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.


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 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.

Golf Course Design Selected for 2016 Rio Olympics

Hanse Golf Course Design, a US based company, has been selected to design the 2016 Olympics golf course in Rio. The company was selected out of eight finalists for their proposal that featured the best design features and that highlighted the natural dunes and land contours. This golf course will feature the first Olympic golf tournaments in 112 years.

President of Rio 2016™, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, stated “As it marks the return of golf to the Olympic games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport.” Peter Dawson, president of the IGF stated “The IGF would like to thank all of the architects who worked hard on their bids and whose presentations demonstrated great vision. The selection process adopted by Rio 2016™ was extremely thorough and reflected the importance of the project. I am delighted Hanse Golf Course Design has been appointed to design the Olympic golf course which promises to provide an outstanding venue for the Games and a tremendous legacy for our sport in Brazil.”

The president of Hanse Golf Course Design has designed a number of renowned golf courses, and was voted “Architect of the Year” by Golf Magazine in 2009. Castle Stuart golf course in Scotland was also considered “Bes t New International Course” in the same year. Hanse will be working closely with LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, Amy Alcott, on the project. Close attention will also be paid to keep current environmental conditions and land as unchanged as possible. Gilbert Hanse will be relocation to Rio during the course’s build.

The Barra da Tijuca district of Rio will host the new golf course, which coincidentally is the where most of the 2016 games will be held. Once the Olympics in 2016 are over, the course will be used as a public facility in an attempt to increase golf’s popularity in Brazil.

2016 Summer Olympics to be Held in Rio de Jainero

Start packing your bags and planning your trip to Rio now! In the summer of 2016, Rio de Jainero will proudly host the Olympics! This will actually be the first time the Olympics will be held in a South American country, and Brazilians couldn’t be more excited! Most of the Olympic events and the Olympic village will be hosted in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio, while the rest will be featured in Copacabana Beach, Deodoro, and Marcana.

Note the pictures shown above – this will be the Rio 2016 Olympic torch! This is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful Olympic torches ever designed and is a sure sign of more great things to come as the city prepares for its guests.

All together 28 sports are on the schedule for the 2016 games, two of them being new to the roster: Golf and Rugby Sevens. Tiger Woods is even expected to compete. This should all make more some exciting competition!

Rio’s logo is noteworthy as well (see below) as it incorporates both the Olympics and Rio extremely well in its design. The logo was designed by an agency named Tatil, and represents contagious energy, harmonious diversity, Olympic spirit, and exuberant nature. The colors are yellow, green, and blue and display three figures embracing in a hug. It’s pretty neat how this was done because it also represents Sugarloaf Mountain.

Rio is sure not to disappoint as 2016 Olympic host city. Olympians and attendees the world over will be wowed by the superb hospitality found throughout Brazil, the energy and life felt in the streets of Rio, and the pure beauty of this city. Can’t wait to see what Rio has in store for us all!

Stay tuned for updates, news, and stories as we follow Rio’s preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Brazil Hotel Recommendations

While Brazil certainly doesn’t lack in things to do, like their beautiful sandy beaches, exciting nightlife, tropical rainforests, and delicious food, eventually you’ll need to put your feet up. Brazil has an abundance of luxury and affordable hotels to help you do just that! If you’ve never been to Brazil, though, finding the right hotel can be a daunting task. Here are some recommendations, sorted by city, that can help make it easier.

Rio de Janeiro

Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel (4 Star): This 117 room hotel is nestled right in the famous Copacabana district and is right on the waterfront. Kick your feet up and enjoy the hotel’s rooftop leisure facilities, private beach service, and abundant wining and dining options. The Porto Bay Rio is well known for its personalized service and high level security to ensure your safety. For the women, they even provide a special touch: fresh flowers, chocolates, bathrobes, and slippers.

