Rio de Janeiro: A TravelSim Quick Guide
Before visiting Rio de Janeiro, one must have more information about the city than just beaches, tiny bikinis, and ridiculously cold beer. For example, you must know where and how to get to the beaches with the smallest bikinis and ridiculously cold beers. This kind of information is important when it comes to planning a trip. Unfortunately there aren’t any great local spots where people can find information because the system in Rio is really bad, but thankfully there are a number of excellent online resources to help!
Transportation is one of the biggest issues when traveling. Knowing exactly where to go can be confusing and make us ask ourselves questions like: Where does the metro go? Which bus do I take? Was that a taxi or did a stranger just try to pick me up? Here are some sites that will help you figure those things out.
For the tech-savvy, taxi-preferring tourists, you can download an app (available for iPhone, Android, and other smartphones) called Easy Taxi. This app will send you the closest available taxi after just a few strokes on your smartphone. For those wanting to explore the mass transit system, you have the Rio de Janeiro bus and metro system. The metro has a wonderful site with all the information you will need. The busing system is a bit more complicated. It is easy to find yourself on the wrong bus, leaving you stuck on a significantly longer journey. To find out which bus you will need to take to your destination, you should check out Vá de Ônibus with your smartphone. The site has other search options, as well, so it’s a great navigational tool.
Once you have figured out how to get from A to B, you need to make sure you have all the information you need to truly get to know Rio de Janeiro. There is much more to this city than Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf, though those should never be overlooked! Rio.com gives you a good overview of the different neighborhoods and activities the city has to offer. Their restaurant and bar selection is lacking, so I suggest checking out Time Out Rio de Janeiro for your nightlife and restaurant needs. They also keeps an up-to-date list of upcoming and currently running events.
For those of you who enjoy a little outdoor adventure during your holidays, there are many options for you to check out. RioXtreme offers packages on everything from paragliding to surf lessons. If you are more interested in keeping your feet on the ground, you can take advantage of one of the most beautiful aspects of Rio de Janeiro: the surrounding rainforests. The hiking section on the site Best of Rio has a list of hiking trails according to difficulty level. If you aren’t comfortable going without a guide, Rio Hiking can easily help you out.
Then there is the Portuguese issue. Yes, Portuguese is Brazil’s national language, and no you will not necessarily find an English speaker on every corner. While Portuguese may seem overwhelming at first, learning a word a day isn’t. Check out a free Portuguese word a day at sites like Transparent Language and Innovative Language. Every little bit helps!
Last but certainly not least are the guide books. Obviously we are in a different era because instead of guide books, I’m first going to share some guide apps with you. The Rio de Janeiro Guide (also called Rio for Partiers, but it’s a great app for any traveler) is available for Android or iPhone and gives you all the information you need at a swipe of a screen. There are also the free TripAdvisor Offline City Guide apps available for a variety of smartphones. For those who still love the feel of paper on their fingertips, check out Lonely Planet’s Rio de Janeiro city guide or Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Rio de Janeiro.
And above all else, remember that Rio de Janeiro isn’t a to-do list. It is the “Cidade Maravilhosa” or Marvelous City. Come and get to know her… You will fall in love!