12 Days in Brazil - based out of Rio. Help!

Old Feb 10th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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12 Days in Brazil - based out of Rio. Help!

Hello all.

We are traveling for 12 days in Brazil (Aug 6-18) and in the beginning stages of planning. We are trying to make a feasible itinerary that is somewhat relaxing too. Here are some of our goals:

1) Experience Rio
-Beaches
-Music
-Dance
-Food

2) Spend some time in the Amazon region (3-5 days?)
-We were thinking Manaus

2b?) Perhaps some time in Brasilia since we would have to stop over there
-Is it worth it?

3) Something else perhaps...
-Could it be Sao Paulo
-Perhaps Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
-Perhaps a trek to Salvador
-Maybe more feasible is some 1-2 day long side trips from Rio?
-Could be Iguazu falls (Wife really wants to see this, but it's a "dry" season and also we're not too thrilled about paying $160 for the Argentinian visa...perhaps we'll save that fee for a Argentina vacation)


Here are some questions we have that we'll put towards this awesome community
1) Air travel - better to buy ahead online or wait and buy with cash in the country?
2) Cell phone service - Buying a SIM Card with data for two weeks? Worth it and from whom?
3) Rental Car - It is useful for a few days traveling outside of Rio?


Thanks to much all!
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 02:42 PM
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Brasilia - not worth IMO. Not much to see unless you're a hard-core fan of Oscar Niemeyer. I would skip Sao Paulo as well.

August is winter in South America and may be very cold in Iguazu Falls. I'd choose warmer places, such as those in Brazilian Northeast. August is a great time to go to Lençóis Maranhenses. Best treks are outside Salvador. Do a research on Chapada Diamantina.

Air travel - always buy ahead online. From 1 to 3 months before your trip. Always check prices on weekends, that's when some special offer starts. I do not mean travelling on weekends, but checking prices on weekends.

Cell phone - buy a TIM prepaid card. This is the best deal in termos of economy. Coverage is not the best, though. Best coverage is from VIVO, but this is the most expensive.

Rental car - useful to travel in Rio de Janeiro state, but I'm not sure if I recommend driving here. Another foreigners who have done it may share their experiences.

Can't help you with Amazon.
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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terms*
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 06:26 PM
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Here are some pics of Rio and The Amazon...may help to familiarize you, especially with Amazonas:

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...oBrazilAmazon#
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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Don't need Argentinian documents ...see the Falls from Brazilian side..stay at Das Cataratas..beautiful colonial style hotel right at the falls. I can give you the contacts for a wonderful English-speaking guide from Manaus with his own power launch (see pics above). Just say the word and I'll post it for you along with pics of the falls from fairly close range..
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 06:52 PM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...oBrazilAmazon#
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 06:52 PM
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For Falls pix, scroll to #36-68
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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You won't see anything of the Amazon in Manaus, you need to get out of the city for that. The lodge we stayed in (Pousada Uacari) was quite remote so it took the best part of a day to get there. There are lodges closer to Manaus you could investigate. Although, with only 12 days it might make more sense to visit just three regions: Iguaçu Falls, Rio, perhaps Salvador if you are particularly interested in music.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 05:46 PM
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@luademochila Thank you so much for the information. About airlines...are there cheaper flights from in-brazil websites vs kayak or the like? Or is there much difference. Any hints for cheap flights?

@tower Awesome pictures! You're right, it gives me a bit of a feeling for the area. When did you go? I would love the number or info of your tour operator there. So you think the Brazilian side is sufficient. What's you're thoughts on the "go during the 'dry' season or not" conversation?

@Susan7 ... that's what I'm worried about. The conversation in my head is that it's a shame to go to brazil without seeing the amazon...but can we even see anything of value if we only go for 3-5 days? Is Manaus even the best town for this? ...perhaps Belem would have more to do? I'm having a very hard time getting a feel for the vibe of Belem. (Belem seems to have more interesting things...but since it's technically not on the Amazon...I'm worried I won't effectively be able to brag to my friends)

Thanks all for the information. I'm really enjoying these forums!

