Has the sway of the samba ever moved you? With a seductive draw and exotic appeal, Brazil is a passionate experience promising of unforgettable sights, sounds, and flavours. Our Travel Expert Rebecca Lunsted, went on a 10-day tour of Brazil with Intrepid Travel where she discovered for herself what makes Brazil so beautiful. Here she shares her highlights:
With barely two words of Portuguese under my belt, I decided that a trip outside of my comfort zone was long overdue. This was my first time to South America, and just as I expected, Brazil was a beautiful country full of beautiful people!
I travelled with a small group lead by Intrepid Travel for 10 days. The itinerary included stops at Iguazu Falls, which was a breathtaking sight, the Pantanal wetlands, which included an up-close-and-personal experience with caimans and piranhas, and finally – the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Falls were incredibly beautiful – but Rio de Janeiro was the absolute highlight of this trip for me.
Rio is unlike any other city I have ever experienced! With a population of over 6 million people, including a number of favelas (slums), at no point did I feel overwhelmed or overcrowded. I could barely find an inch of Ipanema Beach free for sunbathing, yet I felt right at home.
The favela we visited was extremely beautiful in its own way. “Slums” are often considered an eyesore in a cosmopolitan city, but I found they added an appeal to the overall aesthetic of this city. Our favela tour was another trip highlight for me. It was fascinating to learn that a massive percentage of the population lives outside of the jurisdiction of the government and is technically run by organized crime. Even more interesting is the impact this dynamic has on crime in the area. As backwards as it sounds, criminals want to maintain a sense of safety to attract potential business opportunities, so they don’t tolerate much violence within the favela itself. As our tour guide so eloquently put it, “the same guy who will shake your hand in the favela will rob you on Copacabana beach!”
I am certainly not under the impression that Rio de Janeiro is without issues, but to me it appeared to be a well-oiled machine, and fantastic for tourists! I would certainly return to Rio without hesitation.
Some must-sees in Brazil: Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), Sugar Loaf (outstanding views of the city!), the Selaron steps, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and anything related to samba! And whether it’s a dedicated trip, or just a stop along the way, a trip to Rio de Janeiro is an absolute must!
Looking for more information on travelling with Intrepid Travel to Brazil and discovering all that it has to offer? You can connect with Rebecca online, visiting her in-store, or calling 1-866-704-5366.