Best places to visit in Brazil

Old Dec 29th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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sph
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Best places to visit in Brazil

I am just beginning to plan a trip to Brazil in late February (better late than never). I have heard all the wonderful things about Rio but also hear from a Brazilian that up north "around the hump" is where the locals go for the best beaches etc. I have no idea. We like beautiful beaches, waterfalls, good food, nightlife but also like to find places not so touristy. We like to hike, snorkel, jet ski - active couple. SO looking to see it all in about 2 wks. ANY help is appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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After more searching it sounds like these areas are where we need to visit but logistically I am lost - pls help:
Rio (Ipanema)- other than beach/city where else around here? 3 nights
Iguazu Falls - 1 night
Pantanal not sure how to get here or if in right order of itinerary
Salvador (Morro de Sao Paulo)
Fortaleza and Natal area (Praia de Pipa beach)
Fernando de Noronha

Pls help by letting me know if this is doable in about 12 - 14 nights and how we get from one place to another.

Thanks
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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The best way to get around is a TAM airpass. Google TAM and you will see the various deals that are possible according to how many stops you have.

The itinerary you are suggesting, I would say, is not doable in 12-14 nights. I'd pick 3 locations maximum for that time frame, remember you will lose approximately a day traveling between locations.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 05:01 AM
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The problem is time and geography. Brazil is huge. Thus, even with two weeks, unless you want to spend many days of your vacation in transit, you simply can't visit that many places and actually get to see any one of them. Some of this may depend where you are traveling from and your flight options into the country, at least in terms of figuring out where to enter and exit Brazil. Most int'l flights go through Sao Paulo. While that might make it easy for the airlines, it makes it a hassle for tourists because often you must then back track to Sao Paulo to get home.

Head to Rio at least for a few days. If you like a city and a beach, you could stay a week there and have an amazing time. Great food, people very friendly. Stay in Ipanema or Leblon, period.

If you want another beach spot you can head to Buzios, about a two and a half hour drive from Rio. Well known small beach town but very sophisticated. Safe. Many beaches there all within a few mins of town. Lots of restaurants and shops, which are open until about 2 in the morning or so. The main street is cobble stoned and closed to traffic. A bit like a Brazilian St Tropez.

For the North East, that will require a flight of at least a couple hours from Rio or SP. If you want pure beach, look at Porto de Galinhas. Beautiful beaches. But very small town. Salvador if you want some culture and great food but, you likely don't need much time in the town itself. Florianopolis, in the south, is also a great option for beaches and good food. Maceio too is very off the tourist track but it is a real city, with great beaches in the town and very close by. Great food. Lots of activities. Remember, bring a Portuguese phrase book, or your high school Spanish. The weather in all these spots will be great in February.

You likely want to check out a few Brazil travel sites and those will give you much info. This website is a collection of very nice pousadas throughout Brazil. Look at the different pousadas and you can see what looks nice for you then cross reference the area in terms of ease of getting to, other things to do: roteirosdecharme.com.br

For internal flights also look at GOL, the Brazilian jet blue so to speak. Good website and they are TAM's major competitor, with routes all over Brazil. If you book your flight into the country with TAM an air pass may be an option or, ask about an add on. Thus, you could likely fly to Recife in the north (for Porto de Galinhas), or to Maceiio in the north, and add a stop either way in Rio. Same for Salvador likely. If you want to add Iguazu to that then maybe just purchase those tickets separately or reach out to a Brazilian travel agency, which often offer very good deals for a one or two night excursion from a major Brazilian city. Have fun. Brazil is great.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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sph
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THANK YOU for the excellent information as it is impossible to know these things from the computer! Based on your suggestions, I should be able to figure out the beach part of the trip. My final issue is, based on what we have read, the falls and a trip to the amazon or pantanal is also a must do -
we have traveled a lot and are accustomed to an action packed vacation so pls let me know if this is even feasible and if so, the best way to insert them in knowing we want to go to the northeast and rio also - we can add a few more days to the trip if necessary.