Also...seems that Rio is hella expensive for hotels...is a site like airbnb.com the way to go for safe yet not crazy prices?
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...55546165808050

Sorry Huskeric, these are the pics that include Iguacu...# 36-68. The others are Buenos Aires and vicinity.

I will post the info on the guide for Amazon, below.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 06:05 AM
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Guide recommendation for Amazon....Francisco has a motor launch (see the Amazon pix...and you'll also see him)

Francisco "Chico" da Silva
Rua Da Paz #189A
Compensa #1 69-035
Manaus Tel: 625-1905

The company he had been with prior to that was:

Selene Tur
Av. Djalma Batista
385 Conjunto 104, Sao Gerardo, Manaus, Amazonia, Brasil
Tel: 233-7588 (They can put you in touch with him if necessary).

I have no email information on either, we did it all by phone, recommended by some people in Miami)
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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Huskeric,

There are aggregators, such as www.submarinoviagens.com.br and www.decolar.com. Unlike Kayak, there is a surcharge to book through these websites. I recommend using them to compare prices and book through the airline website.

There is a brazilian blog about airfare deals, but in portuguese only: www.melhoresdestinos.com.br

It is not a shame to leave Brazil without going to Amazon. Actually, I'm pretty sure that at least 95% of brazilians never been there. The real Amazon, deep in the jungle, with good guides and counting on good support, is hell expensive. Costs are prohibitive for most of us. There are better deals for those in a budget, such as Pantanal (not cheap either, but affordable in some ways). You'll see great wildlife and varied landscapes, with easier access than Amazon Jungle.

Yes, Rio is very expensive (not nearly as expensive as the "real" Amazon, though). Airbnb may be the way to go and I would check Priceline as well (just a guess, never used it here). Couchsurfing is also popular.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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Going to the Amazon was one of the best holidays I've ever had, if you are a nature lover, I'd do it. This is the lodge we stayed at. It's not actually in Tefé, it's about 1.5 hours by boat from there.

http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.../tef%C3%A9/291

From memory it wasn't very expensive, it's very basic but comfortable with all meals included and it is an eco-lodge that supports sustainable development.

It is complicated to get to, there was a flight from Manaus to Tefé, then a boat ride to the lodge which is in a reserve.

For Rio, there are number of budget places. You could check the bed and breakfast network Cama e café: http://www.camaecafe.com.br/

I walked past a hostel in Santa Teresa that was in a fabulous position. http://www.santateresacentralhostel.com/

I like this area but it isn't close to the beaches where most people want to stay. It is however a short walk down the hill to the metro which takes you to those areas.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 02:39 PM
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More budget places in Rio, Friends have stayed at hostels in Rio, one stayed at the Lighthouse, the other stayed at Harmonia. There's a small group of hostels that all share a small courtyard on Barao da torre in Ipanema, apparently they're all pretty good.

Referring to Harmonia and the Lighthouse my friend reports that:
"They might not be swish in terms of styling and accommodation but the people there are really nice. They really make you feel like family and are great for taking you out at night and giving you info on where to go/how to get there.

This is the lighthouse:
http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldet...-Janeiro/12838

This is harmonia:
http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldet...e-Janeiro/1115
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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@luademochila Thank you for the information. The aggregators look nice. I'm going to work next week on getting a CPF at the consulate here, seems to take 90 days and then I can buy plane tickets from the local sites. (or so it seems from some research, anyone with any first hand experience on this?)

@Susan7 ...this is GREAT information. The lodge seems very nice, but I think it's a little out of our range, not the lodge itself...but combine that with the $1000 round trip flight from Manaus, and our limited time...seems a little much. Although it DOES seem to offer the most authentic experience. *sadness*

But thank you for the hostel info in Rio...this will be VERY useful.

BTW. Thanks all. I am living the great first hand information that I can't get on here...that I just can'e get in the tour guides.
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