2.5/3 weeks in Brazil
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 1:00 PM Last Post By: amobr82
Sep 27, 2012 12:29 PM
2.5/3 weeks in BrazilHi there,
I am planning a trip to Brazil in November.
1. In 3 weeks, what should I see in Southern Brazil? (I've been to Iguazu before from Argentina)
2. Is it worth it to go up to Salvador and see some of the north? Or are flights too expensive/bothersome for that?
3. I am a solo American female. I've done a lot of solo travel before, especially in South America, but I hear Brazil is far more dangerous than other countries. What advice do you have? Even Brazilians have told me it's too dangerous and not to go.
Sep 27, 2012 12:50 PM
1What do you consider the south of Brazil? Because for us the south is from Paraná State until Rio Grande do Sul State, but most tourists think that Rio and São Paulo are also in the south (they are in the SouthEast).
What's your budget and your main interests? With that, maybe we can help you out with your itinerary.
Well.. unfortunately, violence is still a big issue in most of the country, though in some parts it got a lot better, like in Rio, for example.
Just using common sense and following locals tips about where not to go and what not to do, you will be ok. If you're going to be neurotic and locked up in your hostel afraid of everything, it's better saving money and not come.
And where have you been in South America? Brazil isn't worst than Venezuela or Colombia, for example.
Sep 27, 2012 1:01 PM
2I consider anywhere less than 20 hours by bus from Rio still in the South. Forgive my inexactness when it comes to Brazilian geography :)
I'm not interested in super-tourist things like churches and museums and stuff. I like fun cities, places where I could maybe hang out and study Portuguese for a bit, good parties, beaches, beautiful scenery to enjoy, and places with less violence, of course. I don't like "Sites" as much as "Experiences." Not sure if that helps but what I mean is don't put me on a bus to go see a church...I'll cry. Put me on a bus to go mingle with Brazilians and other travellers and enjoy a beautiful setting for a couple days.
I've been in Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, which I think are the safest in the continent.
Thanks for your help!
Sep 27, 2012 1:21 PM
3I recommend Rio and it's surroundings like Ilha Grande (paradisiac island and natural reserve) and Paraty (beautiful colonial town).
Further south there's Florianópolis, the most developed capital in the country and a great place for night life/beaches.
If you enjoy huge metropolis, you could make a pit stop at São Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world, for a couple of days. There you will find good museums, amazing night life, a huge variety of bars and restaurants, ethnical neighbourhoods.
In my opinion, you should make an effort to go to Salvador. It's an iconic city with a lot of culture, things to do/see and very different from the others that I mentioned.
Three weeks isn't much, so you shouldn't try to squeeze mtoo many places in your itinerary. I would consider taking a flight at some point.
Do you have a starting point? I guess it's likely to be Rio or São Paulo.
You could start in Rio, heading to the south by bus and going up north by plane, like this:
Rio - Ilha Grande - Paraty - São Paulo - Florianópolis - Salvador - Rio
The biggest bus ride would be from SP to Florianópolis (around 13 hours), considering that your budget allows you to take a flight from Florianópolis to Salvador, and from there to Rio.
Or you can take just one flight, from Florianópolis to Salvador, and going by bus from there to Rio, stopping somewhere on the way (the south of Bahia State is incredible). Don't know if it would be too much for your schedule, though.
The buses in Brazil are very comfortable and convenient... traveling at night would save you money from accommodation.
Tell me what you think. Any doubts, just ask.
Sep 27, 2012 1:32 PM
4Bahia and most of the coastal states north of it are considered "the northeast". "The north" would be Maranhao, Amazonas, etc. If you want info, be exact, and don't waste our time responding about Belem when you really want to know about Porto de Galinhas. Consult a guidebook if you are unsure; they are usually divided into chapters by correctly named region. When someone asks for info about "southern Brazil", I assume, as will most responders, that you are talking about Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, etc.
Also, the safety issue, esp. for females has been covered here over and over. Do some research on prior threads.
Brazilians tend to be very conservative when advising American friends, and a vast majority haven't travelled much of anywhere in their own country.
