One thing I wasn’t expecting from my six week trip to Brazil? Falling in love with São Paulo, popular Rio de Janiero’s rival. By the time I’d arrived in Rio, I felt my heart already belonged to another city — but I was more than willing to give this new one a chance. One of my favorite São Paulo adventures had been a Viator street art tour there, and so I decided to follow my winning formula and book Rio de Janeiro Street Art Tour, as well.
We met our guide Nina at the entrance of the Planetario de Gavea at 10:00AM. As a young artist herself, it didn’t take long for her passion to seep into the fibre of the tour. Unlike our walking tour in São Paulo, most of the traveling was done by air-conditioned van, allowing us to really cover some serious ground.
While arguably not as sophisticated as some of the projects we witnessed in São Paulo, the art was nonetheless inspiring and provocative. One of my favorite parts of the tour was that Nina had personal relationships with many of the artists so she was able to provide back stories and insight that we otherwise would never have learned. Many of the works also had cultural significance so it was nice to have a local help us with the interpretation — had we simply walked by and snapped photos on our own we wouldn’t have known a fraction of the real stories. Despite my own degree in Fine Arts, when it comes to street art I’m still a bit of a newbie so I appreciated Nina breaking down the terms for various types of street art and the methods used to create it.
We ended the tour at a hip microbrewery where we sampled some of the local beers. As a popular artist hangout, it was the perfect spot to toast to the day. While I’m not much of a beer aficionado, I was more than satisfied simple soaking up the atmosphere. The brewery was conveniently located near Rio’s famous Botanical Garden, which makes it the perfect place to continue your sightseeing post-tour.
When it comes to planning your time in Rio I highly recommend doing the tour early in your stay so you can enjoy all of Nina’s amazing recommendations for where to eat, drink and play in the city — I was gutted that we were leaving the next day and had missed so many of her favorites.
Don’t make the same mistake we did! Ditch the beach for a day and head into the lively streets of Rio to search for hidden surprises — you might just fall a little more in love with Cidade Maravilhosa.