic landmarks and no visit to Rio would be complete without a visit. The panoramic views from the top of Corvovado Mountain are out of this world and the enormity of the 30 metre statue has to be seen to be believed. It is well worth booking your trip to visit Christ in advance with Chimu Adventures as the ticket office at the bottom is now closed in order to control the daily visitors. Tickets can be bought online, but you need a CPF number (Brazilian social security) or join the ridiculous queues outside the central tourist office.

Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

Sugarloaf
Sugarloaf

Another un-missable Rio highlight. We recommend visiting in the evening in time for sunset. The views are again, incredible and watching the sun set and then the lights of Rio light up before you is an unforgetable experience. Alternatively you can go early and best the crowds and then visit one of the nearby beaches. There are also a number of hiking routes for the more active.

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach
Ipanema Beach

Rio is the home of many beaches and we fully recommend visiting them all. Each one has its own character, but none like the famous Ipanema beach. This beautiful stretch of sand has long been home to the beautiful people of Rio. It is the perfect place to relax, unwind and indulge in some serious people watching. It is worth bearing in mind that different areas are home to different tribes. Posto nove (Lifeguard post no.9) is the beautiful people hangout. Posto Oito (8) is where the rainbow flags fly and this part of the beach is principally frequented by gay men. Posto sete (7) is more of a family and surfer vibe. It is worth bearing in mind that the water is more polluted around posto dez (10) and also that, at times there are some dangerous rip tides, so keep an eye on the life guard flags and don’t go in alone if you are not a strong swimmer.

MAC- Museu de Arte Contemporânea

Museu de Arte Contemporânea
Museu de Arte Contemporânea

 

MAC- Museu de Arte Contemporânea (Contemporary Art Museum) is housed in one of Rio’s most iconic buildings. The flying saucer like building was designed by one of Brazil’s true greats, Oscar Niemeyer, one of the 20th century’s best architects. Set against the backdrop of Niterói’s hills and with incredible views across the bay to Rio, it’s well worth a visit, even if modern art isn’t your thing.

Jardim Botânico

Botanical Gardens. Credit Aleia_Barbosa_Rodrigues,
Botanical Gardens.
Credit Aleia_Barbosa_Rodrigues,

If the heat of the day gets a bit too much for you, why not escape to Rio’s wonderful Botanical gardens? Originally a plant nursery of Prince Dom João VI, the gardens certainly have a regal feel. With towering Imperial Palm, Orchid and Bromeliad gardens, it is a gardener’s dream. There is also a vast quantity of birdlife and even resident toucans and monkeys.  The main house has now also been restored and plays host to national shows and films. Look out for Q and A sessions from famous Brazilian film-maker Walter Lima Junior.

Visit Rio with Chimu Adventures. Visit www.chimuadventures.com for more information.

Thumb Damage…

Credit AFP
Credit AFP

Rio’s famous Christ Redeemer statue was struck by lightening last Thursday, damaging his right thumb.

Ahead of the World Cup later this year, many have been worried about the damage to the most iconic landmark in Brazil, which is visited by over two million visitors every year. The statue was inaugurated in October 1931 at the top of the Corcovado Mountain and is the worlds largest Art Deco statue.

Officials from the Archdiocese of Rio, who look after the statue have however told the press that repairs will be made very soon.

The statue is hit by lightening on average 3-5 times per year, but last Thursday’s storm had the most strikes since 1999.

We hope Christo is back to his old self soon!