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Desidero Jul 25th, 2006 08:19 AM

Brazil itinerary
I have booked a 10-day trip to Brazil in November and am now ready to start putting together an itinerary. I am in my early thirties and will be travelling with a friend of mine. We are looking to sample some of Brazil's famed nightlife. I am also interested in soaking up as much Brazilian culture as possible. I am flying into and out of Rio and would like to spend at least 3 days there. I have also heard good things about Buzios, Florianopolis, Salvador and Morro de Sao Paulo. Which of these cities do you recommend I visit while I am in Brazil? If you were a first-time visitor to Brazil, how would you allocate your time? Bear in mind that we don't have much interest in visiting Iguazu Falls or the Amazon.

Many thanks in advance.

msteacher Jul 25th, 2006 12:19 PM

I have just returned from a very similar trip to Brazil. Two friends and I (all in our 30s) went to Rio, Salvador, Morro de SP, and the Amazon and loved it all. Rio was fabulous and is an absolute must-see. Salvador was great too... we enjoyed staying in Barra so that we went to the beach during the day and then took a cab or bus into Pelourinho for the evening. Be sure to be in Salvador on a Tuesday... that is the big party night with lots of live music everywhere. Morro was beautiful too... you would probably want to stay on 2nd beach. I haven't been to the other places you mention so can't comment but I had such a great time everywhere in Brazil, I'm sure you'll enjoy anyplace you go. Also, I have to say that the Amazon and Iguazu are both absolutley amazing places that should be seen in your lifetime, though I suppose are not the place to go if you're looking for nightlife.

Happy travels, and if you have more specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them since I just got home from Brazil last week.

Desidero Jul 25th, 2006 12:58 PM


Thank you very much for your response and your great insights.

A few follow-up questions:

(1) Where did you stay in Rio and what did you think of the location/accomodations?

(2) How did you get from Rio to Salvador?

(3) How did you get from Salvador to Morro?

(4) How much time did you spend in each place and did you feel like it was too little/too much?

(5) If you really liked any of the accomodations you stayed in, could you please provide me with the names of them?

(6) Finally, did you feel safe travelling in Brazil?

Jufrpereira Jul 26th, 2006 07:30 AM

Well, as a brazilian, a few obliged to reply to you as well...
1) for night life: best night life (clubs, bars, restaurants) in Brazil is actually at Sao Paulo (not Morro de Sao Paulo, the city of Sao Paulo). However, that's all you have to do in Sao Paulo: shopping and going out at night. If I were you, I'd try to fly to Sao Paulo and start yr trip from there. From SP you can get a flight to Rio - the night life in Rio is ok as well and not as "buzzy" as Sao Paulo. 2) In Rio, you need to do the basics: visit the Christ statue, sugar loaf, walk by the beach, etc.. I would recomend that you hire a local guide to that with you, as you will see that there are not many english speakers in Brazil and Rio is a big city.
3) From Rio to Salvador, you can only go by plane (aprox. 2 hr flight). Salvador is a great city (I'm actually from Salvador) - they have a good night life, lovely beaches (although you need to go to the beaches that are outside the city, since the ones that are actually inside the city are not that nice. There are 2 things you can do: base yourself at Salvador and explore the beaches (you will need a car) on the outside during the day or stay on one of the outside resorts (google Costa do Sauipe and you will see) and visit the city of Salvador on certain days. Good thing about the resort is that they are really nice, they usuallry have nice parties all day etc... but then you will not get that much in touch with the local culture I guess... If staying in Salvador, I guess Barra would be the best choice.
3) Getting to Morro de Sao Paulo: Morro de Sao Paulo is a great place, I absolutely love it. There are boats called "catamaran" that will take you to the island, they run on a daily baisis on 3 or 4 different times a day. At the island, you can stay anywhere you want. The island is not that big, there are main 4 beaches (called number 1, number 2, number 3 and number 4!!!) so don't spend too much time looking at where to stay there... cars are not allowed at the island so you can explore it all by foot. A must for me is a trip to Boipeba - it is a nearby island and they run trips from Morro to Boipeba regularly and you can easily arrange that when you get to Morro.Just a comment, I'd leave Morro to the end of the trip, when you partied all the way to Brazil - there's not that much going on at night in Morro (lot's of bars and restaurants, but don't expect a wild nightlife). It's a great place to simply "chill out".
4) In terms of security: I guess the place where you should keep yr eyes opened in Rio (that's why I suggested hiring a local guide), but the tips are the same usual ones : don't display valuable objects, leave money & passport at the hotel, etc etc etc.. Salvador, people are very friendly but I'd still not go around displaying lots of valuable objects (turists are easily spoted by the locals...) and don't leave unattended items on the beach.

