Your Smart Travel Assistant!

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”

Rent a Local Friend is a global platform that connects people who love to travel with those who are passionate about where they live and have a great story to tell. More than just an outing, we aspire the sharing of local tips and contents, information that will be revealed in no travel book or guide and last but certainly not least the essence of each local culture and spirit. All of this is done in a spontaneous, genuine, collaborative, and interest based way allowing people to connect with those that posess similarities or own characteristics that will allow a full immersion in the visiting destination.

Given excess of information and increasing demand to experience the unique and customized, it is getting harder and harder to filter what is relevant and select where to go and what to do when you travel. Local Friends are also travellers but within their own homes and thus do this homework for you while putting together an itinerary that is 100% customized suiting your needs, interests and making sure to take you to the most authentic and sometimes even traditional little places, guiding you on what and where to shop, teaching about local eating habbits, and showing what is truly authentic while keeping you up to date with the new and noteworthy.

Rent a Local Friend Now!

Become a Local Friend Now! 

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São Paulo from a local point of view

Our stop today is São Paulo: the most populous city in Brazil as well as in the Southern Hemisphere. Filled with tall skyscrapers, with a diverse population coming from different parts of Brazil (and the rest of the world!), the “concrete jungle“, as it’s called, is full of surprises in every corner.

Our local friend there who will tell us more about this fascinating city is Kika, a ‘gringa’ herself who fell in love with São Paulo and set foot there. A local friend since 2014, she is an Interculturalist with China-Brazil focus, language professional and writer, and has a published work with a Brazilian flavour: “Sete Dias em Busca da Brasilidade” (2016). You can also check out more of her amazing work in her Understanding Brazil channel, with a deep dive into Brazilian culture; and with her YouTube playlist, where she teaches Portuguese idioms.

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Here she tells us a little bit more about her new found home:

1. What makes your city unique?

São Paulo is the biggest city in South America, a world city with its very distinct look. Due to a strong Asian and European immigration in the 20th century and due to inner country migrations between the 1950ies and our current days, you can find so different types of Brazilians living here and leaving their local cultural impact on daily life. Start breakfast at a Portuguese Bakery and have lunch at a typical Italian family place (don’t expect them to speak Italian). Why not having a Temaki (a giant Brazilian Sushi version) in the afternoon? In the evening I recommend some lighter Syrian food. And the best: you will always fit in, no matter the color of your hair, eyes or skin. For example, if you look Asian in Sao Paulo, nobody would usually consider you being part of a minority here.

2. Tell us about why you became a local friend.

I became a Local Friend two years ago after another Local Friend told me, what fun it was to have received people from all over the world who had come to Sao Paulo for the World Cup. I decided to create my profile and just give it a try, since I already had some previous experience in guiding foreigners in São Paulo due to being an accompanying translator. Of course, being a foreigner here, allows visitors spending time with me to see Brazil from another type of insider perspective, something like: “I am local and I totally get you.”

3. What was your most memorable experience as a local friend?

The best part is surely, that a personalized tour might change people’s minds when thinking of Brazil. For example, many foreigners are afraid when they come over due to news and chit-chat about criminality and some others believe that Brazil’s development stopped somewhen decades ago. Guiding foreigners especially here in São Paulo gives me a chance to show them true local culture, safety in an unsafe world and Brazil’s own share in international developments, too.

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4. If you could highlight 3 awesome sights in your city, what would they be?

The top must-see highlights, such as the Paulista avenue, the Ibirapuera Park, the Niemeyer buildings, are all worth a visit. But if your time is short and you are more interested in relaxing, then I suggest the following:

First: The neighborhood of Vila Madalena itself is a wonderful touristic sight with simple attractions such as local street art, its over 30 art galleries and its charming cafés and restaurants. It is a great place for shopping female clothing and handmade souvenirs, too. You can easily spend a whole day in the neighborhood, without being a bit bored.

Second: I wouldn’t miss the chance to visit a Brazilian farmer’s market. The one on Rua Mourato Coelho on Saturdays shows a huge variety of local fruits and vegetables. Vendors usually offer you a free tasting of fruit. There are also some cultural markets, such as the antique market one at the Benedito Calixto Square, where you can listen to a band playing Brazilian Chorinho while having some North-Eastern snacks. This market also takes place on Saturdays.

Third: Walking in the neighborhood of Liberdade, originally a Japanese neighborhood but now full of Chinese stores. There are plenty of original Asian restaurants and since it is very close to the old center, you can see a different part of the city’s reality.

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5. Have you traveled much yourself? What have been your favorite travel experiences?

One can’t travel enough in this incredible world with its incredible people. My husband and me travel pretty much inside Brazil, which gives me the opportunity to understand the regional cultural differences better. I also like to travel in my home country, Croatia, when I visit my mother once a year. It is just amazing – travelling from the mountains to the sea, discovering cities, villages and islands. My personal interests lie in Asia, especially Greater China and Japan. As a former student of Chinese culture and East Asian Art History, I just love to deepen my knowledge, whenever I get the opportunity to do so.

