Interview with a Local: Rio de Janeiro

Today we talk to Yvonne Ivanescu about her hometown Rio De Janeiro! Yvonne is co-founder for Now in Rio. Now in Rio is a travel and culture website that provides comprehensive information about Rio de Janeiro for both tourists and anyone interested in travel and/or Brazil. It seeks to change perspectives, shatter stereotypes and introduce you to the real Rio de Janeiro – its vibrant communities, delicious local cuisine, thriving underground culture and unbelievable scenery. To follow their adventures, visit their websiteFacebook and/or Instagram page. 

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Where are you living?

I live in Rio de Janeiro. In Portuguese we call it the cidade maravilhosa which translates into “the marvellous city”

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Tell us about yourself? 

I am a Canadian digital marketing nomad that is currently completing a PhD in digital marketing and community based tourism. I have been living in Brazil for the last 1.5 years. I first lived in Sao Paulo but it wasn’t for me so I moved to Rio de Janeiro. I love the water, so my hobbies include kite surfing, surfing and scuba diving.

What is your favourite thing about Rio?

I live in Recreio, which is 32 kilometres from the main site of Rio de Janeiro. Technically it’s still Rio de Janeiro – in fact, the city of Rio de Janeiro is HUGE, it include the main tourist hubs (like Ipanema and Copacabana) but it also includes the North and West Zone. I live in the West Zone. Recreio has a beach and surfer type vibe. It’s much quieter than than Ipanema and Copacabana and I enjoy it a little bit more because it has more of a suburb type of vibe.

What is your favourite thing to do in Rio with a day off?

Rio de Janeiro is definitely an outdoor type of city. A day off means that you’ll probably be spending it on the beach, drinking a cold beer or a caipirinha.

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What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Rio?

In Rio de Janeiro, most people have to see Christ the Redeemer, visit either Ipanema or Copacabana beach and go up Pão Açucar (Sugarloaf). But there is so much more to do in Rio de Janeiro. I love the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. It has a bohemian type of vibe with delicious local food. Or on Monday you can go to Pedro do Sal, which is the birthplace of Samba.

Any top tips where to go/ what to do on a rainy day? 

On a rainy day, I would recommend shopping at either Shopping Leblon (in Leblon) or in Rio Sul (in Botafogo), both of which also have movie theatres. If you want to be more active, then why not take a samba class or go to the Museum of Tomorrow?

Where is your go-to restaurant? 

I can’t answer this because I don’t have a go-to restaurant. There are a lot of restaurants in Rio that cater to a lot of palettes. What I DO recommend is try to go to an all you can eat barbecue place. I personally LOVE Fogo de Chão.

And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening? 

Ahhh drinks. The cheapest wine you’ll find in Rio de Janeiro is at Canastra, but go early because it fills up really quickly. If you are looking for some good quality beer (but that comes with a higher price tag) then I recommend going to Delirium in Ipanema.

If you want to try something that is truly Brazilian, then I recommend trying a caipirinha made with cachaca.

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Is there one thing not many people know about Rio de Janeiro?

The best party in the world is in Rio de Janeiro: Carnaval. But it is also home to some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

If you enjoyed this and would like to read more from Yvonne then I suggest you visit  Now in Rio!

Have you been to Rio or are you planning a trip there? I’d love to hear from you! I’m personally off to Rio in a few weeks so I can’t wait to try and some of the suggestions! I will definitely be drinking plenty of Caipirinhas! 

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