Thank you so much!
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Manaus, the usual entry to the Amazon, is about a five hour flight from Sao Paulo, the Pantanal about a two hour flight. We enjoyed both. For more details see:
http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...-to-brazil.cfm
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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Hi! Close to Rio de Janeiro the are many small beautifull cities. Go to Arraia do Cabo, Buzios and Cabo Frio! Beautifull and with everyhting you are looking for! In teh other side of Rio´s province there are such amazing cities as well like Paraty, Angra dos Reis, Trindade and Ilha Grande!

You will love it!
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 07:18 PM
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For fantastic wildlife and good food with a little hiking, I'd say The Pantanal. If you go to the Southern Pantanal you can snorkel in Bonita.

But the Pantanal lacks these items on your list: beautiful beaches, waterfalls, nightlife (unless you count night drives or mating capybara out your window), and jet ski opportunities.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 07:18 PM
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Spending time in Rio, plus another beach, plus Iguazu, plus the Pantanal seems like too much. Simply too much time spent on intra-Brazil flights. You may want to eliminate one of those.

Also, I would spend some time reviewing a good travel guide (Fodor's?) and see what area in particular interests you, from those listed, and others. Then look at a map of Brazil and see what is feasible, with the least amount of backtracking. Remember, however, that even though you can get to most any city in Brazi from any other city, many flights go "through somewhere," often Sao Paolo, or Rio, etc. and thus the travel times can be very large when you factor in layovers. Looking at the GOL website, or TAM's website will give you a good idea of flight times and connections. Good luck.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 08:45 PM
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sph,

we are visiting Brazil in July and faced the same questions that you are dealing with due to the size of the country. We settled on Iguazu Falls, Pantanal and Rio.

The Southern Pantanal may work best for you as it is readily accessible from Campo Grande. We are staying at Barranco Alto http://www.fazendabarrancoalto.com.br/ however Embiara Lodge has received some good reviews on the forum, http://www.embiara.com/. Other places that receive consistently good reviews are Caiman Lodge and Fazenda san Francisco. February will be the wet season in the Pantanal that makes for a different safari experience. I don't know if some lodges close for the wet season.

We were tempted by Uakari Lodge http://www.uakarilodge.com.br/Default_en.aspx but gave it up due to distance.

My travel agent has booked flights that minimised hours in the air which means that we fly Iguazu-Sao Paulo-Campo Grande in one morning then a few days later fly for one hour to the Northern Pantanal before flying to Rio via Brasilia.

For us, it was less expensive to purchase tickets for scheduled flights rather than the air pass, so you might ask your agent to check this.

Our land arrangements are booked with John at Brazil Nature Travel and he has been wonderful to work with, http://www.brazilnaturetours.com/?gc...FYIvpAodJQ4uIw

Happy planning,


Pol
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Old Jan 1st, 2010, 08:38 AM
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sph
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Thanks everyone - I am really getting excited about this trip based on your feedback. I followed some links to view atravelynn's pics along the Paraguay River and now think this also a must do for us - in addition to loving nice beaches and scenery we love the outdoors and wildlife and I need to do it all so not sure how to make it happen in a few weeks per feedback.

Back to square one: we want to spend a few nights in Rio, see the falls, wildlife viewing in the Pantanal, most beautiful water/beaches/snorkeling. Ugh. Nice problem to have huh?

So at the risk of repeating myself and sounding really stupid I need to ask the following so once I can get to narrowing down and taking out some things I will know where to focus:

What would you consider the most beautiful beach/snorkeling area? Is it Buzios, Fernando de Noronha, Morro de Sao Paulo or something else?

Next, how do the northern and southern Pantanal differ?

Finally, do we have to fly between all of the places I have mentioned or can some of it be driven? That brings me to another question - is there any value in getting a rental car?

THANKS AGAIN
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