I've been travelling Brazil often as a solo female for well over a decade with no problem.
For Salvador, you could start with the informational site www.bahia-online.net
A good guidebook might help you identify what intersts you, and then you could come back with some specific questions.
In November, you aren't going to find many parties much of anywhere, as they happen inthe lead-up to Carnaval. Still a bit too early in the season. For example, while there is always someplace to go to hear music, the ensaios and shows don't really start in Salvador until the very end of November with the Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra.
Sep 27, 2012 3:27 PM
51. Gramado. Beaches in Santa Catarina etc. Guide book is a good idea.
2. Yes, more so than the south.
Sep 27, 2012 4:51 PM
6Several Brazilian friends have told me that they never intend to see Rio because it is so dangerous. Fortunately, I ignored them and have had only positive experiences on my numerous trips there. Just exercise the same precautions you would have through the rest of South America (avoid quiet streets at night, etc).
I'd say Salvador's one of Brazil's most interesting cities, definitely worth the flights.
#3's list looks good, though if you go to Sao Paulo, I'd suggest doing some prior research. In my experience, the city's not a case of love at first sight (though there are some great areas).
Sep 27, 2012 9:00 PM
Sep 27, 2012 10:28 PM
8Given your plans, Rio would be the logical place to fly from (unless you're going all the way down to Florianopolis). Webjet, Gol and Azul are 3 low-cost Brazilian airlines that fly the route, I suggest having a look on their websites to compare prices.
Oct 15, 2012 12:47 PM
9Here's my new plan - looking for nods of approval in terms of practicality and enough time to see things.
I have 32 days total, roughly 2 weeks in Brazil, 2 weeks in Colombia.
1. Fly NYC to Rio - 9 days in the South - Rio, Illha, Paraty
2. Fly Rio to Salvador - 6 days in Salvador/surrounding areas
3. Flight to Bogota - 2 weeks to do Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena/Santa Maria
4. Fly Cartagena back to NYC
Thoughts? Am I overdoing it? With a month should I just stick to Brazil and find another region to do another 1.5 weeks in instead of Colombia?
Specific to Salvador - are there other areas that are a couple hour bus ride from Salvador worth seeing too?
Thanks everyone - much appreciated!
Oct 15, 2012 1:00 PM
10Also I wanted to ask: If I skipped the 2 weeks in Colombia, what else might be worth my while to do in those 2 weeks in Brazil instead? Colombia seems amazing, but there's half a continent worth of Brazil to tackle...and I could probably easily fill it up with adventures if only I knew where to go.
Side note: I'm steering clear of Sao Paolo - no thank you to big, big cities (I live in New York).
And just a kind reminder, please don't spam the board and tell me to look at a guidebook - I am. But I prefer a humanized approach, so I am seeking out second opinions on the message board. Thanks in advance for your help!
Oct 15, 2012 1:05 PM
Oct 15, 2012 1:24 PM
12If you love nature, I suggest you a few days in Chapada Diamantina, near Salvador.
The NorthEastern part of Brazil (North of Salvador) is full of great beach towns. Every capital has its treasures and a lot to do in the surrounding areas, for example:
- Fortaleza (capital) - Jericoacoara - Canoa Quebrada
- Natal (capital) - Pipa
- Maceió (capital) - Maragogi
- Recife (capital) - Olinda - Porto de Galinhas.
In Minas Gerais State, there are a lot of interesting colonial towns, like Ouro Preto and Tiradentes. It's great to see the architecture of that time, a lot of culture and AMAZING food.
Like I said above, further south there's Florianópolis, the most developed capital in the country and a great place for night life/beaches. Great options in the surrounding areas as well.
I don't think you have time to include the Amazon or the Pantanal in your itinerary, since these places require a lot of time to really have the chance to enjoy them.
There are more places to see, depending on your itinerary.
Oct 15, 2012 1:36 PM
13I think even a lifetime wouldn't do Brazil justice. But what might those hidden gems be that I might miss by skipping out 2 weeks early?
Oct 15, 2012 1:42 PM
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