January 23, 2013

Búzios – Rio de Janeiro

by Rodrigo

Every time I visit Búzios  (the real name is Armação dos Búzios) I fall even more in love with this city. Located 110 miles from Rio de Janeiro, Búzios started getting popular around 1960 when the French star Brigitte Bardot was escaping from Paparazzis in Rio de Janeiro. Her boyfriend (a Brazilian at the time called Bob Zagury) hid her inside a car and took a boat to this paradise. At the time, Búzios was just a fishing village and did not receive many visitors besides rich families that came to spend time on the beach.

The impact of her visit in Búzios was huge and the city started to be well known internationally. Bridget spent almost 2 months in Búzios, spending her time by  lying out at the beach, playing guitar and talking with the locals. After this period of time, Búzios reach the status of the “Brazilian Saint Tropez” and the village was elevated to a city. Brigitte Bardot represents a lot for this small town, so much so that they named several landmarks after her, including a movie theater, a seafront called Orla Bardot and a beautiful statue on one of the most beautiful shorelines.

The beauty of the city of Búzios attracts visitors from all over the world, but what’s most surprising is the quantity of Argentinians you’ll find in the city, not just as visitors but as business owners running local restaurants and pousadas (a kind of B&B or a boutique hotel). The shore is very distinctive with a brilliant blue colored waters and the beaches are usually surrounded by fish boats. Búzios was recent named “The Best Destination Sun and Beach 2012″  by EUROAL 2012.

The food in Búzios deserves a blog post unto itself. With a big community of Argentinians, French and Italians this city offers fantastic gastronomic experiences. Sea food is what they make best, fish and shrimp are the most popular ingredients but you can easily find pasta and the famous Argentinian “asado“  (barbecue).

Adventures in Brazil offers the best experience for you, your friends and family. Send us a e-mail and we will more than happy to organize your next travel vacation.


November 6, 2012

10 local hot spots to visit in Rio

by Rodrigo

Over the years I’ve made great Cariocas friends – “Cariocas” is a nickname for people originally from Rio de Janeiro, like Bostonian from Boston and New Yorkers from NY. This fantastic group of friends has helped me put together a list of 10 local hot spots that you won’t find in guide books or on the web – these are the “real” Brazil!

1- Bira de Guaratiba


Located 45 minutes outside the city of Rio de Janeiro, Bira is a culinary gem located in Guaratiba.  Offering visitors fantastic views from the Restinga da Marambaia and delicious sea food dishes, a visit to this paradise is highly recommended.

Caminho da Vendinha, 68
Guaratiba, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 23020-810, Brazil
Phone: (21)2410-8304
No website available at this time

2- Maze Jazz


The first Friday of every month, Maze B&B opens its doors for a night of Jazz music. Located inside a pacified slum, Maze visitors will be stunned by the breathtaking views of Rio while sipping on fresh caipirinhas and listening to Bossa Nova jazz. The live music starts at 9pm and goes all night.

Rua Tavares Bastos, 414
Catete, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22221-030, Brazil
Phone: (21) 2558-5547

3- Don Pascual

Don Pascual is located in the middle of the Mata Atlântica, the restaurant itself is situated in a forest! Harmonizing nature and food, this restaurant offers a good selection of wine and a mix of Brazilian/Mediterranean cuisine.

Estrada do Sacarrão, 867
Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22785-085, Brazil
Phone: (21) 2428-6237

4- Aconchego Carioca


Famous amongst Cariocas, this spot serves boteco food. Boteco’s are small bars in Brazil that offer creative small dishes, similar to Spanish tapas. Be sure to try a bolinho (dumpling) filled with Feijoada – you’ll love it! Add a cold beer and your meal will be perfection

Rua Barão de Iguatemi, 379
Praça da Bandeira, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20270-060, Brazil
Phone: (21) 2273-1035
Website under contruction: http://www.aconchegocarioca.com.br/

5- Festa Segredo


Festa Segredo (Secret Party) takes place once a month and is limited to 300 people at a time. The address of the secret location is shared on Facebook, so you have to connect to their Facebook page. People that attend the party are invited to write down a secret on a communal board. It’s an all night party filled with beautiful  people dancing all night long. It’s can be hard to get in, especially if you are not a Portuguese speaker, bit worth it if you can find a spot. Good luck!


6- Bar Chico e Alaíde


Another boteco for you to try. Located in Leblon neighborhood, this place serves more than 40 different kind of small plates like bolinhos, empadas e caldinhos. Cold draft beers called Choop are very popular here.

