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Trip Review! :)

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California
posts: 300
reviews: 1
Trip Review! :)

We were in RIO from Dec. 14-23rd. We stayed at the Best Western Sol Ipanema in Ipanema right across the street from Posto 9. We loved our hotel. There was a great breakfast buffet every morning which we took advantage of. The front desk reps were very friendly and 3 spoke perfect English. We took advantage of the air conditioning, the rooms were humid as well, air conditioning made it breathable. The hotel rents towels, chairs, and umbrellas, which we took advantage of.

Posto 9 beach is definitely where everyone goes. You could fill a stadium with how many people were there, it was crazy! Many food and drink vendors on the beach. Even cotton candy, my favorite. The boyfriend was very pleasantly suprised to learn that Brazilian girls wear thong bikinis. This is probably why he wanted to go to the beach everyday!

I gathered that Ipanema seems to be where the beach action is. Ipanema is also where a lot of the great shopping is. Ladies, you would love the shopping down there! Leblon seems to be more of where the bars and enertainment is.

We had no trouble walking at night. We did not get robbed. We made a few brazilian friends that helped us with our Portugese. We also purchased a little translation book for tourists at a book store. I would definitely recommend learning as much as the language as you can. I gathered that you are looked down upon if you can not say simple words or understand simple phrases. It also makes your trip more enjoyable, the people down there are great.

The food, amazing! We ate very good. We ate at Marquis one night (the seafood one) and it was very good. It's pricey, but if you love seafood, it is a must do. Porcao was also great. It is a meat rodizio with a buffet. It's pricey and we learned that Carretao is the exact same thing, just as good, at half the price. We at there 3 nights I believe. We had sushi at Dombri Edo (in the Everest Rio hotel). It was great sushi but not abundant on rolls. We learned that the California roll is not eel, but has mango in it, still very good. We ate at Margetto (I could be completely wrong on that name) in Leblon. It is a great little Italian restaurant. Very nice and reasonably priced. We also ate at Guapo Loco one night, which was okay. Bar de Betto has very good pizza and many other dishes. We also tried Polis Sucos. Juice bars are everywhere! We had the Tangerine and Watermelon, both very good. Grato de Ipanema was great. They have a specialty dish where you kind of cook your own meat, which was fantastic.

Brahma (Chopp) is definitely the best beer down there. The famous Brazilian drink (Ciprianna?) is perhaps the strongest drink I have ever triend, still very good though. We had fun bar hopping a night or two. We didn't do much night life. We visted Discoteca Help one night. We came home alone, as planned, haha, but wanted to experience it. We had a great time getting to know people and dancing.

We decided not to go on the Angra do Reis tour. We learned upon arrival that it was a 3 hour drive there and back. After flying almost 15 hours, NO WAY! We opted for a Favella tour instead with Marcelo Armstrong. Favella tours are looked down upon by the locals, we learned this fast. We are still very happy we did this. It was great just seeing how things have improved by hearing stories of comparison. It seems that many kids are now continuing their education to a later age because of the resources they have been given. We were driven to help and are still thinking of ways. It seemed that there is a lack of Portugese children books and I plan on purchasing some for our next trip, as well as some toys. We also did the Tijuacu jeep tour. The views were amazing and it was definitely an experience. We took a short (15 minutes) hike to a cave. We visited the Hippie Fair also. A lot of neat things to be found. We bought a beautiful painting of RIO.

We absolutely loved RIO. We are already planning our next trip for Carnival 2008 and plan to try to get our families to come with. We figure its enough time to really learn the language, which is a necessity. I cannot say enough about RIO, it is a place like no other, words cannot describe. We would love to move to RIO one day and are already planning how to do that.

I'm sure I have forgetten some things. I have to run off to work, but I will add if I think of anything else :)

Toronto, Canada
posts: 293
reviews: 64
1. Re: Trip Review! :)

Yay! I am so glad to hear that you had a fabulous time! My boyfriend and I finally booked our tickets a few weeks ago so we are starting to get super excited (We will be arriving int Sao Paulo April 12, and flying out of Rio on April 23 - possibly stopping in either Ihlabela, Paraty or Ihla Grande in between)

We bought a Learn Basic Portuguese CD to try and pick up some basics, so hopefully we will be able to retain some of it once we get there!

What was the approx prices that you spent in some of the above restuarants? Did you take many taxis? How did you find them price wise and were you able to communicate where you wanted to go easily?

NYC
posts: 3,420
reviews: 11
2. Re: Trip Review! :)

Yaaay! I've been waiting for this trip report. That's really cool that it effected you profoundly as it did; and that there were no "incidents" to speak of. After my 2nd trip I started taking Portuguese classes at the United Nations; not the easiest language to master. But it made a world of difference when I returned.

