Letter to the Editor, by Julie Sanchez

Hi, my name is Julie Sanchez and I love receiving my Rio Times online. We spend months every year in Rio and truly love the city.

I read recently an email to the Editor from a Canadian man who had visited the city via cruise ship and had negative things to say about the color of the water and the trash. He mentioned some nice things to say about the taxi drives BUT could not help commenting on their lack of English or french.

This is my view of traveling to Rio (which again is lengthy and often) and i see a much different city than he:

When I first visited Brazil four years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought maybe it would be one big all night party on the beach with loud people and loud music. I thought i might be mugged going to the coffee shops, I thought my infant son might be harmed. But my husband insisted it would be okay. I knew from the photos it would however, be beautiful.

Arriving in Rio the airport was a great success and traveling to Ipanema (our hotel) I could not believe the amazing architecture, the beauty of the old churches and how traffic moved along. Our taxi driver was so nice and yes, he did not understand English but was happy to explain anything in Portuguese. They do drive fast though!

The beach was really clean and the water was beautiful. The mountains, the Lagoa … all of it took my breath away. I have never seen a more beautiful sunset than Arpoador. Dining in Urca on the water watching all the colorful boats was utterly charming. And quite frankly the beaches weren’t loud with partiers, they were instead filled with sunbathers accompanied by joggers, cyclers and skaters who were enjoying the fresh açai and juices.

And I never felt in harms way but I was very careful and watched out at all times. The only time a street person ever asked me for anything was outside of our favorite bakery in Ipanema and she wanted a box of leche for her little one. We have stayed in Leblon, Ipanema, Apoador, and Copacabana and there were great things about each area. Plenty of cafes, grocery stores with organic healthy produce and of course yummy caipirinias.

Rio is by far one of the healthiest and most energetic cities I’ve ever traveled to. I can’t wait to be back in a few months and see all of my favorite things. And who knows, maybe my young son will learn caipoera.


Julie Sanchez
Houston, Texas


  1. I also agree beautiful city with very friendly people . violence is all over the world.u just have to be careful where ever are.only thing is rio will overcharge Americans on things.

  2. Is this the same Rio I live in the one that no matter where you walk you get that smell of sewage that fills the air. And then there’s the Ocean that is also filled with sewage and every time someone flushes the toilet we get a fresh new supply.

  3. Yes, you describe it verye well.. My experience in Rio was similar, nice beaches, energetic food, nice people, The view from the Pao Azucar is incredible too.

  4. I think that the reality for local people living in other areas of Rio de Janeiro is totally different from the idyllic description above. The prices of everything are ridiculously high for people trying to survive on a few hundred reais per month, There is no Police protection in most areas only a superficial police presence in areas such as Ipanema and Leblon. I will give an example of an incident that happened to a colleague this week. She was driving home in Sao Gonzalo with her friend after visisting the hospital with her father, She was stopped at gunpoint by three heavily armed men and they were both robbed of everything including the car, They went to the local police station but the police there were totally disinterested. They said whats your problem its only a hired car! Next day at the car hire company she was practically robbed again, the excess she had to pay for the stolen car was reias 6000, they charged for the full tank of gasoline and also kept all the payment for the months hire! So tourists beware! In any civilised country people who are traumatised like this by criminals receive counselling but here nothing. Brasil is really not ready security wise for any event like the Olympics or World Cup.

  5. What world is Julie Sanchez living in? that is a question that I would like answered. Rio is not idillyc, Rio is a chaos city where nothing works. Where traffic will make you loos days out of your life. Where you pay 30 USD for a Pizza, where police is non existant, and for Gringos that is true in a very special way. There is nothing Idillyc about not having hospitals in this city, there is nothing idillyc about the absurd real estate prices or the rentals. Julie, I Would really like to know where you stayed because it is not Rio de Janeiro Brazil.


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