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.

“Very good, with a few reservations”

Luis Darin Tour Guide In Rio
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
6-Hour Rio Highlights Private Tour With Pickup...
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Flexibility is the key word on the tailor made tours I provide. I’ll help you to create your own tour itinerary, so you can see the places you want, the way you want to see them.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed February 9, 2014

OK, some background about me. I have been to Brazil several times and lived in São Paulo in the past. This was the first time my partner and I had visited Rio. I will start with a couple of general questions I would have liked to be answered before we visited Rio.

1. I heard Rio is dangerous. Do I need a guide?
No. Rio used to be dangerous, but security nowadays isn't much different to other major cities.

2. OK, so I don't need a guide. Do I want one?
Depends. If you only want to see Pão de Açucar, Corcovado and other major central attractions then no. It is very easy to see these places by yourself, and you don't have to pay a guide to stand and wait for you for the several hours you will spend there. If, however, you wish to see other less well known but worthwhile places that are difficult to get to or far away (e.g. Niteroi) then a guide makes sense. Also, if you value comfort, then travelling in the guide's air-conditioned vehicle makes everything a bit more enjoyable, especially in the summer.

Now a bit about Luis. Unlike many Brazilians, Luis can speak very good English, he does what he says he's going to do, and he shows up on time. All great plus points for a private tour guide. He is a Carioca, and like most, he is passionate about his city. He has considerable knowledge about Rio, and is happy to share it with you.

Bear in mind, however, that it is extremely difficult to become true friends with a Brazilian. I mention this because, to many Brazilians, anyone who is not a friend is a potential target, tourists especially so. To Luis, and any other private guide in Rio, you are their client, not their friend. Where this was made absolutely clear to me was in the payment method. Luis prefers payment in US$ cash. If, like me, you don't have any, you can pay in Brazilian Reais, but at a cripplingly bad fictional exchange rate given to you by a website seemingly set up just for this purpose. This left a bad taste in our mouths and cast a shadow over what was otherwise an excellent experience.

Luis is certainly a knowledgeable and passionate guide, our tour was diverse and covered many parts of the city which we would never have seen otherwise. Just remember to bring enough US$ cash to pay him, otherwise you will leave with the same sense of being fleeced as we did.

1  Thank paultakata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
localtourguide_rio, Owner at Luis Darin Tour Guide In Rio, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2014

Hi Paultakata,

I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed your tour. Taking people to places off the beaten path is my specialty and I really enjoy showing the parts of Rio that are not listed on guidebooks.

I truly apologize but I must disagree when you say that it is hard to become friends with a Brazilian. Brazilian people are very happy, friendly and easy going. All of my tours however are conducted on a professional manner and I’m afraid you might have misinterpreted that. Many of my past clients have become my personal friends and some of them where even invited to stay in my house as guests when they have returned to Brazil.

By no means whatsoever I see my clients as targets. All of my clients are treated in the same respectful way and I have never taken advantage of any tourist. I take that very seriously.

We have 3 different exchange rates in Brazil;
Commercial, witch today is at 2.40, and it is used mostly for international business transactions.
Tourism, witch today is at 2.48, and it is used by credit card companies to charge Brazilian citizens for their international credit card transactions.
Paralelo, witch today is at 2.56, and it is used by the exchange places to sell foreign currency to Brazilian citizens.

Since I quote my prices in USDs, I use the Paralelo exchange rate whenever a client wants to pay me in BRLs simply because that is how much I’ll have to pay the exchange place to purchase the American currency. Besides that, I always send the link to the exchange rate website to all clients ahead of time and never surprise clients with a fictional rate.

I have however taken your comment into account and will implement soon an alternative way to receive payments in BRLs.

Warm regards from Rio de Janeiro.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (538)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"farmers market"
in 23 reviews
"botanical gardens"
in 39 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 32 reviews
"christ the redeemer"
in 52 reviews
"contemporary art museum"
in 7 reviews
"home city"
in 8 reviews
"great guide"
in 25 reviews
in 9 reviews
"kilo restaurant"
in 5 reviews
"hang gliders"
in 7 reviews
"santa teresa"
in 22 reviews
"full day tour"
in 15 reviews
in 5 reviews
"speaks fluent"
in 5 reviews
"beautiful city"
in 14 reviews
"sugar loaf"
in 24 reviews
"major attractions"
in 5 reviews

292 - 296 of 538 reviews

Reviewed January 30, 2014

On January 6th, Luis picked us up at our hotel on Copacabana Beach right on time. We were a group of 4 who were flying out very late that night so while we were communicating by email, Luis had suggested getting a larger vehicle and taking our luggage with us, then drop us directly at the airport. We had asked if we could start the tour day late so we wouldn't have to spend so much time waiting at the airport and he was willing to do that.

Our group was 4 seniors (2 couples) with one who was unable to do much walking but we of course wanted a good tour of Rio. We liked that Luis was flexible and adapted our tour so those of us who wanted to get out and walk could, and then found interesting resting spots for those who weren't up to it.

We enjoyed many beautiful sights while touring the hills around the city that aren't part of most tours. One must was to see Christ the Redeemer but we weren't up to the long wait in the unusually hot weather. We were able to see spectacular views of it while touring and that worked for us. We saw the beaches, the city, the place where Carnival takes place then had a visit to the Botanical Gardens which were much more interesting because of Luis' extensive knowledge. I told him that we wanted to have a leisurely lunch at a special place that wasn't touristy. He took us to Confeitario Colombo which was in an elegant old building. We had a delicious lunch while he entertained us with stories of its fabulous past.

In summary Luis is highly educated, flexible, speaks excellent English and has a great sense of humor. His love and knowledge of Rio is infectious and greatly enhanced our day. I can't recommend him highly enough!

Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2014

My wife and I had a fantastic day in Rio with Luis. He was prompt, friendly, extremely knowledgeable (on a diverse range of subjects including attractions, history, culture, flora and fauna) and prompt. He was also very flexible and good at reading what in particular we were interested in seeing and hearing about. Would definitely recommend

Thank Shanit B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

In December my partner and I had only one day to explore Rio before starting a 20 day cruise.
I had found Luis online and he is very punctual about corresponding and answering questions.
His suggestion regarding starting early 7:00am to avoid the crowds up at Cornovado is
"Bang on". This gave us so much more time for the remainder of the day.
His love of his city and country and the knowledge that he shares made Rio a hi light of our
South American holiday.
Do yourself a favor "BOOK WITH LUIS"

Thank Bernice H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We were lucky to get Luis at late notice - due to another cancellation. (Be smarter than we were and book in advance!) On just a single day tour, Luis helped us (a middle-aged, active couple) to see more than just the main attractions. His English is very sound. He kept to schedule well without rushing or appearing bored. He obviously has a passion for his city and surrounds. He regaled us with fascinating Brazilian history and interesting, if lesser-known facts. He also seems to have an appreciation for overseas travel, different cultures and a wide array of interests. Overall, he delivered on what we had asked for.

Thank Malcolm L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Luis Darin Tour Guide In Rio also viewed


Been to Luis Darin Tour Guide In Rio? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing