First month in Rio de Janeiro: Connection Rio Jiu-jitsu Hostel

So Tanya and I have been staying in the Connection Rio house for a little over a month now so it’s time to blog about our findings. Hopefully below you will see a list of what we’ve learnt that will help you when you come and visit this awesome place!

Jiu-jitsu couple in Rio

It ain’t that dangerous –

The Brazilians that we’ve met are both some of the friendliest people in the world and also the most patriotic. They love their country and they love Rio. And for good reason, they hate the media spin surrounding the ‘Dangers of visiting Rio’.

In the last month we have not once felt in danger, despite visiting restaurants in favelas, travelling on buses, metros, taxis and walking all over the city.

Follow simple safety rules: don’t walk out of clubs talking on your iPhone, keep your valuables in your front pockets and stay out of rough looking areas. It’s basically the same as living in London or New York… It’s a heavily populated large city the same as anywhere else in the world.


Ubers are awesome, travelling is time consuming –

The road and rail networks around here are a little less than desireable. It is not quick to get anywhere as the place is so spread out and the roads are always jammed. Leave longer to get somewhere then you think it will take but hey… Brazilians are rarely on time for anything, and this is probably why.


On the bright side, and hour long bus journey costs next to nothing and Ubers are uber cheap and super convenient.


Hint: if you haven’t used uber before get a promo from someone in the house as you’ll both make savings.

BJJ at the Jiu-jitsu Hostel Rio de Janeiro

Good Train!!! –

We are loving the training here! Gordo’s (literally a stone’s throw from the Connection Rio house) is a great mixture of relaxed and hard working. Many of the black belts would consider their style to be ‘Old School!’ but like anything, the basics done well always carries the best results.


We are competing at NAGA this weekend, but after that we will do a tour of some of the best Rio Gyms and give a greater review of that experience. However if we only trained at Gordo’s the entire time we were here, we wouldn’t be sad. They teach each technique in English as well as Portuguese and give us as much special attention as their own students, always helping us improve our game and learn as much from them as possible.


Cheap/Not so cheap –

The people staying in Connection Rio generally have one of two aims; Train as much as I can and stay here for as long I can or enjoy Rio, be a tourist and do a little training on the side. Both are cool but if you wanna do lots of sightseeing you’re gonna spend a lot of time in Ubers, spending lots of money eating out.


If you wanna train full time, a lot of your money will be spent on monthly memberships to gyms but you can find the cheap places to eat nearby and will have to cook a lot of your own meals.


Basically, you can live pretty cheap out here but it takes a bit of work and experience and you may miss out on some of the cool parts of Rio.


We’re finding a balance between the two.


The weather is awesome! –

But then, we’re from the UK… so the weather anywhere in the world seems awesome to us!


I wanna live here –

A sentence uttered by many a CR guest… Almost every Brazilian I’ve spoken to asks how we like Rio and we often say that it seems like a great place to live. That is almost always met by the response, ‘No don’t do that, it’s a great place to visit, but the corruption is terrible, you don’t want to live here.’


I think they’re right, visiting or staying long term in Rio is something I think everyone who does BJJ should experience once. This is the home of the art we practice every day and the people in this city are so welcoming. Yet the taxes are high, the favelas are run by drug gangs and I’m told the police are easily corruptible. That’s before we even get into the political climate here which is, let’s say, difficult at the moment.


Yet all that aside, Rio is one of the best places I’ve been to. The people, the landscape and the weather are beautiful. For me and Tanya, I can’t think of anywhere better to have started our year long honeymoon!

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