#1 7-11-2017 1:46 AM

MarioBG
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Brazil in December!

So a friend and I booked flights to Brazil in December as follows: 27 December Johannesburg - Rio De Janeiro 8 January Sao Paolo - Johannesburg.
We both have never been to that part of the world and have absolutely no clue what to do and what to expect. The plan so far is, with Rio being our first stop, to celebrate NYE at the infamous Copacabana NYE party. After this we are free to do anything. With Sao Paulo being our final stop, the only place that we have decided on visiting so  far is Paraty.
Anybody can recommend any things to do or places to see which will be feasible with our itineraries?
Any 'DOs' and 'DONTs' in Brazil in general? 
Any advise on transportation?

We would have loved to do the 3 day Amazon Rainforest tour but unfortunately Manaus is way too far up north from where we will be.

Any help and advise will be much appreciated big_smile

 

#2 7-11-2017 3:50 AM

shavy
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Re: Brazil in December!

So, you decide to go to South America after all big_smile 12 days if I'm right? such a short trip.

Rio De Janiero is huge, there are things to keep you busy for a few days

We liked Lapa district - I compare this area in Valparaiso Chile- it has numerous colourful historical monuments, you also find attractive restaurants, bars and clubs

In Rio visit Corcovado, the high mountain with the 38 meter high image of Christ. Another things to do in Rio take a cable car ride to the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the view is awesome

Ride with the yellow tram to Santa Teresa district,  a hill that overlooks the city. The trams are free and drive from 10 am to 4 pm

Museum of Amanha, renovated old port area, the white skeleton shaped building itself is breathtakingly beautiful

I don't have experience with public transport we rent a car in Brazil, we drove to Paraty after Rio De Janiero, check if this can fit in your itinerary- beautiful place  with numerous waterfalls, absolutely idyllic

The best time to visit the Amazone is from March to November which are less rains, we visited Brazil on May, and we have rains too but less as we heard from our guide

Manaus is the best Amazone of Brazil- yes it is quite far from big cities and so remote that you can only come by boat or plane. From Manaus you start a journey over the rivers of the Amazon that you never forget. It such an amazing experience

We've done also the Ecuadorian Amazone Cuyabeno- this also lies far from the mainland- it took us a whole day to reach the jungle, but worth for a 4 days trip

Sao Paulo, I find it less than Rio, I didn't like it there. We had our flight back home, we only had one night in Sao Paulo. Most attractions are located in the metropolitan area and in the Bela Vista (Italian neighborhood) Bom Retiro (Jewish Quarter), Liberdade (Asian Quarter), Praca da Se, Republica and Cerqueira Cesar you can see all these in one day

We visited Santos before arriving in Sao Paolo is about two hour drive - it is actually one long strip of beach with large flats on the coastline we have a nice walk

 

#3 7-11-2017 4:12 AM

MarioBG
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Re: Brazil in December!

shavy wrote:

So, you decide to go to South America after all big_smile 12 days if I'm right? such a short trip.

Rio De Janiero is huge, there are things to keep you busy for a few days

We liked Lapa district - I compare this area in Valparaiso Chile- it has numerous colourful historical monuments, you also find attractive restaurants, bars and clubs

In Rio visit Corcovado, the high mountain with the 38 meter high image of Christ. Another things to do in Rio take a cable car ride to the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the view is awesome

Ride with the yellow tram to Santa Teresa district,  a hill that overlooks the city. The trams are free and drive from 10 am to 4 pm

Museum of Amanha, renovated old port area, the white skeleton shaped building itself is breathtakingly beautiful

I don't have experience with public transport we rent a car in Brazil, we drove to Paraty after Rio De Janiero, check if this can fit in your itinerary- beautiful place  with numerous waterfalls, absolutely idyllic

The best time to visit the Amazone is from March to November which are less rains, we visited Brazil on May, and we have rains too but less as we heard from our guide

Manaus is the best Amazone of Brazil- yes it is quite far from big cities and so remote that you can only come by boat or plane. From Manaus you start a journey over the rivers of the Amazon that you never forget. It such an amazing experience

