Brazil - where to go besides Rio & Iguazu Falls

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by Sweet Willie, Mar 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    Already have our visas (5yr ones thankfully), check.
    Already have been to Rio de Janeiro but will spend at least a couple more days next time we go, check.

    So where else for a tourist to visit, what other activities?
    Where else (besides Rio & Iguazu) in Brazil have you traveled? Was it worthwhile? Details please:)
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  2. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,701
    Likes Received:
    148,181
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I did a circuit.
    Manaus - the Amazon at a resort like camp - Brasilia - Salvador de Bahia - Iguassu - Rio - Sao Paulo.
    I bought a Brasil pass. I don't know if they still exist.
     
    Sweet Willie and jbcarioca like this.
  3. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,701
    Likes Received:
    148,181
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Perhaps jbcarioca can help you.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  4. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I'll do my best. What do you like the most? Nature, wildlife? beaches? nightlife? Historical places? We have a gigantic area with huge variety, so if you can give me some clues about your interests, the time you have and your budget, i'll try to help.
     
    Sweet Willie likes this.
  5. sofasurfer
    Original Member

    sofasurfer Silver Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    46
    Status Points:
    190
    We spent a week based in CNF (Belo Horizonte) which is ideal for visiting the "gold towns" (we visited Tiradentes - which is the closest, IIRC but still a day trip as it's quite a drive away). The local cuisine of the area, Comida Minera, is regarded as some of the best in Brasil and we really ate well! I believe the delicious pao de queijo (little cheese buns, I guess you could call them) are from this part of the country, and although can be enjoyed across the country, seemed particularly good on this leg of our trip! Although BH itself may not seem particularly unmissable, it's a good base for exploring the gold towns and MG (Minas Gerais state).

    I'd also recommend 2-3 days in Brasilia if you have even the slightest interest in modernist architecture. It's truly awesome. We found it a good way to acclimatise to a new country, too - it was our first stopover on our trip. Very safe, easy to get around to see the main sights, and far less hectic than other cities you may spend time in. As it's a planned city (and a very unique one, at that!) all the hotels are in a couple of specific districts, which I found was a great help for a safe and straightforward way to ease in to a new country (although Mrs Sofasurfer spent a year in Brazil in her youth, I hadn't and we had a 3-year-old with us - so this worked very well for us. YMMV :))
     
    Sweet Willie and jbcarioca like this.
  6. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The architect for most of Brasilia was Oscar Niemeyer who is still alive and working in Rio de Janeiro at 102. He is still taking on new projects. You can find his work all over the world, but especially in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

    Thanks, sodasurfer.
     
    MyMiles&Points likes this.
  7. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    Has anyone been to Belém?

    I have to admit, after seeing the "No Reservations" show on Bourdain's visit to Belém, I'm very intrigued.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  8. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Belém is one of my favorite cities. It is a port city with many small and large islands, including nearby Ilha de Marajó, the largest fresh water island in the world, the size of Switzerland. Belém itself, about 100km inland from the Atlantic, has a long and colorful history since foudning in 1616. Buildings, food, culture are all fascinating.
    http://www.brazildiversity.com/site...ticle&id=38:ilha-do-marajo&catid=27&Itemid=29

    Another place not to be missed is Recife ("reef" in English) a city founded in 1534, then invaded by the Dutch in 1630.
    http://www.recifeguide.com/basics/history.html
    Near Recife is Olinda ("beautiful (feminine) in English") very well named and one of the most beautifully preserved cities in South America. Olinda is a Unesco World heritage site.
    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/189

    Recife is at the mouth of three large rivers and has active ports.

    Both Belém and Recife have been important ports and transshipment points between the Americas, Europe and Africa due to their far Eastern location making the by far the best and shortest over water links between Europe and the Americas except for the far northern routes that have difficult winter weather. As a result many flights in the 1940's passed through Belém including PanAm flying boats.

    This entire region is full of wonderful buildings from the 1500's and 1600's and later, widely varied cuisine showing strong influences from Africa and India, among other places.

    Sweet Willy absolutely must try( among other things):
    Acarajé


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acarajé
    Vatapá

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatapá
    Caruru

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caruru_(food)
    These are from Bahia, and are classically found in Salvador, another great city to visit.
    Pelourinho, the heart of old Salvador has beautiful old buildings and one of the most spectacular churches I have ever seen.
    http://www.bahia-online.net/

    While in Salvador, if your budget is constrained please let all your reserves go to staying in Convento do Carmo.
    http://www.convento-do-carmo.com/
    This is a hotel built in a convent that dates from 1586. In the hotel, shown to guests only, is a chapel that has been perfectly preserved from the era, despite the convent serving as stables for a time. The hotel is Portuguese-run, and is part of LHW. I am a fan of restored old hotels and also staying in monasteries (my Italy posts in TOBB often talk about those). For Mrs jbc and me, we have made a trip to Salvador on occasion just to stay here.

    So, there are four places to see in the Northeast. Justice cannot be served without a few days in each place, in my prejudiced view, so I'd recommend choosing only one or two, if you have limited time. If you're new to the region i would start in Salvador, not least because of Pelourinho and Convento do Carmo.
     
    aptraveler likes this.
  9. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    Thank you jbcarioca for such a detailed post!!!! pretty much solidifies our going to Brazil in Dec 2012. We loved Rio for NYE & will probably spend NYE in Rio again on this next trip.

    Where did you stay in Belém?, for major chains that I am familiar with/have status with, I noticed a Hilton & a Crowne Plaza.
     
  10. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Belém is a city without good hotels. The best two are the Crowne Plaza and the Hilton are the best but neither is very good. Both are comparable to ones of their name as found in small industrial cities in the US or UK. I have not stayed in a hotel there myself; luckily I have other options. I'd probably opt for the Hilton, but keep low expectations.
     
    OY-JFS and Sweet Willie like this.
  11. jackjones

    jackjones New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status Points:
    15
    Wow! You have some great tips there :) If you're in Salvador (State of Bahia) you might as well go to Lencois. The city is located about 400 km inland from Salvador and is situated inside a National Park called Chapada Diamantina. If you're an adventurous nature lover this is the place to be! I'll let the pictures do the talking because this place is just breathtaking. Search for it on the internet and see for yourself... ;) Another National Park that I know is Lencois Maranhenses in Maranhao State, which is also amazing.
     
    OY-JFS, Sweet Willie and jbcarioca like this.
  12. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Both of those are great experiences. Dunes quite unlike others and both are spectacular adventures.
    If mountain climbing and serious exploration are your thing, Mount Roraima and Pico de Neblina are indeed serious adventures. They are located close to the Venezuelan border in very, very remote areas and Pico de Neblina involves several days hiking in rain forest before beginning the climb to the peak itself, which is the highest in Brazil at 3000 meters.
    http://www.terra-brazil.com/travel-amazonia/pico-neblina.php
     
    OY-JFS and Sweet Willie like this.
  13. chrisontour84

    chrisontour84 Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    27
    Status Points:
    45
    I really loved the Pantanal! You should chekc it out.
     
  14. adamefimoff2

    adamefimoff2 Silver Member

    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    651
    Status Points:
    650
    Sao Paulo
     

Share This Page