Rua Dias Ferreira, 679
Leblon, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22431-050, Brazil
Phone: (21) 2512-0028

7- Lapa 40º


Lapa 40º is a bar in the Lapa neighborhood that offers live Samba music. It’s a big venue with 4 floors, live music and  5 pool tables on the first floor (pay per hour) and some more on the third floor . This is a great local spot to enjoy a beer and catch up with friends. Live samba brands perform on the 4th floor, entrance fees are charged after 10pm.

Rua Riachuelo, 97
Lapa  Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20230-013, Brazil
Phone: (21) 3970-1338

8- Casa Moreira Salles


This used to be the residence of Walter Moreira Salles (1912-2001), one of Brazil’s most successful bankers and a politician. In 1990 this house was converted in a cultural center to promote photography, literature, and Brazilian music.

Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 476
Gávea – Rio de Janeiro
Phone: (21) 3284-7400
*Call to confirm time

9- Casa de Rui Barbosa


This house belonged to Rui Barbosa (1849-1923), an important Senator, Minister of Finance and Diplomat. After his death, the Brazilian government bought the house and created a Foundation in his memory. Rui lived there for 28 years and all his furniture and personal library with 35,000 books remain in the house. The landscape and grounds surrounding the house are beautiful and showcase many different varieties of Brazilian plants and trees.

Rua São Clemente, 134 -
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22260-000, Brazil
Phone: (21) 3289-4600
*Call to confirm time

10- Mirante do Pasmado


Mirante do Pasmado is a open park with great views of Guanabara bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain. Great place to take a walk after lunch and enjoy the views.

In Botafogo neighborhood. After passing the Pasmado tunnel, turn on General Severiano Street.

P.S.: Many thanks to all my Carioca friends who always support Adventures in Brazil and provide us with local tips and experiences to share with our travelers: Carol Sauer, Vivian Prudente de Moraes, Cristiano Ricon and Eduardo Almeida. You guys rock!

June 18, 2012

Brazilian Traditions

by Rodrigo

One of the most important cultural symbols in the Brazilian culture is the “Festa Junina” – June Festival. This festival originally came from Portugal, a country deeply rooted in Catholic tradition. June is the month that commemorates most famous saints of Catholicism: Saint Anthony on June 13th, Saint John Baptist on June 24th, and Saint Peter on June 29th. According to anthropologists, Festa Junina started before the Christian era with the summer solstice, when the Celtics and Egyptians celebrated the end of the harvest season.

Quadrilha dancing in Oakland - CA

The native Brazilian Indians have their own celebrations during winter (remember that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed), those celebrations were added to the Portuguese celebrations brought by the Jesuits. Brazilian culture by nature embraces and incorporates traditions and festivities from all over the world.

During the celebrations of Festa Junina, you will taste lots of delicious foods, like pinhão, Curau, pamonha, doce de abóbora, sweet-potato and manioc (cassava, yucca or yuca…depending on where you are from). All of these dishes are part of native Brazilian cuisine and incorporate influence from Portuguese dishes like quentão, pé-de-moleque, bolo de fubá and etc. We have our own version of the mulled wine with spices and small apple cubes.

Traditional Festa Junina flags with USA and Brazil flags.

Dancing during the Festa Junina is always the highlight of the festival. Usually you’ll see a theater performance where a single man is pressured to marry a girl because she is pregnant and her father expects him to take responsibility. During the performance, traditional songs are sung and everyone participates, including the families of the bride and groom, priests, police officers, and everyone else from the imaginary village. Watch a great Festa Junina dance performance below:

April 6, 2012

Brazilian Music

by Rodrigo

I’ve never met a Brazilian that doesn’t like music. One of earliest memories of my childhood is my mom singing a song from Ataulfo Alves called “Pois é” – “Pois é! Falaram tanto, que desta vez a morena foi embora…” Because Brazil is so big and receives influences from all over the world, the quantity of musical styles is just enormous. The most famous styles are Bossa Nova, Samba and Forró, some believe that the word Forró is a derivative of the English expression “for all”.

Here are some of the most popular Brazilian rhythms in United States and Canada. I’ve posted audio samples of each type of music, paired with a description and some examples of the most famous artists from that genre of music. Feel free to google the artists names to learn more about them and hear other samples of their music. Obrigado!

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova started in the 1950′s by a group of young Brazilian students and musicians that were in love with North-American Jazz. Here is a list of famous Bossa Nova singers and bands: Antônio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Billy Blanco, Carlos Lyra, Claudette Soares, Dick Farney, Elizeth Cardoso, Bebel Gilberto, João Gilberto, Johnny Alf, Lúcio Alves, Maysa, Nara Leão, Pery Ribeiro, Roberto Menscal, Ronaldo Bôscoli, Sérgio Ricardo, Sylvia Telles…and more.


