Brazil / Buenos Aires itinerary advice

Old Apr 25th, 2004, 05:36 PM
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Brazil / Buenos Aires itinerary advice

My husband and I qualified for tickets on American after flying on their crazy "Fly twice between NY and California and then go anywhere American flies for free promotion" !!! Anyway we're thinking of using the tickets to go to Brazil and perhaps BA.

We travel quite a bit and I have visited Central America, Bolivia and Peru but neither of us have been to Brazil or Argentina. The ticket allows for an open jaw and once at Iguaza Falls it seem easy to add a couple of days in BA.

We're thinking of three weeks in August or September. We're interested in historical and cultural destinations as well as architecture, natural beauty and good food...I guess that covers everything!

We often like to combine upscale luxury/charm with some more basic travelling/accomodation on our trips.

Here's our itinerary...we're thinking of flying into...

Belo Horizonte (1 night) and spending 3 nights in the gold towns based in Ouro Preto

The fly to Brasilia for 2 nights...my husband comes from a family of architects and is very interested in visiting Brasilia, though I'm less certain about it.

Fly from Brasilia to Salvador for 6 nights exploring the coast.

Salvador-Rio for 4 nights and then on to Iguaza Falls for 2 night, flight to Buenos Aires for 3 nights and home to the Bay Area.

This makes for 21 days...I'm a little concerned because there's alot more flying around than I'd like, but Brazil is a large country and it seems inevitable.

We're considering the Mercosur Pass...has anyone used it and do you have any advice? To use this pass we need to visit two Mercosur countries and so this gives the visit to BA an edge.

Because we're flying into Brazil on American I don't think we qualify for the Brazil Airpass. I'm assuming it would be expensive to buy a string of one ways when we're in Brazil but please let me know if you have any thoughts/advice.

We could cut out Iguaza and BA and fly back from Rio which would give us an extra 5 days to add in elsewhere...perhaps we could visit Parati or Buzio which would be more local...What do you recommend?

Many thanks for you help...

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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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Hello.
Ouro Preto deserves being visited, a most impressing World Heritage site, but the city has expanded in a most disordely way, so I don't like staying there.
Instead of staying in Ouro Preto, think of Tiradentes http://www.guiavirtual.tur.br/tiradentes/index.html a most nice, smaller, very important and beautiful colonial town.
South of Salvador, not far, lays Tinharé Island, and Morro (= hill) de São Paulo, a small town by the sea. Fantastisc beaches, among the best in Brasil. There are some fine small hotels, and lots of pousadas (family-run small hotels).You may proceed from Salvador to Morro de São Paulo by boat, small plane or bus. If you ride a boat, you will be granted a sea-view of Salvador, very beautiful indeed. If you board a bus, you will step down at Valença, a coastal city, then board a small boat to Morro de São Paulo (a short ride). No cars are alllowed in Tinharé Island. On Morro de São Paulo beaches are numbered 1 to 5 (no names). Beach #1 is on Morro de São Paulo itself, lots of people, stay there if you don?t like quietness. If you prize this, choose a pousada from beach #3 on. I stayed on Porto do Zimbo, beach #4, very good and quiet indeed http://www.hotelportodozimbo.com.br/ http://www.bahia.com.br/ http://www.morrodesaopaulo.com.br/main.shtml
The air plane ride Salvador ? Morro de São Paulo is at most 25 min, magnificent views, it?s worth spending some money with it. I have flown there (and to Maraú, another place more to the south) with AEROSTAR, very reliable, safe, affordable prices http://www.aerostar.com.br/ Why not going there by plane and coming back by boat ? I suggest you stay there at least 2 nights.

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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 11:15 AM
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Dear Dilermando,
Thank you so much for your detailed advice. I will look into Tiradentes and into visiting some of the places you suggest south of Salvador. I have a couple of additional questions, if you have the time or the patience!

How long does it take on the boat from Salvador to Morro de São Paulo? Approximately how much is the airfare?...I looked at their website but I couldn't find the tarif.

Again many thanks and I hope others will be able to give me additional thoughts on the itinerary.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Can anyone else commenton this itinerary...we'd greatly appreciate any more advice.
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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Hello,

I am a german girl and an experienced Brazil traveller with 14 journeys to this marvelous place! Have been in most of the destinations you mentioned (unless Brasilia, Buenos Aires and Paraty)and I would like to give advices to you if you still need them!
Well, you told about that you would like to use an Mercosur Airpass...
but if you would not necessarry want to go to Buenos Aires I guess it would be also possible to use the Brazil Airpass from TAM Linhas Aereas...see some info on this topic here:
http://www.tamairlines.com/airpass.cfm

Generally I can only say that an Airpass for this amount of destinations is really recommendable, I used the Brazil Airpass (from Varig) 3 times and it was always perfect, a lot better than travelling by bus.

Your itinerary seems to be perfect like this, I would not skip Foz do Iguacu out of your destination plans, because the waterfalls are fabulous, a MUST SEE for a Brazil visitor!!!
2 nights there seems to be perfect too, because you will need the time to explore the brazilian and the argentinian side of the falls! I would advice you to first go to see the brazilian side (aound half day needed) and one whole day for the argntinian side!

If you need more advice about the destinations, (accomodations, security advices, must sees, etc) please feel free to E Mail me on : [email protected]


Greetings
carioquinha
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 10:38 PM
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Many thanks for your help and the time you took to reply it's greatly appreciated.
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 10:15 PM
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Does anyone else have any thoughts/advice on this itinerary?
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 06:48 AM
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Besides the places that you have already mentioned, I would whole heartedly suggest a visit to the Amazon and/or the Pantanal. There are a variety of eco-lodges in both regions. The 2 5 star properties I would recommend would be Caiman Lodge outside of Campo Grande in the Pantanal, and Ariau Amazon Towers outside of Manaus.

