Country Overview: Travelling in Brazil

They are used to being fed - they'd never be this tame otherwise!

They are used to being fed – they'd never be this tame otherwise!25-May-2009 14:21, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

Introduction: Brazil is the 5th largest country in both geographical and population size in the world. Its also the only one in the whole of South America that has to be that little different and speak Portuguese as opposed to Spanish. As its also the most expensive, we’d planned to use it almost purely as a landing stop and speed on up to check out the Amazon. As it turned out, neither of these things happened and we still managed to have a great time!

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Gallery: Six days, Three hostels and one birthday in Salvador de Bahia!

I have always been interested in Capoeira, and Salvador is famous for it. There are many masters and groups based here.

I have always been interested in Capoeira, and Salvador is famous for it. There are many masters and groups based here.06-Jun-2009 19:34, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 10.0, 28.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 400

Salvador de Bahia is Brazil´s Capital of Happiness,  and the third most populous city. We´d heard a lot of amazing things, although we knew they´d be curtailed by my knee injury. It has crazy weather, incessant begging and a high crime  rate; it also has amazing parties, a magnificent historic centre and fascinating African roots. We stayed in three different hostels, hit the town for Samba, and I even got a haircut!

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Budget flights in Brazil and why Gol kicks Ryanairs butt!

Check out my wheels...

Check out my wheels…04-Jun-2009 00:41, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 400

When looking to travel in Brazil, you’ll find the actual logistics of travel can be the most expensive part; and while the buses are fantastic (much better than UK) the are frequently as expensive as flights – which by reputation aren’t exactly cheap! However, we’ve just flown with Gol airlines and were so impressed I’m dedicating this entire post to them.

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Gallery: Paraty, waterfalls & the local hospital!

And then back to jungle boy, who makes it look spectacular with ease!

And then back to jungle boy, who makes it look spectacular with ease!31-May-2009 16:11, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 10.0, 105.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 800

On Sunday we ventured from the main centre of Paraty to the famous local waterfalls, particularly the cascading Cachoeira do Toboga to do a bit of water sliding! Ironically, that part went exceptionally well, it was when I decided to do a bit of stretching that everything took a turn for the worse!

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Gallery: Paraty and Festa do Divino Espirito Santo 2009 festival!

The stage! Definitely more lively at night... the first half was a talent competition.

The stage! Definitely more lively at night… the first half was a talent competition.30-May-2009 05:57, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200

After torrential rain appeared in the paradise that is Ilha Grande on Thursday night, we decided to cut this trip short and move on quickly to Paraty; an old colonial town with a centre that is completely cut off to traffic and has been declared a national historical monument. Unfortunately, the weather here was also poor, but we still managed to have a cracking time!

Continue reading Gallery: Paraty and Festa do Divino Espirito Santo 2009 festival!…

Gallery: Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon at Ilha Grande!

Our boat for the day!

Our boat for the day!27-May-2009 16:49, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 16.0, 28.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 800

After only about four hours sleep we managed to meet with the rest of the El Misti crew at a tour shop; they’d arranged for a boat trip with snorkelling for R$25 each (R$20 without snorkelling). When we woke, we were far from up for the trip but were very glad we did! A quick shop for breakfast, sandwiches made and packed, shoe sizes swapped for flippers and we were off!

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Gallery: From Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande!

The boat from Angra to Ilha Grande, 30mins faster than the ferry and only slightly more expensive. R$7pp, or about £2.20.

The boat from Angra to Ilha Grande, 30mins faster than the ferry and only slightly more expensive. R$7pp, or about £2.20.26-May-2009 18:29, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 5.6, 5.8mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

I think we’ve just found heaven… Ilha Grande is an island south of Rio, a mountain ridge jutting out of the sea that is where the Brazilians themselves normally spend their holiday. It has amazing beaches, no roads, no cars, and crabs wandering the streets. The best bit is we didn’t even plan to go there until it was recommended so highly by other travellers we’d met at El Misti!

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Gallery: Ascending Sugarloaf 007 style (Pão de Açúcar)

You can't deny it, The Sugarloaf is pretty impressive!

You can't deny it, The Sugarloaf is pretty impressive!25-May-2009 18:34, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 5.6, 5.8mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

The Sugarloaf (in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar) is a monolith which is instantaneously recognisable as a sight of Rio De Janeiro. That, coupled with the fact there’s a Sugarloaf elsewhere than Monmouth (Steve: Actually, Abergavenny :) )meant it was a must do on the Mace sightseeing tour. Sagui monkeys and fresh coconut water accompanied us on this Sugarloaf walk though…

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Gallery: Climbing Corcovado and touching Christ the Redeemer

We had to wait about ten minutes to get the stairs clear for this photo, its packed up there!

We had to wait about ten minutes to get the stairs clear for this photo, its packed up there!23-May-2009 18:44, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 14.0, 28.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 800

The Christ the Redeemer statue is the largest Art Deco sculpture in the world, and one of the famous landmarks in Rio de Janeiro overlooking the city from the top of Corcovado mountain. When we heard it was possible to climb from Parque Lage, we thought we’d give it a go. Budget friendly exercise, plus it turned out to be a beautiful hike that meant we definitely deserved some large Caipirinhas in Lapa afterwards!

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First 24hrs in Rio! Includes such delights as Copacabana Beach and Rio water…

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We’re here, we’ve done it, we’ve hightailed it out of the UK in style – chauffeur driven (thanks Dad!), drinking Champagne (thanks Jenny!) and were then plied with alcohol and stuffed with food (thanks British Airways!). A late night packing and an early morning cleaning meant that finally getting on the flight was a sigh of relief. But… what was Rio going to be like? Would our hostel be crawling with roaches? Would British Airways lose our bags? Would we end up on a deserted island a la Lost?!

Continue reading First 24hrs in Rio! Includes such delights as Copacabana Beach and Rio water……