Archive for the ‘Places to visit’ Category

Brasília to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

March 12, 2010

Catedral Metropolitana de Brasília

Yesterday Brasília, the capital of Brazil, announced the attractions for the party celebrating its 50th anniversary on April 21.

Disney World characters will parade on Eixo Monumental at 10:30 a.m. Concerts at Esplanada dos Ministérios will start at 6 p.m. and feature Brazilian artists NX Zero, Para lamas do Sucesso, Luan Santana, Daniela Mercury, Bruno and Marrone.

In order to fully enjoy all Brasília has to offer, you must not think of the city as an image of corruption, and discover every good thing this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer. Be sure to see the amazing plan and architecture by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, check out the bars and restaurants, and visit the surrounding cerrado, home to Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks, also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of Brasília’s top attractions, won’t be fully renovated by anniversary day. Work should be concluded by June. However, according to recent reports in Brazil media, the cathedral will be opened for anniversary day celebrations.

For accommodations, visit RentInRio.com

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For the Best of Rio’s Nightlife, Head to Lapa

February 8, 2010

Lapa Breaks Through

In recent years, Lapa has exploded as the hip place to go for vibrant nightlife. On either end of the Lapa night scene are unique nightclubs, Carioca de Gema and Rio Scenarium. Carioca de Gema is a renaissance of the downtown of Rio in one of its hippest posts. In these clubs, 19th and 18th century architecture meets Rio’s cool, artsy crowd. The streets are lined with sidewalk cafes where cariocas gather for hours to indulge in chi chi chi (banter and chatter). The district’s street parties are among the most famous of Rio’s party attractions, and crowds gather in droves Thursday through Saturday from around 10 am until 4 or 5 pm as a celebration of what it is to be a carioca. Partiers will wander from street bar to street bar, enjoying the music and the unique vibes of the city. Between the clubs and the street parties, the district comes alive with thousands of Generation X cariocas out for a good time, a couple of caipirinhas, and a lot of paquera (flirting). You’ll find all sorts of entertainment lining the streets—from rock bands and hip hop to samba circles, the parties encompass all aspects of carioca culture. Cariocas recognize Lapa as the site where samba was reborn. Away from the often jading middle-class nightlife, the streets of Lapa come alive with music of local musicians who have resurrected a lost art.

Lapa Aqueduct

“When the people rent my apartments ask where to head for nightlife I always tell them: On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays it’s Lapa,” says Dan Babush, President of RentinRio.com. “There’s something with great music for everyone—from Gen X to Gen Y to Boomers. A couple of caipirinhas and you samba without a care and everyone will be teaching you new steps.”

“Rio Scenarium is particularly interesting,” says Dan, “as it is loaded with old antiques that are not for sale, paintings from years before, and three floors where you can wander around amazing artifacts from Rio’s past, along with one of the best samba scenes in Rio.”

Ideally, Lapa deserves three nights: One night for the Rio Scenarium area; one night for Deco do Rato, an area which is excellent to bop around (have the taxi drop you in front of Theatro Odisséia); and one night for Lapa 40° on Rua do Riachuelo, the hot new place for samba. Rio Scenarium is a great place for Boomers and Gen Xers to experience samba. Next door to Rio Scenarium is Santo Scenarium, a more Gen X and Gen Y club that plays less samba and has more of a new beat. Boomers will also like Estrela da Lapa and Carioca da Gema—but there is something for everyone in Lapa and it will take no time to find it.

Chris Nogueiro, writer of Rio for Partiers, says, “Lapa is something that happened out of nowhere. Out of a completely dead area and dead scene grew a particularly hot expression of Rio’s carefree way of being. And it stuck. Lapa is on its way towards being a world-class nightspot area.”

