TAM and GOL are the two major airlines operating domestic flights in Brazil. Book well ahead and you can find deals from as little as $40 per flight.
2 November 2013
Iguazu Waterfalls (Brazil)
From the Brazilian side of the falls you have the best overall view of the waterfalls.
At the entrance you'll have to take a bus that takes you to the viewpoints. From here you can walk until the Devil's throat for the best views over the falls. It's a narrow path and it can get really busy.
Half a day should do for this visit. If you're planning to do a boat tour check for the rates because the Argentinian side seems to be cheaper again.
Even if you're not an engineer geek, a visit to this largest operating hydroelectric facility is highly interesting.
The only way to visit the Dam is on a guided open top bus tour. Tours leave every hour and reservation in advance is not necessary.
1 November 2013
Iguazu Waterfalls (Argentina)
To visit the Argentinian side of the waterfalls you need a full day.
Just past the entrance you can book your boat tours to the falls. If you take the tour in the morning you will have the rest of the day to explore the waterfalls by foot and to dry your clothes because there is no doubt you will get soaked! Nevertheless there is no better way to experience the power of these falls and after all it is really good fun.
The pathways along the upper and lower circuit will keep you busy for the rest of the day and bring you to the best viewpoints.
31 October 2013
La Cantera Jungle Lodge
If you have the choice, stay at the Argentinian side of the waterfalls. The village of Puerto Iguazu is a lot smaller and safer than the big city of Foz do Iguazu. Everything in Argentina is cheaper than in Brazil what makes it an important reason to stay in Argentina as well. All the partying though is over on the Brazilian side so if you're up for a good night out, you know where to go.
We stayed at Cantera Jungle Lodge, a beautiful lodge in the middle of the jungle. Book a few months in advance and you can find very good prices at websites like booking.com. We paid € 130 for 3 nights for a double room including a really good buffet breakfast.
Border crossing Brazil to Argentina
Crossing the border from Foz do Iguazu (Brazil) to Puerto Iguazu (Arentina) is safe and easy.
Taking a taxi will get you the quickest into Argentina. Try to share with other travelers to lower the cost. But don't worry taxis are not that expensive. Public transfer is easy and cheap but can take a lot of your time. The Argentinian bus is cheaper than the Brazilian but doesn't run that often. Whatever bus you take, you will be dropped off at the Brazilian border where you can get your departure stamp. Here the bus will not wait for you and you will have to wait for the next bus. If you came on an Argentinian bus you will have to wait for the next Argentinian bus. At the Argentinian border you will have to get off for your entry stamp. Here the bus will wait for everyone to clear customs.
30 October 2013
Sao Paulo - Foz do Iguaçu with Pluma Internacional
Huge bus terminal where almost all national and international buses arrive/leave. You can leave for Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and a lot of other destinations.
Metro station is located in this bus terminal and takes you in less than 15 minutes to downtown Sao Paulo. The Metro is a cheap, modern, safe and easy way to move around in Sao Paulo.
Pluma Internacional takes you in about 15 hours to Foz do Iguaçu. Buses are comfortable and stop every 3-4 hours for a toilet/coffee break. Luxury buses exist but are very expensive, you'd better take a flight if you want to pay that much.
Bird's eye view over Sao Paulo
From the top of the Altino Arantes building, better known as Banespa building you have spectacular views over Sao Paulo.
There is no entrance fee but you'll have to sign up and show your ID before entering the elevators.
29 October 2013
Havaianas Flagship store Sao Paulo
Visit Havaianas flagship store on the fancy Oscar Freire shopping street and treat yourself with some brand new Brazilian flip-flops.
Brazilodge Sao Paulo
New hostel in a safe, residential area of Sao Paulo. The metro station of Ana Rosa is the closest and about 10 minutes by foot.
Twin, bunk rooms are really small but comfortable and clean. The breakfast buffet is included and really good for a hostel. Cakes, bread, fruit, cereal, coffee, …
28 October 2013
Schooner Tour Paraty
One of the most popular tours in Paraty. Tour duration is about 5 hours. The boat stops at about 4 different locations where you can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, etc. ...
Lunch is not included but you can buy food and drinks on board. Bringing your own is possible as well.
There are plenty of boats leaving from the port every morning, tickets can be purchased with tour agencies or at the port itself. If you are traveling with a group there are smaller boats that you can rent to make it a private tour.
27 October 2013
If you like hiking stay at least 2 or more nights on this green paradise Island. Most visitors will arrive in the small village of Abraão. There is a nice beach and the small cobblestone streets make it a good place to spend the night. Hiking trails cover the entire Island and will keep you busy for a couple of days. Pack your tent and sleeping bag to camp on one of the remote beaches.
There are no large shops, supermarkets or ATM's on the Island so prepare carefully before your go.
26 October 2013
Transport from Rio to Ilha Grande and Paraty
Easy Transfer offers cheap scheduled transfers between Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande and Paraty. Very easy to book and payable upon pick up.
Transport is in comfortable mini buses.
25 October 2013
Sugarloaf mountain is one of Rio's popular landmarks. Go there for sunset, the views are stunning.
The cable car brings you to the top quickly but read carefully for this budget tip. Across the street from the cable car you can follow a walking track (no admission fee) up to the top of the first mountain. A steep, but safe walk of about 45 minutes. Be there in time, there is a gate that closes somewhen between 4.30 pm and 5 pm.
If you wish you can take the cable car for half the price to the second mountain. Honestly if you're on a budget it's not worth spending your money, the first platform offers the same great views. Stay there for the sunset because afterwards the cable car takes you down for FREE!
24 October 2013
Brazilian cooking classes
Prepare your own typical Brazilian dish. Everyday except for Sundays. Classes start around 10 am so you will have your food ready for lunch.
Cristo Redentor - Corcovado
One of the 7 new wonders of the world. This is a "must see" when you visit Rio. Unfortunately this means that it can get really crowded up there as well.
Tickets can be bought on the website but just showing up is also possible. The train sells out fast but you will always be able to take the bus instead. We arrived around 4 pm and there was plenty availability for the train.
The light is the best in the morning to take the perfect shot, but make sure you go up on a clear day.
Free walking tour
Make sure you get down to Carioca Square around 10 am. The volunteers of Free Walker Tours take you on a guided walking tour of about 3 hours through downtown Rio de Janeiro. Apart from historical background of the main tourist sights you get some insider tips from locals, where to eat, what to eat, how to get to sugarloaf mountain for free…
The tour finishes in Lapa and if you like you can join the guides for a typical feijoada in a local restaurant.
The tour is free but the guides ask for a tip at the end.
Oztel Rio de Janeiro
Laid back hostel in a quiet and safe residential neighbourhood of Rio. Bus and metro stops are only a 10 minute walk away. A nice walk along the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas will take you in about an hour to the beaches of Leblon and Ipanema. Rates are really reasonable and include a simple but satisfying breakfast.