This album features my trip to Brazil in July 2007. I did the Amazon Explorer tour with Imaginative Traveller, and this tour covers the Rio to Salvador portion of the trip. I did Sao Paulo on my own and Iguazu Falls with another tour operator.
The itinerary was as follows:
1. Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo was the first stop of my Brazil journey and I backpacked in this mega city. Although Sao Paulo may give visitors a gritty and grim feel, there are many interesting things that are worth visiting. At the end, I enjoyed my time in Sao Paulo and love the following sights:
· the beautiful Museu do Ipiranga,
· the huge Se Cathedral
· historic buildings in centre of Sao Paulo,
· the stunning view from Edificio Italia and
· the Japanese Brazilian neighbourhood of Liberdade
· the modern financial centre of Avenida Paulista.
Sao Paulo was way more expensive than I thought. As I did not have a lot of time, I used both the efficient metro and the taxi to get around the city.
2. Iguazu Falls – simply stunning and way bigger than I thought! I joined an independent tour. The tour operator made the transportation easy and I did not have to worry about dealing with Argentine and Brazilian customs. Just visiting the Argentine side took one full day. The rugged nature of the park enhanced the experience. The Brazilian side gave a good overview of the falls. The town of Puerto Iguazu, although not pretty per se, has quite a few good restaurants and some interesting museums and sights to fill time. I love the steaks in Argentina!
3. Rio de Janeiro – Rio was the first stop for my Amazon experience tour with Imaginative Travellers. I spent three wonderful days with great weather in Rio. The city tour gave a good overview of all classic sights of this beautiful city – Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, the shocking Metropolitan Cathedral etc. The beaches of Rio are beautiful and the small historic centre is well worth a visit to give a different perspective of the city.
And yes I can spend some extra days in Rio to explore more of its history and natural beauty.
4. The Amazon – we flew to Manaus and spent two days in the Jungle Lodge. Overall a very interesting experience. The visit to the jungle and the native village were highlights. The tour guide gave a good introduction of the medicinal use of the plants.
5. For Manaus – the Teatro Amazonas is stunning, very opulent interior with beautiful colonial buildings surrounding the main square of the city. Well worth a visit if you have an afternoon in the city.
6. The Boat ride from Manaus to Santarem was uneventful in my opinion. It was interesting to sleep in a hammock for two days though!
7. Alter do Chao – after arriving in Santarem, we were transferred to the charming small town of Alter do Chao. Alter do Chao is very pretty with beautiful beaches and native inspired architecture.
8. Olinda and Recife – after Alter do Chao, our next destination was Olinda. What a beautiful Portuguese colonial city! It is a UNESCO world heritage site and rightly so. I also visited some beautiful historic sites in nearby Recife.
9. Maceio – it was a beach destination for us but it was raining most of the time when we were there, not good weather to spend time on a beach. I chose to visit the small but pretty historic centre.
10. Salvador – my top favourite destination of these three weeks! The weather was much better than Maceio and the historic centre is fantastic! Another Brazilian world heritage site. The Igreja de Sao Francisco is especially stunning! The folklore show is great – it showed Candomble dances, Samba and Capoeira.
I hope that you enjoy the album and this little trip report!