I’m just back from the holidays in Brasil, the trip lasted a total of 24 days although 3 days were only for traveling from Europe. So, I spent 3 weeks in Brasil doing a trip from the vibrant Rio de Janeiro (still hosting the Paralympic Games) to the incredible North-East of the country and the unbelievable Amazonia. I will soon post some detailed posts on the different areas I visited. Here, I want to explain you my travel plan, why we visited such places and other recommendations I will consider for my future trips to this incredible country. I traveled with my partner and a friend living in Rio de Janeiro joined us for parts of the trip.
There are so many places and countries in the world to visit that sometimes coincidences and people make you decide your destination. 4 years ago, a friend of us moved to Rio de Janeiro for love, and some months later, another friend did the same. So, we had a motivation to visit Brasil: see our two friends again and know their city through their point of view. And, Brasil has one of the most stunning natural places on Earth: Amazonia. So, once the idea was on our mind we quickly found the time and money to visit Brasil.
THE TRAVEL PLAN:
Day 1: Flight BCN – Rio
Day 2-3: Rio de Janeiro
The two first days in Rio de Janeiro we did the most touristic activities: 1) Visit the Corcovado and the Cristo Redentor, walking down through a trekking path and walk on the area of the Botanic garden. 2) Rent a bike and visit the South coast: Copacabana & Ipanema (and in the evening we took a flight to Recife).
Day 4: Recife & Olinda
We visited the city centre of Recife (Casa do Cultura, Caixa cultural, Praça Barao do Rio Branco) and then went to the peripherical and colorful town of Olinda.
Day 5-6: Jacuma
The next destination was the coastal area at the south of the city of Joao Pessoa: Jacuma. We spent a couple of days in those magical beaches with low tourism and walking along the coastal mountains (“falesias”). We even did a nocturnal trekking route without light and barefoot with our Airbnb host, who has an adventure & sustainable tourism company.
Day 7-8: Pipa
We followed with our “dream-beach” tour towards Pipa, at the south of Natal. And… do you know that there is a beach where dolphins and marine turtles live? You can just spot them 1m from you while having a bath.
Day 9: Pipa – Jericocoara
From Pipa to Jericocoara we had to travel the entire day: bus to Natal, flight to Fortaleza, bus to Jijoca de Jericocoara and a “jardinera” to Jericocoara. A “Jardinera” is a bus-truck that can drive over the dunes of the park.
Day 10-12: Jericocoara
We spent 4 days in the Jericocoara area: beach, lagoons, dunes, sunsets and beach parties with caipirinha.
Day 13: Manaus
This city in the middle of Amazonia had a curious atmosphere. The city was improved for the Mundial 2014, but improvements didn’t finish. There is a high unequity among citizens and only a small area in the city centre is safe for tourists. However, the mix of cultures and people, the food markets and the architecture were great.
Day 14-17: Amazonia (Rio Negro and jungle tour)
For me, the best part of the trip. Even my high expectations, Amazonia was even more amazing. We joined a tour of 4 days through the Rio Negro and the jungle at the south of Manaus. Walking through and sleeping in the jungle, spotting wildlife, hugging sloths and pink dolphins, eating tasty river fishes and bathing in the beaches were incredible and left us speechless.
Day 18-22: Rio de Janeiro (incl. Petropolis)
Once back in Rio, we had thousands of plans and options, such as trekking paths around the city, a 3-day trekking route from Petropolis to Teresopolis or seeing and dancing samba in Pedra do Sal. However, most of them were outdoor activities and we were not lucky: our lasts days in Rio were under the spring rain. Instead, we visited the different neighborhoods of the city, joined a political celebration (we were there for the municipal elections and PSOL was elected for the second voting), do some short trekking routes within the city and enjoy chorinho and forró concerts.
Day 23-24: Flight Rio – BCN
Unfortunately… The end!
Now, I would change some parts of my trip. I would suggest to people like me, who don’t like mass tourism, avoiding visiting Jericocoara. We didn’t know about the massification of this little town before being there and… it was too late.
Instead of that, you can do plenty of things that are now in my Brazilian wish list:
– Visit Salvador de Bahia. Although a lot of people highlight the risk of visiting this city (you know, as all Brasil in general), the roots of Bahia people and the high cultural pulse of this city must be incredible.
– Perform the trekking route Petropolis-Teresopolis. Once back in Rio (day 19), we wanted to spend 3 days for doing the trekking route Petropolis-Teresopolis. However, weather had other plans for us as it rained during all those days. But, it is already listed for a next vacation around Rio.
– Visit Ilha Grande. All the people living in Rio was in love with this island at the south of the city. One may spend 2-3 days in this island before leaving the country and enjoy the beaches, the trekking routes and the snorkel opportunities.
– Visit the national park of “Lençois maranhenses” in the north of the country (Sao Luis). This park is full of dunes and lagoons that compose a paradisiac landscape. One can only visit it with organized tours and boogies.
– Spend some relaxing days in Santarem, between Manaus and Belem. Our guide told us about the beautiful and calm beaches in this Amazonian town. However, one may know that this part of the Amazonia river is one of the most dangerous due to animal presence.
– Do a longer tour through Amazonia. 4 days were too short for our adventurous heart. Once we were comfortable in the river, the ship, the hammocks… the adventure ended.
We spent per person the following amount:
- Return-flight Barcelona – Rio de Janeiro = 570€/
- Domestic flights Rio – Recife, Natal – Fortaleza, Fortaleza – Manaus, Manaus – Rio = 405€
- Stay costs (accomodation, food, other transport, visits, etc.) = 925€
- TOTAL per person = 1900€
- Daily expenditure = 79€/day&person