A little homework can save you some money
It's always a good idea to findout, in advance, how much you should expect to pay for your taxi ride from an airport to your hotel. The hotel would be the best place to ask this question if you are not able to get the information through the virtualtourist site.
It's also a good idea to ask the driver about the cost of the ride before getting into the taxi. Otherwise, you might end up paying for the ride, driver's lunch, and his daughter's new clothes. :)
On the day of my arrival in Rio, a taxi driver approached to me at the airport and tried to rip me off by offering a price 6 times more than what it normally costs to get to my hotel. He told me R$300 to get to the hotel in Leblon when it should only cost around R$50. That was ridiculous.
Fotunately, I had done my homework prior to arriving in Rio and knew exactly how much it costs to get to my hotel. I found myself another taxi driver who offered a reasonable fee.
So it's true. Homework does pay off at the end. Haha.
Beware of Vendors at the Corcovado Train Station
The Corcovado Train is a very popular tourist attraction ( I've taken it twice - see my Corcovado Railway travelogue ), and well it should be, because it is a spectacular trip.
Be very careful of the various vendors that surround the sidewalks and parking areas near the station at the base of the hill as they can be very aggressive in their selling of various things. They are not selling things inside the official station grounds for a reason!
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go past these people, try to get past them as quickly as possible. It is tempting to want to stay and watch their antics, but be very careful in doing so, as this opens you up for being surrounded on all sides by various street vendors yelling at you. Avoid these street vendors and the Chinese made crap they are selling as Rio de Janeiro memorabilia.
Be really careful that this distraction does not open you up to robbery or other attack.
Fun Alternatives: Go around behind the station, and visit the (free!) museum of the Corcovado Train, and a few other areas while you wait for the train to depart.
If you want to visit street vendors, there are many throughout Rio that have better items and more authentic items - and are less agressive than here.
The various vendors that are inside the station area, as well as those at the summit at the statue, are more polite, and have true Rio de Janeiro memorabilia for sale.
- Family Travel
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Drinks on the Beach
Cuidado, com os vendedores dos quiosques da praia, sempre pergunte o pre?o antes de comprar algio ou abrir uma conta num quiosque ou barraca, por que se perceberem que voce e turista, eles vao cobrar muito mais caro.
Be very carefull, with the guys on the beach who sell dirnks an rent chairs, always ask how things costs before buying or opening a tab, be aware that a "Caipirinha" should not cost you more than R$6, and a beer should not cost more than R$ 2,50, an order of fries R$10, or some fried fish, should not cost more than R$ 30. so be aware and carefull.
Atencion para los precios de las bebidas y comidas en la playa, se saben que sos turista, te cobran mucho mas caro, asi que, los precios medios para 2006 son, para una cerveza en lata, R$2,50, Caipirinha, R$6,00, Papas Fritas R$10,0 y Pescado frito R$30, Si te cobran mas que esses precios va a otro kiosco.
Unique Suggestions: Fale para o vendedor que voce sabe o valor das coisas, e nunca abra contas.
Tell the guy who?s selling to you, that on the day before, some other guy sold you the drinks cheaper, and never, never open tabs, always pay for the drinks when you buy it
Cuente a los vendedores que sabeis los precios de las cosas, le comente que en el dia anterior he pagado los precios justos y siempre abone en el momento de la compra, nunca tenga cuentas.
Fun Alternatives: A unica alternativa ? comprar um isopor e levar a cerveja pra praia.
The only alternative is to buy a cooler, and take your own beer to beach. But don?t forget to pick up you garbage afterwards
Compre un cooler y cervezas y en el supermercado, y las lleve para la playa, mucho mas economico, pero nunca se olviden de llevra su basura
Use the meter!
Nearly every taxi that I got into tried to negotiate a flat rate to my destination. At home in the US I couldn't come up with a reasonable estimate of cab fare, so how could anyone do so on vacation? At first I would try to negotiate a lower price, but after insisting on the use of the meter, I found that even what I thought were bargains, were ripoffs. Use the meter. If the driver claims it's "quebrado" or broken, take another taxi.
Finally Carnival has gone!
