Climate: Avoid the rainy seasons and find the best time to visit each part of Brazil.

Long time ago I promised to write about the seasons, but as there are so many interesting topics I totally forgot my intention to dedicate an entire blog post only for seasons. However this issue came up again sometime ago when I was wishing that central Brazil would get some heavy rains to extinguish the forest fires.

Seasons are funny. In theory there are better or worse seasons for travelling, but if we are totally honest in today’s

Eco-Adventures

Eco-Adventures

word there is no way to forecast all the climatical conditions and their consequences for the nature. This is exactly what happened in case of central Brazil as well. Basically the dry season is the best moment to hike around in such National Parks as Chapada dos Guimarães (Mato Grosso) and Chapada dos Veadeiros (Goiaís). However the extremely dry season with no rain at all for many months can cause several forest fires and damage these conserved areas. This is exactly what happened with Chapada dos Guimarães.

Anyhow none of us enjoys travelling during the rainy season, so this is basically one of the most important things to take into consideration when planning a trip. During the rainy season the northest part of Brazil receives heavy rainfalls and  just like the northeastern coast may also suffer intense floods. Naturally you don’t want to book a beach holiday if the probably of raining cats and dogs is pretty much higher than a possibility of sunbathing.

So, let’s take a look at the seasons. In the northern Brazil (See Map) the rainy season starts at the end of the year and goes basically until May. This is when it’s not worth visiting such beach destinations as Ilha do Algodoal, Ilha de Marajó and Alter do Chão, or depending on the intensity of the rains practise outdoor activities in the Amazon region . The northeastern coast is the next one to receive the rains. The extreme north of it (Maranhão and Ceará) tend to suffer for heaviest rains between March and May/June. However there are some very dry coastal areas in Ceará (like Canoa Quebrada) with very low annual rainfall. Right after follow the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba with the rainy season basically in between April and July, while Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia tend to receive the highest amouth of rainfall between May and August. In the southern the end of Bahia the rainy season may extend until September.

Cloudy day in Rio

Cloudy day in Rio

When we reach the states of southeastern and southern Brazil things change. Then the guestion is not just about the rainy season, but raither about the temperature. Yes, Brazil is a tropical country, but it’s also a huge country meaning that there are times when you simply cannot enjoy sun and the beaches in extreme south like Florianopolis or Balneario de Camboriu. During the winter months even Rio de Janeiro has a raither mild weather, which is not bad at all when it comes to a city-break, but if you are dreaming of hot days on the beach you may not get what you are looking for. In this region the highest rainfall usually occurs during the summer months, which naturally are the hottest and the most humid months as well. There may be some days with heavy rains, but a typical summer rain in Rio de Janeiro tends to be a strong thunderstorm at the end of the day, something that really doesn’t deter you from having a perfect beach holiday.

When it comes to eco-tourism destinations thing get even a little bit more complicated. Like I mentioned earlier the rainy season hits the Amazon region during the first six months of the year. Other eco-tourism destinations that should be avoided during the beginning of the year are Chapada dos Veadeiros, Lencois Maranhenses, Pantanal and Jalapão. However when it comes to eco-tourism it’s highly recommended to visit these and some other destinations like Bonito, Iguacu Falls, Chapada dos Guimarães, Delta de Parnaiba and Chapada Diamantina right after the rains, when the level of water in the waterfalls is highest and the nature is very much alive thanks to the rains.

For more details and full information about best travelling seasons check out our specific destination guide divided into Beaches, Eco-tourism and Culture.

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How to plan your trip to Brazil?

I find planning a trip entertaining. Maybe that’s why I ended up working in travel industry, which is full of changes, unexpected situations and challenges. On the other hand it’s also a very rewarding industry with huge cultural diversity and many very open minded people working on the field. Planning a trip may sound easy, but when it comes to creating an itinery in a foreign country it may not be that simple after all. This is why I wanted to share some of my tips with all of you who are planning to travel to Brazil, simply because I want you to see the diverse faces of this lovely country and get the best out of your stay in Brazil.

Ten things to take into consideration when planning a trip to Brazil.

1. – Destinations – First step is to choose your destination. What are you looking for? Do you prefer spending your holiday laying down on a beach and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters? Or maybe you enjoy an active holiday diving, hiking and surfing around. On the other hand you might enjoy observing the nature or spending your spare time in the pulsing nights of a tropical city. Choosing destination is basically the first thing to do. To ease your task, we have divided the top brazilian destinations into three categories: Beaches, Eco-Tourism and Culture.  Pick up the category that mostly fits into your needs and go through our suggestations or opt for a quick  search that takes you directly to a specific beach, eco-adventure or city break type. If you prefer a combination of these styles check out our itinerary suggestions or contact Brazil Diversity.

2. Seasons – Once you have decided what sort of holiday you are looking for it’s time to take a look at the seasons. To guarantee an unforgettable holiday it’s essential to pay attention on the weather, in case of Brazil especially on the rainy season. Brazil is a tropical country and you will always find a place to enjoy the sun, however you need to check when the rains tend to occur and when the temperatures are at lowest. Heavy rains  may not only destroy your holiday, but also close roads and cause complications when trying to reach your destination. Low season may also offer more attractive rates, but remember spending as little as possible is not always the best option. If you want to economise check out the weather conditions and try to take advantage of the middle season, that usually offers good rates and less crowded attractions. Finding out best seasons it easy. Brazil Diversity has included season recommendations in the description of each wonder, check them out!

