With soccer’s biggest event kicking off in host city Rio de Janeiro this June, Airbnb host Fabio has been plenty busy booking soccer fans from around the world.

“Rio already has lots of visitors for New Year’s Eve and Carnaval, but the World Cup is surpassing my expectations,” said Fabio, an Airbnb host for several properties in the city. “I’ve already answered more than 2,000 requests.”

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Rio’s also home to the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, so we were curious if Fabio’s been bombarded by traveling sports fanatics for those later events, too. So far, it’s too early to tell, but he expects this to change after the final goal of World Cup 2014 is kicked. “I haven’t had any requests for the Olympic Games, maybe because people around the world are waiting to see what will happen during the World Cup.”

Fabio’s steady ascension to expanding his Airbnb hosting mirrors the mounting excitement of the impending world-class sporting events. Just a few years ago, he started renting out a small apartment he’d bought as well as a bedroom in his own home. Impressed by the steady of flow of visitors and the warm connections that arose, friends asked Fabio to manage their apartments, too. Today he is so busy overlooking all the properties he now oversees that he quit his job and got certified as a tour guide. Life is bela. “I’ve turned what used to be a hobby into my life,” he said. “Now my job is to have fun with my guests. It’s hard work but worth it.”

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The properties Fabio manages are all within a quick taxi, bus or metro ride to the big sports venues such as Maracanã Stadium. They’re also in Zona Sul, home to the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema neighborhoods. “That is the safer area and the best place to stay in Rio, with the most famous beaches and attractions,” said Fabio.

Like a supermodel, Rio has a reputation for being as dangerous as it is beautiful. Fabio doesn’t really deny this, suggesting that like every major global city, Rio has its sketchy areas. But he’s quick to testify how Rio has stepped up the safety. “The security in Rio is much better than some years ago,” he said. “All of my guests are impressed with this.”

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Fabio takes great pleasure in guiding visitors toward all the tall and tan and loveliest spots in and around Rio. His fave local excursions (you’ll wanna jot these down ’cause they’re where cariocas like himself go to relax) are to nearby Búzios, Ilha Grande, and Visconde de Mauá. “These places have nice beaches and a vibrant night life,” he said. “Maromba and Maringá are little villages in Visconde de Mauá, a beautiful place with a forest, waterfalls and good restaurants.”

When we hit him up for advice for first-timers to Rio, Fabio responded warmly, generously, and with a laid-back casualness. “Don’t rent a car. Enjoy the day, carpe diem. Drink a coconut. Take a stroll through Tijuca Forest. See the sunset at Arpoador.” And our favorite: “Try to feel the carioca way of life. We are friendly, informal, enjoy outdoor activities, and open to know new people and make them our friends in a few minutes.” Sounds like a plan.

Bound for the beautiful city that brought us bossa nova? Book one of Fabio’s fabulous listings now.

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