Living Like a Native in Rio de Janeiro
Mingle with the locals in Rio de Janeiro and have a true experience of the city
Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the party capitals of the world. World Famous for the Rio Carnival, its Samba music and pristine beaches, there is more to Rio de Janeiro than just these facets. To get to know the real Rio it will help to live like a native. Brazilians are welcoming of tourists and feel privileged to help and show the city around, so as also being careful of who you are with try to keep an open mind as you can make friends with the locals and have a true experience of the city.
Before you go
The native language of Rio de Janeiro is Portuguese, not Spanish like many believe. Try and take some lessons in Portuguese for a few weeks before you arrive. Your knowledge of the language will get you into areas where no one speaks a foreign language and all the locals hang out.
Live Like a Native
To live like a native, do not book a room at one of the tourist hotels that line the beaches. Instead look for a bead & breakfast or an apartment for rent located in a residential neighborhood. Or consider swapping homes with someone in Rio de Janeiro. Just be sure your accommodations are in a safe neighborhood.
Look like a Native
To live like one of the locals you must look like one of the locals. First, get yourself a pair of Havaiana flip flops. Everyone wears them and most locals have 3 or 4 pairs. Men usually wear speedos to sunbathe and others wear boardshorts, mostly surfers. Women wear the famous brazilian bikinis that tend to be smaller but have various beautiful designs, make sure you buy one. Covering up to go home is recommended, the ladies at the beach use something called ‘ canga’. The canga is also useful to be laid on it. Cangas are sold by vendors all over the beach. They are colorful and are usually of Rio sites such as the Christ statue, make sure you get one as they make a great souvenir.
Act Like a Native
Eat lightly at night, tapas or appetizers are the norm for the locals. Ordering a big meal at night will peg you as a tourist. Instead, eat your largest meal at lunch. Ask the locals where they go to dine, drink and dance and be sure to frequent those places.
Hiring a local tour guide is another sure way to live like a Carioca. A native guide can show you all the attractions as well as the best local hot spots. Another really nice way to get to know people of the city is through couch surfing. This website gives you a chance to meet people from all over the world.
Most importantly have a positive attitude, Rio is known for being a relaxed place, and things might not go the way you expect so try to make the most of every experience, that’s how natives go on with their lives, if things can’t be changed they just take it as an opportunity to have fun.