Rafaela has a natural talent for being a guide and she is a real Carioca who truly loves her city - the perfect mix for being a Strawberry Tours guide! She quit her previous job and got her Tour Guide certification in order to do what she loves most: Show people the jewels of Rio and what she loves most about her city. Expect to learn a lot about Rio's history and culture on her tours and get caught up in her Rio passion. And isn't it just amazing that Rafaela decided to join Strawberry Tours because of our concern for Responsible Tourism and giving back to the local community? Get to know in more detail the positive impact she thinks Strawberry Tours will make in Rio and follow her tips on how to get the most out of the city!
Please tell us about your background and experience as a tour guide in Rio.
For many years I’ve been guiding friends and family around my hometown, and last year I decided to quit my previous job as an investment analyst to become a professional guide. Being with tourists in Rio is something very natural for me, because I am the number one fan of my city.
Why did you decide to join Strawberry Tours Rio de Janeiro?
I’ve decided to join Strawberry Tours because of their concern for the local community and their positioning in the walking tours market. The 10% Pledge and the fact that they are a company that values responsible tourism were the main factors that helped me make this decision.
What tour do you lead and what makes it so special?
I lead the walking tours through the historic centre and this is my true passion. Since I was a child I liked to study Brazilian history; and it is impossible not to associate the history of Rio de Janeiro with the history of the country, since we were the federal capital for more than 200 years. In addition, many points visited during the tour tell us curiosities and bring lots of information to the visitors who usually think that the city is limited to its natural beauties.
What do you like most about being a Strawberry Tours guide?
What I like the most is that all the tours are collaborative, which makes the guides look more and more to bring new information to the tours, and make sure that the tours are the best tours of the visitors’ lives.
As a Rio local and tourist guide, what do you find to be the most exciting things about the city?
I believe the most incredible thing about Rio is our way of life. Cariocas, in general, are very receptive and fun people, and proud of their city. Because of this, they always have a smile on their faces and good ideas to delight their visitors. In addition, what enchants the tourists who visit the city is the great variety of things to do here. In the same day you can take a dip by a deserted beach, bathe in a waterfall, go to a soccer game in the legendary Maracanã stadium and go out for dinner in an elegant restaurant in Ipanema. Or, if you want to go out shopping, we have the largest open air market of the city and lots of shopping malls. And if you like museums, there will be no shortage of options for you! Rio de Janeiro is a city of contrasts and this is what I like the most.
What are your top tips for Rio visitors?
My main tip for tourists coming to Rio is: RELAX and be enchanted by the Marvelous City.
From your point of view, what positive impacts will Strawberry Tours make on Rio’s tourism industry?
The entrance of a new walking tour company in the city only brings benefits to the tourism market. The higher the competition, the better prepared the guides and companies should be.
What do you think about Strawberry Tours' 10% Promise?
This was one of the reasons that made me join the company. The commitment to the local community and the flag of responsible tourism have my full support. I volunteered for some social projects during my life, and last year I volunteered for the Olympic Games. It was an unforgettable experience that changed my life forever.
What charity are you raising money for in Rio de Janeiro?
Creche Berçário Cantinho do Céu, at Rocinha.
What impact do you think that this initiative will make on Creche Bercario Cantinho do Céu?
The contributions to the day care center will be fundamental for the implementation of improvements and, perhaps, the expansion of the space so that it is possible to receive more babies. I am very happy to know that I am taking part in this project and that some families are being helped because of my efforts.
What has been your most memorable moment since you joined Strawberry Tours?
The most unforgettable moment for me was when a tourist from Israel told me at the end of the tour that everything that is good ends quickly. Her satisfaction with my explanations made her feel safe and comfortable and this is priceless! When we realize that expectations have been overcome, it is the best thing a guide can have.
What's your message for anyone planning a trip to Rio?
Rio de Janeiro has many touristic options, and whenever possible, look for a registered guide to accompany you through the city. No doubt you will have a memorable experience and will feel like coming back. If you can, walk by the sea or visit one of the many natural areas that exist in the city. Contact with nature is something inherent to Rio locals.