The Brazil team is now back in Brasilia after a great stay in Rio de Janeiro. We learned and experienced a lot during our time there and have brought back several new ideas for the project! We want to share as much as we can with you, so this is the second blog about this fantastic state. You can read the first part here.
After two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, we went to the amazing coastal city Arraial do Cabo. This place, only a three hours’ drive from the big city, is packed with beautiful beaches and coastal areas. And yes, you are still in Rio, as both the city and the state are called Rio de Janeiro. It is a bit confusing! Arraial do Cabo is totally different from the large, vibrant city of Rio with people and cars everywhere. It is a small city with only 29 000 inhabitants and here you can easily slow down your pulse and just relax. Many Brazilians travel here to get a break from the big-city life, and we quickly understood why. The beaches in Arraial do Cabo are amazing! With white sand and the clearest water you can find there is no wonder it is called the Caribbean of Brazil.
The Say HI team spent the week at the HI hostel Marina dos Anjos, a hostel with a very “stay-at-home” feel. The staff is super friendly, and the vibe of the hostel is calm and cozy. It also holds a rich history as Marina was the first international hostel in Brazil. The manager of the hostel was travelling abroad when we visited, but luckily the rest of the staff had no problem showing us all the sustainable actions the hostel had. Eric, who were our contact person during our stay, proudly showed us their 8 solar panels on the roof which supplied the light and heated water. They also have several different herbs, tomatoes and chilies in the outdoor common area which are up for grabs for both guests and staff.
September 15 was The International Coastal Cleanup day, and luckily it fell on our stay in this beautiful place. The hostel was part of organizing a coastal cleanup, and this gave us an opportunity to participate. The cleanup was arranged by several organizations, amongst other a local group called Arraial Consciente. They have many environmental projects in Arraial do Cabo and consists of local people with a love for the nature, trying to do good things for their area. It is always inspiring to meet people like this!
After a week at this chill place the Say HI team was ready to head back to Rio for some big-city-life! For our last week we stayed at CabanaCopa hostel, located a 5 minutes’ walk from Copacabana beach. This family run business is a large and modern hostel, with 5 floors and a rooftop where also the breakfast is served. We have to say, it’s not a bad place to enjoy your meal! You look straight out on a park, where you on occasions will see small monkeys. But watch out, they can also try to steal you breakfast! Luckily for us, the breakfast staff are good at chasing them away.
Ian, one of the owners and the manager, has many ideas for the hostel and is also eager about sustainability. The hostel has water-tanks on the roof supplying the showers, and most of the tables in the common areas are made of old doors. A really cool idea that we have not seen before.
We also spent some time exploring more of Rio, looking into cool areas and seeing sustainable initiatives all around the city. One of the areas we recommend checking out is Botafogo which often goes under the name “BotaSoho”. It’s the hipster area of Rio, where a lot of young people live. You will find many interesting local stores, cafes and restaurants here. It is worth noticing that you have to explore a bit as they will not be on the main street! We will give you some insider tips though.
VOID is a small unique store and restaurant which hosts different chefs introducing different menus every day. Continuing on food, check out the Slow Bakery and Co-lab café or try the amazing burgers at COMUNA. When you are beyond stuffed with all the delicious food you should relax and read a book. The bookstore Cebo Baratos da Ribeiro is a real treasure! It is a bookstore selling used books, which also host events like book readings. If you need some “new” clothes, they have a nice second-hand clothing store on the second floor called Brecho Travessia.
We spent our Saturday in Santa Teresa! An area located on a hilltop giving you some great views of the city walking around the area. This place has a lot of history which you can see from all the old, grand houses! It is worth taking a stroll just looking at the (once) beautiful buildings. Today you can find much local art here and the area has a cool vibe. The only tram in Rio is also going from the city centre up to Santa Teresa.
When sightseeing in Rio it can be fun trying to find out where the local “cariocas” go. In Rio this is to local markets. We in SayHI wanted to see some locally made food and products, and this we found at Junta Local. A market which changes locations every weekend but is just as interesting every time. Here you can get everything from natural skin products to artisanal beers. It is a great way to see some local products and feel a bit like a local! Look it up on their website
As you might have understood we highly recommend Rio. It has a unique vibe, some of the most beautiful scenery and many people with a sustainable mindset. It is safe to say – we are definitely coming back!
Written by: Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!