6. If you could describe your city in one word, what would it be?    

Diverse!

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Do not miss the chance to have Kika as your amazing local friend in São Paulo: you can book her here >>

Boa viagem! 😉

 

Recife from a local point of view

Today, our stop is in Recife: the fourth-largest urban agglomeration in Brazil. With almost 4 million inhabitants, it’s the largest urban agglomeration of the North/Northeast regions, and the capital and largest city of the state of Pernambuco. 

The person in charge of telling us more about this amazing city is Roderick Jordão, a local friend there since 2014. Graduated in Tourism and with a postgraduation study in Environmental management, his full time occupation is as a communication coordinator in a bike activist association (as a volunteer) and working on in a project that offers walking and bike tours around the city centre.

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Here, an interview where he tells us more about being a local in Recife:

1. What makes your city unique?

Recife is the oldest capital of Brazil (480 years old), so it has a very strong culture scene around here. It also has a natural reef that literary divides our two main rivers with the Atlantic Ocean, making our city centre’s design very unique. And, by the way, reef in Brazilian-Portuguese means “arrecife”, and when we split the word: Recife!

2. Tell us about why you became a local friend.

When I visit a new place, I’m always curious to get to know the “B” side, the non-touristic attractions. So I try to find the best way to do it, including the main spots, but skipping the “high-level” touristic ones. I really like to be amongst the locals and do like they do: eating, drinking, listening to the same music etc. So, why not offering a local experience to other people with the same spirit?

3. What was your most memorable experience as a local friend?

So far I had a lot of fun and experiences being a local friend. One of the best times was when I accompanied a family of eight people from Norway for two days. One day they visited the Cais do Sertão Museum, which is a very nice and modern museum, featuring the culture and the way of life from our countryside’s people. Inside the museum, there’s a room where you are able to learn and play some local instruments. In 5 minutes, everyone was with an instrument playing a Norwegian folk song!!!     

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The Norwegian family playing instruments at Museu Cais do Sertão

4. If you could highlight 3 awesome sights in your city, what would they be?

1 – The cycle path that links the south side of the town (Boa Viagem beach) to the city centre. The landscape is very unique, with a river on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other one. The view of the sunset from this point is gorgeous, a true not-to-miss local experience.

2 – Praça da República square – A very beautiful square where you will find at the same time: the Campo das Princesas Palace (Governor’s Palace), the Palace of Justice, the Santa Isabel Theatre, the view of Capibaribe river and one big old “Baobá” tree.

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With two visitors, Terry and Cathy, in the boat to cross the reefs

3 – The Capela Dourada – built at the end of the 17th century, the Capela Dourada (Golden Chapel), also known as the Capela dos Noviços, is a chapel of the Franciscan Order, inside the larger building complex of the Santo Antônio Church and Convent, which includes the Franciscan Museum of Sacred Art. The chapel is covered by golden leaves and painted in a “barroco” style from the XVI century.

5. Have you traveled much yourself? What have been your favorite travel experiences?

I’ve started to travel very late in my life. I did my first international trip when I was 29 years old, but now I’m addicted to it! Over the past two years, I’ve been in Bogotá/Medellín, Europe (2nd time, 01 month, 6 countries), Santiago de Chile/Atacama Desert and Buenos Aires. My favourite travel experiences are: to stay in airbnbs meeting local people that give some really nice local tips, finding local places/tours and doing them; and, at most part, when possible, just walking and cycling around. I believe walking is essential to have a true feel of the city, find new places, explore typical food, local music scene etc.

6. If you could describe your city in one word, what would it be?    

Surprise!

 

Do not miss the chance to have Roderick, this amazing guy, as your local friend in Recife: you can book him here >>

Boa viagem! 😉

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Local Food

If you are in London now run for an amazing pie at Pieminister!

And Rent a Local Friend for exclusive tips from this unique city! 

“All Pieminister’s products are made in-house with the finest, fresh ingredients including 100% free range British meat. Pieminister’s vegetarian products are Vegetarian Society Approved. And the latest range of Pie Pots also have two gluten free recipes.”
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Local Place: Dubai!

In a few years, Dubai has raised more skyscrapers than any other city in the world. Among them the highest in the world, the Burj Khalifa. But it’s worth to take a day away from the big hotels. To know more about the cultural part, the ideal is a walk by the river Creek. Small wooden boats take people to the Deira neighborhood. This boat is called Abra and it’s also very cheap. The cool thing is that local people really use this transport. And don’t forget to know the Al Bastakiya, built in 1890. To see everything in Dubai, Rent Renata!

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Local Nightlife

Sirocco Sky Bar

Located on the 64th floor of the Sirocco Hotel in Bangkok, this bar has a jaw-dropping view that only Thailand can offer. At the bar’s counter, the atmosphere created by the changing colors as the bartenders prepare the drinks give a special touch. The must-drink of the house is Hagovertini, named after the film “The Hangover – 2” which had scenes shot on the spot!

