Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Where to Go in Brazil

If Rio de Janeiro is the obvious starting point for anybody visiting Brazil for the first time, there are many other places that can combine with or without Rio that might suit your ideas. Other places we can recommend may depend on the amount of time you have available.

Iguazu Falls is probably one of the Top Ten Must See places in South America, and being just two hours flight away can make a perfect week-long Brazil break, visiting two very special places. Don’t make the mistake that many visitors to Brazil make of thinking that Iguazu Falls is ‘just a waterfall’ and not really worth making the effort to see. Many people say this, but all come away impressed and nobody regrets visiting Iguazu. It is one of the Big Three Waterfalls in the world, but completely different in aspect to Victoria Falls in Africa, and Niagara Falls in North America. Like those two, the river is also the border between two countries, so just as you can visit Zambia and Zimbabwe or Canada and the USA together, at Iguazu Falls you can not only cross the Rio Iguazu to Argentina but also visit Paraguay across the Rio Parana too. Three countries for the price of one. Iguazu is completely different in aspect to the other big two, more picturesque perhaps as the waters split into some 275 separate falls across the 3km width of the escarpment. You can get close to Iguazu Falls than its rivals, with helicopter rides over them, boat rides that take you right under the falling curtains of water, and the walkway that takes you to look down into Devil’s Throat. The most powerful part of Iguazu is completely mesmeric, and after seeing it from below on the boat, the water disappearing into the canyon makes for a memorable experience for anybody.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Are You Ready for Your First Visit to Brazil?

There are many options for a first visit to Brazil of course, so if you can’t decide between them, you could consider a few different options.

The best known places in Brazil are probably Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, the Amazon Jungle and Iguazu Falls, maybe with The Pantanal thrown in for serious nature-lovers. Brazil is also renowned across the world for the quality of its beaches, and with 8,000km of coastline it is easy to understand why this might be. There are wonderful stretches of sand splashed along almost the whole length of Brazil’s Atlantic shores and on many of its offshore islands too.

Christ the Redeemer - Rio de Janeiro
When visiting a new country, it helps to adapt more quickly if visitors already have a certain familiarity with the first place that they visit. For this reason, if you must pick a place to arrive in Brazil then it has to be Rio de Janeiro. Photos, postcards, films, documentaries and music videos, most people can spot Rio without even needing to think about it. The iconic Christ The Redeemer statue overlooking the city is also the symbol of Rio.

You may be able to see it from the plane or boat as you arrive in Rio, but if not then a clear day gives you a guaranteed view of Cristo during the journey from the airports to the city centre or further on to Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. The first sight of the statue balanced on top of the sheer rock that is Corcovado is bound to bring a smile to the face of any overnight traveller. If you arrive at night, then the statue is lit up and can be seen glowing eerily through the clouds, high in the sky, with nothing but darkness underneath. He is an impressive sight, and one that you are unlikely to tire of seeing, no matter how many times you visit Rio de Janeiro.

Orientation may be a problem in Rio at first, with new visitors never sure whereabouts in the city they might be. Cristo often comes to the rescue, appearing between high buildings on the beach roads, or gazing directly at you in the city streets. He is a reassuring sight at all times.

The journey from the airport or marina will also take in Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the wires stretched across the gap between the crown of Pao de Acucar and neighbouring Urca at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. The first sight of the tiny cable cars rolling their way up to the top can induce a giddy sensation, even for people on the ground way below.

Overlooking Copacabana Beach from Sugarloaf Mountain

The first view of the curve of Copacabana Beach after exiting the tunnel from the city is another special moment, with 4km of sand full of Brazilian bodies, beach volleyball and football nets, with surfers catching waves in the background and patterned pavements and sand sculptures in front. The surrounding mountains are green and granite, and dwarf the high-rise buildings of Copacabana and Ipanema. The Two Brothers stare down the length of Ipanema Beach, another iconic image of Rio.

All of these exotic images will be implanted in your brain forever. If you have a hotel or apartment to check into, you may be surprised to find that even after a long journey to arrive in Rio, staying inside and relaxing is the last thing you want to do. There are so many sights and sounds out there that you may just drop your bags on the bed, take out your shorts and flip-flops, and head right back out, full of life and energy. Rio de Janeiro can have this affect on everyone, which is why we recommend that you make it part of your first visit to Brazil.
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Are You Ready for Brazil?

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Are You Ready for Brazil?

You may have already travelled to Brazil, or you may have only read about Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon River and Jungle, Iguazu Falls and those Brazilian Beaches before and are excited about seeing them for yourself.

We’re here to help you plan any kind of trip to Brazil – when to go on beach holidays; where to go for wildlife encounters; the best spots for family vacations; adventure ideas for trekking, scuba-diving, surfing & kite-surfing and so many more; where to study university and language courses, and foreign exchange programs; how to handle business visits to Sao Paulo; which areas cultural, historical and natural tours – whatever your reason to visit Brazil, there may be some information on the blog to help you out. Even if you just want to choose where to visit. With a country that covers half a continent, there is such a variety of interesting and beautiful places that deciding where to go in Brazil can be more difficult than it sounds...

There will be lots of practical administration tips too, on organising tourist, business and student visas, especially after arriving – because when you arrive in Brazil, the organisation is often not yet finished. Brazilian banks and accounts have their own wonderfully frustrating administration peculiarities, while moving to the country from abroad can also be an intimidating prospect. A little help from us will prepare you in advance.

We can help with international flight and cross-border bus information, with the domestic journeys and with car hire too. We can advise you on the best areas to stay in each part of Brazil, which city districts might suit you best, which to avoid. We can throw in some restaurant reviews, some nightlife tips and especially some cultural tips to help you deal with Brazil and Brazilians!

The best information on Brazil can only be found from people who are actually in Brazil, living and working, travelling and enjoying, and having all the first-hand knowledge of the kind of places that most people dream about visiting on holiday.

We’ve already been there, we’ve made our way through the processes for visiting and living, and we’ve helped many others through them too. When it comes to visiting Brazil, we’ll try our best to help make your Brazil tour or trip as well-organised and safe as possible. Are You Ready for Brazil? Then keep reading!