Yvonne’s truly wonderful adventure to Brazil

Yvonne has returned yesterday from her truly wonderful adventure to Brazil. Here is her blog…

I flew  with TAP (Air Portugal)  to Rio de Janeiro via Lisbon. The transfer from the airport to Copacabana Beach will take approx. 40 minutes. We stayed at the 4* Pestana Rio Atlantica hotel right in the centre of Copacabana Beach

About Rio de Janeiro

rioRio de Janeiro or River of January in English was the capital of the Portuguese empire and of the country up until 1960. Nicknamed A Cidade Maravilhosa – "The Marvellous City" is world renowned for its breath-taking landscapes and location, nestled between steep, green mountains and crystal clear seas. Rio is one of the most important cultural and economic cities in Brazil and features some of country's most famous attractions such as the Pão de Açúcar, the Corcovado, and Copacabana and Ipanema beach. The city is full of energy and Cariocas, the locals of Rio, are known for their care free spirit and charm. 

Our first adventure was to visit Corcovado – one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the iconic statue of Christ The Redeemer. To ascend the statue there is a comfortable train ride, the statue is 2.300 feet above sea level. The statue is huge & busy with people, but you should be able to find a space to take a picture of yourself with the statue and the panoramic views of Rio & Sugar Loaf Mountain.

We visited a number of hotels in Rio to inspect the standard of the hotels, their facilities and bedrooms . 

Hotels visited were the Pestana, Hotel Porto Bay,  The Windsor Hotel, the iconic Belmond Copacabana Palace & finally set up in the hills above Rio The Santa Teresa Hotel, a superb boutique hotel – this is where Amy Winehouse stayed whilst giving a concert in Rio.

Next day we visited the fabulous Sugar Loaf Mountain. Every year over one million visitors travel up the famous Pao de Acucar  an iconic symbol of the city of Rio. You travel to the top in 2 glass cable cars. The views from Sugar Loaf Mountain are breath taking –  I cannot describe in words how beautiful Rio looks from this point. Everyone must visit to see the position of Rio, the beaches, the city centre, the back drop of mountains behind. I think it’s the most beautiful place I have ever been to.

The following day we travelled 3 hours to Buzios, a gorgeous 20 beach resort, very European in style.

We stayed at the lovely Vila de Santa, I can highly recommend this hotel. The rooms were well appointed, in a great position and very friendly staff. I would certainly suggest a stay at Buzios for relaxation after a busy time touring.

Our next adventure was to fly to Iguacu Falls. All I can say is WOW ! Our visit happened when there was    some heavy rainfall, so the rivers and the falls were a muddy brown colour, as there was so much rain the falls  were much more forceful  with increased water flow. The falls consist of over 270 that seem to stretch forever. We visited the Argentinian side of the falls, where you can catch a boat and go under the falls, you get soakingwet but the thrill is exhilarating. This trip is not for the faint hearted ! The Brazilian side of the falls is probably the most photographed as you can get up close to the falls, the most famous of these is called Devil’s Throat. To visit the Brazilian side of the falls there is a walkway and a few overhangs where you can be really close to the falls & get wet at the same time. At the end of the main walkway there is a lift to take you up to street level.

Situated in an incredible position is the Belmond Hotel Les Cateracts- the only hotel over the falls. The hotel has an old world charm that exudes style. I would recommend staying here for a night as guests can visit the falls before or after anyone else.

We stayed at Loi Suites Iguacu Hotel, a lovely hotel with a sub tropical jungle surrounding the hotel & beautiful swimming pools. The hotel was a 20 minute drive from the Falls, so in comparison a cheaper option than staying at the Belmond.

Our next stop was Manaus to stay at the Amazon Rainforest. From Iguacu Falls we had to catch 2 flights, Iguacu to Sao Paulo then onto Manaus. After arrival at Manaus Airport we had quite a long journey to get to Juma Lodge. This is where you can be in old Brazil, we travelled by boat to cross the Negro River and the Amazon, you can see quite distinctly where the 2 rivers meet one dark coloured, one much lighter and the density of the water was different too. Then a mini bus for about 1 hour, arrive in a tiny place to catch a motorized speed boat for another hour to finally arrive at Juma Lodge. The lodge is all inclusive with food & drink and the experiences. On arrival we did a night adventure of catching caymans, frogs and birds which was great fun, if you can make it there is a sunrise tour (normally about 5:30 am) to do a jungle trek with a guide. Later we fished for piranhas, visited the local people and learnt about their way of life. On our return journey we stopped at a floating dock to try and catch these huge fish which are called Pirarucu , also known as Arapaima. If time permits you can also visit the pink dolphins and swim with them, although the dophins are controlled.  

The Amazon is a huge area of rainforest and waterways that cover six of Brazil’s states stretching from its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to the Peruvian, Colombian and Bolivian borders. A cruise along the length of the Amazon is the stuff of adventurers and you can access some of the deepest parts of the rainforest this way. If you think you will only visit the country once, make the Amazon an essential part of your holiday to Brazil.

Our final night was spent in Brasilia, the capital. A modern city with modern buildings, quite purpose built, situated around a beautiful lake. We stayed at the Windsor Brasilia, which was a beautiful hotel. I don’t think the city merits a stop for tourists, as there are so many more interesting cities and places to visit. But for business travel this city has everything (apart from a beach !)

If you would like to know more about my adventure in Brazil please call or mail me, I would be happy to talk & advise best places to visit..