Brazil is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and everyone are invited to join the party.
This country is gifted by nature, boasts beautiful scenery, white sand beaches and awesome parties.
Contrary to the report that Brazil is a dangerous country, I never felt unsafe while in Rio de Janeiro and Foz do Iguacu. There were police officers around the area. (Related article: Go cruise the coast of Brazil, 5 awesome beaches!)
Rio de Janeiro
The second largest city in Brazil in the South Atlantic coast, it boasts a spectacular landscape, famous beaches (Ipanema and Copacabana), carnival and samba music. Tourists who visit this city enjoy Caiparinha (alcoholic beverage) and churascarria. Restaurants offer a “comida a kilo”, buffet style restaurants where guests pay by weight of the food on the plate.
Most travellers go to Rio de Janeiro during summer season, which is between December and March. If you want to experience cool weather, go during the winter season, between June and September. Brazil is located in the southern hemisphere so the weather is reversed. The average highs of around 24°C and nights at a balmy 18°C, but the humidity is lower and visitors feel more comfortable. There’s less rain in these months too. All guided tours in Rio were booked through a sales representative working along Copacabana beach. I found this a lot cheaper than those in the internet. (Related article: 7 Awesome Things to do in Rio de Janeiro)
Foz do Iguassu
Located in the State of Parana, a two and half hour plane ride from Rio de Janeiro. Iguassu Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of Nature in 1994 is located in this city. This is the 2nd most popular destination in Brazil after Rio de Janeiro. Its a lot colder than Rio and one can experience warm and cold temperature in one day. From 24c during the day, it falls to 15c at night. Packing light and warm clothes is a must!
You are expected to get wet in Iguassu Falls, bring a raincoat before you go there. Stores around Foz do Iguazu sell this at half the price. Inside the falls, a thin raincoat is Php 134. If you decide to join the Macuco boat safari, don’t forget to bring slippers and wear shorts. Water goes inside the rubber boat and you will definitely get wet.
Related article: Best Hostels and Hotels in Brazil
Budget (all rate is in Philippines Pesos)
Christ the Redeemer
The national icon of Brazil. An extremely large statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado.
Sugar Leaf Mountain
Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches
Petropolis, The Imperial City
Angra dos Reis/Ilha Grande
Daily Travel Guide to Brazil (Itinerary Details):
Arrived in Rio from Dubai. Stayed at Zona Sul (south zone) where Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are located. A touristy area with lots of things to do in your spare time.
Stayed in an Airbnb place in a private room with partial view of the Atlantic Ocean from day 1 to day 5 located 300 meters away from Copacabana beach in the main road.
Due to a long flight and time difference, I spent my day one sleeping.
Related Article: Read 7 Awesome Things to do in Rio de Janeiro
Joined Brazil Expedition Tour, a 5-hour day tour of Rio. I was picked up by a professional English speaking tour guide at 930am infront of Copacabana Palace (they pick up guests staying in hotels but not on residential areas) and driven in a van around Rio de Janeiro.
Our first stop was the hang gliding area on the mountains on top of Sao Conrado beach. From there, we were taken to Tijuca National Park. Next stop was Christ The Redeemer Statue.
After visiting Christ the Redeemer, we headed to one of the traditional old neighbourhood of Rio, Santa Teresa. We had a typical Brazilian lunch of meat, rice, potatoes and black beans in a frequently visited restaurant in the area.
Visited Sugarloaf Mountains before sunset. To reach the summit, I took two cable cars. The cable cars offer 360-degree view of mesmerizing Rio. From Sugarloaf Mountains, took a cab to go to Copacabana beach, dined in one of the restaurants at Rio Othon Hotel along Avenida Atlantica and ended the night with Caiparinha in one of the kiosks along the beach. Caiparinha is priced @ PHP 133/small glass.
Visited Rio Scenarium, a popular nightspot for locals and tourists. Band plays samba music until wee hours of the morning. You can also dance if you want to. There are plenty of garage-type bars around Rio Scenarium that offers samba as well as jazz music and not as pricey as Scenarium.
Favela Tour (slums in Rio) organized by Brazil Expedition. I was once again picked up infront of Copacabana Palace. Comida a kilo (buffet per kilo meal) again for lunch in of the small eateries in Copacabana area.
Walked along Avenida Atlantica, along Copacabana beach. Drunk Caiparinhas and people watched.
Checked out and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Foz do Iguacu, State of Parana where Iguassu Falls is. Travel time is 2 ½ hours by AeroGol, low cost airline of Brazil. Stayed in an Airbnb place from Day 6 – Day 9.
Two and a half hour city morning tour of Foz do Iguacu arranged by Loumar Turismo. They picked up their guests in their hotels/hostels, since I stayed in a residential home, I was picked up in the closest hotel near my Airbnb place. Visited scenic spots such as Brazil Avenue (the first avenue of Foz do Iguacu and an outdoor shopping mall), Chinese Temple, Battalion Infantry and Three Landmarks (located on the border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina) to name a few. Comida a Kilo or buffet per kilo in Hokila Chinese Restaurant for lunch. There were more than 200 dishes to choose from. Afternoon was spent window shopping along Brazil Avenue
Visited Iguassu National Park, on the Brazilian side. I was dropped by our pick up at the welcome center to buy the park tickets, got on the double-decker bus and traveled through the park for 10 minutes until I reached the start of 1.5 km trail to see the falls. Buffet lunch at Porto Canoas restaurant. Macuco boat safari after lunch. I got the chance to experience to be in a wagon being pulled by electric carts, shooting the rapids and getting wet under the falls.
Half-day tour of Itaipu Dam in Hernandarias, Paraguay. Afternoon was spent shopping Havaianas slippers (I was told it is cheaper to buy there than Rio) along Brazil Avenue.
Flew back to Rio by AeroGol. Stayed in an Airbnb place in Copacabana from Day 10-16
Spent my day by the beach.
All day in Petropolis, The Imperial City, a popular winter holiday spot in Rio de Janeiro.
Visited Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden and Ipanema beach.
All day Ilha Grande and Angra dos Reis tour, one of the most beautiful islands of Brazil, consisting of 365 picturesque unspoiled islands.
Shopping and packing.
Checkout and took the flight back to Dubai.
Related Article: Where to go After Rio de Janeiro? Cruise the Coast!
A valid passport and visa are required to travel to Brazil as a tourist. Passport Requirements: Original, signed passport valid for 6 months beyond stay in Brazil, and with at least one blank passport page available for Brazilian visa stamp. Amendment pages in the back of the passport are not suitable for visa stamps.
For Philippines passport, Visa is not required for stay up to 90 days. For more details, check this article.
About the Contributor:
Arlene Talavera, is an expatriate living in Dubai, UAE since 1998. Started traveling regularly in 2008 and has visited countries in all of the six continents with just Antartica left on the list.
Name of country visited:Brazil
Day of Travel: 17 Days
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