A Hidden Historical Haven

Among all the vibrant neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Lapa has held on to an aura of historical soul and the vibrant spontaneity of parties untouched by commercial tourism. One of the hidden treasures of a Brazil, Lapa is a small, gorgeous district once known as the “Montmartre of the Tropics.” The town is centered on the Largo da Lapa, a picturesque plaza of architecture which barely survived centuries of intermittent periods of progress and civil unrest. One of Lapa’s most famous attractions is the Carioca aqueduct, also known as the Arcos da Lapa, a remarkable structure built in the mid-18th century by colonial authorities. Since the end of the 19th century, the aqueduct has served as a bridge for a tram that connects the city center with the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Another famous historical site is the Passeio Público, Brazil’s oldest public park. Built in 1779 to glorify the new colonial capital, the park is also one of the oldest public parks in the Americas. During the 20th century, the whole historical center of Rio—including the Passeio Público —fell into decay. In 2001 the city’s municipal government began a project to renovate the park and restore its historic beauty.

There’s little to recommend in Lapa during the day, except for the Escada de Selaron and the antique stores on the Rio de Lavradio (great turn-of-the-20th century antiques at really low prices can be found there). When the party dies down, visitors can walk to the Lapa staircase (Escada Selaron) and view the work of Chilean painter Selaron. Since 1983, when the 215 steps were covered in blue, green and yellow tiles (the colors of the Brazilian flag), the artist has constantly changed them to include contributions from more than 60 countries around the world. Selaron calls the stairway his “great madness” and claims he will never stop working on it until the day he dies.

-Jennifer Bunin

Sommerfest in Blumenau

January 15, 2010

Sommerfest

Each summer Santa Catarina hosts Sommerfest, one of the season’s partying highlights. This summer version of Oktoberfest Blumenau has traditional Oktoberfest nights throughout the season. These nighttime extravaganzas feature beer from local microbreweries, typical food and oompa music. Many of the partygoers who attend Oktoberfest nights and Sommerfest are vacationers at nearby beaches such as Balneário Camboriú, which is less than 40 miles away.

Oktoberfest Nights in Sommerfest Blumenau:

When: Jan.14, 21, 28 and Feb.4 & 11, 2010 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Where: Parque Vila Germânica, Blumenau – SC
Tickets: R$4/ R$2 if you wear traditional German clothes

Exploring Favelas: What You Need to Know

January 8, 2010

Rocinha Favela

Curious about visiting Rio de Janeiro’s famous (or infamous) slums, known as favelas? In recent years Slum Tourism has its place in travel for the voyeuristicly curious, partially sparked by films such as “City of God” and “Slumdog Millionaire”. While it’s a controversial alternative to staying within the tourist center of Rio, there are some safe and creative partnerships that bring business and business opportunities to people living in the slums while also giving tourists a chance to see another side of Rio.

What to expect

There are 750 or so separate favelas surrounding the city that house around 20 per cent of Rio’s population. Most inhabitants are poor – many work in the city as cleaners or builders or bellboys for Brazil’s tiny minimum wage and a lot are unemployed.

Some of the bigger favelas now have a main road, working shops and occasional rubbish collection. But the majority are simply collections of shack-like houses built by the inhabitants, who add another floor every time a family member gets married.

The stark contrast of wealth in Rio is especially visible when visiting the favela of Rocinha. Next to the favela is Rio’s wealthiest residential area, Gavea. Electric fences and security cameras protect the gorgeous houses and immaculate gardens.

Taking a closer look…

Favelas are blamed as the source of the city’s reputation for violent crime—but there is another way to look at them. On a safe tour, you’ll see how, despite the lack of official legitimacy, the local communities work as efficiently and strictly as those in the city centre. It true that he leaders are the drug barons, but they are often far less tolerant of petty criminals within the community. In Rocinha, there is a small bank which two military policemen once attempted to rob. They were caught and thrown out on the orders of the drug lords. It’s just another example of how a closer look at life in Rio reveals how things are not always what they seem.

Favela tours

Rocinha

Favela Tour offers twice daily minibus tours to the large favela of Rocinha and the smaller nearby community of Vila Canoas. Three-hour tours are in English or in other languages by arrangement and are run by knowledgeable guides. You and your camera will be perfectly safe, and you’ll have the opportunity to buy original paintings, jewelry and crafts produced by residents of the favelas, some of whom are undertaking courses as part of social welfare projects. One such project, Para Ti, provides extra schooling and support for children living in the favela of Vila Canoas. Other projects help residents use recyclable material to create useful or beautiful objects – bags and belts made from ring-pulls off drinks cans, for example.

