RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Arraial do Cabo is a sleepy fishing town located a few hours (158km) east of Rio. Along with Búzios and Cabo Frio, Arraial do Cabo forms part of the the ‘Região dos Lagos’, a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the rush of the city. While Búzios prides itself on glamor, Arraial do Cabo has declared itself Rio’s scuba capital.

As middle class Brazilians become increasingly affluent, and Rio cements its status as a world-class tourist destination, the influx of visitors to Arraial do Cabo has boomed in recent years. Considering the current pace of the Brazilian economy, and the World Cup and Olympics on the horizon, this trend is likely to continue for the ...


In 1999, Casey Fenton snapped-up a bargain price plane ticket from Boston to Iceland. Realising he had a shoestring budget and nowhere to stay, he spontaneously emailed 1500 Icelandic students, asking if anyone would be willing to let him sleep on a couch for a night or two. Their response was overwhelming, and Casey spent a week visiting Reykjavik, making new friends and seeing a side of the city off the regular tourist trail. On the way home, he realised that this idea could be applied to anyone, anywhere, and that it offered people a chance to make genuine connections on a global scale.

More than 10 years later and ‘CouchSurfing’ – the project’s eventual name – has become an international ...


Following last weeks post on hiking in Parque Nacional da Tijuca, this Sunday we decided take a little passeio to Vista Chinesa (number 7 on the park map), located in the Jardim Botanico side of the park. It can be accessed by taking the 409 bus, and getting off at the last stop. There is then a 4km walk along a paved road that leads to the vista, so called because of the faux-Chinese pagoda located at the lookout. We were able to take a combi-van uphill, which saved us a little time. The view from the Pagoda is of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Leblon, with a side-view of Corcovado on the left and the Rocinha favela on ...


At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a consensus in Brazil that foreign powers were circling the fledgling nation, hoping to stake a territorial claim to some of its untapped resources. According to the ‘cafe com leite‘ government, the short-term solution to this problem, pending the development of a domestic resource industry, was to reinforce the army. This would bind Brazil as a national entity and, should the need arise, help to defer would-be trespassers. As the army grew, it began to wield political power and the soldiers gained an independent political conciousness. They realised that the old agrarian elites were using Brazil to support their private agendas, as opposed to serving the will of the general population. ...


Continuing the previous post on Brazil-o-nomics, today’s post is going to explore the current state of Brazil’s economy and peer a little way into the future. Without a doubt, Brazil is riding the crest of a wave, and with international money seeking buoyant markets, the trend is set to continue. But can this wave of expansion be managed in a way that will ensure the long-term health of the economy and what are the immediate challenges?

*I’m aware of my total lack of economic training, so I won’t be making any original claims. This will ensure that when these predictions completely fail to materialise, I can deftly pass the buck.

Bringing Brazil under control

To summarise recent economic developments in Brazil, it is ...


At 32 sq. km, Rio proudly boasts the world’s largest urban forest. An impressive boost for the cities eco-credentials it might seem. However, when you actually see the park, you will quickly realise that the towering peaks, tough granite and dense forest present a distinctly unappealing prospect for urban developers. Add in the risk of landslides and flash floods, and it suddenly seems very sensible to have left the forest as it is, and carry on squeezing Rio into the flat bits round the edge. The advantage of this policy is, of course, that Rio is provided with a world-class backdrop, as well as ample opportunities for urban hiking.

I had always heard about the numerous trails that led off into ...


In the first of two parts, I’m going to briefly examine the economics of Brazil. Part one will outline the economic history of Brazil, while the second part will focus on the economic future of Brazil. I’m no economist, but what spurred my very amateur interest the Brazilian case was the discovery that Brazil is an expensive country, especially for anything imported. The aim of the import tariffs is supposedly to stimulate domestic industries. However, these tariffs also allow globally uncompetitive companies to develop, which reduce the relative efficiency of domestic consumers and have little success in the export market. So it seems that the critical question is how to use market forces to evolve competitive companies, when those companies ...


The Amazon is being cut down at an alarming rate – sometimes trees are legally clear felled, sometimes they are illegally poached. The people that cut down the trees treat the forest as natural capital that can be converted to cash at any time. Others see the forest as a living environment that can sustainably provide natural resources without destroying the forest itself. This process is undoubtedly more labour intensive, and less profitable, but it is legal, and at least from my perspective, the only way forward.

José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva was a “castanheiro” (nut harvester) from Rondonia. He campaigned against the illegal loggers, charcoal makers, iron ore prospectors and farmers that abused the forest. Last month, José Cláudio Ribeiro ...