Promenade Casa del Mar Hotel(3 Star): This hotel is perfect for those looking to spend less but not lose the comfort of a superb hotel. Located in the Barra da Tijuca district, this hotel overlooks the ocean. With its many amenities, such as a gym, sauna, pool, internet access, barbecue area, and coffee shop, you’re sure to enjoy your stay.

Sao Paulo

Maksoud Plaza Hotel (5 Star): Right in the heart of Sao Paulo, this business class hotel screams convenience and comfort. All guestrooms are equipped with satellite television and internet access and voicemail service. You’ll find they offer superb personal services, such as babysitting services, 24 hour room service, laundry and dry cleaning services, salon, and others. In need of some relaxation? Try their massage services, jacuzzi, spa, and indoor pool. The Maksoud Plaza hotel is perfect for business trips or vacations.


Naoum Plaza Hotel (5 Star):

The Naoum Plaza Hotel has certainly earned its 5 star rating. If you don’t fall in love with the beautiful guest rooms, you are sure to enjoy their world class services, such as massage, jacuzzi, laundry service, salon, hotel bar and restaurant, sauna, and hotel shops.

Amazon Rainforest

The Ariau Amazon Towers: If you’re looking to get out of the city and explore some of Brazil’s breathtaking Amazon rainforest, this hotel is sure to enhance your experience even more. The Ariau is the world’s largest tree top hotel and is simply stunning. Not only do you get to sleep in an incredibly unique hotel, but they offer one of a kind services: Canoe trips, piranha fishing, swimming with pink dolphins, helicopter rides, and much more! Plus, you can’t beat their fabulous Brazilian wining and dining!

Welcome to Rio de Jainero – Paradise Among Paradises

Rio de Janeiro may not be the capital of Brazil, but it’s certainly the place to be. Famous for its laidback beach culture, thriving night life, beautiful landscape, and annual Carnival, you don’t want to pass up experiencing this amazing city! You’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime.

First on the list of must-see Rio attractions is the harbor. The harbor is so unique that it’s actually one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World! Rio’s harbor features a unique entry from the ocean and several distinct geographical locations outdoor adventurers won’t want to miss, including Sugar Loaf Mountains and Corcovado Peak. Trips up Corcovado by train cost about R$43, but the price is worth the view – especially if you want to see the Cristo up close and personal.  Sugar Loaf Mountains, or Pão de Açúcar, is comprised of 2 mountains (one taller and one shorter) that make up Brazil’s top landmark. The beautiful view is a truly unique experience, especially at sunset. For the more adventurous travelers, there are also hiking options for both the Sugar Loaf Mountains and Corcovado.

Next stop – downtown! Historic buildings, interesting sights, shopping, and the most delicious food are found in downtown Rio and its surrounding areas. Stop for lunch at one of Rio de Janeiro’s “comida a kilo”, or buffet style, restaurants where you pay by the amount of food on your plate! And it’s not just any ole’ buffet food, it’s authentic and delicious Brazilian food! Be sure to try Brazil’s most famous dish fejoada, a black bean stew filled with sausages, pork, and beef. Yum! Once you’re belly’s full, head over to one of Rio’s many museums and cultural buildings, including The Paco Imperial, Museo Caso do Pontal (collection of local arts and crafts), and even the Museu Carmem Miranda (yes, there is a Carmem Miranda museum!). Don’t forget to grab a trinket or two along the way from one of the many local stores!

Ah, the beaches of Rio. There’s an unbelievable fifteen to choose from, all beautiful (and one is even nude). These Brazilian beaches feature a unique and inviting “beach culture” where you are sure to have some fun in the sun. Catch a wave, rent a beach chair and relax in the sun, or purchase some refreshments from one of the thousands of walking vendors. If you’re unsure which beach location you should visit, the Copacabana (Brazil’s most famous beach) is sure not to disappoint, or you can soak up some rays at Leme beach or Barra da Tijuca. Rio’s beaches and boardwalks are also where you can expect to find some of the best night life.

So grab a towel and a Portuguese language book, bring your appetite and your sense of adventure, and experience Rio de Janeiro!