Brazil Vacation Overview

Three week vacation to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador da Bahia, Brasilia)


Brazil Vacation Overview

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

Rio de Janeiro: -Beaches -Plataforma Samba Tour -Sugarloaf Mountain -Corcovado -Tropical Island Schooner Cruise -Petropolis -Rio Sul Shopping Mall -Barra Shopping Mall -"Hippie" Street Fair -Churasscaria Dinner${QuickSuggestions} -Bring Portuguese phrase book -Get "Lonely Planet's Guide to Brazil" -Bring plenty of insect repellent spray/lotion. -Bring U.S. cash in a combination of 1s, 5s, 10s for easy exchange. Bring largest amount of money in the form of American Express Travelers checks and a Visa credit card. -Pack light and leave plenty of room for souvenirs. -Departure taxes are paid in local currency. You pay departure taxes at every Brazilian airport. The taxes range from $5-$20. -A visa is required for Brazil and can be obtained from the Brazilian Consulate. Allow at least two weeks for processing of visa application. -Confirm all Brazilian flight segments at least 72 hours before the flight. -Make a copy of all documents and leave a copy with someone in the U.S. Also, keep a copy of documents in secured hand luggage separate from original documents. -Get malaria pills. -Exchange money at hotel or airport daily (the bank lines are too long) -Bring your camera and plenty of film (Film in Brazil is expensive) -Leave your expensive jewelry at home. -Bring casual, comfortable clothes and good walking shoes. You want to blend in. -Bring umbrella and light raincoat. -Bring toiletries from home (Lotions, Deordant, etc.) They are expensive in Brazil. ${BestWay} -In Rio de Janeiro, walking along the beach/avenues are your best option. It's beautiful. -For the malls, use the free shuttles from downtown. -Grayline and Brazil Nuts have great tours. -Be prepared for spending a lot of time in traffic. -For transportation from the airport to a Rio hotel, I recommend arranging transfers from the U.S. The taxi ride can cost $40+ and you need to speak Portuguese to get this price. I used Brazil Nuts for my transfers and flights within Brazil. The English speaking guide pick us up from from the airport and pointed out major sights on our way to the hotel.

Sheraton Rio & Towers

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The beautiful beachfront hotel features local Brazilian art in a spacious lobby. We had a wonderful view of the water one side and hills on the other. From our room, we could hear the waves washing up on the shore. The hotel offers a free shuttle to Copacabana/Ipanema Beach. This is a nice location if you want to get away from the traffic/congestion of the Copacabana/Ipanema area. We used a "timeshare" exchange for this reservation (1 night at the hotel was more than our exchange fee).

Restaurants at the hotel: Pizza Palace (good pizza, try the pizza with Calabresa sausage)

Entertainment: Nightly entertainment featuring a local Brazilian singer. The singer had a wonderful voice and played the guitar very well.

Drinks: Try the "Capirinha", a Brazilian speciality containing a lot of alcohol with a sweet sour taste.

Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort
Avenida Niemeyer 121
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
55 2122741122

Chaika Bakery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

Chaika is a wonderful bakery with scrumptious desserts and ice cream. It is a local favorite for special occasion cakes and ice cream. I enjoyed the Chocolate Mint gelato.
Chaika Bakery

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Churrascaria Oasis

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The restaurant is wonderful! We had a choice of 17 salads and many different types of well-prepared meats. Churrascaria is a Brazilian favorite! Various types of meats are prepared and brought to your tableon huge skewers. The meats include chicken, sausage, beef, lamb, etc. Once the meat arrives at your table, it is sliced in front of you-there is an unlimited amount of meat given to you.
Churrascaria Oasis

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Bob's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

If you like fast food, this is your place. Bob's is a fast food chain similar to McDonalds or Burger King in the U.S. They offer burgers, french fries, milk shakes, soft drinks, etc. They had "Value Meals" for $7 which included a burger, friends, large drink and ice cream. I ate the double cheesebureger that was good; the meat was more spicier/flavorful than the US.
Bob's

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana/Ipanema Beaches

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

Life in Rio revolves around the beach. People walk along the beach at all times-day and night. You will see people from babies to senior citizens in swimsuits. Thongs are very popular. It was quite a sight to see men in their 60s/70s wearing "thong style" swimwear. Walking, rollerblading, bicycling, people watching, soccer, and volleyball are the most popular beach sports. Along the beach, you can purchase all sorts of snacks (popcorn, buttered corn on the cob, soft drinks, beer, etc.) Check out the street musicians at night and on weekends. On the weekends, they close sections of the street for beach activities.
Copacabana Beach

