Brazil, what not to miss?

Old Nov 20th, 2002, 02:54 AM
  #1  
Mister Right
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Brazil, what not to miss?

I will go to Brazil for two months and I want to know what I definately should not miss while being there. Can everyone give me three 'not to miss' places/sights in Brazil, so I can draw my conclusions.
 
Old Nov 20th, 2002, 06:14 AM
  #2  
liz
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First of all, start taking Portuguese lessons now. If not, you will miss alot! I am married to a Brazilian and have been living here fulltime for 3 years. This is a very tricky language and you will want and need it. So first of all, find some lovely person wherever you live and try to do an intensive course, ie. 3 hours per day or two full weeks. This is how I initially learned the language, taking a summer session at Georgetown, 8 hours per day, 13 students, 4 different professors, for a whole summer. But after two weeks we were all speaking. We never saw the written language during the first month. Try to get some form of that.

Second, you will fly into or thru Sao Paulo at some point. Just like Los Angeles in the sense that without a close local friend to show you around, it will just be a big ugly mess of crisscrossing freeways. So don't spend time here unless you have a local contact. Obviously you will spend at least a week in Rio. The best thing there is to work out a deal with a taxi at your hotel to be chauffered around by night and by day as needed. By day you will just basically walk forever, knowing all the different beaches and neighborhoods. Rio is so gorgeous and each time I go there I have a totally different experience! You don't mention your budget or purpose so I won't make specific suggestions on restaurants but it really doesn't matter, Rio is not a food capital. It is just to be alive and look at the views and feel the energy and be with the people. You may just decide to spend the entire time in Rio with some side trips you make with new friends, to hot summer places like Angra dos Reis or Buzios or many, many other lessor known destinations.

Third, you must know Bahia. Brazil is bigger than the US without Alaska and things like Iguaçu Falls and the Pantanal and the Amazon are all out there as attractions, but Bahia is the soul of the country. Salvador is a nice city but what I love is the totally virgin, undeveloped "cocoa coast" which is the region stretching between Ilheus and Itacare. The just built a paved two lane road there last year. You will see the Brazil as the first Europeans to arrive saw Brazil. If you love surfing, this is your place! It is not full of family resorts, big hotels or much of anything other than small pousadas and mile after mile of gorgeous, totally undeveloped, unspoiled beaches.

Alot of people like Florianopolis in the south of Brazil, home to tennis player Guga and Giselle Bundchen. Heavily developed by Germans and Italians, it is a prosperous region. The most stunning beach there is called Praia de Rosa, about an hour south of Floripa, also famous for surfing and whale watching in winter (the babies are born there).

You are coming this far, you must spend a four day weekend in Buenos Aires. That is a marvelous city and a bit of Europe and a culture all unto itself. I would give up everything except Rio and Bahia to include Buenos Aires. There are great cheap packages right now.

Lastly, the road infrastructure in Brazil is not great and forget about trains. To get around you will need to fly alot, there is good bus service and some driving possibilities but it is not like the US except for very major thoroughfares, ie. Sao Paulo to Rio. The trip from Floripa to Praia de Rosa was so horrendous I told my husband I am never going back except by helicopter. People don't know what dollars are outside of big hotels so have plenty of cash and a VISA or a Diner's Club card. Ate logo!
 
Old Nov 20th, 2002, 08:40 PM
  #3  
Roula
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Liz,
I am going to do a language and cultural immersion course for 3 weeks in Feb in Rio while living with a host family who speaks no english. What can I do to try and get a head start on the language. Will I be able to have a conversation in Portugese after 3 weeks of lessons ?
 
Old Nov 21st, 2002, 03:41 AM
  #4  
Sergio
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Hi,
I am brazilian and I tell you that Liz really knows what she is saying.But the trip from Floripa to Praia do Rosa was not so horrendous.From Salvador,take a speed boat and go to Morro the Sao Paulo(island)Amazing. If you need something here,e mail me.
Sérgio
 
Old Nov 21st, 2002, 12:26 PM
  #5  
liz
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Roula, yes you will be able to hold basic conversations after three weeks of total immersion. In the meantime find a Brazilian in your town who can give you some starter lessons. You will be able to speak faster than you will be able to understand what is being said to you because Brazilians use alot of slang and contractions. But don't sweat it, 3 weeks in a total immersion environment is very intense. You will sleep soundly at night, that is for sure!
 
Old Nov 21st, 2002, 01:07 PM
  #6  
Roula
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Thanks Liz, will do.
 
Old Nov 21st, 2002, 02:26 PM
  #7  
jdl
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Hey, I'm a bit off topic, but does anyone have any info regarding scuba diving in/near Rio? I will be going for
Carnaval and wanna do some diving.
Also, anyone w/climbing info, please fill me in. Is Corcovado's K2 route bolted or all trad? Thanks!
 
Old Nov 21st, 2002, 02:53 PM
  #8  
liz
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Plenty of diving in Angra dos Reis or the Ilha Grande region, both coastal-beach regions south of Rio but not far. Check out Ilha Grande first, saw a good scuba offer there recently. Fernando de Noronha is the #1 location in South America for diving but it is flight off the coast, very isolated, restricuted and fairly costly to get to. However if you want the max experience, that would be it.
 
Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 09:39 AM
  #9  
jdl
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Thanks for the info!
Have you heard about diving at Arraial do Cabo? Found a guide that goes there, seems fairly close to the city (which is what we want).
 
Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 01:50 PM
  #10  
Enrique Enrich
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Hi!
Two months is good time, you will have plenty of opportunities. DEpending on your tastes I could give you very different suggestions, anyway I will rank my top 10 points in Brazil:

1) The wild beaches in the north coast of Sao Paulo (Rain Forest, Mountains and sea)
2) The Amazon River (or if you are not willing to take a boat trip simply go to the Jungle Hotel in Manaos)
3) Iguazu Falls. FROM THE ARGENTINEAN SIDE. 2 or 3 days are enough for this.
4) The beach of Jericoacara in the North State of Ceara
5) The train travel between Curitiba and Pranagua
6) Itatiaia National Park (between Sao Paulo and Rio) and the cities around it.
7) Colonial cities of Minas Gerais, including obviously Ouro Preto
8) The South Coast of Bahia
9) The city of Rio de Janeiro (stay in hotel in Copacabana or Ipanema)
10) The city and beaches of Florianopolis.
Boa viagem!
 
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