By Carol Mendes | Translation: Ann Fain

Sightseeing in a strange city is always easier in the company of someone familiar with the local area, but also with someone who knows the alternatives and the secret places that only the “locals” know about. Since it is not always possible to have a friend in the city you are visiting, a good option is to “rent” a friend; or get a personal city guide.

The idea of hiring a “local friend” in cities like Sao Paulo, Rio, Salvador and Recife is to provide tourists with a service tailored to their respective interests. This may include everything from shopping to cultural and gastronomic activities, and before setting out, tourists meet with their “local friend” to choose what is is they would like to do during their visit. The local friend shares with the tourists the various kinds of tours available and helps them explore the best options according to their preferences.

This kind of customized service caters to a variety of tourists, such as backpackers and those in search of alternatives to the traditional activities offered in tourist packages. It can also be an excellent option for families who prefer a more specialized tour to accommodate children. Sometimes, you go to a place full of tourists when what you really wanted was to have a more authentic experience in the city you are visiting. This could sometimes be something very simple, but that you did not know existed. The “rented friend” is usually bilingual and in addition to the native Portuguese, speak English and/or Spanish, and are well updated with the local cultural programs and activities, and seek to understand the preferences and personality of the tourist friend to better provide a personal service.

The cost of the service may vary according to the dollar exchange rate of the day, the city and the amount of time spent there. Overall, the service for 4 hours in Sao Paulo, Rio, Recife and Salvador range from US$70 to US$120. To schedule the service please call our travel consultant Magali da Silva in Los Angeles/California (323)428-1963 (same for WhatsApp) or email

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