Good news has been in short supply this year hasn’t it? Well I’ve got some here for you now: Eat Rio Food Tours are back up and running! 2020 has been a long slog for so many small businesses and here at Eat Rio it’s been no different. But I’m delighted to report that our walking food tours are back, better than ever and respecting all the necessary Covid-related precautions.
Our first ever Eat Rio food tours went out on the backstreets of Rio in 2013. In the following seven years, my little team of guides and I took more than 6,500 guests out on small group walking tours, eating and drinking our way across the city. We made countless friends and received hundreds of massively positive reviews, in TV spots and newspaper articles to guidebook recommendations and, most importantly, our guests recommending us to other travellers through word of mouth and on review sites. We won TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” every year from 2015 onwards, leading to induction into their “Hall of Fame” in 2019.
In short, things were going really well, and we were on the verge of launching an exciting new venture, Eat São Paulo. Then the pandemic came to Brazil and we realised that everything had to stop. In late March, Vinicius took a group of 5 guests out on what was our 929th tour – at the time, we had no idea if we’d ever run the 930th.
After so many years of hard work — developing delicious new culinary and cultural experiences; providing magical moments to guests from around the world; forging friendships with waiters and market traders — it was heartbreaking to think it had all come to an end. Against that dark background, we kept our heads down, stayed indoors, worked on side projects, and hoped that one day we could return to doing what we love.
The return of our food tour in Rio
Well, that day has finally arrived! Although the Covid situation is far from being resolved globally, here in Rio many small businesses such as ours have adapted and reopened for business. Hygiene was always of utmost importance to us — long before the pandemic, my guides and I had huge stashes of alcohol gel and latex gloves as part of our tour gear. And the majority of time spent on our tours has always been out in the open air, getting to know the city at ground level (we were never interested in those tours where guests sit in air-conditioned coaches while a guide reads out scripted information using a microphone).