There are only 2 things why to enjoy Carnival:
1) World's greatest party with the wide holiday (5 days in Rio and 240 days in Salvador).
2) Beautiful women almost naked!
But on the other hand, there are a lot of reasons for hating:
1) Men dress female clothes and go street for showing their ridiculous, disgusting and hairy legs.
2) Copacabana becomes a noisy, crowded and dirty place.
3) The unharmonious and screamed samba sang on the streets is very far from a good samba, what you by the way enjoy.
4) Alcoholic drinks without any criteria, car accidents, murders and fights.
Unique Suggestions: You have to move your trip to Brazil until the end of February.
Fun Alternatives: If you have already seen a Carnival parade once, you have already seen all. It is the same every year.
IF YOU ARE CLEVER DO NOT BUY
Everything is in reais, so it is still not so expensive for you, but it is, the Christ is a very touristic place, and the prices are for tourists, but if you do not want to be treated like a fool when you spend your money.
I am sorry all the stores in the Christ and also in the Sugar Loaf mountain, but the prices are not honest!
May 14th, 2005
Unique Suggestions: Remember that every souvenir can be cheaper in Santa tereza, in the Hippie Fair in Ipanema and in the little fair in front of Help Disco in Copacabana! Even cheaper are the art crafts sold in the Feira do Nordeste.
Fun Alternatives: You can buy post cards, little pins or very small stuffs, but do not buy overpriced touristic souvenirs.
In Petropolis you can buy statues of Christ, and they are cheaper than in the Christ Mountain itself!;)
Everybody's at the beach!
The beach can get very crowded, especially during Carnival season. But hey, this is Brazil, there is always room!!! :)
Unique Suggestions: Don't forget to bring your sandals, the sand is too hot to walk barefoot on (and don't wear shoes, unless you want to be stared at).
Umbrellas and chairs can be rented for a cheap price (under $10 US).
Don't expect to see topless women everywhere.
If you're a man traveling alone in Rio and you ask a taxi driver or a hotel employee where to go at night, it's likely he will suggest Help. Well, if you're looking for prostitutes, then this is the place for you, but personally that's not my scene. I never went here, but according to my guidebook, this place used to actually be one of the city's best nightclubs.
However, nowadays it's full of foreign men looking for a good time (if not a free time).
It's located on Copacabana on Av. Atlantica.
DIFICULT TO UNDERSTAND
Most of my friends from other countries and also many visitors before coming here that might have heard something about FAVELA TOUR.
I think when you come to Brazil you first think about having fun in the beach, getting mixed with people doing good things like chill out, go shopping, going to the beach, meeting friends, visiting beautiful nature spots. We actually never travel to see poverty and also to experience daily life with people who live under the fear.
We all know that 98% of te hills in Rio are Favelas...I mean SLUMS..or poor Barrios as they say in Mexico, they are controlled by drug dealersand in some hills the POLICE never enter.
Some tour agencies organize excursions to some famous Favela in the city, they pay the Favelas to have safety provided...guess to whom this money is going????
THAT IS WHY I SEE WITH VERY BAD EYES THIS DAFT IDEA!
So if you want to see poverty you must be a health volunteer to work with the DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS IN AFRICA..if you want to see poverty in brazil it is better to be at home watching TV...because if you come to see the real favelas in a FAVELA TOUR you will be giving your money to sponsor these GANGSTER to continue giving terror for the poor population who is forced to live under their laws and horror.
Unique Suggestions: Just to not go to the Favelas...why the risk of getting a bullet in the head..everyday there is always a cross fire, a real war between gangs, and sometimes the Police go to the Favela for the sake to put some order and trying to defeat these drug dealers!
I do not have anything about drug users but I wonder that the money used to buy drugs is the money which bus a bullet that kills an inocent child who is playing in the Favela.
Fun Alternatives: Rio is facing a cruel war against violence, and the violence exist most of the time in the suburbs and also in the Favelas, the society is responding these crimes by protesting, using the midia to tell who is who in the Trafico and going to the street to claim for their rights to b protected!
FAVELA TOURS in a way help the LOCAL MAFIA to survive and impose their LETHAL DICTATORSHIP in many poor zones of the city!
