The backpacker trail in Brazil?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Aug 8, 2010 5:39 PM Last Post By: carlos69
Aug 7, 2010 4:09 PM
Aug 8, 2010 3:53 AM
1There is no backpacker trail comparable to that which goes from Argentina to Colombia.
In Brazil, most tourists will visit Rio de Janeiro and Foz de Iguazú, perhaps adding a flight to Manaus, the Pantanal or Salvador. This is what the guidebooks typically mention as the top 5, and that's what most tourists visit. From Iguazú most people continue on to Argentina or Bolivia (usually Uruguay and Paraguay are skipped, much like the south of Colombia).
Aug 8, 2010 6:29 AM
2So whats the trail from Argentina to Columbia then?
Are there no good backpacker hot spots on the Brazilian coast? Thought there'd be some beach towns or something where backpackers congregated and partied.
Aug 8, 2010 1:31 PM
3Of my own experience, I can say Brazil is not exactly a backpacker's Mecca, perhaps because it has become considerably pricier than its Spanish-speaking neighbors over the last decade. Or maybe because of Brazil's huge and rather dispersing geography, in contrast to Andean countries, where the Cordillera provides a natural north-south orientation to follow. Most backpackers will be found in the places listed by zerotres, but as pointed out they do not follow any defined land trail in Brazil, usually going from one point to the other quite randomly.
I'm not a backpacker myself, but have done some itineraries popular among them while travelling through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. On these occasions I've bumped constantly into backpackers from North America, Europe, Israel and Australia. And just as observed by zerotres, I bumped on them half a dozen times no my way.
Personally I see no point in travelling to other countries to hang out with Brazilians, therefore I'm always puzzled when I see backpackers hanging out with each other instead of interacting more closely with locals in the countries they visit. Backpacking culture (like surfing, jet-set or gay cultures) is basically the same anywhere in the world, whereas each world country will offer a unique (or almost) culture of its own. Wouldn't it be more rewarding to avoid beaten-paths and try to have a more authentic taste of places visited? I wonder...
Aug 8, 2010 4:41 PM
4Some good information and thanks for those links, I'll have a look.
You really find it that puzzling that backpackers would want to hang out with like minded folk who are into similar things and have been or want to visit similar / the same places to them? It's pretty logical to me.
Personally I'm happy as long as I meet friendly and interesting people, they can be from the country I'm visiting, the country I was born or somewhere in between. Good people are good people. Wheres the logic that if in Israel (for example but it can be anywhere) you want to spend time with Israels but when you're in Brazil you want nothing to do with them, makes no sense.
Meeting locals is great, some of my best travelling experiences are from times I spent with natives but I also had some of the best times with other travellers.
Avoiding the beaten path is all well and good at times but sometimes I just want to be on the well trodden path, with lots of other people doing the same things as me that I can bond and spend time with especially as I travel solo but enjoy company. Going off the beaten track usually means there's less like minded people around, theres less facitilies (for lack of a better word) for travellers and less to keep me entertained. There are obviously benefits and rewards from venturing to places others don't but it's not always all it's cracked up to be. I feel that too many people do it to prove how different / special they are or because they think it makes them more well travelled and somehow better than everyone else. A lot of folk like to brag about how hardcore their trip was compared to everyone else. Not saying that's you but you know the type of folk I mean, they'll do anything to have the most shoestring trip, save the most money, stay in the grungiest accomodation, travel using the longest and most uncomfortable route as some sort od badge of honour. Not my style.
My main motivations for going travelling are to see and do things which are new to me, have lots of fun and meet lots of new people. I don't really feel the need to venture off the beaten track to do that. When it happens it can be rewarding but there's been times I wish I hadn't bothered and stuck to the typical backpacker hotspots instead.
Each to their own.
Aug 8, 2010 5:18 PM
5Yes, you're right, to each his own.
Since you've made your argument, I'll briefly make mine, which I guess is closer to bergamoand's philosophy. I travel for many reasons, but one of them is NOT to hang out, drink, smoke and party with Americans, Aussies, Israelis and Europeans. In my opinion, the inside of a bar looks the same in every city, the beer tastes the same everywhere, and the conversations with travelers get repetitive very quickly... so therefore I can't justify spending time/money on these things.
Aug 8, 2010 5:39 PM
6Horses for courses. Some people prefer to take cruise or package holidays, where they are shunted around in groups, others do the backpacker trail. It's about comfort zones. I quite agree about the badge of honour types, I've come across one or two in my time. The sort that are never tourists but always 'travellers'. These folk are often quite amusing as they are always banging on about discovering the 'real Brazil', the 'real Peru' etc etc. Often as not they plan their trips from the same Footprint, LP Shoestring or whatever. And 'independent travel' and beaten path are moveable feasts anyway. For some people independent travel simply means they booked their accom themselves, without recourse to a travel agent. The bottom line is that we are all tourists when we travel. The OP is right that there can be a certain elitism about how people travel.
When I travel I do so because I'm primarily interested in local history and culture and primarily local people, so the backpacker trail and hostel scene doesn't hold much attraction for me. I'm also of an age and disposition that trading tales over a beer about how I lost my iPod on a bus in Quito with some 20 year old from Macclesfield or Stockholm isn't something I'd care to indulge in.
The thing I find curious is the apparent lack of curiosity people seem to evince about the destinations they are heading to. It always puzzles me that people will book what is a relatively expensive trip for most and then appear on forums asking questions like:
"I'm going to Brazil, can someone tell me where should I go and what should I do"?
That sort of question seems to transcend mere naivety and suggest a sort of blithe indifference to anything but completing a checklist of 'must sees'
It is about comfort and it's about effort. Not everyone has the time, resource or inclination to learn another language, explore beyond the typical tourist sites or befriend locals. That worries me not. As the OP says, each to their own.
I would say though that making that effort and breaking free of the dictats of guide books, travel fora etc is wonderfully liberating. You don't have to do it for anyone else, indeed that defeats the very purpose of doing it. Do it for yourself, extend your comfort zones and you'll find the experience much more pleasurable.
Reserva Provincial Esteros del IberáBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$240.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$152.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$399.00 per night