One of the most famous Brazilian artists internationally, Marcos Valle is also an expert in Rio de Janeiro’s cool spots. The 67-year old musician, whose latest album, ‘’Estatica’’, was released on June 15th, takes some time to give some exclusive Carioca tips for those goin to Rio at a time Marcos considers special for a series of reasons.
Why would visitors enjoy Rio in August?
‘’I do recommend coming at this time because the temperature is milder, more comfortable. That is quite important if you take into account that Rio is not only made by its beaches. The sun is around but the heat is not as strong as in summer and people can walk about withour being scorched.
Has Rio spirit changed a lot?
‘’The cariocas have raised their heads and are prouder of their city. Rio today is more pacific thanks to the initiatives of stronger policing in troublesome areas and the hosting of the Wolrd Cup and the Olympics has contributed to create a wave of optimism. These days I can even see locals wearing those ‘’I love Rio’’ shirts, something that was previously considered a touristy and naff thing.
With so many beaches, which one to choose?
Maybe visitors would like to avoid the crowds, for famous spots like Ipanema get full even in winter. My tip is to head towards Barra. There you can find places such as Prainha, Grumari and Recreio, where there is more space and a bit more tranquility. You have the sea, some amazing views and several small and unpretentious restaurants where you can eat killing seafood dishes. I love Bar do Bira, in Guaratiba (www.biradeguaratiba.com.br). For a sunset experience, however, one has got to Arpoador. It’s enlightening for the soul.
What’s your tip for a classic boteco carioca (Rio watering hole)?
Bracarense, in Leblon, (Rua Jose Linhares, 85, tel 2294-3549) is unavoidable. It’s noisy and chaotic, just like a true carioca likes. One’s got to try the draft beer with cod cakes.
Where can one find good music?Lapa has gone through a renaissance and turned into a fantastic option for a good night out. There you will find an incredible diversity of Brazilian music, from funk to chorinho (the Brazilan version of jazz). Even I have done shows there.
Any shopping tips?
Sadly, many independent music shops in Rio are shutting down. But I can recommend two brave fighters. Livraria Argumento (www.livrariaargumento.com.br), in Leblon, is a classic, but I also love Tracks, in Gavea (Praça Santos Dumont, 140, tel 2274-7182). It’s an excellent option for those looking for rare albuns, including vynil.