5) If you have 10 days, I guess for me the perfect timing would be at least 1 night in SP (make sure you are there by Friday or Saturday, preferably), 3 days is Rio, 3 days in Salvador, and 2 days is Morro, but I could easily change a day in Rio for a day in Morro as well...It would be great if you could squeeze in some time for Florianopolis as well, but the tricky thing about Brazil is that it is a very large country, so you will need to fly to all these places and I don't want you to spend more time flying than on "land"

Hope I've answered yr questions!

ps- you have no idea how wise you are in skipping Iguazu falls and Amazon! That was a VERY smart decision...

Desidero Jul 27th, 2006 08:01 AM


Thank you so much for your response. Not sure if you are going to read this thread again. If you do, I have a few follow-up questions.

(1) Where should I stay in Rio? Most people have recommended Ipanema over Copacabana. Do you agree? Are there any hotels that you would recommend?

(2) I'm wondering why you said I should not spend too much time worrying about where to stay in Morro. Are the 4 beaches basically indistinguishable? Do you prefer any of the 4?

(3) Can you recommend a tour guide in Rio? If not, any ideas how I go about finding one?

(4) You did not mention Buzios at all. Do you not like Buzios or is it that you think my time is better spent in SP, Rio, Salvador and Morro?

Again, thank you very much for your help. Your insights are invaluable.

Jufrpereira Jul 28th, 2006 05:59 AM

Hello! Glad I could help!

let's see now:
1)Where should I stay in Rio? I agree w/ Ipanema but I don't agree w/ Copacabana. I would also have a look at Leblon. I'm sorry, but I always stay w/ family in Rio so I really don't know the hotels... the Meridiens are usually nice,as well as Caesar Park.

2) I'm wondering why you said I should not spend too much time worrying about where to stay in Morro. Are the 4 beaches basically indistinguishable? Do you prefer any of the 4? - Well, my favourite one is 4, but the reason why I told you not to worry, is because they are only 5-10 min walk apart! The island is really small.
(3) Can you recommend a tour guide in Rio? Again,it's hard for me as a local to recomend this since I've never done it! I'd google it if I wore you, I'm sure there will be lots of options.
(4) You did not mention Buzios at all. Do you not like Buzios or is it that you think my time is better spent in SP, Rio, Salvador and Morro? - I do like Buzios very much, it is just a bit far from Rio ( a couple of hours drive). If you really wanted to go, then I'd say you should probably skip Sao Paulo,otherwise it will be too much. It is very nice,nice beaches, nice restaurants.It's been a bit overprice lately, but it's still very nice.

therealrio Jul 29th, 2006 03:59 PM

Hi Desidero,

10 days in Brazil is great, but dont try to do too much, or else you will leave without getting a great feel. ANd if you are enjoying the nightlife, you dont want to be going every second day to the airport!
From what you mentioned: beaches, culture, nightlife, I have come up with the following for you:

I agree with most of the other advice that has been given.

I would keep your trip limited to Rio, Salvador and Morro de Sao Paulo.

therealrio Jul 29th, 2006 04:07 PM

oooops... I accidently hit the post reply button... here is the rest of what I wanted to say.

Stay for 3-4 days in Rio, try to plan it over the weekend, so you can enjoy the clubs and beaches (Ipanema). Then fly to Salvador and spend a couple of days in the city to experience the culture (Pelourinho, churches, etc..). Very Afro-Brazilian and much different than Rio and the rest of Brazil.

I have been to Salvador many times and I am not a huge fan of the beaches because they are harder to get to. Long from hotels or places to stay. (Unlike Rio, where you can walk to the beaches!) However enjoy Salvador as a great city.

NExt take the ferry (R$50) to Morro de Sao Paulo. There is not a lot of nightlife on the island, but you may get lucky and meet other people on vacation. At night they always put up stands selling Caipirinhas with fruit, which is a great way to sample all the various fruits. But the beaches and relaxed atmosphere make up for the lack of party. THis has been one of the only places in Brazil where I am able to walk the beach in pitch black darkness and not have to worry about safety. Also you dont need to even where sandals... as it is all sand. We stayed at the 3rd BEach, and the others are all correct that it really doesnt matter where you stay as it is easy walking distance. When I go back I will probably stay at either 3rd or 2nd.