We've done also the Ecuadorian Amazone Cuyabeno- this also lies far from the mainland- it took us a whole day to reach the jungle, but worth for a 4 days trip

Sao Paulo, I find it less than Rio, I didn't like it there. We had our flight back home, we only had one night in Sao Paulo. Most attractions are located in the metropolitan area and in the Bela Vista (Italian neighborhood) Bom Retiro (Jewish Quarter), Liberdade (Asian Quarter), Praca da Se, Republica and Cerqueira Cesar you can see all these in one day

We visited Santos before arriving in Sao Paolo is about two hour drive - it is actually one long strip of beach with large flats on the coastline we have a nice walk

Yep, finally decided on South America and im so excited. Have been dreaming of visiting that part of the world for a long time.
Im definitely going to research some of those places you mentioned in Rio big_smile The free train is of great help too, thank you!
From what iv been reading online, it doesnt look like there is much to see in Sao Paulo, will maybe spend 2 nights maximum there.
Paraty i really want to visit.
11 nights is a very short time but unfortunately with work and having some family visiting from Bulgaria that is all I can get away with.

 

#4 7-11-2017 10:10 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Brazil in December!

We were in Brazil this time last year, and can highly recommend the Costa Verde between Rio and Sao Paolo, with Paraty being the absolute gem.
The town is nestled into the head of a bay, and the coastline is protected from the open Atlantic by an archipelago of islands.  We hired a private boat to cruise around Ilha Grande for a day - which was lovely - and also took an organised day trip out on a schooner from Paraty, which was more touristy but also very enjoyable.  We were there in winter, so it wasn't too busy (and the water temperature was still pleasant), but I imagine that New Year will be absolute peak period and heaving with people.  Having said that, if you're going to Rio for the NYE party at Copocabana, then I imagine that this will be a positive recommendation smile
By far the most fun we had in Paraty was to spend a day up in the mountains behind the town with a guy called Raul Sampaio, who runs a company called Horses4U.  He is the closest thing to a 'horse whisperer' that you'll ever come across, and runs very small tours from the farm where he was born and bred.  His passion for the horses, the land and the ecosystem is infectious, and the confidence he inspires in even novice riders is miraculous - by the end of the day, he had both my husband and 9 year old son cantering for the first time in their lives, and loving every moment.  The tour ends off with a laid back, lazy lunch at his brother' restaurant and he will stop off on the way back to Paraty to let you take a dip under one of the many waterfalls.  However, he only takes very small groups, and so his tours book out very quickly.
I would also highly recommend a side trip to Iguassu, which you can fly to from either Rio or Sao Paulo (with there being more competitively priced flights from Sao) - for us, this was the best part of the entire trip.  I've been lucky enough to visit many spectacular waterfalls, but this is by far the most impressive of all.  Vic Falls and Niagara would fit into a corner, and still leave space, and the sheer volume of water is just staggering.  If this interests you, then ideally give yourself a day to explore each side, as what you'll see on the Argentinian side (the Devil's Throat cataract, where the water drops over the lip of the Falls) is very different to what you'll see from the Brazilian side (where you will get absolutely drenched in the spray).  The surrounding rainforest is also gorgeous, and there are lots of activities, from extreme sports to the sunset cruise we did upstream of the Falls to watch thousands of parakeets come in to roost.
If you're visiting the Falls, it's also possible to pop over the border to Paraguay.  In truth, there's not much to see in Cuidad del Este - most Chinese shopping malls selling knock off goods, including a bamboozling number of chandeliers - but worth doing for half a day just to experience something so different.

Last edited by harbinger (7-11-2017 11:50 AM)

 

#5 7-11-2017 12:09 PM

fransglobal
Francis
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Re: Brazil in December!

Iguacu is a must. Rio a must too. Sao Paulo is an enormous city, one of the biggest in world. Worth a couple of days.

 

#6 7-12-2017 12:57 AM

petersindac
Peter
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
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Re: Brazil in December!