For information on vacation rentals, contact Rent in Rio.

Rio Carnival Parade Prices

December 4, 2009

Planning on taking your dream vacation to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival? Are you wondering how much it’s going to cost you to attend the Carnival Parade? On Tuesday, December 1, LIESA, the Independent Samba School League, accepted reservations for Carnival 2010 runway boxes, ranging from about US$1000 to US$3,800 for a box with six seats.

LIESA samba schools form the Special Group. Ticket reservation requests for mezzanine boxes and runway boxes must be submitted by fax. On Dec.18, runway box hopefuls who were selected first-come, first-serve will be notified and will then make their payment at a spot designated by LIESA.

If you’re got a travel agent taking care of your Rio Carnival 2010 tickets, a partner agency in Rio possibly took care of reservations for you today. If you’re curious as to how much LIESA tickets cost when bought straight from the source, go to the LIESA website and click on “Ingressos” on the menu to the left. All ticket prices have been posted now: mezzanine boxes (camarotes, runway boxes (frisas), individual seats (cadeiras) and bleachers (arquibancadas).

The next reservation dates, to be announced, will be for individual seats and bleachers; reservations will be submitted by phone. According to LIESA, those dates will be in the first half of January.

For Carnival accommodations, visit RentInRio.com.

Brazil to Become Top Property Market

December 4, 2009

Brazil is set to become one of the hottest property markets of 2010. As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, Brazil has seen a large increase in Foreign Direct Investment. With the country set to host the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, there will be improvements in infrastructure and huge growth in the construction industry.

Foreign investors are flocking to Brazil to view prime properties with world class views, snatching up real estate in anticipation of future capital growth.

Brazil Property Specialist, Colordarcy have seen Brazilian property enquiries increase by 60%, since the Olympic announcement. The company has responded by launching a consultancy service to help clients to source the best real estate deals in Rio de Janeiro.

Loxley McKenzie, Chief Executive at Colordarcy – is predicting an annual increase of 20% per year until 2016.

Mortgages will soon be available to international buyers and this will create a further boost to Brazil’s property market.

Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs believes that Brazil’s economic growth could outstrip that of the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations over the next few years.

Brazil’s economy is widely expected to become the fifth largest in the world by the time the Olympic Games kicks off in 2016, and yet property and land prices still remain a fraction of those found in more developed nations.

The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has already pledged to spend up to £11.5bn ($17.4bn) on building a million new homes in Brazil between now and 2011.

If you are looking to visit or relocate to Rio, RentinRio.com represents Rio de Janeiro’s highest quality apartments, flats, penthouses, and hotels.

Hot Spots: Olinda, Brazil

December 3, 2009

Olinda, located a mere 6 kilometers north of Recife’s old town, offers tourists yet another opportunity to experience Brazil’s wide array of lively culture, exciting nightlife, and first-class restaurants. Olinda is considered to be the birthplace of Brazilian culture; it is almost literally a living museum that showcases the culture and history of this amazing country. Olinda’s colonial buildings are one of the best preserved collection of Portuguese architecture that exist in Brazil which is as large as the continental United States. At Carnaval, people dance in these colonial streets as they did 150 years ago an no one knows who is who for the masks that cover everyone’s faces. It is only DNA testing that can resolve who are the parents of Carnaval babies.

Hot Spots: Recife, Brazil

November 20, 2009

The Fastest Changing City in the Northeast State of Pernambuco

Often called the ‘Venice of Brazil,’ (I would like to know who in the world applied this non-sequitor to any place in Brazil) the breathtaking city of Recife still retains some of its Old World charm amidst all of the modernity of its high growth posture of the last years. The city is known for its artistic and folkloric traditions, music, dance, sculptures and paintings and I took the trouble of carrying so many of these back so that I still have them to enjoy and they are really different from any for vacation rental line those beaches and are generally of a higher standard than those of Rio.

