As you may know, I live in Rio since the day I was born so I think I may have valuable information for you. As always, you can leave a comment below with your questions.
#1: Rio is not a safe city but it is not that bad
The first thing I hear from my friends that come to visit me in Rio is “I thought it was worst”. Of course, as a city with a very serious social inequality, Rio is a violent city and I can not say the opposite, but I think that what they show about the city in other countries has nothing to do with the reality. My advises are: do not use jewelry, watch on your phone or camera and avoid walking with them apparent, use a money belt to keep money, do not walk distracted (it’s a horrible advice to give when you are traveling, but I’m being honest). If you take this precautions, your visit will be amazing :)
#2: Brazillian girls are not sluts or your property
I know Brazilian girls are well-known for being pretty and show a lot of skin (this is part of our culture, we live in a hot city, it is not an invitation) and I can’t disagree, but keep on mind that we are not sluts, your property or anything the media makes you believe. On world cup we had a lot of problems with tourists that thought they could grab our arms, hair or say awful things to us. So don’t be like that, be respectful and you will meet amazing people here.
#3: We wear Havaianas everywhere
Do you know Havaianas, the flip-flops? We wear it everywhere! To go to the beach, to have lunch, to go to the movies, to go out… It is part of our culture and it has a practical reason too: is super hot here, especially on summer, and other shoes may make your feet boil because of the hot asphalt. To go to clubs or expensive restaurants you may have to put shoes on, though.
#4: We are really friendly
You probably heard that Brazilians are friendly and this is 100% true. We love tourists, love to help them and introduce our culture. Don’t be scared to talk to us on the street, clubs, restaurants, transport, we are usually very friendly, will try to have a conversation or try to help you even if we don’t speak your language.
#5: Things work slow here
I think this is what I hate the most about Rio: people think they have plenty of time to do everything. So if you ask for the bill, be patient, it will take long. We are super cool and stuff, but drives me insane how slow we are. This is Rio way of life, you won’t be able to change it, so come with patience, try to incorporate it to your life and relax.
#6: There are plenty of free things to do in Rio
If you don’t have much money, don’t worry. Rio is an expensive city, but we have a lot of free things to do because they are related to nature. Beaches, museums, trakkings, forests, churches, historical buildings: 95% of them are free. We have a lot of free parties in the street too, but you will have to ask locals to find out ;)
#7: Our food is great
You can eat almost everything in Rio, just ask someone where you can find an specific food and you probably will.
#8: We love music, but we don’t listen to Bossa Nova on every corner
You will notice that Rio is a very musical city but unfortunately we don’t listen to Bossa Nova in the streets. I’m always sorry for tourists who come here looking for Bossa Nova, we listen to it a lot, but not in clubs or in the street, it won’t be easy to find in a bar or something like that.
#9: Our street art scene is great
We are well-known for nature and stuff, but we have an amazing street art scene too. Go to Santa Teresa, Lapa, Botafogo and Praça Mauá to enjoy it and take good pictures :)
If you really like street art, I recommend you to go to São Paulo and find Beco do Batman there.
#10: We don’t live in the jungle, but you will see animals here
Is always good to remember that we don’t live in the jungle because foreign media insists on that, but, yes, we do have a lot of green and in some neighborhoods, like Cosme Velho, you will be able to see monkeys if you are lucky. We have some urban forests as well where you can go to see different kinds of trees, flowers and animals.
Hope it helps you :)