In Rio? Now What?
When in Rio de Janeiro, do as the Cariocas do
One of best ways to get to know a city and its people is to learn about its culture and traditions. Rio de Janeiro is no exception. So, when in Rio, do what the Cariocas do.
The Cariocas love their native cuisine made of fresh local fruits and vegetables, seafood from the coast and meat from farms in the Midwest region of the country and also from Argentina. One of the traditional dishes is a bean stew called Feijoada. There are several other local dishes such as Aipim Frito or Moqueca. Because the traditional cuisine is so unique and delicious, several chefs have begun to instruct visitors in how to cook like a true Carioca. These lessons are quite instructive and a lot of fun.
To dance like a Carioca you must know how to Samba. Samba is a traditional dance style in Brazil that has its roots in African music. Samba has become a symbol of Brazil and of the Carnival in particular. To truly immerse yourself in the culture of Rio sign up for a few Samba classes. There are several Samba schools around the city that offer instruction. There are samba dance schools in the city Carlinhos de Jesus and Jaime Aroxa are two famous ones.
One of the best ways to get to know the Carioca culture is to learn the language. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. While in Rio, consider taking a conversational course in Portuguese. These courses focus on the standard words and phrases that come up in daily conversation. Instructors will also focus on slang words and phrases as well the meanings of different gestures.
Learn How to Surf
One of the most popular sports along the Brazilian coastline is surfing. The southern beaches of Rio have some excellent surfing conditions. High winds churn up the surf creating extreme waves. Professional surfers from all over the world come to the area to challenge the whitecaps. Because of its popularity there are several schools that will teach visitors how to surf.
Capoeira was a form of martial arts that the slaves developed in the 18th century. Because this form of self-defense had to be practiced in secrecy, the slaves pretended they were dancing when they were actually practicing their defense moves. Today, Capoeira is considered a dance that incorporates the martial arts with dance moves and traditional Afro-Brazilian music along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. There are also several studios that will instruct the curious in this unique African-Brazilian dance.
Learning the ways of the Cariocas is a great way to spend a vacation. Instead of simply visiting the tourist attractions you are actually experiencing the history and culture of the city.