Rent a Local Friend in Bangkok Now! 

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Local Culture

World’s largest Cashew Tree is in Natal, Brazil.

Local Friend Ricardo sent us this beautiful picture. Many thanks!

Book him for more Local Culture!

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Top Reviews!

Rent Anna for unique moments too!
Review from her Visitor Olivia. (:

“Anna, my Brasilia local friend, was such an amazing host! I felt welcomed throughout my time there, and am so grateful that I got the chance to know her. I gave her an idea of some basic things that I would love to see in Brasilia and she crafted a schedule complete with a local food-truck experience. We headed to Sarak Kubitschek Park for some local food and beer, then off to the Radio Tower for a panoramic view of Brasilia. Anna also took me to Brasilia’s iconic structures and monuments, a vision come true by architect Oscar Niemeyer, but she also showed me the lesser known areas of the city such as typical residential buildings with the recognizable cobogo design. My highlight was the Itamaraty Palace, which houses the equivalent of the Foreign Affairs wing of Brazil. From the outside, the building is stark with its modernist touches but once inside, Amazonian gardens and art from contemporary artists hide within. Anna was able to share with me a slice of Brasilia that I didn’t thought was possible. She’s extremely friendly and accommodating, a world traveler with an interest in learning from other people’s culture and also in sharing the beauty of her city. I would recommend her to anyone looking to visit Brasilia. This was my first rent a local friend experience and she certainly made it all worth it.”

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Para quem n㯠gosta da folia dos dias de carnaval, uma op磯 foi o Parque da Cidade.

Pic from Dênio Simões

Istanbul!

Vahit takes you to corners you’ll never discover on your own. He will explain the history of the city, both the past but also the present, with events he has witnessed himself and interesting anecdotes. He is certainly a walking enciclopedia and has good contacts in the restauration branch. An excellent Local Friend choice!

Make sure to rent Vahit when you go to Istanbul! 

“O Vahit te leva a cantos que você nunca vai descobrir sozinho. Ele vai explicar a história a cidade, o passado e o presente, com eventos que ele mesmo testemunhou e anedotas interessantes. Ele certamente é uma enciclopédia ambulante e tem bons contatos no ramo de restaurantes. Uma excelente escolha de Local Friend!”

Não deixe de alugar o Vahit quando você for a Istambul! 

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Berlin: The mix of modern and old.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has modernized. A good example is the Potsdamer Platz, which has existed since the 19th century. Because of the 2nd World War and the wall, the space was completely devastated. In 1989, the square made a comeback and is now a leisure center with large mirrored buildings, cinemas and restaurants. On the other hand, the city, which has many stories to tell, is full of museums. To remind a bit of the past, stroll down the Kurfürstendamm boulevard, where it’s the Gedächtniskirche, known as the Broken Church. In fact, what remained was only part of the building destroyed in the 2nd World War. But the ruins were not taken from there in an act of memory. Local Friends in Berlin! 

Após a queda do Muro de Berlim, a cidade se modernizou. Um bom exemplo é a Potsdamer Platz, que existe desde o século 19. Por causa da 2ª Guerra Mundial e do muro, o espaço foi completamente devastado. Em 1989, a praça fez um “retorno” e é agora um centro de lazer com grandes edifícios espelhados, cinemas e restaurantes. Por outro lado, a cidade, que tem muitas histórias para contar, e é cheia de museus. Para lembrar um pouco do passado, passeie pela avenida Kurfürstendamm, onde é a Gedächtniskirche, conhecida como a Igreja “quebrada”. Na verdade, o que restou foi apenas uma parte do edifício destruído na 2ª Guerra Mundial. Mas as ruínas não foram removidas, em um ato de memória. Local Friends em Berlin! 

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Local Food: Belo Horizonte.

The Brazilian capital of bars could not be left out. Belo Horizonte has the highest rate of bars by inhabitants of the country! If you feel in doubt of which go, Ali Ba Bar is the solution. In addition to the cold draft beer (you can not miss!), the delicacies of Arab cuisine are super tasty. Since 1965, the Ali Ba Bar brings the Brazilian atmosphere with the tables on the sidewalk. Be sure to try the fried kibe, a must! Rent a Local Friend there! https://goo.gl/Zpql5c

A capital brasileira de bares não poderia ficar de fora. Belo Horizonte tem a maior taxa de bares por habitantes do país! Se você se sentir em dúvida em onde ir, Ali Ba Bar é a solução. Além da cerveja fria (você não pode perder!), as delícias da culinária árabe são super saborosas. Desde 1965, o Ali Ba Bar traz a atmosfera brasileira com as mesas na calçada. Não deixe de experimentar o kibe frito, um must! Alugue um Local Friend lá! https://goo.gl/qJkdHj

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