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cakkoor May 16th, 2015 10:16 AM

Travel in Brazil or visit Machu Picchu?
I have a dilemma.... I will be in Brazil for study first for 2 weeks in Salvador (language study) and then a course at FGV in Sao Paulo. I want to take and addition week to 10 days to travel. I badly want to go to Machu Picchu. On the other hand I feel like I should stay in Brazil. Any advice?

SambaChula May 16th, 2015 12:55 PM

Toss a coin.
You have given us no information to go on, not even where you are coming from, what time of year, or whether you are able to travel again and how frequently.
Lots of places to enjoy in Brazil.

cakkoor May 16th, 2015 05:56 PM

I will be in Brazil from late June to late July. I will be studying until July 25th after which I am free to travel. I'm a professor and I study culture, so the one hand I want to stay in Brazil and absorb as much of its culture as I can. I am also hoping to take students there in the future. So from that perspective also, I feel I should explore Brazil.

SambaChula May 17th, 2015 01:11 AM

Lots of culture to experience in Brazil. And the music which expresses it.
That time period includes the Festas Juninhas in Brazil, particularly in the northeast, an integral part of the cultural year in every town. The colorfully costumed quadrilhas, and the rehearsals for them, for São Joao on June 24 are impressive. There is some activity at the exposition grounds in Salvador, but you could also go to some of the small rural villages on Itaparica island too. (A car ferry runs to the island.) There are traditional foods of the season made with corn, in addition to the unique dishes of Bahia.
You might also consider a (long and expensive for a short time, but very rich culturally) trip up to São Luis in Maranhao at São Joao to see their exciting variation, the Bumba Meu Boi. You might also enjoy the Lencois park, with its lakes in the dunes, the Alcantara and Raposa villages, the Colonial city center with its tile-front buildings, and the distinct culture of this relatively isolated region.
Mid-August brings the festival of Boa Morte in Cachoeira (about 2hours by bus from Salvador). You can research its significance online. But that Colonial river port is interesting at any time.
The cultural importance of the African based music and social groups to the communities in Salvador might also be an area worth exploring. There are also still villages in the area that were formed as quilombos, communities of run-away slaves,
Ilheus in mid-Bahia was the inspiration for many works by the author Jorge Amado. And a bit further south in Bahia is the Porto Seguro area where Brazil was discovered and where the native (Indian) culture is still on display.
As you begin to travel further, consider the historic Colonial towns in the mountains of Minas Gerais, such as Ouro Preto, Tiradentes and Congonhas. Diamantina as well.And Sabara, which has become a suburb of Belo Horizonte. The region has some distinctive food of its own too.
Rio also has its own distinct culture and music, much formed by immigrants from Bahia.
So it seems you'd have plenty for 10 days...and more.

cakkoor May 17th, 2015 12:19 PM

Thank you SambaChula. Very informative as always. One more thing, is late July a good time to visit Manaus/Amazon?

SambaChula May 17th, 2015 03:56 PM

Not the one to ask. Never did any research for a personal trip and it's too far away from us in Salvador to really pay attention. It's a good time to visit the lakes in the dunes of the Parque Lencois and São Luis in Maranhao, as far north as I've been.

SambaChula May 17th, 2015 03:58 PM

But realize that Manaus will take two full days of your ten just for travel.

cakkoor May 17th, 2015 06:37 PM

Yes, and the tours are quite expensive for a single traveler. Thanks for your advice.

SambaChula May 18th, 2015 02:32 AM

Have you considered the Pantanal? Thought to be much better for wildlife sighting than the Amazon.

cakkoor May 18th, 2015 11:56 AM

You read my mind. I've been exploring the Pantanal in the last few hours. I'm definitely liking what I see so far. I've emailed a couple of tour agencies. Waiting to hear from them.

SambaChula May 18th, 2015 12:10 PM

First consideration is understanding the difference in both price and experience entering from Campo Grande in the southern Pantanal or Cuiaba in the northern Pantanal.
In either case, it will take you a day to travel in and a day to travel out, and 3+ days for the actual excursions.
You are more likely to see jaguar in the northern Pantanal with an experienced guide (who grew up there and knows their habits and hang outs)and the lodges are generally less rustic, so the cost is higher.

cakkoor May 18th, 2015 08:10 PM

Yes I am inclining towards northern Pantanal. I've looked at Pantanal Explorer and Pantanal Eco Explorer and emailed them. Hope to hear from them tomorrow. Let me know if you have other suggestions.

SambaChula May 19th, 2015 08:38 AM

Julinho has a well deserved reputation as the best, but is therefore often booked well ahead, and is (deservedly) pricey.

Ailton Lara is also highly thought of (but same conditions hold).

cakkoor May 19th, 2015 08:03 PM

Thank you. I've contacted Julinho.

SambaChula May 27th, 2015 04:56 AM

Here's a recent trip report for Julinho:

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