I agree with Francis Rio and Foz is a must. There are so many things to do in Rio. I planned to stay there for a week but I felt very tired and decided to leave the city after 4 days. Haha, been doing so many things and meeting a lot. It was amazing. Local flights in Brazil can be expensive so I suggest to plan things and book ticket the earliest. Be smart in Brazil, street crimes can happen even in the beach. One of my favorite places in Brazil is Florianopolis. I planned to spend 4 days there but ended up having 3 more. Enjoy!

 

#7 7-13-2017 5:37 AM

MarioBG
Mario
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Re: Brazil in December!

harbinger wrote:

We were in Brazil this time last year, and can highly recommend the Costa Verde between Rio and Sao Paolo, with Paraty being the absolute gem.
The town is nestled into the head of a bay, and the coastline is protected from the open Atlantic by an archipelago of islands.  We hired a private boat to cruise around Ilha Grande for a day - which was lovely - and also took an organised day trip out on a schooner from Paraty, which was more touristy but also very enjoyable.  We were there in winter, so it wasn't too busy (and the water temperature was still pleasant), but I imagine that New Year will be absolute peak period and heaving with people.  Having said that, if you're going to Rio for the NYE party at Copocabana, then I imagine that this will be a positive recommendation smile
By far the most fun we had in Paraty was to spend a day up in the mountains behind the town with a guy called Raul Sampaio, who runs a company called Horses4U.  He is the closest thing to a 'horse whisperer' that you'll ever come across, and runs very small tours from the farm where he was born and bred.  His passion for the horses, the land and the ecosystem is infectious, and the confidence he inspires in even novice riders is miraculous - by the end of the day, he had both my husband and 9 year old son cantering for the first time in their lives, and loving every moment.  The tour ends off with a laid back, lazy lunch at his brother' restaurant and he will stop off on the way back to Paraty to let you take a dip under one of the many waterfalls.  However, he only takes very small groups, and so his tours book out very quickly.
I would also highly recommend a side trip to Iguassu, which you can fly to from either Rio or Sao Paulo (with there being more competitively priced flights from Sao) - for us, this was the best part of the entire trip.  I've been lucky enough to visit many spectacular waterfalls, but this is by far the most impressive of all.  Vic Falls and Niagara would fit into a corner, and still leave space, and the sheer volume of water is just staggering.  If this interests you, then ideally give yourself a day to explore each side, as what you'll see on the Argentinian side (the Devil's Throat cataract, where the water drops over the lip of the Falls) is very different to what you'll see from the Brazilian side (where you will get absolutely drenched in the spray).  The surrounding rainforest is also gorgeous, and there are lots of activities, from extreme sports to the sunset cruise we did upstream of the Falls to watch thousands of parakeets come in to roost.
If you're visiting the Falls, it's also possible to pop over the border to Paraguay.  In truth, there's not much to see in Cuidad del Este - most Chinese shopping malls selling knock off goods, including a bamboozling number of chandeliers - but worth doing for half a day just to experience something so different.

Thank you so much for the advise. Could you give me a price indication on what you paid for the private boat at Ilha Grande? Also, could you advise on any possible rain forest tours that would be feasible within our itineraries?

 

#8 7-13-2017 5:39 AM

MarioBG
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Re: Brazil in December!

Thank you for the replies.

Could anybody recommend any nearby rain forest tours feasible within our itineraries?

 

#9 7-13-2017 5:40 AM

MarioBG
Mario
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Re: Brazil in December!

harbinger wrote:

We were in Brazil this time last year, and can highly recommend the Costa Verde between Rio and Sao Paolo, with Paraty being the absolute gem.
The town is nestled into the head of a bay, and the coastline is protected from the open Atlantic by an archipelago of islands.  We hired a private boat to cruise around Ilha Grande for a day - which was lovely - and also took an organised day trip out on a schooner from Paraty, which was more touristy but also very enjoyable.  We were there in winter, so it wasn't too busy (and the water temperature was still pleasant), but I imagine that New Year will be absolute peak period and heaving with people.  Having said that, if you're going to Rio for the NYE party at Copocabana, then I imagine that this will be a positive recommendation smile
By far the most fun we had in Paraty was to spend a day up in the mountains behind the town with a guy called Raul Sampaio, who runs a company called Horses4U.  He is the closest thing to a 'horse whisperer' that you'll ever come across, and runs very small tours from the farm where he was born and bred.  His passion for the horses, the land and the ecosystem is infectious, and the confidence he inspires in even novice riders is miraculous - by the end of the day, he had both my husband and 9 year old son cantering for the first time in their lives, and loving every moment.  The tour ends off with a laid back, lazy lunch at his brother' restaurant and he will stop off on the way back to Paraty to let you take a dip under one of the many waterfalls.  However, he only takes very small groups, and so his tours book out very quickly.
I would also highly recommend a side trip to Iguassu, which you can fly to from either Rio or Sao Paulo (with there being more competitively priced flights from Sao) - for us, this was the best part of the entire trip.  I've been lucky enough to visit many spectacular waterfalls, but this is by far the most impressive of all.  Vic Falls and Niagara would fit into a corner, and still leave space, and the sheer volume of water is just staggering.  If this interests you, then ideally give yourself a day to explore each side, as what you'll see on the Argentinian side (the Devil's Throat cataract, where the water drops over the lip of the Falls) is very different to what you'll see from the Brazilian side (where you will get absolutely drenched in the spray).  The surrounding rainforest is also gorgeous, and there are lots of activities, from extreme sports to the sunset cruise we did upstream of the Falls to watch thousands of parakeets come in to roost.
If you're visiting the Falls, it's also possible to pop over the border to Paraguay.  In truth, there's not much to see in Cuidad del Este - most Chinese shopping malls selling knock off goods, including a bamboozling number of chandeliers - but worth doing for half a day just to experience something so different.

Another question, would you say that 2 nights in Paraty are enough?

 

#10 7-13-2017 11:16 AM

shavy
Belinda
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Re: Brazil in December!

MarioBG wrote:

Thank you for the replies.

Could anybody recommend any nearby rain forest tours feasible within our itineraries?

If you are interested to visit a rainforest, the tropical rainforest of Rio- Tijuca National Park is right outside the center of Rio, you can take the bus and walk on your own, there are hiking trails to choose from. Signpost indicate different routes and maps are available at the kiosk or in the visitor center. If you prefer to go on tour, go inside in one of travel agency.

Last edited by shavy (7-13-2017 11:36 AM)

 

#11 7-14-2017 12:37 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Brazil in December!

MarioBG wrote:

Thank you so much for the advise. Could you give me a price indication on what you paid for the private boat at Ilha Grande? Also, could you advise on any possible rain forest tours that would be feasible within our itineraries?

A boat for the day cost 500 real (about R2000), and could probably have accommodated at least 8 people (although it was only the four of us).  We hired it from the harbour in Jacarei, just on the Rio side of Angra dos Reis, as we were staying at a hotel in the area.  I am sure that there must be similar opportunities in Paraty, although I couldn't comment on cost.
With Paraty, I am tempted so say that two days is too short, but I know you're on a tight schedule, and it will at least allow you to get a taste of the place.  It is really beautiful, both from a scenery and an architectural perspective, and a nice counterpoint to Rio.
In terms of rain forest tours, we often use ToursByLocals to hire a private guide, as with four of us, it's often considerably cheaper than organised tours (as well as being more flexible).  Ernesto at Iguassu on the Brazilian guide gets fabulous reviews, and our experience is that these guides are more than willing to discuss customising their advertised tours to meet customers' interests (provided that what's being proposed is practical).
We also hired a guide in Rio because we had very little time on the morning of our departure and wanted to see the highlights.  Michael was astonishingly good (picking us up at 0600 and whisking us up to Christ the Redeemer as it opened, and then taking us up the Sugar Loaf and along Copocabana), and I can't recommend him highly enough.  You'll obviously be staying there for longer, so can do much more by yourself, but it's always worth knowing what's possible.

