Brazil

Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer

Brazil was the first stop of a 3 month trip around South America. One month was not long enough for the size of the country but I managed to get to the following places;

  • Rio de Janeiro (includes Rio Carnival)
  • Sao Paulo
  • Florinopolis
  • Foz do Iguacu
  • Ilha Grande
  • Paraty

At the time it was a culture shock and I was nervous from all the horror stories you hear of people on the gringo trail. However, looking back it was an amazingly beautiful and fun place to be and overall I felt pretty safe.

Carnival
Carnival

Top things to do 

  • Eat at a buffet a quilo and a Churrascaria;
  • Spend as much time on a beach as possible, there is no reason to be body conscious as everyone lets it all hang out – even get amongst it and buy a Brazilian tiny swimsuit;
  • By a sarong when you are there as locals don’t uses towels on the beach;
  • Drink a caipirinha every day;
  • Go to a favela (guide recommended);
  • Avoid main tourist attractions during big events/busy times (During carnival it took 5hrs to go up the Sugar Loaf Mt);
  • Go to a soccer game (Stadiums seemed liked the only place in Brazil you cannot drink though);
  • Carry minimal cash on you and keep your passport locked up in the hostel;
  • Avoid the beaches at night for safety unless there is an event on (the beach parties are great on Ipanema beach);
  • There are lots of stray dogs but you get use to them and they seem pretty harmless;
  • Eat Japanese food in Sao Paulo (they have the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan);
  • Use public transport including the taxi vans and semi cama buses to get about as flights add up. Do a cost vs benefit as sometime the money for the flight is worth if you don’t want to be on a bus for 23 hours; and
  • Get used to liking ham and cheese toasted sandwiches as this is the standard breakfast at most hostels and even MacDonald’s.
Ipanema beach
Ipanema beach

Thing to do before you go

  • Acoid planning too much, flexibility is way more fun;
  • Learn some Portuguse;
  • Get a yellow fever vaccination (this is required to enter some surrounding countries from Brazil);
  • Avoid big events such as Carnival, if not expect to pay up to 400BRL for a dorm room;
  • Ensure you have an exit flight or bus ticket to present on entry, although unlikely you may be denied entry;
  • Check any visa requirements, some countries may have to pay a small fee to enter.
Iguazu falls
Iguazu falls

Costs

Overall, I spent more than expected in Brazil, but experience the Iguaçu falls via helicopter

  • Food – Expect to pay between 18-40BRLs for a meal, alcohol was relatively cheap with beers as cheap as 5BRL
  • Accommodation – More expensive than I thought, expect to pay around 35BRLs for a dorm room (depending on size) and up to 40BRL for a double
  • Activities – these vary depending on what you like to do, the helicopter ride was $100USD but the beach is free so set a budget that works for you
  • Transport – Local taxis were really cheap, we travelled via a taxi in Rio for around 15BRL or you can catch the minibus’s for around 2BRL. Local buses were also reasonably priced.
Sao Paulo, buildings as far as the eye can see
Sao Paulo, buildings as far as the eye can see

Money saving tips

  • Stay in a hostel that offers a free breakfast, I was lucky enough to stay in a few with free cachaca
  • Avoid flying internally unless you are time poor
  • Buffet a kilos are a reasonably cheap place to eat.

I can’t wait to go back to Brazil one day, I miss the cheap caipirinhas!

Katie

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