Rio de Janeiro is called the marvelous city (cidade maravilhosa) and there couldn’t be a better name, as Rio features one of the most beautiful settings of any metropolis in the world: deep blue sea, spectacular mountains, white sandy beaches and lush rainforests. Living an ecotourism experience in Rio is possible, but due to its huge size, it is better to refer to a city green guide. And here we are, to show you the eco-sustainable side of the beautiful Rio, beyond Copacabana and Ipanema fame, the most famous Carnival in the world, the scenic outlooks of Corcovado and P?o de A??car and the dancing nights in Lapa.
Getting around in Rio de Janeiro
Cycling and walking are not recommended activities in Rio de Janeiro, both for big distances and some dangerous areas; buses are pretty common and leave from Novo Rio Bus Station (Rodoviaria Novo Rio).
If you arrive in Rio by bus, it is better to catch a cab; they are located on the first floor in the bus station, near the Riotur desk.
Frescao executive buses are the best option to move around Botafogo, the Centro, Ipanema and Copacabana in a safe and comfortable way; these buses are slightly more expensive the regular ones (3,5 R$ against 3,10 R$) but are available during week days only.
Subway in Rio is the most reliable way to move around, and it is also the greenest option.
Since 2010, Rio offers a single-fare pass which allows riders to pay one ticket and use the public transport system (bus, train or metro) for one transfer. Its cost is 4.40 R$
Green accommodation in Rio de Janeiro
An eco minded traveler has not many option to pick up from in Rio, as usually tourists prefer to stay in upscale hotels or cheap hostel. Besides Rio de Janeiro is living its best moment (economically and socially speaking) during these days, so it likely to upgrade its green side in the next few years.
But an eco tour of Rio could include the Eco Backpacker Youth Hostel, a very valuable place, with an ecologic appeal and good prices. Cleanliness, security and kindness are the strengths. The owner is very responsible towards the environment and recovery wood is used in the premises; also, they have a partnership with an eco jungle lodge, called Jungle Beach Hostel, located in a beautiful setting (two hours away from Rio). Staying at Eco Backpacker is worth a free day at Jungle Beach.
Eco tours in Rio de Janeiro
Exploring Rio de Janeiro is an extremely interesting activity, as it is possible to spot its many different aspects; but to get underneath the surface, it is recommended to rely on an eco tour. Tour by locals is a well-known operator (English speaking guide) that offers many options to discover city’s inner corners other than the famous ‘must see’.
O Verde is also convenient, but it is specific for Ilha Grande, which could represent a pleasant and ecologic escape from the chaotic Rio. Cultural, environment and pure nature experiences are promoted by this tour operator.
Organic food and vegetarian dining
But how can an eco Rio guide be completed without a look at the vegetarian/vegan food?
In this case, option are not limited at all and, while Brazilians like very much grilled meat, vegetables and organic food find their own space.
Bio Carioca in Copacabana is a vegan-friendly, organic and macrobiotic restaurant; gluten free choices are also available in the menu and wheelchair access is possible.
Vegetariano Social Clube is a small restaurant in Leblon (close to Ipanema), with a friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices.
A cheaper option is the organic Indian buffet, Govinda, which also located near an organic food market in Itanhang?. Wheelchair access is granted.
Photo credit: flickr.com-rodrigo_lobo