 

#12 7-14-2017 12:47 AM

MarioBG
Mario
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Re: Brazil in December!

harbinger wrote:

MarioBG wrote:

Thank you so much for the advise. Could you give me a price indication on what you paid for the private boat at Ilha Grande? Also, could you advise on any possible rain forest tours that would be feasible within our itineraries?

A boat for the day cost 500 real (about R2000), and could probably have accommodated at least 8 people (although it was only the four of us).  We hired it from the harbour in Jacarei, just on the Rio side of Angra dos Reis, as we were staying at a hotel in the area.  I am sure that there must be similar opportunities in Paraty, although I couldn't comment on cost.
With Paraty, I am tempted so say that two days is too short, but I know you're on a tight schedule, and it will at least allow you to get a taste of the place.  It is really beautiful, both from a scenery and an architectural perspective, and a nice counterpoint to Rio.
In terms of rain forest tours, we often use ToursByLocals to hire a private guide, as with four of us, it's often considerably cheaper than organised tours (as well as being more flexible).  Ernesto at Iguassu on the Brazilian guide gets fabulous reviews, and our experience is that these guides are more than willing to discuss customising their advertised tours to meet customers' interests (provided that what's being proposed is practical).
We also hired a guide in Rio because we had very little time on the morning of our departure and wanted to see the highlights.  Michael was astonishingly good (picking us up at 0600 and whisking us up to Christ the Redeemer as it opened, and then taking us up the Sugar Loaf and along Copocabana), and I can't recommend him highly enough.  You'll obviously be staying there for longer, so can do much more by yourself, but it's always worth knowing what's possible.

\


Thank you so much for this, it really does help knowing that one can hire private tour guides. I will look at the site you suggested for a possible rain forest tour and tour of the favelas big_smile

 

#13 7-14-2017 12:48 AM

MarioBG
Mario
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Re: Brazil in December!

shavy wrote:

MarioBG wrote:

Thank you for the replies.

Could anybody recommend any nearby rain forest tours feasible within our itineraries?

If you are interested to visit a rainforest, the tropical rainforest of Rio- Tijuca National Park is right outside the center of Rio, you can take the bus and walk on your own, there are hiking trails to choose from. Signpost indicate different routes and maps are available at the kiosk or in the visitor center. If you prefer to go on tour, go inside in one of travel agency.

Perfect, guess we will see some rain forest after all then big_smile

 

#14 7-14-2017 12:49 AM

MarioBG
Mario
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Re: Brazil in December!

Has anybody done a tour of the favelas in Rio? How safe is this? I mean, i am going to do it regardless, but would like to know if I should go with empty pockets or if I can have atleast my cellphone for some photos? smile

 

#15 7-14-2017 6:03 AM

DaveSwede
Batam, Indonesia
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Re: Brazil in December!

MarioBG wrote:

Has anybody done a tour of the favelas in Rio? How safe is this? I mean, i am going to do it regardless, but would like to know if I should go with empty pockets or if I can have atleast my cellphone for some photos? smile

If you go in a tour, it is absolutely safe.  But just use typical common sense about how flashy you dress and things like gold watches.

If you go by yourself, it really depends on where/when and how you go.  I lived in Rio for the better part of 3 years and consider myself relatively fluent in Portuguese, had friends who came from the favelas, but I still would not venture into 'any' favela at 'any' time.  But with that being said, there are some places that I used to just wander to find the interesting views, graffiti, foods and music.

 

#16 7-14-2017 7:56 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Brazil in December!

MarioBG wrote:

Has anybody done a tour of the favelas in Rio? How safe is this? I mean, i am going to do it regardless, but would like to know if I should go with empty pockets or if I can have atleast my cellphone for some photos? smile

We've done the Favela tours, it was really worth the price of  85 reales. If you are going in tour yes, you are safe...... no need to bring a big amount of money just enough to tip the guide. You can bring a camera or cellphone,  the guide will tell you to be careful when taking photos

 
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