Take a look at this link:

The best nightlife in BRazil is by far Sao Paulo city, however there is not much else to do. This is important to keep in mind in case you have a stop over, but Iwould not make a special trip there.

Have a great time!

Tere Jul 30th, 2006 01:59 AM

In Rio I can recommend you the Marina Palace Hotel, in Leblon. I stayed there a couple of years ago and enjoyed it very much. The location is also excellent! I would not stay in the Copacabana area. Ipanema or Leblon are your best bets. Have a great time, Brazil is an amzing country!


Desidero Jul 31st, 2006 09:37 AM

Thanks for all of great responses and recommendations. At this point, I'm leaning towards spending 4 nights in Rio, 3 nights in Salvador and 2 nights in Morro. A few questions:

Everyone seems to be recommending the ferry from Salvador to Morro. Is the ferry preferable to a flight? The flight appears to be a lot faster.

Can anyone recommend hotels in Salvador or Morro?

Thanks again for the terrific responses. Keep 'em coming.

therealrio Jul 31st, 2006 12:46 PM

The boat to Morro costs R$50 and is 2 hours, the flight from the airport to Morro is R$180 and 20 minutes. If it doesnt break the bank, fly!!

The boat trip is a long 2 hours and a good chance of you or others around getting sick.

Not sure where to reccomend, but you have a good itinerary so far. Have a great trip!

braziliantraveller Aug 16th, 2006 05:07 AM

I just took some friend from California to a 10-day trip to Brazil too. And I must say that wa sthe first time I experienced Brazil as a tourist.

Well, your itinerary seems perfect.

1- I would definetely and absolutely skip Sao Paulo. The nightlife in Rio is just as great (only people from Sao Paulo disagree with that).

My friends and I hit the Rio Scenarium and had a blast on this quaint samba house in Lapa.

2- Place to stay in Rio. Leblon is such a great option. I stayed on the same hotel there (flat) for the second time. You actually rent apartments through the agents - just calling the receptionists and they will book for you. They will check which apartments are available and they can even send you the pictures...

The best part is that you are 2 blocks from the beach, very close to Barra, Ipanema, Copacabana. There are nice restaurants around and bars that you can hit and have you caipirina by the sidewalk hanging around with artists and writers....

And there are cabs just in front of the hotel. And the guys from the hotel can hook you up with a personal driver..who will take you and pick you up to/from wherever and it's much much cheaper and reliable than taking cabs.

3- We spent 3 days in Rio and hurried to do everything we wanted many options!!

4- Angra dos Reis, Arraial dos Cabos and Buzios - we couldn't go. But I have been to these places - they are all gorgeous. And I have travelled all over the 5,000 miles of Brazil coast and "Arraial dos Cabos" is my fav beach!!

5- Salvador & Morro de Sao Paulo - you are very right to cover these 2 will have a blast there!

6- Leave the Amazon & Foz to another trip trip....

If you need more info about my itinerary, pls email me on [email protected]

msteacher Aug 16th, 2006 01:41 PM

Sorry I never got back to answering your earlier questions...

In Rio, we stayed at the Plaza Copacabana and loved it. Nice people, nice rooms, excellent breakfast buffet all at a good price. We were also happy with the place we stayed in Salvador, I think it was called the Monte Pascoal or something like that. Not quite as nice as Plaza Copa, but good location and comfortable rooms.

You'll need to fly from Rio to Salvador. Try Tam airlines. It's difficult to get a direct flight.. you'll probably have to stop in San Paulo or somewhere in between.

In traveling from Salvador to Morro, we took the catamaran over and flew back. The flight was definitely faster and more fun than the boat (boat is REALLY choppy... several people lost their lunch). Of course, the flight is also more $$ but if you can swing it, it's worth it.

As far as safety, as a single female I always felt safe. I never felt physically threatened in any way, and everyone I meant was nice, cooperative and helpful. However, on my last day there, my camera did get stolen on Ipanema beach. I blame myself because everything I read said don't bring anything of value to the beach, which I did the entire trip until the last day. Dumb dumb. So pickpocket, petty theft does happen, but I wouldn't describe Brazil as "unsafe." In other words, no one is going to hurt you... they just might take something of value if the opportunity presents itself, so watch your belongings carefully.

My trip was 18 days... we stayed approx 4 days in each location. Since you only have 10, I'd be careful of trying to pack too much in. If you do Rio, Salvador, and Morro, that is more than enough.

You are going to love Brazil! Please be sure to give us a full report when you return!

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