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3 - 4 weeks in Brazil - help with trip itinerary

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My partner and I (early 30’s) are planning a very last minute trip to Brazil in April 2013.

We have 3 to 4 weeks to play with.

We like active vacations – we like the beach, hiking, being outside, learning the culture, cities and small towns, good food etc.

Here is our itinerary so far – would appreciate your thoughts/comments. We’re flying from Montreal, Canada.

Day 1 – 5: Rio de Janeiro

Day 6 – 9: Rent a car or bus (which one is better/easier/cheaper?) to explore Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto, Mariana and Tiradentes.

Day 10 – Back to Rio

Day 11 – 12: Ilha Grande

Day 13 – 14: Paraty

Here’s where it gets tricky.

We’d also like to see:

Salvador (3 days)

Iguaçu Falls

The Pantanal

What’s the best way of putting all of that together? We know it involves a lot of flying. Is it best to fly from Sao Paulo > Iguaçu Falls> Cuiabá>Salvador?

We know Brazil is a huge country and we can’t see it all but is there anywhere else that is a must see? Should we spend some time in Manaus to see the Amazon?

Also we read about the Brazil Air Pass $532 for 4 internal flights on TAM airlines. Has anyone used this? Is it a good deal?

Thanks forum friends!

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