When it comes to international travel, the question on everyone’s mind this year was: Rio – should I stay or should I go? Well, people went, Social Life Magazine was among them, and despite the (questionable) hype around the Olympics, the experience was exhilarating.
The food, architecture, nightlife, world-class natural attractions are a draw unto themselves, and there’s no disputing that the beaches are a main reason to visit, but whatever your poison, don’t go it alone. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t even think about renting a car.
With the visiting population bursting at the seams, now more than ever, do yourself a favor and hire a private tour company to be at your beck and call. They know the back ways, the short cuts, the art of avoiding lines, and they have an uncanny ability to get you exactly where you want to go when you are unable to articulate a plan for yourself.
Rio Alternative Tour is superb. Owner Vicente Cardonne not only knows his way around Rio, he understands the city and its culture (and history) like no other. If you want to be dropped off at a club for four hours, no problem: he’ll be waiting when you’re ready to crash. Want to take the tram to the top of Sugar Loaf, but not interested in spending precious beach time in a line of chatty tourists? Skip the line, hit the Loaf, and get back to the beach, Vicente-style.
Vicente, who spices up every occasion with tidbits of knowledge and a fierce love of his magnificent Brazil, never takes his foot off the gas.
Social Life: Why do you think visitors to Rio should use Alternative Private Tours rather than rely on a car rental or a taxi?
Cardonne: The city is huge and the traffic is terrible. It can be very easy to get lost, and it’s difficult to park and drive. We identify the needs of visitors to the city and optimize your valuable time and money. Not to mention, you will visit the most interesting places and find the true essence of Rio. At the end, flexibility is the key word. I will help you create your own tour so you can see the places you want, the way you want.
Social Life: If a customer has one full day to pack in as much as possible, what would you recommend?
Cardonne: If you have a full day, I can make sure you see the main attractions and more.
Cardonne: That’s a difficult choice. I really love Christ the Redeemer, Tijuca Rain Forest, Sugar Loaf and the favelas.
Social Life: What is the best-kept secret that only tour guides like you know about?
Cardonne: We know the right time to visit the attractions. My customers never lose time in long lines.
Social Life: What is the biggest myth about Rio?
Cardonne: That’s easy. The reports of danger. Rio is just like any big city, and there are dangerous areas, but that’s where I come in … to keep you out of them. Overall, it’s just a wonderful place.