When you decide to take a break from the wonderful yet over stimulating downtown Recife experience, you must visit the leafy suburbs which lie north of the center and which are dotted with fantastic museums and parks. To the south there is the modern beachside district of Boa Viagem. Other beaches are conveniently located both north and south of the city. Recife also offers animated, exciting nightlife which one would expect from a city of nearly two million. Boa Viagem has many bars, discos and dance halls. Forró, a local music expression, is an experience not to be missed and can be seen at Boa Viagem square or at Pavao Leao street. Boa Viagem is a safe and relaxed place, largely frequented by tourists (except on weekends, when the beach is thronged by attractive, interesting locals). The liveliest district is the Recife Island at the old town where you are guaranteed to have a good time. For those bar connoisseurs, definitely take a visit Rua do Apolo and its unique array of bars. Recife also offers excellent opportunities for shopping. From traditional handicrafts to modern conveniences, visitors can buy all of these and more at the many markets and malls around the city. The Casa de Cultura, a former prison that now houses handicraft and souvenir shops, is as enticing as it’s origin is bizarre.

If Recife has left you with remaining energy, put your feet to good use and take a walking tour of the city’s ancient monuments. There is no better way to see them. I met a friend on the beach who invited me up to his family home were they lavished me in all kinds of northeastern recipes, literally waved palm fronds over me while I was eating, were super anxious for me to try out every last kind of alcoholic beverage native to the area, and still write to me these many years later. Their sense of humor is not to be beat.

Contact Rent in Rio today for Rio de Janeiro’s Highest Quality Apartments, Flats, Penthouses, and Hotels.

Hot Spots: São Paulo, Brazil

November 13, 2009

brazil_sao_paulo_city_pracabandeira_south_americaSão Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the chosen base for nearly 75% of all fairs and conventions held in the country. It is known throughout the country as the “business capital” and although this is technically a well-deserved title, it does not reveal all of the wonders that this great metropolis has to offer. São Paulo is known for its restaurants, intense nightlife, and busy artistic calendar. From the bar on the corner to the most refined restaurant in the Jardins districts, from the snack served over the counter to the famous pastas in Italian cantinas, from the hot dog to the most varied international menus – culinary options in São Paulo are varied, unbiased and completely cosmopolitan. As a starting point for your visit to São Paulo, there’s no place better than Paulista Avenue, one of the city’s famous landmarks. Home to nearly 30% of the São Paulo financial centre, it is one of the districts most loved by its residents. When it comes to entertainment and art, the city of São Paulo never fails to impress. It has nearly 300 cinemas, more than 100 theatres, a dozen cultural centers and 70 museums, and many diverse historical buildings. There are also theme parks, countless leisure areas, and two large stadiums. For those tourists who bring their need for speed on vacation, São Paulo also has the Interlagos Speedway, home of the city’s Formula 1 Grand Prix. In a city this size, shopping is not only part of the itinerary, but also one of the main attractions. With its countless shopping malls, streets with specialized commerce and arts and crafts fairs, the city guarantees options to suit every taste.

Hot Spots: Boca de Valeria, Brazil: A Coboclo Experience

October 30, 2009

Boca de ValeriaBocadeValeria1bocadevaleria2This beautiful city is an entrance to the Valeria River and located on the south bank on a 400 foot hill overlooking the Amazon. Boca de Valeria, literally the “mouth” of the Valeria River, is a colorful Caboclo (a word meaning person of mixed Brazilian Indian and European ancestry) village consisting of a few wooden houses and an abundance of local wildlife, including monkeys, birds and several varieties of Amazon type plants. If you are visiting Boca de Valeria as a stop on your cruise itinerary, you will have the unique experience of having canoes, manned by the local inhabitants, greet you in the River’s waters. Since it is not possible to go ashore, your ship’s tender (a small boat used to service a larger ship) will take you as close as possible, where you can observe the very different life of an Amazonian up close and barter for local crafts (most of them worthwhile). If you have ever played the computer game “Amazon Trail” you have a (virtual) idea of what this experience is like! Be prepared to feel less like a tourist and more like a good-intentioned conquistador. Truly another world, this tiny Indian village is hidden within jungle lakelands where the screeches of colorful parrots fill the air and will drown out all of the anxieties that you left at home. All around you the trees stand waist high in an awesome display of what we will probably lose to global warming.