Travel

My Little Rio Vacation

Hello! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

After being away for two weeks enjoying our family vacation through Portugal and Barcelona, we made it to come back  in time to spend Christmas Eve at home.

This year our Christmas celebrations were much quieter than last year’s. My mother is visiting my sister in New York and will be back only in January, so we didn’t have our traditional Christmas lunch on Christmas day at my Mom’s. We just celebrated with my husband’s family and had our Christmas feast at home, only the three of us. It was a simple meal, but with all the economical crisis we “brazilians” are going through and after two weeks indulging in rich meals, “pastéis de Nata” and red wine in Portugal, our Christmas supper were just what we needed.

By the way, we had a wonderful vacation traveling from Lisbon to Porto by car, stopping in some beautiful places and than back to Lisbon to take a flight to Barcelona to spend a weekend. It was our first time in Portugal and we got very well impressed with the beauty of this country. We just felt like home! Being able to communicate in our native language and the warm reception from all the Portuguese we had the chance to meet made all the difference to put this trip on an upper level. Barcelona was also a highlight in our trip. Only three days weren’t enough to see and visit everything  I had planned, specially when you are travelling with a kid. But the little time we had was enough to see the beautiful architecture and some of the most important attractions and to feel the city’s atmosphere, which in a way reminded us a little bit of Rio.

Now we are back in Rio, and it is difficult to get used to the extreme heat we are going through. The temperature easily  reaches 40 Celsius and all this sweating make me feels tired and in no mood to go outside.

We are still planning what to do for New Year’s Eve.  Although we live just a few blocks away from the famous Reveillon party at Copacabana beach, attending Copacabana fireworks is not an option for us. It is too much crowd and we are willing for a peaceful New Year’s celebration.

Wishing all of you a wonderful  New Year’s Eve and that in 2016 we can all renew our hopes for a peaceful and fairer World!!!

 

 

 

 

Why You Need to Visit the Islands of Angra dos Reis (Guest Post by Rdj4u)

We love Rio de Janeiro for its exuberance, lively people and fun but chaotic city life, but, let’s face it, it’s not always relaxing. Luckily the perfect escape lies just a few hours south of Rio: Angra dos Reis and its 365 islands.

This is the ultimate beach escape if you’re looking for quiet tropical islands and undeveloped coastlines. Here are 5 reasons why you need to visit the islands of Angra dos Reis.

  1. Close to Rio

Angra dos Reis, meaning the Bay of Kings, is just 168 km from Rio, along the very scenic BR 101 road which runs along the Costa Verde. The distance makes it doable for a day trip, or a weekend getaway – although you may be tempted to stay longer! To get there, you can book a transfer from Rio to Angra.

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  1. Island Paradise

Did we mention it has 365 islands? That’s right, one for every day of the year. Plus, there are around 2,000 beaches. That means a lot of beach time on idyllic stretches of sand that are significantly less crowded than Copacabana on a sunny Saturday.

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  1. Ilha Grande

The largest island in the bay is Ilha Grande. The island was once a pirate’s lair, before being used as a quarantine for sailors with cholera, then it was turned into a penitentiary for Rio’s most dangerous criminals. These days, its main business is tourism and the preservation of its diverse section of the Atlantic Forest.

Ilha Grande has an incredibly laid-back vibe: there are no roads, and no cars. To get around, you can make use of the endless hiking trails. The last few years have also seen a boom in accommodation. You can now extend your stay on paradise in your choice of hotel, hostel B&B or pousada.

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  1. Outdoor activities

While you have plenty of opportunities to simply laze on one of the many beaches and soak up some sun, there is more to offer if you’re willing to get a bit more active. Ilha Grande offers prime hiking and diving spots off its coast. For snorkelling, head to the second biggest island: Gipóia. Gipóia also has some great beaches for surfing.

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  1. One of the best beaches in the world

Lopes Mendes beach on Ilha Grande frequently makes it onto lists of the best beaches in the world. One look at the fine white sand and aquamarine water will tell you why. You can reach it by hiking from Ilha Grande’s main town Abraão, or hopping on a boat, which will leave you at Praia do Pouso, another beach a short walk away. A tip: take snacks and refreshments with you, because there is only the occasional vendor at this remote spot.

If you don’t have enough time to spend a few days here, don’t leave it off your itinerary! Book a day tour to Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande and spend your day on a classic schooner boat exploring the clear waters and beaches of this beautiful bay.

All photos in this post by Daytours4u

Written by Nicole Eberhard, English Content Editor for Rdj4u.
Rdj4u is a  friendly and professional network for tours & activities in Rio de Janeiro! It is the “carioca”side of Daytours4u . To learn more about RDj4u click here.

5 shocking things about Rio for a foreigner (guest post by Annie Picard)

In the beginning of March, I had the pleasure of meeting Annie Picard, the girl behind the travel blog Annie Anywhere, as I already told you here. In that occasion I invited her to write a guest post for My Little Rio Journal, to share with us a little bit of her impressions of Rio de Janeiro. She kindly accepted and now I am very glad to announce the 5 shocking things about Rio for a foreigner, by Annie Picard!! It is always good to know the point of view of a foreigner about habits that for us are so natural!! Enjoy it!!!

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5 shocking things about Rio for a foreigner

Written by Annie Picard, from Annie Anywhere

To be honest, it wasn’t on my plan to visit Brazil in a near future, but I like to follow where life leads me.

