We are starting to plan a return trip to Brazil in 2015 to see the Amazon and Northern beaches. We anticipate having three weeks this visit and have already spent time in the Pantanal, Rio, Buzios, Recife, Salvador (plus a few more areas I'm forgetting).
We are experienced travelers in the---shall we say ---"mature" category.
Couple of preliminary questions to pose to Fodorites for which I have received some conflicting information.
~~what are the pros/cons of taking a several day river cruise versus using a river lodge as a base with day trips to jungle, river, etc.? Recommendations would be appreciated.
~~Manaus seems to be the usual flying in/jumping off spot, but it certainly doesn't sound terribly appealing (would be delighted to learn differently).
~~any thoughts on how best to allocate time to incorporate some of the good swimming beaches near Fortaleza and Natal?
~~I have longed to see Fernando de Noronha but have occasionally heard it is simply not worth the expense.
~~Has anyone combined a trip in this region with, say...French Guiana? Suriname? Guyana?
~~I understand that LAN airlines has recently started flying from SFO to Manaus, and I will be exploring OneWorld connections from the West Coast in order to avoid MIA if at all possible
Thanks for any input, feedback or suggestions.
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Practical to combine Amazon + beaches with visit to the Guianas?