Tips from a Carioca to Enjoy Rio During World Cup

Monday, June 9, 2014

In just a few days, the world will witness the start of the FIFA World Cup 2014. On Thursday, June 12th, host country Brazil will meet challenger Croatia in the opening game of the tourney. For much of the population of  Brazil, who were not born when the country last hosted the event over 60 years ago, these games will be an unique experience.

Experiencing Rio during the World Cup

If you are heading to Rio, I have a few suggestions to help you to live this experience as a Carioca. For more tips on being Carioca, you can read my previous blog.

Maracana Stadium, world Cup 2014, Brazil, Rio Local Tips

At Maracana - Let the Game Begin

Watching the Games

All bars across the city will be showing  the games. Get out there and order a beer before the game starts. You will notice that while Brazil is playing, streets will be empty and the city will look like it has been evacuated. Be ready to root for Brazil, wear the national team jersey and hug the stranger standing next to you when Brazil scores. If you are not prepared to cheer for Brazil unconditionaly then stay home. All kidding aside, you can get in some serious trouble just by joking that you favour another team, especially Argentina.

Best beaches in Rio, Local recommendations, world Cup 2014

Locals love the Beach

Going to the Beach

The rest of the world have a different view of how liberal Brazilians are. If you want to blend in and behave like a Carioca, these are the simple rules to follow:

  • Do not go topless. Bikinis are small, really small, but both parts are always there.

  • Put on your bathing suit at home and wear shorts and t-shirt on top. Do not attempt to get changed at the beach.

  • The famous Havaianas sandals are a must and cost way less over there so invest in a pair.

  • Most Carioca girls wear a 'canga' or beach wrap that is used as a dress, skirt and to lay on the sand for sunbathing.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at the beach and try not to throw sand on your neighbour.

  • You can drink beer, caipirinha, coconut water, and almost everything else you can imagine at the beach. Servers will bring it right to your hands. Pay the bill at the end and if you're back the next day, they will treat you like an old friend.

Being Safe in Rio

Personal safety in Rio can be tricky, as with most cities of 10 million people. However, there are some simple things you can do to reduce your exposure.

  • Do not parade your expensive camera, watch or jewelry anywhere.

  • Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botanico and Barra da Tijuca districts are relatively safe. All of these area have good accommodation options and a lot of walking distance entertainment and restaurants.
    Stay away from downtown and Copacabana. Downtown Rio does not have a good residential area like most large cities. It is deserted on the weekends and no amenities are available. Copacabana is the single most crowded district in Rio, maybe in the planet.

  • Use your common sense and do not wander around by yourself after dark, especially if you are a woman. If you do go for a walk in the evening, stay close to your accommodations once you are familiar with the surroundings.

  • Don't hesitate to ask for help. Most Cariocas these days speak some English and will feel honoured to be able to help with anything.

  • Always carry some change with you, in many cases just having something to give away can save you from trouble.

Rio Beach, Coconut Water on the beach, Local Recommendation

Coconut Water on the Beach

Things Cariocas Love

If you have the oportunity, do as many as you can!

  • Jog in the morning by the beach. When you're done, stop for a coconut water at one of the kiosks and take a quick dive in the ocean.

  • Academia da Cachaca - It is  the best bar and is found in the Leblon and Barra districts.

  • Drink a Devassa. It is the best locally brewed beer in Rio.

  • On Sunday, go to Feira Hippie, Ipanema's weekly fair for artisans and local art.  It is located at Praça General Osório, which is a square between Rua Prudente de Morais and Rua Visconde de Pirajá.

  • Garota de Ipanema, the bar where Vinicius de Moraes composed 'The Girl from Ipanema'

  • Gula Gula, the best 'after beach' restaurant in Ipanema and Barra.

  • Confeitaria Colombo, the most traditional bakery in downtown Rio.

  • Farme de Amoedo in the district of Ipamena is the street where the LGBT community gather to enjoy the beach, restaurants, bars, etc.

  • Porcao Rio's is a fantastic churrascaria with the best view in the city. Order the picanha - it is the best meat you will ever have. My advice is to go hungry as it is expensive, but worth every penny.

Barra Beach, Local secret, Rio best beach, Local recommendation

Barra Beach - The local Secret I hope you enjoy every minute of your time in my home town. I would love to hear about your experiences as a Carioca.



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