Canadian? In Rio?

Tips from a Carioca.

By Carolina Baker


Many Canadians will have the opportunity to go to Rio de Janeiro for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For those who want to go sightseeing around the city, Rio has launched the Rio Cultural Passport* which includes access to museums, cultural centers, markets, restaurants, etc. But for those who want to enjoy Rio like the locals do, here are some important tips. First and foremost, of course, are the beaches … because the locals can’t live without them!


This beach’s landscape is beautiful, but something that appeals to the locals, is walking along the boardwalk and exchanging secrets with the statue of the great modernist poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, near Forte Copacabana.


Sunset at Pedra do Arpoador is a must! The sense of freedom inspired by the view is enhanced by presentations of national artists. Music, capoeira and paintings reveal the joy of this spot on the weekends.


Drink some coconut water and admire the beautiful view from the Leblon Viewpoint, at the end of the beach. It’s a special option for sunny days. But if the weather is cold or windy, it’s worth taking a taxi to visit the Botanical Garden to enjoy tropical nature and exotic plants.


  • Smile and make eye contact with the people.
  • Use casual clothes, comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen.
  • Try as many natural fruit juices and popsicles as you can.
  • Avoid walking with your original passport, but always carry a copy, with large bills in a purse or bag glued to your body. Keep a maximum of R$200 in your wallet.
  • Gold chains, jewelry and watches should stay in the hotel safe.
  • Refuse taxi rides with negotiated prices. Always ask for the use of taximeters. The Easytaxi app can also be helpful.
  • Talk, ask and interact. The locals love to tell stories.
  • Use bags and backpacks always at the front, for greater control.[/dropshadowbox]


  • Do not catcall Carioca women, do not speak ill of Brazil or of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Do not expose yourself to expensive cameras and lenses. Take small and versatile ones to prevent thefts and robberies.
  • Do not use cell phones in the middle of the street. Use the inside of a safe building, like a public restaurant or hotel.
  • On the beach, never leave your bag alone or out of sight. Always have someone from the group keep an eye on it. If you are alone, ask a family to take care of it if you go swimming.
  • Do not use the beach in late afternoon or evening.
  • Do not give tips, except for hotel services and waiters at restaurants. In this case, the amount is 10% of the total bill.
  • Only cross the street after all the cars have stopped, since many go through the traffic signals, even when they are red. Always pay attention when crossing!
  • Avoid walking alone and try to stay in crowded places, even in daylight.[/dropshadowbox]

*The Rio Cultural Passport costs R$15.00 for foreigners and can be purchased at the distribution centres in Barra da Tijuca in the City Center. You can obtain more information at your hotel.