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16-day Honeymoon in Brazil -- Rio & beaches (Paraty?), but is there time to fit in the Amazon/eco-lodge?

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Apr 28th, 2005, 01:17 PM
  #1
rbh
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16-day Honeymoon in Brazil -- Rio & beaches (Paraty?), but is there time to fit in the Amazon/eco-lodge?

Hi all. I am planning my honeymoon to Brazil right now and getting very excited. We are going for 16 days in January 2006. We are definitely going to spend 4-5 nights in Rio and are up in the air with what exactly we will do with the rest of our time. I thought I'd provide a little about ourselves so that you can tailor any advise to our style:

We are pretty adventurous travelers and both have traveled quite a lot. I spent 1 year backpacking throughout Latin America (but did not go to Brazil). We are definitely used to roughing it (but plan to do our honeymoon in syle!). For example, we just went to Thailand and thought we were living it up staying in bungalows on the beach that cost $25 a night! We both love hiking and nature and going off the beaten path.

Okay -- so now for trip planning part.... I have been reading about beaches in Brazil. I don't think Buzios is our style. We want something more mellow. Ideally, we'd love to find a beach that isn't packed with people (but isn't totally deserted or isolated either), where we can stay at a luxurious hotel/bungalow/resort on the beach for under $300 US a night (we're splurging since it's our honeymoon!) Also, we'd like for the accommodations to be intimate, which means that it should not have a lot of rooms -- maybe something under 20 rooms. Two of the beaches I have read about that sound like they might have what we are looking for is Paraty and Ilha Grande -- any thoughts about this?

After time at the beach (or maybe 2 different beaches) we would like to spend sometime in the jungle -- which I guess means the Amazon. First question is, do you think 16 days is enough time to see Rio, a couple beaches, and go to the jungle? If so, does anyone have any recommendations for where to go in the Amazon? We'd like the same sort of accommodations that I mentioned at the beach in the jungle -- Ideally, a mellow, luxury "eco-lodge" where we are in the middle of nature, but have some amenities. Someplace where we can relax, go on hikes, and generally experience nature. Any suggestions?

Finally, I imagine that we will have to take in-country flights to get from Rio to the beach and then to the jungle. Any suggestions on best/most-economic ways to accomplish that?

Thank you very much in advance to all the generous folks who take the time to respond and help us plan our honeymoon!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Hi,
Very jealous that you're going to Brazil on your honeymoon, as my husband and I have just retuned from there, and would love to go back soon!

I think you would be able to accomodate an Amazon Lodge as part of your trip. We were there for 2 weeks and went to Rio, Iguacu, the Amazon, Salvador and Buzios. I haven't been to Paraty or Ilha Grande, but from what I've heard, they both sound much more laid back than Buzios, with more culture and charm. If (hopefully when) we return to Brazil, I would prefer to go to either of these as whilst we enjoyed Buzios, it really did feel like a 'resort' and the centre is very commercial.

Anyway, back to the Amazon! The highlight of our trip and somrthing that has changed the way we will book future holidays. We stayed in the Amazon Lodge which can be seen at www.naturesafaris.com.br .
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Apr 28th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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Doh! Managed to cut myself off there!

As I was about to say, we thought it was great. The staff were fantastic (their wonderfeul knowledge of the flora, fauna, people and culture of the region really made everything so much more interesting).

I have posted a trip report in 3 parts on the Brazil forum at Fodors, which explains it in more detail, and we're currently putting the photo's online, so if you're interested, I'll post a link so you can have a look.

As to the internal flights, the best thing to do in my opinion, is to get an airpass. These can only be booked from outside Brazil I believe, and you must confirm your itinerary beforehand, but it's such good value for travellers. You can have up to 4 internal flights (connections count as one flight) taken within 21 days for US$399. If you fly into Brazil with Varig (or a Star Alliance airline) I think you can buy the Varig airpass, alternatively with any other incoming airline, you can buy the TAM one (they're the same price, and many of the flights are codeshares between the 2 airlines).

I hope that helps, but if you need any info or clarification then let me know. Have a wonderful honeymoon - our trip to Brazil was the holiday of a lifetime, so I'm sure yours will be too!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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rbh
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quiUK -- thanks very much for the info. I will definitely check out your trip report and the amazon lodge reccomendation.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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Lucky you, indeed! We just got back from a week to Brazil and managed to get in 3 nights in Rio, one night in Manaus (meeting of the waters), and 3 nights on one of the Amazon Clipper river cruises. They have a new boat now that you might want to consider - the Amazon Clipper Premium that has double beds (ours had bunks which might not be what you want for a homeymoon!). I thought that doing the river cruise was a fabulous way to really experience the river. We did lots of smaller canoe trips through the tributaries and flooded forest, visited a couple of villages, and lounged on the upper deck watching the jungle slide by. They have two different itineraries - the one we did was the 3 night one on the Rio Negro. One advantage to that is that the river is farily acidic and mosquitos can't breed in it. We only saw 2 mosquitos the whole time (and those were when we were walking through the jungle, not on the boat or canoes). Whatever you decide - have a great time. Rio is fabulous, and the Amazon is amazing. One other thing - if you do the river boat you may want to fly into Manaus the day before to make sure you don't miss the boat. If so, stay at the Hotel Tropical in Manaus. Very nice!
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Apr 29th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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I also forgot to say that if you are tempted to stay at the Ariau Jungle Tower, you might want to reconsider. It is HUGE and when we canoed through it from our boat, it looked a little run down. I don't think it would be what you are looking for, especially for a honeymoon.
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:03 AM
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We were looking at Brazil for our honeymoon this June too- but started to get so much negative feedback about safety issues etc - Do any of you find this to be true? AND... what about weather in June?
thanks.
(I posted a question whether to go to Brazil or Portugal/Spain and got no responses...)
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May 2nd, 2005, 06:04 PM
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We had heard the same thing about safety. But we also kept reading on this website and in guide books that as long as you use common sense you will be fine. That advice was absolutely true. I never felt unsafe. I even went off by myself (albeit during the day)and climbed up the headland at the end of Ipanema Beach and went around behind the rocks where there was a group of teenagers hanging out. One of them motioned to me to go around the other side and he was going to dive off and I could get a picture of him. I thought that maybe I had gotten myself into a bad situation, but he dove off and I got my picture and I went on my way with a smile, a thanks and a couple of reais for his performance. Rio is like any other big city. There are places you don't want to go and you need to just keep your head about you. I would say that in general the people there were very friendly and welcoming. Go and have a great time!
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