My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.

I love escaping, in all connotations of the word. Whether it is physically parting on a journey or mentally transporting myself to places I get contentment from. It is no coincidence that my blog’s name is Genuine Escapism.

Leblon beach
Leblon beach

A velvet escape for me is going somewhere that feels good, makes me feel alive and free. A place I could stare forever, where sometimes I sigh by simply being there because of its beauty or the way it makes me feel blissful.

My velvet escape in Rio de Janeiro is a very sensual experience. Not in a carnal, sultry way, but in an implication that it involves all of my senses. I start my way through Leblon’s black and white Portuguese stone boardwalk by standing on the edge and staring at the ocean for a moment. It’s hardly ever cloudy. The sun’s reflection on the water makes me think of a path I wish to walk on, made of stars.

View from Arpoador
View from Arpoador

I then start walking towards Ipanema. It is so lively here – beach volleyball practice, fresh looking swimmers (still dripping wet), ice sellers on their tricycles, dog walkers, meandering skaters, bikers, runners, baby strollers…

I try to mentally exercise that absolute truths don’t exist. What is true for me, might not be for you, what is necessary, pleasant and beautiful for me, might not be for you. But in Rio certain truths have proven themselves as absolute – there’s always someone at the beach, the beer is always cold and the Christ statue always has its arms wide open.

As I walk from Leblon to Ipanema I can smell sea air, sunscreen, sweat, bathed babies, roasted coalho cheese…

A coconut vendor
A coconut vendor

I often bump into someone who is always generous with a hug or a friendly kiss on the cheek.

By the time I get to Arpoador beach, I’m sticky, perspiring, a bit more suntanned and smiling. I climb my way up a few rock hills until I find a spot to sit. From there, I contemplate the view of Ipanema and Leblon beaches with the Dois Irmãos Mountain on the far end. I take a deep breath. There’s not a time when I look at that mountain and not lose my breath – but is that my truth or an absolute truth? I could gaze at that landscape ceaselessly. Until I feel the dryness in my mouth and remember I’m parched. I then make my way towards the nearest kiosk and order a fresh, cold, green coconut and sip on a straw, holding my round, natural drink and savor the sweet taste of coconut water, still staring at the most lively beaches I treasure dearly.

About this week’s guest writer
adrianaAdriana Lacerda was born in Salvador, Brazil. She first moved abroad when she was eleven months old and has been on the move for the past 26 years in Peru, Brazil, USA, Spain and Cyprus. A few months ago, Adriana decided to move back to Brazil and now lives in Rio. When she’s not in an office engaged in marketing activities, Adriana is out taking photographs, writing and planning her next trip.

Read about Adriana’s travels on her blog, Genuine Escapism and follow her on Twitter.

Read more ‘My velvet escape travel tips‘:

11 Responses

  • […] My Velvet Escape Travel Tip: Rio de Janeiro […]

  • What beautiful writing! I just returned from Brasil and your post makes me wish I had never returned!!! I feel the EXACT same way about Rio. What a magical city!

  • Rio sounds grand. Haven’t had the pleasure….yet. What a Trip.
    My Velvet Escape involves horseback riding in Northern California.
    Happy to share my tips if you like.

  • Hey filhota,

    What wonderful your “velvet travel tips”.

    I absolutely loved it!!!…

    By reading it we feel the smelling, the bouquet, of Leblon and Ipanema, with their pleasant salty breeze, full of life and energy Rio kindly give to all of us.
    This environment is special by filling our soul of hope, happiness and vigor, making the blessed people who lives here or has the opportunity to enjoy this part of the planet, opened, friendly and distressful.

    You describe Rio like you have lived here all your life long. This is a demonstration that you right with full sentiments, with your soul with deep feelings.
    It makes your tips enjoyable and truthful.

    Love you, love your “velvet escape travel tips…”.



  • Thanks Nico. I totally agree with you. I loved Ipanema. Sensual is definitely the perfect word to describe it! 🙂


  • Oh how I loved Rio! And what you say about it being sensual is spot on. I would nominate Ipanema as being one of the world’s greatest neighborhoods, and not only just the beach. It has that inexpressible fun and friendly vibe, like everyone you see there is your long lost cousin. And because it’s the local’s spot of choice (I think) it stays really fun and crowded at all times day and night. Really liked the nightlife in Centro too.

    Great post, guys!

  • Thanks Simon. Rio is an amazing city. I’ve only been there once but I’ll never forget that trip. One week in Rio, a week in Salvador and 2 days in Sao Paulo. The first two weeks were truly unforgettable! Rio is certainly one of those places that sticks in your mind forever.


  • I visited Brazil three years ago and loved it! Unfortunately, the weather in Rio was very bad so I could not fully enjoy the beauties of this city. I’ll definitely have to come back!

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