Easter 2013 in Rio

The long Easter weekend in Rio is a special holiday. Known as “Semana Santa” is a time of long-held Easter traditions and religious celebration. Around this time you’ll also find many non-religious events being held. Good Friday, or “Sexta Paixao”, is a national holiday in Brazil, with most businesses and schools closing on Thursday, Friday, and Monday.

If you happen to be in Rio around this joyous time, you can find many events and celebrations to attend. Here are a few that might interest you for the 2013 celebration:

Gringo Cafe

The cafe will be hosting an Easter edition of their new “Gringo Lounge”. A DJ will be featured, as well as a host of new menu items like red velvet cake, chocolate peanut butter cups, a flourless chocolate cake, and special Easter eggs benedict.

Religious Services

Christ Church of Rio will be holding a Holy Communion and a shared meal on Thursday at 7:30 pm. They will also have a bilingual English and Portuguese service at 3pm on Friday. On Sunday, communion will begin at the Christ Church at 8am, and be followed by another one at 10:30am. The Union Church will also be hosting a pancake breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30 am and have a Celebration Service at 10am. An egg hunt will follow these events.

Favela em Danca Festival

A dance festival is being held at the NGO Solar Meninos de Luz in the hills above Ipaneme and Copacabana. Dance styles, work shops, exhibitions, and competitions will be held.

(Outside of Rio)

Holy Week in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

During this special week, every year this town transforms into a town full of colorful religious imagery. Beautiful carpets stretch between all the churches forming  a religious path of sorts. Actors also portray scenes from the bible on the streets.

Lollapalooza in Sao Paulo

This 3 day music festival will have some of the biggest names in music in attendance, including Pearl Jam, Deadmau5, the Killers, Criolo, and Graforreia Xilarmonica.

Rainy Day Activities in Rio

We always wish you sunshine during your visit to Rio, but inevitably you’ll experience a rainy day or two. Don’t look at it as a day-destroyer, instead look at it as an opportunity to explore all that Rio has to offer indoors! Here we’ve compiled a list of 8 things to keep you busy on a wet day.

1. Visit the Banco do Brazil (Brazil’s Bank Cultural Center). There’s usually expositions being held here, as well as a cafe, a book shop, and a souvenir shop.

2. Shop till you drop at one of Rio’s top shopping destinations, such as Rio Sul Shopping which has 400 stores, or Leblon with its 200 stores. This could be the perfect time to catch up on your Brazilian fashion or pick up some knick knacks.

3. Cozy up at one of Rio’s many cafes. Brazil is the leading producer and exporter of coffee in the world – they know coffee! Spend the day sipping coffee, people watching, and catching up on Rio’s gossip.

4. Visit the Museu Histórico Nacional (National History Museum) and learn something about Brazil’s rich and colorful history. This museum tells the story since the country’s birth and isn’t something you’ll want to miss, rain or shine!

5. Go bar hopping. Brazil has a vibrant beach scene during the day, and just as vibrant of a nighttime bar scene. Perfect time to learn to Samba!

6. Take a guided tour of the Theatro Municipal. It was just renovated in 2010, and has even hosted President Obama at one of its performances. Tours are just R$10.

7. Catch an Indie film at one of Rio’s art house theaters. Most of the films will have Portuguese subtitles, making it a perfect time to brush up on learning Portuguese, right?

8. If it’s a lighter rain, try taking a walk through the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens. The plants are beautiful, and the cost is only R$5 per person. A refreshing and cool way to spend the day.


5 Kid Friendly Things to do in Sao Paulo


This zoo is very large and has a quite impressive amount of species on exhibit, over 3,000 in fact. Most of the animals in the enclosures are in representations of their native habitats. With lunch and picnic areas, and a petting zoo for smaller children, this makes a perfect place to spend the day with the kids.

Parque do Ibirapuera

This is a great space to take the kids. It has over two million square meters of park to run and play in, and is considered Sao Paulo’s version of New York’s Central Park. There are paths to wander down by the lagoon, bikes to rent, and even an outdoor concert every Sunday that is free to enjoy.


Vila Capivari

This is Sao Paulo’s version of an Apline Village and is also known as ‘Brazilian Switzerland’. It’s elevated 1,700 km in the Mantiquiera mountains, and is a blast for the whole family. There are shops, restaurants, venues, classical music performances, fine chocolates for purchase, and even a Teleferico rid up the Morro do Elefante. It’s recommended you at least spend a full day here, and there are plenty of hotels in the town for convenient accommodation.

