Little huts dot the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, offering refreshments and entertainment to visitors. Known as barracas, these kiosks are a symbol of the city’s beach culture and gathering points for residents and tourists. A new design project is restyling the stalls of the city’s seaside, combining sustainability and technology to reshape the famous spots.
The beach is the center of the carioca (as the people of Rio de Janeiro call themselves) way of life and the place to be to experience the vibrancy of the city. From the crack of dawn, people begin walking along the shores, while the beat of samba music lilts from loudspeakers. Lively matches of frescobol (a traditional Brazilian game) take place across the sand, and fitness circuits keep the area busy until night-time. The beaches are a spectacle, and there’s nothing better than stopping at one of the many kiosks to buy a fresh caipirinha cocktail, sit back and watch life on the seashore pass by.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
A symbol of Rio de Janeiro shores, the kiosks are beach huts that lie between the sea and the small restaurants and bars on the promenade, offering a point of refreshment and all essentials needed for a day in the sand. The kiosk owners are well known by locals and can be found in the same spots every day. Known as barraqueiros, these owners are a real institution on the coast. Their day is full of activities: renting chairs and parasols to tourists, preparing fresh drinks to sell, guarding bicycles and chatting with friends and regulars. And their kiosks are now entering the future, with built-in sunblock, solar power and even Wi-Fi.
At the end of 2019, The European Institute of Design (IED) launched a project to create a new sustainable, high-tech model of the barracas, which will be funded by the advertisers placing their ads on the kiosks and deck chairs. The team is led by designer Flávia Souza (head of the furniture design course at IED), together with Erick Araújo and Lívia Cavalcanti (two designers and former students of the course). “The request came from the Sol e Mar association, a collective of the kiosk owners of the city,” explains Araújo. “They realize the importance of keeping up with the times if they want to continue being the center of beach life and offer a good service to beachgoers and to themselves as well, as the current huts are difficult to build and maintain. And we decided to create a team to work on the project with them.”
Haroldo Couto, the founder of the Sol e Mar association, launched the idea of redesigning the kiosks in 1995. At that time and with the help of architect Tania Braida of Beta Arquitetura and Dona Alzira (one of the kiosk owners in Copacabana), he invited the barraqueiros to meet up and discuss a plan. They proposed each seller would have a white tent with kits of chairs and umbrellas, to try and make the beach more organized. “We have now presented our previous idea to the IED institute to seek their collaboration to go ahead with the plans,” says Couto.
The newly designed kiosks will be square-shaped and easy to open in one move, similar to a parasol. They will be made of aluminum and sailcloth, with UV ray protection to shield from the harsh heat of summer in Brazil. Additional features include a collection system for recyclable and organic garbage, small solar panels on the top, as well as Wi-Fi and security cameras. All the new kiosks will be built to have as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible. Even the color choices will reflect nature with pastel blues, greens, yellows and oranges, preserving the beauty of the beach. The newly designed kiosks will first launch in the neighborhood of Urca, where the design school is located. They will then be distributed all over the city’s Zona Sul (South Zone), where the world-renowned beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema also lie.
Local barraqueiro Robson Silva is enthusiastic about the news. He is looking forward to working with the easier and lighter design, which will help facilitate the opening and closing of the tent every day without having to carry the heavy metal bars of the current ones. He works at the Barraca da Baiana, a beach kiosk owned by Dona Inalda, who has been at the same location for around 40 years and is excited about the new project. “My children grew up here. I taught them how to swim. I married them here,” says Inalda. “I am very proud. Getting a new kiosk is an exciting moment for me.”
The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are still considered a truly democratic place in a city of huge disparity, where people from all backgrounds and neighborhoods gather to enjoy the sun and the waves. But the shores are also keeping up with the times. Looking around today, you’ll see electric scooters zip next to pedestrians on the black-and-white sidewalks, and interactive touchscreens located at various intervals along the beach allow you to search on a map for the best walks, offer free Wi-Fi and sightseeing tips, and let you take selfies to share on social media. With the number of tourists increasing every year, new exciting projects such as IED’s new kiosks are at the forefront of the future of Brazilian beach life.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.