The roots of Samba come from the influence of African slavery, in Brazil Samba originated in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. It is a mix of various popular rhythms like batuque from the Bantos slaves and Portuguese rhythms.  Here is a list of famous samba singers: Adoniram Barbosa, Agepê, Alcione, Aracy de Almeida, Ari Barroso, Benito de paula, Beth Carvalho, Bezerra da Silva, Cartola, Chico Buarque, Demônios da Garoa, Dorival Caymmi, Elza Soares, Francisco Alves, Jair Rodrigues, Jamelão, Jorge Aragão, Martinho da Vila, Noel Rosa, Paulinho da Viola, Pixinguinha, Zeca pagodinho, etc.


Forró comes from the Northeastern of Brazil where it is very popular and played all year around. At the end of the 90′s this rhythm was transformed and started to receive more and more attention from the Southern part of country and internationally. These are some of the principal singers/bands from this Brazilian rhythm: Luiz Gonzaga, Sivuca, Trio Virgulino, Falamansa, Flávio José, Jackson do Pandeiro, Genival Lacerda and more.


This rhythm is most popular in the State of Pernambuco and the dancers use an umbrella during the performance. It’s one of the coolest and most colorful dances I have ever seen, during carnival frevo is played at all the parties. Some famous singers are: Gal Costa, Moraes Moreira, Carlos Fernando, Elba Ramalho, Alceu Valença and others more.


Maracatu is an Afro-brazilian rhythm played by percussionists that represent the Congo’s Kingdom, it is performed as street theater. It is played with a slightly different rhythm in Pernambuco and Ceará States, some of the most famous Maracatu players are Calé Alencar, Roberto Cruz, Abissal and Nação Zumbi.


Sertaneja is the equivalent of country music in USA. Its roots stem from the countryside of Brazil and it’s the most popular rhythm across the country. A list of the principal bands are: Bruno e Marrone, Chitãozinho e Chororó, Daniel, Gian e Giovane, Jorge e Mateus, Leandro e Leonardo, Tonico e Tinoco and Zezé di Camargo e Luciano.


Another rhythm from the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, Afoxê represents candomblé - an Afro-Brazilian religion. The most famous Afoxê group is the Filhos de Gandi, they perform every year during carnival in Salvador (Bahia).

Repente or Embolada

Repente or Embolada is a rhythm where 2 opponents sing against each other like a competition; they mock and use bad words in the context of the verse. The music is based on the facts of life and making fun of the  other opponent or making jokes, the crowd usually forms a circle around the Repentistas to watch the performance. The most famous repentistas in Brazil is Cajú e Castanha.


Lambada is a rhythm from the State of Pará and comes from the Carimbó rhythm (see below). During the 80′s the French group Kaoma released a song called “Chorando se foi” (the original song was written in Spanish) and made the Lambada rhythm very popular in Europe, the Caribbean and United States. 


Carimbó is a rhythm that reaches far back into history, from a time when Brazil was a Portuguese colony. The rhythm was created by the native indians. The colonizers called this style of music “the forbidden dance”, because woman used very short clothes and the dance was very sensual for that period of time. The roots of this genre were developed in Belém (capital of Pará State). The name came from a musical instrument called “curimbó” and is made from a tree trunk.


Choro or Chorinho is a Brazilian rhythm from Rio de Janeiro. Despite the fact that the word choro means cry in Portuguese  -  the rhythm is very happy and up beat. Choro peaked in the 30′s and 40′s and used to be played live on the radio. A list of great choro musicians: Altamiro Carrilho, Armandinho, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Ernesto Nazareth, Jacob do Bandolin, Paulo Moura, Pixinguinha, Waldir Azevedo, and many more.


Samba-reggae is a mix of Samba with Jamaican reggae, created in Bahia. This mix happened because Bahia is the city with the most Afro-Brazilians in the country, and during the 70′s the black movement emerged in Salvador. The result is a type of samba that reinforces the pride of Afro-Brazilians. The biggest representations of this style are: Olodum, Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown.


MpB stands for Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music) and is the rhythm that replaced Bossa Nova. It received influence from samba, pop, jazz and rock. Because Brazil was governed by a military dictatorship regime during the time when MpB emerged, the music was very progressive. Some artists have become successful by playing Bossa Nova and MpB, a few examples are: Elis Regina, Edu Lobo , Chico Buarque and Toquinho.

Funk Carioca

Funk Carioca is a rhythm from Rio de Janeiro that uses beats from the Miami Bass style. This music receives much criticism because the lyrics are usually full of violence and sexual references.


March 29, 2012

Salvador – the capital of happiness!

by Megan

Today is Salvador’s birthday, the first capital of Brazil is 463 years old. Adventures in Brazil wants to congratulate all the local guides and operators that make our travel possible. Congratulations!