Vale do Anhangabaú

This park has it all – gardens, fountains, sculptures, and lots of events. Plus, seeing the city rise high above you while strolling through the park is like nothing else. Increased police presence has been made a priority at this park recently, so it’s a relatively safe place for the whole family to visit.

Museu Tam

This aviation museum is chock full of neat stuff to see and do, plus it’s the largest aviation museum in the entire world! Over 90 air-crafts are on display, and there’s even flight simulators and areas just for children.


Brazil is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and has now  has revealed its plans for “ambitious hiring goals” for the next year. 224 professional positions will be up for grabs within 2013. By the year 2016, the committee expects to employ some 4,000 people.

A range of areas will be covered in the job postings: engineers, medical staff , technicians, journalists, transportation specialists, and more. All positions are open to non-Brazilian professionals, however in order to qualify for hiring for most positions the applicant must be fluent in Portuguese. The positions that do not require Portuguese language skills are available for viewing on the English version of the Rio 2016 site. Out of country hires will also be assisted by Brazil in obtaining work Visa’s. The Olympic Organizing Committee is remaining hopeful that the promise of a unique cultural exchange, paired with attractive wages, will persuade applicants from all over the world.

Applications have already started pouring in, with the Systems Assistant position having received 2,433 applications, Licensing Manager 1,611 and a Sponsors Relations Specialist 1,471 submissions. By the end of 2012, 371 employees had already been hired, working on new stadiums and infrastructure projects of the like.

The Olympics are always a great economic booster worldwide, especially in the host country. Brazilians expect to see a definite economy boost with the job opportunities made available by the games.

If you are interested in applying for a position in the 2016 Rio Olympics, please visit: www.rio2016.org/oportunidades.


Top 5 Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

The Botanical Gardens

Visiting the Botanical Gardens in Rio is like taking a trip to a different world all together. When you first enter the main gate, there are several paths to take, with each path leading to a different area of the gardens that has a different theme. It’s best to head out early in the morning and beat the crowds so you can leisurely stroll through. The park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and is only R$4 per person, with seniors over 60 and children under 7 getting in free.

Santa Teresa

If you’re looking for something unique and different, try exploring the Bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa in Rio. This particular area is home to many artists. Here you can see beautiful historic houses, view unique art expos, or stop by for a drink at Bar do Mineiro. You can also visit Museu Chácara do Céu, which has some unique art expositions, including photos of old Rio. Remember not to travel within this district alone at night for safety reasons, but don’t shy from night visitation either – the neighborhood comes alive with Samba music!

Artisan Market

There is an artisan market, the Feira Hippie, that is a Sunday tradition dating from the 1970’s. It features an entire plaza filled with unique artwork, jewelry, clothing, and even furniture. Products are often times more expensive at this market than other places, however, due to it becoming a popular tourist spot. The market is set up and takes place every Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.


Since 1984, the Sambodromo has been the location for Rio’s world famous Carnival event. During Carnival off-season, the stadium still hosts other events and concerts. If you happen to be in the area within a few months prior to Carnival, you can even visit the stadium and watch the Samba schools rehearse for the big event. There’s nothing like it!

Ipanema Beach

Rio is extremely famous for its beaches, of course. It’s smack dab in between Copacabana and Leblon beaches. Here you can catch some rays, brave the waves on a surfboard (or watch the brave surfers near the rocks), play a round of “soccer in the round” on the beach, or grab a cold coconut juice and just enjoy the show. This section of the beach is also located right in front of Caesar’s Palace at Farme de Amoedo street. You’ll find a great mix of young and old and singles and families at this beach.


5 Museums to Visit in Sao Paulo

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

This contemporary and modern looking museum is located on the main avenue of Sao Paulo – Avenida Paulista. It includes works by Renaissance masters from the 20th century, such as Rubens, Vekasquez, Titian, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir and others. What’s neat about this museum is it has English translations on all the artwork, so it can easily be followed by most visitors and the art is also painstakingly displayed in chronological order. The museum is free on Tuesdays, and on Sundays it has a unique antiques market below the museum you can visit.

