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“Rio de Janeiro with Rafa....How Awesome!!!!”

Rafael Torres Lopes Tour Guide
Ranked #4 of 539 Tours in Rio de Janeiro
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 10 January 2011

From the time Rafa greeted my sons and me in our hotel lobby until the end of our two days together, Rafa welcomed us with open arms and treated us as long-time friends. He was truly warm, personable, knowledgeable and lots of fun! Not only were we able to see the "typical tourist sites" at times to avoid the crowds, Rafa took us to places where only a long-time native and resident would know about, which added to our enjoyment of all that Rio has to offer.
And what a fun guy! Rafa's English is excellent and his enthusiam contagious!
Thanks Rafa for a wonderful two days, of which my sons and I will always remember as the highlight of our vacation to Brazil!

Thank OneTexasTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"highly recommend rafa"
in 23 reviews
"parque da cidade"
in 12 reviews
"friend for life"
in 14 reviews
"locals know"
in 9 reviews
"plan b"
in 6 reviews
"visited rio"
in 19 reviews
"santa teresa"
in 27 reviews
"iguazu falls"
in 6 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 19 reviews
"south america"
in 15 reviews
"real rio"
in 13 reviews
"cruise ship"
in 11 reviews
"samba school"
in 8 reviews
"hidden gems"
in 7 reviews
"his passion"
in 7 reviews
"sugar loaf"
in 27 reviews
"speaks perfect english"
in 9 reviews

377 - 381 of 559 reviews

Reviewed 1 January 2011

Rafa arranged for Françoise to take us on a totally different kind of tour for our final day in Rio. He had originally arranged for her to pick us up at 10 am but per our request changed the meeting time to noon. We did this because we wanted Françoise to drop us at the airport at 8 pm for our long flight home and it would have made way too long a day if we started earlier.

Lovely Françoise showed up at noon, helped us load our luggage in her car and off we went. Before I forget Françoise also speaks perfect English with a very cute French accent.

Since Françoise knew exactly where Rafa had taken us the previous day, she set up a totally different itinerary, one which took us to beautiful scenery of mountains, forests, bays, wetlands and semi-private beaches. I say semi-private, because in Brazil all beaches require public access, even when they are located in a gated community.

In Parque Nacional Tijuca, we saw a beautiful water falls and she also took us to a special look out area in the forest where we could see all of Rio and get some fantastic photos. We then visited Niteroi which is right across a bridge from Rio but a step back in time to a very unspoiled, un-touristy area which contains an old fort and a gorgeous fishing village. We spent time in both areas and had lunch at a delightful locals restaurant. Great food and very inexpensive for the quality and quantity of food served. Françoise then took us to Lagoa de Marapendi. It is a wetlands area containing 7 islands. We boarded our small outboard motor driven boat with our cute little Captain Laerte at the helm and traversed the waters around the many islands. There are homes on most of the islands and we were extremely jealous of the situation in which these folks lived, surrounded by water and numerous species of birds and other wildlife.

I wish now that we had actually had Françoise begin at 10 am as she had wished as the day went flying by and every site she showed us was truly mystical. I highly recommend Françoise as she is a true delight.

Thank Judy0608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2010

My wife and I spent 3 nights in Rio after a 16 day transatlantic cruise which began in Barcelona, Spain and ended in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rafa arranged for one of his drivers to pick us up from the cruise terminal and bring us to our hotel in Ipanema.

On our second morning, Rafa picked us up at our hotel at 8:45 sharp as promised so we could join with another lovely couple, Nancy and Phil, for a tour of Rafa's Rio. We spent the entire day visiting not only the major tourist sights but also many of Rafa's favorite places in the area. If you are visiting Rio for the first time I highly recommend you just let Rafa choose the itinerary, you will surely NOT be disappointed with any of his choices. If you have specific places in mind, let Rafa know in advance and he will work the itinerary to cover those and surprise you with some of his own. Rafa speaks perfect English (thank goodness, since be know only a few word of Brazilian Portuguese.

After a completely wonderful day, Rafa dropped us back at our hotel at 7:00 pm, exhausted but completely satisfied. If it we possible to give a Super Excellent rating to Rafa and his crew, I would have done so.

Thank kenw1122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2010

I went to Rio for 4 days in November 2010 with my husband and daughters ages 7 and 10. The day before we left for our trip, we decided to hire a tour guide and chose Rafa based on all the positive reviews. We were not disappointed and really enjoyed our one day with him. Touring with young children can be a workout but he did an excellent job. Rafa helped us craft an itinerary that highlighted things of interest for the girls, was flexible with the schedule, responsive to emails, picked us up on time, had his own private vehicle and spoke excellent English. We visited Cristo with him, toured the rain forest, spent some time on Niteroi and ate excellent Brasilian cuisine. The highlight of the trip for us was visiting the indigenous settlement (native Brasilian Indians) off the beach of Niteroi. We learned a lot about how they struggle to maintain their culture and way of life while living among modern communities. In terms of downsides, Rafa is not cheap, but he was in line with other tour guides whom we considered.
As an aside, we rented a 2 bedroom condo in a neighborhood in Ipanema. We didn't encounter anyone who spoke English in the area. Therefore, on the days we didn't tour with Rafa, we had to learn and employ basic Portuguese and sign language at the local bodegas, restaurants and shops. This was great cultural immersion for the whole family.
Suggestion: Food is cheap but consumer goods are unbelievably expensive in Brasil. Try to bring everything you need with you (ie, toiletries, flip flops, towels, sunscreen, hats, portuguese dictionary, etc.). We went on from Rio to visit friends in Sao Paulo and gave them sheets, towels, Christmas ornaments and electronics from the States. All of these things cost the earth in Brasil and so make excellent presents.

Thank PearlVision2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 December 2010

In all my travels all over the world, I have never encountered a tour like Rafa's!! It is hard to find a local guide that is as knowledgable and as personable as Rafa. My boyfriend and I spent the whole day with Rafa and we both agreed that it was our best day in Rio!! And it was HANDS DOWN the best tour we have ever been on. It's hard to even call it a tour, because after an hour it really felt like we were hanging out with our friend. Of course, we went to the major attractions of Rio... but unexpectedly we saw and experienced things that we would have never even have known to see. I don't want to spoil it for you. You would be crazy not to spend a day with Rafa. I am only sorry that we didn't book two!!!

Thank NYCNatalie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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