Last summer, I met a Brazilian friend travelling in Montreal, and this gave me the opportunity to visit Rio de Janeiro last March. I like it when life surprise me with beach destination! I could have met someone from Antarctica, you know…

I like to discover cultural differences while traveling. In only 10 days in Rio de Janeiro, a few things shocked me as a foreigner.

1. Don’t touch your food!

In North America, it is really common to eat food with your hands: chicken, fries, fruits, etc. We don’t call some appetizers “finger foods” for nothing. So, when we went out for dinner and I just grabbed a piece of chicken directly with my hand, my friend looked at me like I was a disgusting little kid! I swear my hands were clean but in Rio, you just don’t touch your food. There are napkins on the table for that.

2. The thumbs up

I know the thumbs up sign, but Canadians don’t really use it naturally. In Rio, people use it to say “yes” or “okay” or to confirm anything. For me. it was like giving constant real life Facebook likes!

3. Raise your hand to catch the bus

“I’m at the bus stop, so the bus will stop, right?” Nope. You need to raise your hand to get in the bus. It’s like calling a taxi, but I prefer to see it as “bus flirting”. Manifest your interest to the bus if you want it to pick you up.

4. Constant noise

I haven’t realized how Montreal was calm before going to Rio de Janeiro. How is it even possible to concentrate in this constant noise!? Music, honks, people, motors, street vendors. It just never stops. In a way, it is part of the town’s spirit an I liked it.

5.The bikinis

I already knew about this one since it is common knowledge that Brazilian bikinis are microscopic. Once at the beach, I felt like a prude grandma with my bikini! People of any shapes wore these bikinis. Thumbs up for positive body image!!

All photos on this post by Annie Picard

Annie is the blogger behind Annie Anywhere. Based in Montreal, she explores the world trying to learn new skills and connect with people. Ukulele player, life lover and self-proclaimed professional learner, Annie likes to discover cultural differences and works on her faculty of adaptation. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Florianópolis, my Carnival escape destination!

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Morro da Lagoa

Stand Up Paddle and Kayak at Lagoa da Conceição

Stand Up Paddle and Kayak at Lagoa da Conceição

Kayaking at Lagoa da Conceição

Kayaking at Lagoa da Conceição

Joaquina Beach

Joaquina Beach

Mole Beach

Heavy clouds at Mole Beach

Surfing in a dark afternoon at Mole Beach

Surfer at Mole Beach

Mole Beach and the storm went away

Mole Beach and the storm went away

Clean water and sand at Mole Beach, I found a live shell

Clean water and sand at Mole Beach, I found a live shell

Daniela beach, quiet waters perfect for children

Daniela beach, quiet waters perfect for children

Costão do Santinho beach

Costão do Santinho beach

Costão do Santinho Beach on another cloudy and rainy day

Costão do Santinho Beach on another cloudy and rainy day

A cute turtle in one of the tanks at Projeto Tamar

A cute turtle in one of the tanks at Projeto Tamar

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Barra da Lagoa Beach, a lot of surfers in the water

Sunset at Beira Mar Norte bay

Sunset at Avenida Beira Mar Norte , in the center of Florianópolis

Hercílio Luz Bridge, the most famous postcard of Florianópolis

Hercílio Luz Bridge, the most famous postcard of Florianópolis

I’m sorry to disappoint those who were expecting to see here some pictures of the carnival in Rio. As I told you before, I didn’t spend carnival in Rio! I escaped from blocked streets by “blocos de carnaval”, overcrowded beaches, and the scorching heat of Rio, flying to   Floripa, Florianópolis, in the south of Brazil.

Floripa, Ilha da Magia (Magical Island), as people call it, is one of the places in Brazil that we love to go and where we are always coming back whenever is possible. Although being the capital of Santa Catarina state, it is rather smaller than Rio. Most of the beaches are very well preserved in Floripa Island and the city is perfect for those who want to slow down a little bit and be close to nature.

Although Carnival is not the better time to visit it (the city gets a little crowded and you can hit some traffic to reach the beaches), we decided to spend the 5 days of carnival holidays there. Floripa is a great destination for surfers, as it has some different beaches with good surf conditions, and as my husband loves to surf…..

We stayed in a very simple “Pousada” close to Lagoa de Conceição, for being a good location to move around in the island. We rented a car so we could go to different beaches easily. Well that is a fact, you need a car in Floripa.

Althoug the weather was not so good, it rained a lot, we managed to do a lot of things. My husband surfed, my son played with his body board in the beaches, we went kayaking in Lagoa da Conceição, we visited Projeto Tamar (a visitors centre to make people aware of the importance of preserving Turtles in the coast of Brazil), I finished  the book I was reading and I took many, many photos.

We had a lot of fun and rested our minds from all the rush of our life in Rio.

Now ,as people say, the year only starts after Carnival in Brazil, let’s go back to real life!

Have any of you ever heard of Florianópolis? I would love to know!

It is definitely a worth visiting place in Brazil!!

Carnival Update

Last friday, while thousands were arriving in Rio for carnival holiday, we were leaving, flying to Florianopolis, in the south of Brazil to escape from all the crowds and carnival mess Rio live in those days. In Floripa (a nickname for Florianopolis), although the weather is not so good we are relaxing and enjoying a wonderful time by the beach!
When we’re back I promise to share with you guys some of the photos of this beautiful city!!!

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