We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ultimate Rio Experience

Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
20 posts
Save Topic
Ultimate Rio Experience

Well, this is my first post at TA. I really just joined for the Rio forum to help make my first trip there as fulfilling as possible.

I am 24 years old, born and raised in LA, now a resident of Las Vegas, and traveling to Rio with a friend from March 20-27, and Buenos Aires March 27-30. I like to call myself a fundamentalist bachelor, and am truly going to have a great time with no strings attached. My friend and I wanted to do everything right, so we are staying at the Marina All Suites in Leblon and have already booked 4 nights in Rio with VIP access, private guides, and transportation to the clubs, as well as a private tour of Rio one day, which will hit Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, and I'm sure most of the "tourist must-sees". This plan still leaves us with plenty of unplanned time, so I'm just really seeking suggestions from those who know more than me as to some things I really shouldn't miss.

My friend and I definitely plan on hanging out at the beach frequently, walking the town, and we would like to do some hang gliding and water sports, but other than that, we are both Rio (and South America) virgins and really have no agenda.

We are seasoned travelers and not really cost-conscious about this trip...we have planned for this financially and just want to make it really the ultimate vacation.

I'm going to help out with advice on my home cities, but for right now I guess I'm just mooching...so...any suggestions?

Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
20 posts
Save Reply
21. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

ok...i'm back with a few more questions

1. I understand not to "dress like a tourist", and anyone walking around in hawaiian shirts and fanny packs deserves to be mugged (or at least arrested by the fashion police), but is it OK to wear "designer" clothes? I hardly dress outrageously with jewelry everywhere, but I don't exactly dress in really plain stuff either. For example, my typical summer vacation casual daywear would be something like cargo shorts, a t-shirt or polo, designer shades, my Tag Heuer, and casual sneakers; at night I like slacks/dress jeans and Italian shoes. I know this sounds kind of obnoxious and I'm not trying to come across like some kind of rich jerk, but is it OK to walk around Ipanema in Gucci shades and Tod's or will I stick out like a sore thumb and be a target? This is a serious question, and I would like a real answer and not a debate on the morality of wearing expensive clothes when so much of the world lives in poverty.

2. How difficult is it to ship home/take home agricultural products? My sister is one of those big time natural foods/exotic fruits/eating bark people, and I want to bring her back some dried fruit or nuts or something from the Amazon as a gift. Is this going to be a challenge?

DJ
Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
3,479 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
22. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

Do's and Don't's without the preaching

For example, my typical summer vacation casual daywear would be something like cargo shorts, a t-shirt or polo, designer shades, my Tag Heuer, and casual sneakers;

Skip the tag, buy a cheapo watch or go without.

at night I like slacks/dress jeans and Italian shoes. I know this sounds kind of obnoxious and I'm not trying to come across like some kind of rich jerk, but is it OK to walk around Ipanema in Gucci shades and Tod's or will I stick out like a sore thumb and be a target?

Most criminals won't know Tod's from Converse, name doesn't matter as much as how you act

2. How difficult is it to ship home/take home agricultural products?

Can't do it, wouldn't try it, not worth it.

My sister is one of those big time natural foods/exotic fruits/eating bark people, and I want to bring her back some dried fruit or nuts or something from the Amazon as a gift.

Good for her, bring her some coffee.

Is this going to be a challenge?

Yes,

San Diego...
Level Contributor
1,416 posts
Save Reply
23. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

hardeight, dressing like a touist in rio means the same in las vegas and in the beach areas of california. you can always tell a tourist. you seem to be able to look at the situation and blend in.

you can take most things home in your luggage. don't try to ship or mail anything. ALL packages from brazil go through customs and are opened no mater how you ship them. this can take up to 3 weeks. this is from personal experience.

looking forward to your posts about your trip.

Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
20 posts
Save Reply
24. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

ahh thanks guys...i was just reading some stuff and they made it sound like if you had any kind of label or insignia on your clothes, muggers would swarm on you like flies to you know what

good to know about the shipping...i will bring my collapsible duffel for extra space; i don't buy myself all that much but everyone wants me to bring them something from Brazil, and i'm too nice

speaking of that, the one thing i actually like to buy is something for my house from every place i visit; i.e. vodka from Moscow, knives from Germany, hardwood salad bowls from Costa Rica...what should i look out for in Brazil?

San Diego...
Level Contributor
1,416 posts
Save Reply
25. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

hardeight, there is a hippie faire in impanema at the main square and an art show in copacabana beach almost every night. anything you buy there can be shipped home. i sent alot of things through the post office. everything was opened by customs, but completly resealed. i made the mistake of trying to mail foodstuff,also. even though i used a freight forwarder and paid several hundreds of dollars for next day service, it was held in customs, beef and chicken items removed and then sent on. my brother said the delivery guy held the package as far from him as he could and my brother had him leave it in the trash !!!!!!!

the hippie fare gets very crowded, so watch your pockets. the art show is everynight, so not as crowded.

Rio
Level Contributor
1,500 posts
1 review
Save Reply
26. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

cbp.gov/xp/…agri_prod_inus.xml...............

For the US Customs regs on bringing in foreign items including those on bringing in nuts and fruits see the governements's web page above. Seems like roasted nuts and dried fruit would be okay. You can double check with US Embassy here in RIo ( 3823 2107). Must declare in any event.

As far gifts in general, cangas ( those 4x6' colorful beach wraps) would make nice, easy-travel gifts for your female friends back in Vegas. Good for use at pools. For your home you might consider a stone/crystal bird that are easily found at the hippie fair on Sunday and every single night at the fair along Av Atlantica in Copacabana. You can also find nice granite/stone coasters and ashtrays.

For yourself, or someone special, remember that semi-precious stones like amethyst, tourmaline, topaz, citron etc are native to Brasil. Good jewelry is always a bargain here, but do not buy expensive jewelry items at street fairs. If it is too good to be true, it isn' t. Go to a reputable jeweler.

Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
20 posts
Save Reply
27. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

thanks darmanad...that was really helpful advice

i didn't know that about the gemstones

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
683 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
28. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

Brazil is a major world source for semi-precious and precious gem stones. They really have some great stuff including imperial topaz which is a precious stone and only mined in Brazil. Actually, the US has an agreement for US citizens to bring precious jewels/jewelry from Brazil without paying any import/customs taxes.

Also as darmanad said, it's better to buy the precious stones only from a recognized dealer to make sure you are getting the real thing. There are also plenty of shops around zona sul with the semi-precious or lower quality stuff for sale that is nice.

Another interesting spot for someone that likes stones is one guy who always has a stand at the hippie fair and sells many different types of stones. Very interesting for you geologist types. There are a few stands at the hippie fair that sell geodes which are really cool (but kind of heavy for luggage!).

29. Re: Ultimate Rio Experience

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 4:19 pm, August 23, 2009
Get answers to your questions about Rio de Janeiro