Earlier this spring our Product Specialist, Caroline embarked on her first trip to South America to explore the highlights of Brazil, from lively Rio to Iguazu Falls.
Caroline and her partner, Barry decided on the Taste of Brazil itinerary to pack in as much variety as they could during their three week trip. Over to you Caroline!
Taking in the sights of Rio de Janeiro
“We started our trip in the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro, famous the world over for its party atmosphere, miles of sandy beaches and Christ the Redeemer high above the city. Having heard lots about Rio during the World Cup I was keen to explore. We stayed in-between the neighbourhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema in a lovely tree lined street close to restaurants, bars and the famous beaches. It was the perfect base to sightsee on our own, armed with a map and a good pair of shoes we pounded the pavements taking in the electric atmosphere and sipping acai berry smoothies.
A trip to Rio wouldn’t be complete without taking the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain and seeing the view from the top is an experience which certainly left me speechless. From here you get a great view of the sprawling city sandwiched between the towering mountains and golden sands.
Catch your breath at Devil’s Throat – Iguazu Falls
Since seeing photos of the Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina, I’ve wanted to visit them. As you fly in from Rio you can marvel at the sheer size of the National Park going on for miles beneath you. During our time there we visited both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls, each with their own unique character.
Starting on the Brazil side you can wander along the tree lined paths at your own pace spotting the falls between the trees. As you come to the end of the walkway after about an hour you can feel the spray from the gushing water. Next we headed over to the Argentinian side which is much bigger in size. This park offers a small train to get around to the different walkways, here we explored with a local guide who gave us lots of information about the falls and the flora and fauna found in the area. The highlight was walking out over the falls on the Devil’s Throat walkway, the sheer amount of water and the sound of it crashing over the rocks makes you feel very small in comparison.
Spotting wildlife in the Amazon
One thing we knew we had to do when visiting Brazil was spend some time the Amazon rainforest and it didn’t disappoint. We spent three nights in a simple jungle bungalow at an eco-friendly lodge with tasty local food, friendly staff and wildlife at every turn. From our base we went on jungle walks to spot monkeys, bird-eating spiders and sleepy sloths, and boat trips up the river to find Caimans in the dark and go fishing for piranhas. Getting up close to nature and learning about the part the rainforest plays in the world was definitely a highlight of our trip.
History and party in Salvador
Back in civilisation, we flew on to Salvador on the north-east coast, a history filled city with a party atmosphere. We stayed in the Pelourinho, the cobbled historic district with a rich African history. Whilst we were here we took a walking tour with a local guide around the cobbled streets exploring museums and gold-laden churches and learning all about the history of the slave trade here and how this influenced the religions and cultures practised in the city. If you are staying on a Tuesday or Saturday head to the Largo do Pelourinho, a steep square in the heart of the historic centre where drummers congregate for performances and locals and tourists alike join in dancing and singing.
Beach break in Bahia
For me a holiday isn’t complete without some beach time so we headed an hour out of Salvador to Praia das Ondas for sandy windswept beaches, days by the pool and a spot of spicy Bahian cuisine. It is also close to the more well-known Praia do Forte which offers restaurants, bars and shops along a pedestrianised street and pretty beach-front centre.
This classic Brazil itinerary gives you lots of variety and enough time to really get a taste for each place and although there is a lot of travelling you will really feel like you have seen each side to Brazil and its diverse landscape and culture.”