So instead of going to a Favela, just travel to our countryside and find real needing poor village and buy them food, they will welcome you with a smile in the face and they wil probably invite you to join for lunch, then you will have a genuine brazilian experience!
Anywhere in the City
Snatching of jewelry while walking
Money changers offer good rates
Unique Suggestions: Don't wear expensive jewelery
Don't check into a bus alone
Stay in southern parts of the city
Make a copy of your passport and leave the passport in the hotel safe
Take only as much money as you really need
Fun Alternatives: Keep all in your hotel safe
Wear a money bag around your neck below your shirt or keep it in front pockets.
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Well during Carnival, half of Rio is a tourist trap!
In general stay away from Copa, the street markets there...sure it might look cheap to a tourist, but the prices there are hiked up atleast 3 times...So if you are like me, have lots of family members to get gifts for, then it would make a difference.
Instead go to street shops and fairs in Centro...or other market places
Unique Suggestions: You can always try and bargain....but seeing how poor or misaraable some of the vendors look, it only makes it worse!...You actually end up buying just to help them...as charity so to speak and end up with things you dont actually need, (at least thats what happend to me)
- Budget Travel
LOTS OF GOSSIPS
Maybe before you choose Rio to travvel many people will tell you that Rio is dangerous, do not even put your feet on the floor because you can be mugged anytime..avoid some places at night because people can rape you, do not take cameras to the ebach because you will not have any pictures to tell your friends that you have been to the Tropics...You will see violence everywhere, riots and massive poverty. LOTS OF BLA BLA BLAS...
If you really be afraid of it you will never leave your house, right???
In fact, Rio is a big urban centre like any other in the World with some social problems like crime and poverty, but not really in the tourist areas...problems can happen but just do not play the fool strolling around in the street with expensive belongings, and act positive that nothing is going to happen with you!
The beaches in a way are well patrolled and the local society is reacting against crime by protesting in the media and demanding high quality in the city's security.
Sometimes the midia OVER REACTS and the dangerous areas of Rio are in the suburbs and when you come to Rio you will not see in a Favela or be hosted in a Favela, so do not worry...
Come to Rio with no fear and you will find out lovely people always ready to help you!
THE MIDIA ITSELF CAN BE YOUR FIRST TOURIST TRAP, so come with your own judgement and tell others that Rio is no problem.
Unique Suggestions: Try to go out with locals and make good friends while you are in Rio, always try to get in touch with people who really knows the place and try to meet atleast someone who speak good english which is quite hard to find in many services in the city!
Don't discuss with anyone while your wallet, purse or camera is on your blanket at the beach. Be alert at all times.
Dealers try to get you into a conversation, while some others are checking what could be taken along....
Don't take the persons into your hotel rooms unless you are sure to know them for quite some time - even if those dark eyes promise you that they like you so much!
Be aware of drug dealers - even don't get close to the idea.
Don't expect too much help from the police. And don't sign any documents before you have talked to your business friends or even your embassy or consulate.
Unique Suggestions: Be alert and have always a friend guarding your belongings.
Watch your belongings when dealers are approaching to sell drinks or souvenirs
Fun Alternatives: If not necessary to bring more than a towel- leave all your valuables at the hotel
- Business Travel
- Water Sports
Most taxi's are very cheap, we used the yellow cabs which were no more expensive from outside the hotel. BUT DO NOT get the yellow cabs that you are directed to outside the tourist spots, Sugarloaf, Corcovado etc we were charged almost three times the rate by doing this, thinking that yellow cabs were OK. Hail one from up the road instead.
Order trip from local agencies
We ordered one trip online just because I did not want any problems the first day I arrived to Rio (Sugerloaf and Corcovado Tour). It was no surprised that I overpaid substantially. My hotel offered the same trips at much lower prices. Better yet, some guys on the beach gave us fliers (it was easy to see that we were tourists), the prices were even lower. The expensive trip that we booked was not that great - the tour guide did not explain much, so it was mostly for transportation and take-pictures-for-the-next-hour tour. So we would be better off if ordered from a local agency.