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Prepare your trip to Brazil

Travel tips and suggestions

What is this page created for ?

We decided to share our researches so that you find useful information and ask yourself the good questions about your trip to Brazil. And it is mainly because we encountered difficulties to find all the data that this page useful tips to plan a trip to Brazil exists.

Choice of the best period to visit Brazil

Here we go, we decided we'll soon travel to Brazil. What is it that motivated our decision ? We've always been attracted to Brazil because of its diversity, cities and famous beaches and the richness of its environment. Also, the country is so big that we'll have to travel there several times so we'd better not wait too long...

For this first approach we had one priority, the Pantanal region. We then had to choose the more adequate period to travel there.
After a few researches on the Internet, we found useful year round statistics of rain and temperatures for several cities in the world (web site is in french), notably Cuiaba which will be the city from where we'll reach Pantanal.

A quick analysis shows that may clearly marks the end of the rainy season. According to a few personnal constraints we decide our trip will take place from friday 19th mai to friday 02nd june 2006. The flight to Brazil is scheduled to leave at 10:25 am from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to arrive in Sao Paulo at 5:25pm local time and the flight back leaves Sao Paulo at 07:25pm to arrive in Paris at 11:50am the day after (june 3rd).

Different itineraries

Once the plane tickets bought we had to roughly plan our trip as Brazil is a big country. As you probably noticed by viewing our other photo galleries, we like nature and wildlife. That's why, in addition to Pantanal, we'd like to stay a few days in Amazonia. Yet, after a few researches, it appears that may is in the rainy season and that not only it rains a lot but also moves are made very difficult because of broken roads and heavy rains.

Given the bad experience we've been through last year in Costa rica, we decided to remain in areas where rain is not likely to ruin our plans.
For the same reasons we eliminated Salvador de Bahia and all the North East region given the rain statistics.

Nordeste and Amazonie will then be explored during another trip to Brazil...

But let's get back to this trip. We finally decided to focus on an area surrounding Rio de janeiro (Rio and Minas Gerais states). Very quickly we realised there is a lot to do and to see. Using the Lonely Planet travel guide, each of us (we are 3) gives preferencies on means of transport we are likely to use and the cities we want to visit. We finally decide we all produce an itinerary which we'll submit to the others. Given the distances, we decided to buy a 4 coupons Brazil air pass.
One important information about this pass is that 1 coupon can be used for a flight with a stopover as long as the stopover itself is not longer than 4 hours. For the rest we choose a car rental which gives more freedom than the bus. Now you know the conditions, let's see the 3 itineraries:

Itinerary 1

19 - Paris -- Sao Paulo
20 - Sao Paulo -- Cuiaba (1 coupon)
21 - Pantanal
22 - Pantanal
23 - Cuiaba -- Rio (1 coupon)
24 - Rio
25 - Rio
26 - Rio -- Ouro Preto via Belo horizonte (1 coupon and car rental)
27 - Ouro Preto -- Petropolis
28 - Petropolis -- Saquarema
29 - Saquarema -- Buzios
30 - Buzios -- Paraty
31 - Paraty
01 - Paraty
02 - Paraty -- Sao Paulo (car return) -- Paris

Itinerary 2

19 - Paris -- Sao Paulo
20 - Sao Paulo -- Cuiaba (1 coupon)
21 - Pantanal
22 - Pantanal
23 - Cuiaba -- Sao Paulo (1 coupon et car rental)
24 - Sao Paulo -- Paraty
25 - Paraty
26 - Paraty
27 - Paraty -- Rio (car return)
28 - Rio
29 - Rio
30 - Rio (car rental) -- Saquarema
31 - Saquarema -- Buzios
01 - Buzios
02 - Buzios -- Rio (car return) -- Sao Paulo (1 coupon) -- Paris

Itinerary 3

19 - Paris -- Sao Paulo -- Cuiaba (1 coupon)
20 - Pantanal
21 - Pantanal
22 - Pantanal
23 - Cuiaba -- Foz do Iguaçu (1 coupon)
24 - Chutes Iguaçu (argentinian side) -- Sao Paulo
25 - Chutes Iguaçu (brazilian side) -- Rio (1 coupon)
26 - Rio
27 - Rio
28 - Rio -- Ouro Preto via Belo horizonte (1 coupon and car rental)
29 - Ouro preto -- Cruzeros
30 - Cruzeros -- Paraty
31 - Paraty
01 - Paraty
02 - Paraty -- Sao Paulo (car return) -- Paris

Choice of itinerary

We finally chose itinerary n°3 that we slightly modified. Why ?
Itinerary n°3 enables, in addition to Pantanal, Rio de janeiro and Ouro preto, to visit one of the most beautiful place in Brazil: Iguazu falls. Moreover, we'll only drive a few kilometers (from Belo horizonte to Sao paulo) and we use the 4 coupons of our air pass.

The questions frequently asked

  • Safety in Rio
  • We can read here and there that Rio de Janeiro is a dangerous city. Several tourists are threatened every year, with a knife or a gun, and forced to give all their belongings. It's true, Rio is not a safe city like a lot of big cities in southern or central america. Yet it is possible to stay safely in Rio, simply respecting some elementary rules: you must not carry value objects like jewels, cameras, video-cameras, wallets and so on. In other words, don't tempt the pick-pockets. If you want to walk, do it preferably during the day, always avoiding the favelas. By night, prefer the taxi cabs. Of course, this will not prevent someone from ill will but respecting these rules will make you less obvious targets.
  • Pantanal or Amazonia
  • This choice is important as it determines the dates of our stay. We finally chose Pantanal because we believe it remains the best place to meet brasilian wildlife thanks to the wide clear plains. Amazonia, on the contrary has a too thick vegetation where animals can easily hide making observation difficult.
  • What program in Pantanal
  • Two options to choose from: book a circuit in advance or wait for the day of arrival at Cuiaba airport. We prefered the first option and contacted several local agencies. The proposition of Natureco viagem appeared interesting:

    Day 1: Transfer to Arancua, boat ride, diner and night at do arancua pousada.

    Day 2: Boat ride (row). Horse ride in the afternoon then diner and night at pousada do arancua. Day 3: terrestrial safari along transpantaneira. Horse ride in the afternoon, diner and nocturnal safari. Night at Fazenda pouso alegre.

    Day 4: Hiking in the morning then transfer to Cuiaba airport.
  • What program in Iguaçu
  • Due to our late arrival (scheduled at 11.50pm) at Iguazu airport we booked the two nights in advance (hotel downtown Foz do Iguacu).
    As we want to see the falls either on argentinian and brasilian sides, and to avoid wasting our precious time, we contacted Jaha Iguassu agency. They will ensure all our moves (private car).