Regarding the "Gold Towns" in Minas, I would not skip Ouro Preto --- absolutely wonderful architecture.
There is a wonderful pousada there called Solar Nossa Senhora do Rosario
http://www.hotelsolardorosario.com.br/

Feel free to contact for any other info you may need...I was a tour director in Brazil for 6 years.
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Jill,
thanks so much for your feedback, I greatly appreciate the time you took to look over our itinerary. I'll bear in mind your advice on Ouro Preto, we may be able to combine this with Tiradentes.

I've been looking into the TAM airpass which operates on a segment rather than a mileage basis and this may change our options/destinations. Because we could fly anywhere in Brazil for the same cost regardless of distance I've been thinking of removing Brazilia and adding in either the Amazon or the Pantanal.

Thus we'd do and all Brazil itinerary Belo Horizonte-Amazon or the Pantanal-Salvador-Iguaza-Rio.

I've visited rainforest areas in Peru before and as someone who has spent alot of time in Africa in terms of wildlife it's just not that appealing to me. However, my husband is very interested in the ecosystem.

I've considered Araiu Towers and despite alot of positive reviews from travellers I've read some disturbing environmental reviews about their processing of waste water etc. The lodge I'm really interested in visting is Kapawi in Ecuador which is a co-venture between the investors and the local community...but that will have to wait for another trip!

So the three possible options are as follows:

1)Flying to Santarem for 4/5 days and heading down river to a small Amazon town called Monte Alegre which is apparently quite attractive. We like to combine some very basic travelling with a more luxurious trip.

2)I've also considered flying to Belem which as friend of mine recommended and then going over to Ilha Marajo for a couple of days.

3)The final option would be the Pantanal which may be a good option as this is the best time to visit. I've visited the Caiman Lodge website and it looks like a wonderful destination.

So...this intinerary is all over the place right now! If anyone has any further thoughs I'd appreciate any opinions.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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I think I know which article you read about Ariau compared to Kapawi in Ecuador. The article appeared in Conde Nast Traveler 2 years ago. Much of the information in that article was not researched and was false. The author of the article had his own agenda -- discrediting eco tourism in the Brazilian Amazon -- and promoting eco-tourism in the Ecuadorian Amazon. I admire him for the many years of activism that he has done on behalf of the Ecuadorian native people --- but I do not admire him for the falsehoods that he wrote in that article. In his zealousness he forgot his ethics and made up much of the portion about Brazil. (You might recall he also called the city of Manaus - "a supperating puss hole".) Wow! He lost me on that one!

If you look into Kapawi Lodge - their waste actually goes right into the earth below the cabins. Please see the following page:
www.kapawi.com/html/en/ecolodge/policy.htm

Doesn't sound very environmental to me.
Ariau's waste goes into processing tanks that are removed and then taken to a plant in Manaus for processing.
Ariau is only 3 hours by boat from Manaus --- still within the general municipality of Manaus.

Kapawi is in a very remote pristine area ---- and if you are interested in being environmentally correct -- you would not visit or encourage eco-tourism in that type of area.

Just my 2 cents.

Either way --- enjoy your trip! You will love Brazil.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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If your husband is interested in architecture, DO NOT MISS Sao Paulo! We just got back from Argentina and Brazil last week, and I have to say that our biggest surprise came from visiting Sao Paulo. though not an architect, I am involved in development, especially hotels, and Sao Paulo is a builders/architects dream. The hotels there are spectacular. The Renaissance we stayed at is the best hotel we have ever stayed at anywhere in the world. And there are at least 2 other hotels that are more spectacular from a desing standpoint. If he is interested in Brasilia (which we did not visit) then he is familiar with Niemeyer and some of his work and his disciples are in SP. The shops in the nice district are fancier than Rodeo Drive. We spent only 1 night there, but wish we had spent a second.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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sorry. .....from a design standpoint.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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Dear Larry,
thanks so much for your feedback, I also enjoyed reading your honest assesment of BA.

Do you have any advice on hotels, sightseeing or restaurants in and around Rio?

Again many thanks for your comments on San Paolo.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Traveledbrit. We stayed at the JW Marriott on Cocabana. It was very well located. I think the Copacabana Plaza might be the place I would choose if I were to return. We went into the Caesar park hotel on Ipanema and was not impressed by the lobby or club area. I think Copacabana area is a better location to stay than in Ipanema. Restaurant we went to was recommended on this board - Marius. The have a meat restaurant and a seafood restaurant right next to each other. It is actually within walking distance from the Copacabana Plaza. We like to walk and Rio is made for walking, at least along the beach areas. Porcoa, or something like that, was also recommended on earlier posts and was recommended to us there but we did not go there. Probably should have tho. You will see it heavily advertised when you get there. We did go to a nice place in the Ipanema area that someone posted about. Can't recall the name but they refer on the board to the place that Madonna went to (big deal), but actually it was very good. You can research it on these posts and if I think about it I will ask my wife if she remembers the name. For sight seeing see my Rio/Sao Paulo report. No different than any one else - Sugar Loaf and Christ Statue. We did take an untouristy side trip to a mall way south of town call Barra Shopping. We like to see stores and malls (the old retailer in me) and that was quite interesting to us since we had seen all the sites in town that we thought were of interest to us. We even took in a movie at that mall. I believe it is the largest mall in South America, but not worth a trip unless you particularly like to see local retail as we do and/or you are looking for something to do.
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