Museu Afro-Brasil

This is a relatively newer museum in Sao Paulo, located in Ibirapuera Park in a building designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. Brazil at one point in history sought more slaves from Africa than any other country in the world, contributing to almost have the population being of some African origin. The collection at the museum shows the history of Afro-Brazilian culture and slavery in Brazil, including the connection between African culture and Brazilian culture. I also exhibits some pieces from other African cultures in Latin America. You can see photos and artifacts of slave life, pieces from Candomblé and other African-influenced religions in Brazil, and a collection of Afro-Brazilian handicrafts and contemporary art.

Museu de Futebol

Soccer is an incredibly important part of Brazil’s history and culture. This museum, dedicated to celebrating the sport’s importance in Brazil, is housed in one of the city’s largest stadiums. It spans 3 floors and will appeal to the biggest soccer fans. It features old posters, photos, interactive exhibits, and focuses largely on World Cup and Brazilian soccer stars. There is also a great gift shop and cafe within the museum. Admission is only $3 a person.

Ipiranga Museum

This is a simply beautiful museum, both in its architecture and its landscaping. It’s one of the largest museums in Brazil and was built in 1895. It holds within its walls old maps, photos, paintings, furniture, and other items. Admission is only $1, and is open from Tuesday thru Sunday each week.

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo

Located in the city center, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo is the oldest museum in Sao Paulo. It has a collection of mostly paintings that represent the history of Brazil. There is also a collection of 19th century French sculpture, though also. There is also a wonderful cafe in the lower part of the museum where you can get a snack, some coffee, and view the current photo exhibit. The Parque da Luz is also adjacent to the museum and provides some great views of the colored glass windows of the museum. Admission on Saturday’s is free, other days is only $3.

5 Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro You Must Try


If you’re looking for some Portuguese fair, Antiquarius is the place to go.  It’s rather pricey, but the food is fantastic, such as their scene stealing Bacalhau a Lagareiro – a cod fish entree. The ambience seems calm, cool, and collected – with splashes of beautiful antique furniture.


Brazil is famous for it’s buffet style restaurants, ca;;ed restaurante por quilo, where you pay by the kilo. Caleiro is one of the best, and features a wide variety of light dishes and organic fresh dishes. It’s also a less expensive option for the area, but no flavor is lost.


A beautiful little French restaurant run by one of the best chefs in Brazil, Claude Troisgros. What’s interesting is that the French food cooked here is incorporated with Brazilian food traditions, making for a very unique experience.


You can’t not try a traditional Brazilian steak house while in Rio, and Porcao is definitely one of the best. Porcao actually translates into “big pic”, which is fitting with as much pork as is served here. This restaurant also has locations in Miami and New York.


Sudbrack offers a very unique dining experience in that it is located in the beautiful botanical gardens in Rio, and it offers a contemporary take on classic style dishes. It’s ranked # 285 out of 888 restaurants in Rio.

The Imperial Museum of Brazil

While in Rio de Jainero, the Imperial Museum of Brazil is definitely worth a visit. Built in 1845 in what is now the historic center of Petropolis, the estate was once the summer palace for the Emperor Dom Pedro II – who ruled from 1831 to 1839. Currently, it houses the country’s main collection of artifacts from the Brazilian empire, or the Second empire as it is sometimes referred to. More than 300,000 items are kept here for the public to view, as well as archives and bibliographies, events, exhibitions, and educational projects.

Emperor and Empress in the gardens of their summer home (now the Imperial Museum of Brazil)

One fascinating collection, that was donated to the museum in 1999 is the Geyer Collection. It is one of the largest collections of drawings, paintings, prints, travel books, maps, and albums about Brazil that were produced by scientists, explorers, artist, and travelers the world over – all through the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The Geyer family also donated their home to the museum that is located at the base of the Christ Redeemer, and in through which flows the river Carioca. The home should be open to the public for viewing in the near future, along with original furniture, glassware, pottery, rugs, silverware and other unique Brazilian items. House shown below:

The museum is also custodian of the House of Claudio de Souza, located in Liberty Square. The home was built in the late nineteenth century, and in 1956 was donated to the widow Dona Luisa de Souza Leite who was the widow of Claudio de Souza, an academic. The collection within the home includes a vast amount of books, photos, furniture and other unique Brazilian items. It also includes the provate library of Claudio de Souza, including 660 works and books. The works and books are kept and preserved in the museum.

The museum also hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as the Imperial Choir giving performances, the Sound and Light Show, and a unique interactive dramatization of the typical leisure activity of the nineteenth century. Many other events also take place throughout the year, whose schedules are available on the calendar of events on the museum’s website.

