By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Instead of just carving a pumpkin this Halloween, a travel and tourism company in Rio is providing the option to paint on one with light as well. Innovative experiences company +Asas (Mais Asas) is holding a special light-painting photography class on Saturday, October 31st, to coincide with Halloween.
Using light as a pen, guests can create images which are then photographed with a long exposure to create original images. The host for the event is Bibi Pimenta, from the state of Espirito Santo, who studied in Barcelona and has now lived for four years in Rio.
It is just one of the activities available to try on +Asas’s website. The company acts as a portal connecting local people, or hosts, with a particular passion to residents and visitors in Rio who want to try new or unusual things in the city.
With a focus on cultural, wellness and gastronomic experiences, it is possible to sign up for a session of Aloha paddling with your friends in Barra, coffee-tasting in Santa Teresa or take a personalized shopping tour around the best brands and boutiques in Zone Sul (South Zone), among other things.
“Working with what you love means you have a passion for it and you don’t mind spending hours talking and explaining your work. That’s when Monday becomes a magical and amazing day,” says founder Isabella Cunha. “An experience with a passionate host is special because you can see the shine in their eyes. Go on one of our experiences you will understand that.”
Cunha started the company 2012 to open up the lesser-known activities in the city to both residents and visitors. Working with local companies, like fashion brand Farm, as well as bigger corporations to spread the word, she is hoping to attract new hosts ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as well are increase the number of experiences.
“In the next couple of months our focus is to create more categories of +Asas experiences, like adventures, volunteering and kids for example. Our goal is to find the most passionate hosts in town to create experiences with them and show the best of Rio to everyone that comes here.”
Eventually the plan is to operate a platform, like say Airbnb, where hosts can come to +Asas post the experience they would like to offer and then guests can sign up via the site and leave reviews. At the moment each experience is vetted and each host verified by the company.
Most activities have multi-lingual hosts, cost R$80 to R$300 and last between two and fours hours. They are particularly good for company outings, birthdays or celebrations as most are suitable for groups. Some have a minimum number of participants. It is possible to arrange bespoke or personalized experiences too.