We are glad that we have hired Marcelo as our guide. First, our tour proposal is quite challenging. We want our guide to take us to favela Santa Marta (Michael Jackson Square) and then take us hiking through a Tijuca Forest. While along the way to the forest, we also want to make multiple stops, such as Mirante Dona Marta, Mirante Jardim Botânico, Emperor’s Table, and Chinese Vista.
We knew when we created this trip that safety is our number one priority. Both places that we are going, the favela and the forest can pose a major risk. When Marcelo accepted our proposal, he provided us with his background which includes his thesis work in the favela and his volunteer work in the Tijuca forest as well as being a native Brazilian, this made us feel safe right away.
Our contact with Marcelo went very smooth through email, phone call, and Whatsapp. His English is very well understood. While we are in Rio, we have to constantly change our trip date due to the inclement weather. He was very well agreed of the situation and allowed us to change the trip date upon last minute request.
On the trip date, he picked us up promptly from our hotel. At favela, while we were walking through the area, everyone seems to know him quite well (again, we feel so safe for knowing that we are in a good hand). On the way to the forest; he made all the stops that we want and more. There are so many viewpoints and waterfalls, that he has shown us. We can tell that he must have been driven through this road multiple times before. While hiking through the forest, he has a keen sense of direction and knew exactly where to take us. He pointed out some damaged path and make sure we saw them and pass through them safely before continue on. He has shown us some animals, birds, fruits, and trees, and point to the area that you might normally find them.
We can feel his passion for Rio de Janeiro and his love for showing us his city. On top of safely guide us, he gave us knowledge of the area, not only for the one that you might find in guide books but something that only local would know. We talked about soccer, Cachaça, food, scuba diving, Olympics. We enjoyed this trip very much and quite entertained by Marcelo.
We have such a memorable trip with the help of Marcelo. We would not hesitate to ask him to be our guide again for our next trip in Rio. We appreciated his wonderful guidance and happy that we have chosen him. It is so delightful to have met Marcelo in person and knowing him.