I finally got myself a copy of the April issue of New York Magazine which did a 4 pages spread on Rio. I can say for a fact that visiting Rio for a few weeks doesn’t make you an expert and I am sure that if the person writing this had stayed in town a bit longer and really explored; the article would have read a bit differently… offered more useful (and accurate) suggestions etc. If you are thinking of visiting and want the basic facts and tips the NYMag article covers only a fraction of the information you really need, so consider this a more useful guide/ appendage/ correction to their article.
First off, clearly someone from NYMag.com was watching the ‘Rope Walking’ the same day as I was!
Praia do Pepe is in Barra yes its a beautiful beach, and you need a car to get there but be prepared to sit in traffic! The travel time to and from Barra varies depending on time of day, early morning it can take 20 minutes, mid day… you could be sitting in traffic for 2-3 hours! Note: when driving there, keep in mind that you are driving next to a Favella (see below, it is not the safest spot to be stuck in traffic… I have heard horror stories….
Balada Mix has multiple locations, there is one in Leblon and in almost every mall. It is a good spot for a light meal and has the basics you are looking for (salad, sandwiches, juices etc) but I wouldn’t deem it the ‘it’ restaurant to go to. Head over to Quattro Amici Pizzeria if you are looking for a scene.
I agree 100% with the Copacabana overview, it is not safe! Just walking through the other day, I stopped to look at a restaurants menu and a man came up to me and tried to buy me, yea its gross! At night expect to see your fair share of prostitutes (FYI a lot of them are transvestites so watch out boys!!); if you are a girl reading this, I wouldn’t recommend walking around alone at night in Copa, if you are going to find trouble in Rio it will be over there. During the day it is very ‘seedy’ area and mostly tourists, you won’t see any Carioca’s there.
I must say I was surprised that the article dedicated a whole page to Downtown and Saara, if you are only visiting Rio for a short period of time, skip this area, personally I hope I don’t have to go back! Is Rio safe? Well that all depends on where you go and how you carry yourself. This article failed to mention taking caution while visiting. Tips: Leave your jewelry and designer bags at home! If you don’t draw attention to yourself in that way you will be better off. I must admit I have mixed feelings on this, as I am living there and have becoming quite comfortable but have also heard some recent scary experiences that have happened to friends of mine including being held at gun point, robbed etc. My advice, don’t draw unneeded attention to yourself and stay on the busier streets.
Botecos (bars) for drinks and snacks, there was a typo in the NY Mag article, the snacks are called Petiscos (with a P). Pronunciation is important in Rio, if you even ask for something and pronounce it slightly off, they will just stare at you confused and then move to the next person.
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