Museum entry is relatively inexpensive, with admission being only 8 dollars, and only 4 dollars for students, teachers, and seniors. Any Brazilian seniors or children under seven have free admission. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 5:30 pm.

Welcome to Utopia: Brasilia

Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city, is a unique and very significant city. Brasilia is actually a newer and very well planned out city (some say designed with the intent of being a Utopian society), as it was only inaugurated in 1960 after the 4 year span it took to build. The fast pace in which it was built actually provided the city’s slogan “50 years of progress in 5”. In some ways, the city is also considered a memorial to President Juscelino Kubitschek, under who’s direction the city was built.

The city itself was carefully designed in the shape of a giant bird or airplane. What’s very interesting, is that the city is separated into different zones, which all serve individual functions: Hotel sector, commercial sector, residential sector, local commerce sector, and embassy sector. There’s even a modern cathedral at the intersection of where the sectors meet, which is quite a sight to see.

There’s plenty to keep you busy on your visit to Brasilia. One sight you should definitely explore is The Three Powers Square. Here sits the three highest authorities in Brasilia: Congress, The Presidential Palace, and The Supreme Court. For a really cool sight, visit The Three Powers Square when the sun rises, as it always rises directly between the two towers of congress. The flag that is hoisted here on a daily basis is also the largest regularly hoisted flag on Earth.

For all you science fiction fans, check out the Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial. This semi-creepy museum is a tribute to the late president, houses his remains, and looks like it is straight out of a 60’s sci-fi thriller. For those of you looking for a guided tour of all of Brasilia’s main attractions, you can also take a guided bus tour.

Eating in Brasilia can be quite an international fair, as you can not only enjoy a wide array of Brazilian cuisine, but also an abundance of international delicacies as well. You can also choose from dining a little cheaper at the self-service restaurants that are popular here, or eating at a table-service restaurant. Eating at one of the traditional Brazilian steakhouse restaurants here, such as Fogo de Chao, is highly recommended. You’ll never believe how much meat you can eat in one sitting until you’ve eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse!

Great hotels are in abundance in Brasilia, and there is a wide variety of options for large and small budgets. For smaller budgets, places like the Hotel Brasilia or Hospedagem Alternativa have rooms available for as low as $50 a night. For those who want to splurge on their stay, The Brasilia Alvorada Hotel or the Brasilia Palace Hotel are very centrally located and treat you like royalty.

With all that Brasilia has to offer, and just the very fact that there’s no city like it on Earth, why not book your trip now? They’d love to have you!

April 2012 Hotel of the Month: Hotel Fasano Sao Paulo

Location: Rua Vittorio Fasano, 88, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Number of Rooms: 64

Rating: 5 Stars

Hotel Fasano Sao Paulo

As if Sao Paulo wasn’t already one of the coolest cities in Brazil, it’s also home to one of the coolest hotels – Fasano Hotel Sao Paulo. This hotel features 25 floors of phenomenal rooms each with their own stunning view of the city. The rooms are decorated in a unique subtle yet stylish décor, including beautiful Venetian framed pictures, Murano vases, flat screen televisions, and Persian rugs. You’ll also find ultimate comfort is the main theme here, with 500 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets, goose down pillows, towel warmers, bidets, room service, and much more. Outside of your room, relaxation can be sought in the indoor pool, hotel spa, and massage services.

Hotel Fasano Guest Room

Hotel Fasano Indoor Pool

When it comes to food and drink, nothing beats Fasano. The restaurant and bar, located on the ground floor of the hotel, are 2 of the best the country of Brazil has to offer. The restaurant, Nonno Ruggero, offers gourmet Italian cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the breakfast is free to all guests. The bar and lounge is sensational, featuring well known performers on a regular basis, mouthwatering drinks, and an ambiance that’s like no other. No wonder it’s been voted number one bar in the world by The English Magazine Wallpaper. Take a look below:

Hotel Fasano Bar and Lounge


The prices are steep at this hotel, 5 Star Hotel steep, but if you can afford some luxury on your trip to Sao Paulo staying at this hotel is definitely the way to do it!

  • Amenities Include:
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa
  • Massage
  • Fitness Facilities
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Room Service
  • Parking
  • Babysitting
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Internet
  • Conference Rooms
  • Safety Deposit Boxes
  • Sauna
  • Restaurant
  • Air Conditioning
  • Flat Screen TV’s
  • Cable