Rio the Guide can trace its origins back to The Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro, the now legendary guide book that was first launched in Rio in January 1984. In one form or another it was the largest selling guide book to Rio de Janeiro in the English language for over a decade. The only such guide to be written, edited and published in the English language from Rio de Janeiro itself.
Praise for the guide — and a guide to São Paulo — came not only from the media, but also from the travel trade including the hoteliers, restaurateurs, travel agents, airlines and tour companies, as well as, and most importantly, the many users of the guide, many of them residents of Rio, who now number several hundreds of thousands.
The author and editor of Rio the Guide is Christopher Pickard, who is one of the best known and longest serving foreign journalists to have been based in Brazil. A career he turned to after opening and running Gringo’s, a record store in Ipanema that operated with much success in the late 1970s.
Born in England, Chris lived for over twenty years in Rio de Janeiro where, after a spell as the arts editor of The Latin America Daily Post, and editor of the local Brazil Herald supplement, he wrote and edited his guides.
Chris helped an even more famous British Rio resident, a certain Ronnie Biggs, to write his autobiography Odd Man Out in 1994, a book he updated with Ron in London. Odd Man Out: The Last Straw is published by MPress. Together with Ron, Chris also wrote the novel Keep On Running and The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013, with Ron, Bruce and Nick Reynolds.
As a travel writer Chris has written and published more words about Brazil than most, the same is true for his coverage of the Brazilian music and film scene. Besides his own Insider’s Guides Chris has contributed to guides about Brazil published by Berlitz, Insight Guides, and DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, as well as writing articles in countless newspapers and magazines.
As well as being a travel writer, Chris travelled the world covering the film industry and lived for several years in Los Angeles where he edited a film magazine. He has edited daily publications at the Cannes, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Panama and Karlovy Vary film festivals, and has written for Variety, Moving Pictures, Screen International, Pulse, Down Beat, Cash Box, Songlines, Music Week, and RioLife, among other entertainment publications.
Chris, the ex-chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) and CEO of Critical Divide, also found time to set up the Brazilian Tourist Office in London for the Brazilian Government. He is a consultant to Festival do Rio, Rio de Janeiro’s International Film Festival, and continues to actively promote Brazil when he can.
Chris was director of tourism for the South Atlantic Island of St Helena from 2015 to 2017, and on his return to the UK took up the chair of the LATA Foundation. He is chair of the Anglo-Brazilian Society in London.
Bowing to popular demand, he launched Rio the Guide in 2014 which followed Brazil the Guide that was visited by close to 300,000 people during the 2014 World Cup. In 2016 a similar number used the Rio and Brazil guides during the Rio Olympic and Paralympic games.