Rio de Janeiro is internationally-famous for being the land of Carnival. And while we love a good party as much as the next person, scrolling through Carnival pictures on our instagram got us wondering - what else does Rio have to offer?
We spoke with Vitor Marigo, a “carioca” photographer who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. He’s furiously passionate about the beauty of his city, and walked us through the side of Rio that many of the tourists never stop to see.
My father was a big wildlife photographer in Brazil, with his work featured in NatGeo, BBC and other major publications. When I was very young I got used to following him on his adventures around Brazil and the world. After graduating in Communications & Marketing in the university, I started a travel operator in Brazil, called RioXtreme, and we would take tourists to the most amazing mountains and adventures in Rio de Janeiro. I loved photography and suddenly I was visiting beautiful places with breathtaking views and that's when I decided to buy my first camera. I was 23 years old by then and very few people had photographed Rio's wild scenarios. For the past 10 years I've been documenting Rio and Brazil's most beautiful locations and last year I sold my share in RioXtreme to my associate, so I could fully dedicate myself to photography.
Rio is well known for Samba, beautiful beaches and the Carnival, but is that all we got? Our countless beaches, mountains and lakes are the perfect scenarios for adventure sports. Yet, that's barely known, both from a national and an international point of view.
Inside the city of Rio we have the Tijuca Forest National Park, the world's largest urban forest. The Urca district alone (where the Sugar Loaf is) has the largest number of urban climbing routes in the world. Here we can hike, climb, rappel, go wakeboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, stand up paddling, sailing, scuba diving, hang gliding, base jumping, skydiving and zip lining. I find it my duty to show the world all the amazing possibilities Rio has to offer!
I'm a 'beauty-photographer' - I like to point my camera towards beautiful things and Rio makes my life easy. Rio is insanely beautiful and full of amazing possibilities, and that's what I like to shoot. I've been around with my camera for more than 10 years and yet, every week I find myself looking at a new angle. So the thing I like best about Rio is the fact that it is so beautiful. It is the outdoor photographer's (with insurance) paradise!
To me, going out on the field with my camera is not only my work, but it is also a sort of meditation, something that's deeply linked to my happyness and spirituality. I'm totally mad about it. Through photography, I'm able to visit wonderful natural places, which is a strong weapon in the fight against my ego, making me feel so small and unimportant in front of so much beauty and divine creation. I also believe that photography is powerful when making important issues public, like the need to preserve the environment and the forests, or bringing more people to adventure activities, which can be super healthy for both body and spirit.
Vitor's Tips for Rio:
While in Rio, you should definitely grab an Açai (a smoothie made of a typical small coconut from the Amazon) in Tacacá do Norte, Flamengo neighborhood, and some crab meat to go with it. Go to Cervantes Restaurant, in Copacabana, ask for their sandwiches and drink a cold beer. Go to Urca, near the Sugar Loaf, and drink a cold beer (I like beer) near Garota da Urca bar watching the sunset by the shore. Accomplish that, and you are almost a local!
Want more tips? Check out our Rio de Janeiro edition!
Cycling is a great option to go off the beaten track. If you don't like being stuck on tour buses or vans on a schedule, you should definitely bike around. As a photographer, I love being able to go wherever I want and stop at anytime to take a picture. The most important beaches (Botafogo, Urca, Copacabana, Ipanema) can be seen in one day. Don't forget to wear swimsuits so you can stop for a refreshing dive!
Vitor Marigo is a "carioca" photographer, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. He specializes in adventure, outdoors and wildlife photography. Follow his adventures on instagram @vitormarigo