Riowakening

Brazil through an Australian's eyes

March 24, 2018


Normal one day, crazy the next.


This would be the honest slogan for Rio favela tours, ripping off Queensland's era-defining "beautiful one day, perfect the next" tourism campaign. 

Like a dormant volcano, random eruptions of violence between rifle and grenade toting gangsters and police...

December 19, 2017


Back earlier in the year I had the pleasure to do a story on the work of the Mais Caminhos charity in Rio's Ipanema just around the corner from where I live.

It is part of Caminhos Language School where I studied Portuguese when I first arrived in Rio last year. Besides being the city's number one...

May 1, 2017


If you’re thinking of coming on a holiday to Brazil and Rio it's a great life choice to make, believe me.

There can be a lot to get your head around as a tourist though so here are some travel tips and advice for anyone that wants to jump on a plane for a Brazilian holiday. Follow these and you'll...

April 5, 2017


"A good criminal is a dead criminal."

That’s the meaning of the Portuguese words “um bandido bom é um bandido morto” on the lips of people from one end of Brazil to the other. But it’s not often it’s caught on camera, City of God style, where police officers shoot criminals dead, expediting the co...

December 9, 2016

An Italian tourist who took a wrong turn into a favela and wound up dead with a bullet in his head today is another reminder of the ever-present danger bubbling below the beauty of Rio.

The 52-year-old, Roberto Bardella (on the left above), was riding a motorcycle alongside his cousin Rino Polato,...

October 16, 2016

A newspaper front page with a little girl covered in her dead mother’s blood declared “Terrorism in Rio is everyday”.

In the grisly story from July, Cristiane Andrade, 46, was stabbed in the neck in her car's front seat sitting next to her daughter in a supermarket carpark. The girl ran to a nearby...

September 20, 2016

Brazil has turned its big time crime problem into prime time television.

Taking the lead expertly from the USA, cameras chase Brazil’s machine-gun carrying police as they swerve and run through dingy streets capturing criminals.

Hours-long news programs dedicated to reporting on crime across the c...

September 15, 2016

Walking through a Rio de Janeiro favela I was told by my resident guide that the order from the most senior gangsters is to not lay a hand on visitors. 

She said I could navigate the Cantagalo favela’s steep maze of pathways, streets and stairs safely with a Brazilian or even alone, something...

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I'm Ian Walker, an Australian freelance journalist and travel writer who ditched his job as a full-time newspaper reporter to move to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Riowakening Ipanema
Riowakening Ipanema Beach
Riowakening Ipanema Elevated
View of Rocinha, the Largest Favela in Brazil, With Over 70,000 Inhabitants, Ocean in the Horizon an
Riowakening Cantagalo
Riowakening Rio Lagoa
Riowakening Rio Lagoa 2
Riowakening Arpoador
Riowakening Rio Centro
Riowakening Technobloco Tunnel
Riowakening Technobloco Sambadromo
Riowakening Pedra do Sal
Riowakening Lapa
Riowakening Ipanema Night
Riowakening Ipanema 2
Riowakening Ipanema Football
Aerial view of Favela da Rocinha, Biggest Slum in Brazil on the Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and Skyl
Riowakening Vidigal
Riowakening Rio Lagoa 3
Drone Niteroi
Parque Lage