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

H. Stern

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

Rio is the world headquarters of H. Stern. They usually provide free transportation from the major hotels for their tour. The tour is available in several languages. The tour included an audio tape that gave you an overview of how the gems are cut and set in jewelry. The Ipanema area location is great for exploring one of Rio’s nicer neighborhoods. They also provide a guide map for Rio. There is a good grocery store, Zona Sul located nearby.
H Stern
Avenida das Américas, 4666 - 214
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22640-102
+55 21 24319780

Hippie Street Fair

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The fair occurs every Sunday. It features everything from Brazilian handicrafts and clothes to imported goods to toilet seats. The vendors are ready to bargain. We were able to purchase some beautiful handicrafts at 50% of their original price.
Hippie Fair of Ipanema
Praça General Ozório Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plataforma Samba Show

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The show was spectacular! It attracts an international group. At our show, the majority of people were German, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch or South American. The show included exotic, colorful costumes, traditional dancers, Carnival costumes, voodoo dances, capoerira, drumming and acrobatics. Many of the dances had African roots. Most of the dancers were Afro Brazilian. The women wore revealing outfits (a combination of Carnival and Las Vegas style).

Unfortunately, the soft drink prices are expensive.

Brazilian Performance at Plataforma Restaurant
Rua Adalberto Ferreira 32
Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
(21) 2274.4022

Sugarloaf Mountain

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

A must see! We took a car filled with 75 people suspended on a cable wire to the top. The ride to the top was in two stages. We stopped at one mountain and took pictures of the view before going to the toopo. This ride could be scary for some. You are suspended in air and the thought of dropping can cross your mind. The view form the top of Sugarloaf was worth the ride. it was spectacular! From Sugarloaf, you can see Corcovado, the beaches of Copacabana and the rest of Rio! We were fortunate enough to view the sun setting over Rio at about 5pm. It was beautiful!
Sugarloaf Mountain

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
55 21 2461-2700

Schooner Cruise to Tropical Islands

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The drive to the dock for the Tropical Islands tour was about 2-3 hours depending on traffic. The drive included views of the countryside. It was mountainous, green and dottted with small and large homes. Some of the areas had favelas.

The views from the boat included various islands, beautiful homes, natural wildlife. We stopped briefly at one secluded island, so that people could swim in the "green" water. The cruise included a buffet lunch on an island. The buffet consisted of black beans, white rice, fried fish, barbecue sausage, chicken, salads, cooked vegetables, etc. The small island had a few homes, a small souvenir boutique, and a family of 6-8 cats that enjoyed relaxing on the beach. We watched them eating fresh fish. The island was vibrant with color from the various flowers, trees, butterflies, parrots, crows and insects.

If you have "balancing/walking" issues, I would not recommend te cruise. When you dock at the island, you are expected to walk on a long wooden panel with 1-2 inch gaps over water. You can easily fall into the water.

Schooner Cruise to Tropical Islands
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio Sul Shopping Mall

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

The mall has over 400 shops and restaurants. This is an ultra modern mall with many escalators and a large variety of food (Chinese, French, Italian, Fast Food, etc.) Near most of the escalator entrances, there were deomstrations of new technology, perfumes and products. The malls close at 10pm (most days of the week). The mall is very popular and filled with a variety of people. One of the busiest stores was the C&A store which offered a variety of inexpensive items. Free buses are usually available from Copacabana Beach area. The large eating areas provide huge video screens featuring American/Brazilian shows.
Rio Sul
Avenida Lauro Muller, 116
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, 22299-900
+55 21 25457200

Video Camera/Cameras

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

Most guide books tell you not to bring your camera/video camera because of crime. We almost left our video camera at home, but decided to bring it at the last minute. I'm glad that we brought it. Take the following precautions:

-Only bring your video camera to major tourist sights (Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, etc.) during daytime hours. -Carry your video camera in a nice local bag (not the camera bag) -If you are traveling alone, walk near a group, so that a potential thief will think that you are with the group. -Do not take your video camera out during the evening. (Use a 35mm camera that is concealed in a secured coat pocket) -Dress casually so that you blend in as much as possible. -Bring a Portuguese phrase book and memorize common phrases. Do not use English.


Learn Portuguese

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by paris on November 30, 2000

There are many advantages to learning Portuguese before going to Brazil. I know Spanish, so I was able to get by because of the similarities between the languages.

If you do not know Portuguese, get a Portuguese Phrase Book. I used "Berlitz Portuguese Phrase Book and Dictionary". The book is divided into color coded sections such as "Eating Out", Travelling Around", "Hotel", "Shopping", "Basic Expressions", etc. This book was invaluable. I encountered few fluent English speakers during my vacation.


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