Caipirinhas are fabulous; I'll never forget my first. My friend warned me how strong they were. I was all.."Oh! please I was raised by alcoholics". Fast forward about an hour and half and said friend was carrying my puking a** off the beach. Eventually you develop a tolerance.

My next trip is on the 25th...29 days and counting.

Princeton, New...
posts: 3,629
reviews: 55
3. Re: Trip Review! :)

Hey, this was a great report, showing that people can see and do what they want to and return unscathed. Thank you for promoting the reality of visiting Rio. While HELP is a hole, it's worth a visit, although I am not able to convince my wife to visit it with me.

Glad to hear you enjoyed yourselves, Cbcito, have a good time. When do you go again? I'll be in Rio the end of March. Anyone want to meet for a TA happy hour?

Houston-Lisbon-Rio...
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
posts: 1,019
reviews: 13
4. Re: Trip Review! :)

Greetings,

Thank you for the wonderful trip report!

I am very pleased that your Rio adventure turned out so well. Most travellers to Brasil have similarly positive experiences, but it is always great to have a first-person account of a great trip to Rio de Janeiro.

I, too, will be attending Carnival 2008. I am already making all of the arrangements and hope to be able march in the parade with one of the Samba schools. Maybe I will run into you and your family.

Safe travels and Happy New Year!

George B.

California
posts: 300
reviews: 1
5. Re: Trip Review! :)

Azeret-

Porcao was a little more expensive. Not worth it, just go to the other restaurant I stated. Maruis was about 70 dollars per person, expensive, but worth it if you love seafood. The rest of the restaurants were pretty well priced. I think about 120-150 reals for two. We took taxis if we didn't feel like walking. We walked to Copocabana and Leblon a few times though, not a bad walk. We stuffed the money into my bra and carried a "fake wallet", which was never needed. Taxis do rip you off I think. Everytime we got in the driver would set it to the night rate I believe. It was probably because he knows we aren't fluent and couldn't communicate with him. We kept our hotels card on us and gave them that when we were returning. When we were going somewhere, we'd write down the address and give it to the taxi driver. If you learn the language, I guarantee your trip will be twice as fun!

All in all it was one of my best vacations yet. I'd love to meet up with some of you at Carnival in 2008. Hopefully we will all be fluent and can speak Portugese!

Oh, the thing I found incredibly enertaining about RIO, cheese. RIO LOOOVES their cheese! Fried cheese everywhere. Hamburgers stuffed with cheese. Hot Cheese Sandwiches (grilled cheese) with 50 slices of cheese. Cheese on popsicle sticks on the beach. Steak with cheese rubbed on it or stuffed with cheese. Huge pinwheels of cheese at buffets. My boyfriend actually thought it was fruit because there was so much. We get back to the table and I say, "Why do you have so much cheese?" to which he replies, "I thought it was mango or some type of fruit" haha. Brazilians girls must have such large booty's because they are incredibly constipated ;-)

By the way, what is Globo? We got some on the beach from a vendor just because it seemed like it was a big thing down there. Just wondering what it is that we ate? haha

Houston, Texas
posts: 681
reviews: 12
6. Re: Trip Review! :)

klover, Great to see your trip report and that you had a great time. I think you have done as much or more research on TA than anyone I can remember in the past. Anything that surprised you or wasn't what you thought it would be after checking out TA?

On the taxis, the taximeter is placed on bandeira 2 in all taxis throughout the month of December. It is what they consider as their 13th salary which is part of all permanent employee's compensation by law. Basically all Brasilian employees receive an additional month's salary at the end of the year. So don't feel bad as the taxi drivers weren't trying to take advantage.

new york, ny
posts: 34
reviews: 11
7. Re: Trip Review! :)

Wow, it seems like you trip was very exciting. I also just came back from Rio on the 15th. I also had fun. It sounds liek you may had a little more. LOL!! Anyway, I also have a questiion about the Globo. I never purchased it, but they were also selling it so much on the beach I never knew what it was.

Houston, Texas
posts: 681
reviews: 12
8. Re: Trip Review! :)

DJ,

I could be up for a TA get together. I'll be back in Rio by 8 Jan.

9. Re: Trip Review! :)

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Boston, MA...
posts: 179
10. Re: Trip Review! :)

klover-

So glad to hear your trip went so well.

Since you mentioned children's books, I wanted to tell you about this wonderful Brazilian woman I encountered here in the U.S. who started an organization to send regular shipments of kids books to some locations in Brazil. She needs all the help she can get. The website is;

http://www.booksforbrazil.org/index.html