I’ll start off by saying that I’m Portuguese and ever since I was young I have always wanted to go to Brazil. With our histories so intertwined and our culture so closely linked, I knew I would find what I believed to be there: friendship.
I started off the trip in Iguassu Falls, which is the biggest set of waterfalls in the world on the border of Brazil and Argentina. I suggest you visit the Argentinean side first as it has 70% of the falls. If you go at the end of the rainy season (around May), I’ve heard that the sights are 10 times more spectacular because the falls will be completely full. As you walk across the man-made bridges over these falls, you will be amazed and completely blown away by what you can see.
After you’ve walked the bridges, you can take a boat ride actually into the falls and been completely drenched in water. It is in this moment that it will hit you- you’ve just experienced a moment that you’ll never forget. A moment of pure happiness. The Brazilian side of the falls may only have 30% for exploration, but it has 70% of the best views, so save your camera batteries for this side.
The Pentanal was the next stop on my journey through Brazil – the world’s largest tropical wetland. It was here that I spent 3 nights in the jungle. We stayed at the Santa Clara Pousada; a budget hotel with plenty of hammocks to sleep in and relax, and a small pool to cool off in when it’s really hot. The Pousada (hotel) is 5 hours away from the closest city, Campo Grande, so be prepared for seclusion. The hotel was also very simple, meals were included and very good, but basic.
When you check-in at the Pousada, you are greeted and given beads. The beads are your hotel currency, so basically its how you pay for drinks (pop, water, and alcoholic). It’s actually pretty smart, that way you don’t have to carry money around with you all the time. But, if you lose your beads like I did, unfortunately, you will have to pay for them. In the Pousada, there are also other inclusions for more adventurous travellers such as: horseback riding, walking tours, boat trips, Piranha fishing, and safari tours. You can do as much or as little as you want on your vacation.
Our next stop on the tour, which was the one I was most looking forward to, was Rio de Janeiro. Rio was everything I hoped it would and more. We stayed in a budget hotel called Hotel Toledo and it was only 2 blocks from Copacabana beach, the busiest and most well known beach in Brasil. It definitely lived up to its name, by 12 pm there was little or no space to spread a towel to sunbath. Rio is such a diverse city, you can get everything you’d want, from Sushi to Italian, it’s a big city that caters to everyone. The only thing I will complain about is the fact that we didn’t stay long enough.
The next time I go, I’m spending at least a week in Rio, but even that wouldn’t be truly enough time. I managed to see a Carnival Samba school practice and the big Jesus Christ statue that watches over the city.
I also saw Sugar loaf and I met and took a picture with Jorge Selarón, the designer of the world-famous Escadaria Selarón.
I have to say that I loved Brasil, and would go back in a heartbeat. It was a country full of culture, and the people are absolutely amazing. I recommend that everyone go to Brasil, if you haven’t travelled before I would suggest going on a guided tour. I went to Brazil on an Intrepid tour, and I loved it! Intrepid has a maximum of 10 people per tour so the entire trip is quite intimate and you have the opportunity to meet and mingle other traveller and even the local people.
Want to learn more about all the adventures Brazil has to offer? Curious about Intrepid or other tours offered for Brazil? Visit a Flight Centre location nearest you, visit our website or call us at 1-877-967-5302.