3. Public Holidays – You may not know the dates of all public holidays in Brazil. Actually they even vary depending on the state. Now you may ask what they have to do with your vacation plans. Well, public holidays, not only New Years Eve and Carnaval, have all to do with your holiday, especially at the moment of making plans. In Brazil the hotels and pousadas usually not only increase prices but also sell packages with minimu stay during the public holidays. So if you planed to stay in a certain region only during few nights you will most probably find it extremely complicating to find an accommodation option during a long weekend or another public holiday period. If you were lucky enough to find something you would end up paying an extra price for that. This is why it’s good to take public holidays into account when travelling to Brazil and of course, if your budget is very tight it might be best to avoid these peak seasons. For further information and exact dates contact Brazil Diversity.

4. Distances – Brazil is a huge country, something that should be taken into consideration when planning an itinerary or a combination of several destinations. In a map the distances may not look that long, but believe me or not, they are! And it’s not only about the distance, it’s also about the transportation options and the condition of the roads. Public transportation may always not be as good, quick and direct as you are used to in your home country. The lack of infrastructure may also double the travelling times. Study these issues, check out the distances and opt for the best ways to get transfered from one place to another when planning your trip.

5. Transportation –Like I mentioned transportation is worth paying attention to. Basically there are no passanger trains in Brazil, so all long distance transportation is done either by road or by air. The busses are in general spacious and in good condition, though this means of transportation is very time taking, due  to several stops, heavy traffic and lack of  highways. Air transportation reaches all the mayor cities of Brazil and is a quick and easy way to move from one place to another. If you go through the offers and book early enough you will also be able to find quite nice deals and taking a plane can end up being a really good and time saving choice, and in some cases not even that much more expensive. Another option is to take a look at the airpasses offered by both GOL and TAM. They are a good option for a traveller who is planning to take several long distance flights in Brazil. Planning is essential in this case as well, because all the airpasses have to be purchased in before hand outside of Brazil. We have discussed about transportation options in our earlier blog posts, check them out for tips and recommendations or contact Brazil Diversity.

6. Time – How many days should you stay in Brazil? Well, this depends totally on how many cities/destinations you are planning to visit? I would say that on a city-break a minimun time would be three full days per city, especially if you are arriving from a long haul destination and still suffer jet-lag. Time that you spend in a beach destination depends totally on you. Personally I enjoy seeing as many different places as possible, meaning that 4 nights in a same village tends to be pretty much the maximum for me. However I do know people who enjoy relaxing on the beach for two weeks without changing destination, so this is pretty much based on your personal choices. When it comes to Brazil’s top destinations, I would say that 5 full days in Rio de Janeiro is an ideal time for you to visit the principal sights without rush and run. If you are planning to stay for more than that, consider an option of visiting nearby destinations, such as Búzios or Ilha Grande for couple of nights. The Falls of Iguacu can be seen in two days. If you want to extend your trip to Paraguay, add one more day into your itinerary. Time to spend in each eco-tourism destinations varies as well. As many of them are located in raither distant areas , so therefore a minimum stay of 3 to 4 nights is highly recommended.

7. Booking – Book in advance! Not only because booking your accommodation and transportation in advance makes your life a lot easier, but it’s also an excellent way to guarantee the availability and the price. As we all know in today’s world there are no last minutes prices in tourism, unless we talk about charter flights and package tours. You will never know when there happens to be a congress or any other mayor event in the city, so that all the hotels are fully booked leaving you without any reasonably priced option. Planning and booking in advance means that you can enjoy stress free vacation and in the meanwhile get the best out of your holiday. If you need any tips or if you are willing to book an unforgettable holiday in Brazil, contact Brazil Diversity.

8. Accommodation – I know accommodation is something that fully depends on our personal tastes. Some may enjoy luxurous pool villas, whiles other prefer raither small ecological hideaways. When planning a trip to Brazil you will run into the word “pousada”. If you are still unfamiliar with this term, check out our earlier blog post “Pousada: what is it and why should I stay in one”. I really want to encourage all of you to stay in a pousada. Pousada is not a just a simple guesthouse with minimum infrastructure, it’s definitely not a roadside motel or a hostel with shared bedrooms and bunk beds. Today pousada is a cozy and often raither small accommodation option that differs from a conventional hotel with personalized attentions and unique characteristics often related to local environment or culture. So when booking your accommodation in Brazil, consider seriously a possibility of staying in a pousada, you won’t regret your choice. Hand picked hotel and pousada recommendations can be found from the site of Brazil Diversity. Another thing to take into consideration is that most of the brazilian hotels and pousadas ask a prepayment of 50% from the total price in order to guarantee the booking.

9. Tours and Excursions – There was a time when I loved to explore touristic sights on my own. I used to think that taking a tour is waste of money and turns travelling less adventurous. To be honest I still apply this theory of mine in many destinations like Europe or US, where it’s easy to be an independent traveller and still not miss a single point. However today I do admit that this sort of travelling doesn’t work in each and every destination, or at least not with all the attractions. By taking a tour you will get a deeper knowledge of the sight you are visiting and in case of Brazil most importantly, a tour may be the only way to reach a certain spot or destination. It may also be the safetiest, the less stressfull and especially the quickest way to visit the sight. I’m quite sure that you are not willing to lose any precious time on holidays or happy about any extra stress that might appear, so why not booking a tour. If you have a very tight schedule consider an option of booking your tours in before hand, otherwise fix the dates once you have arrived to your destination and checked the climatical conditions for the coming days.

10. Attitude – Last but not least. Now that you have planned everything and are ready to take off, remember you will be on vacation and things may not always work on the way you are used to. Relax, leave the stress back home and enjoy your stay!

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My top places in Brazil

Sunset llha do Algodoal

Sunset llha do Algodoal

Top Beach Destination: Brazil is full of beaches and it’s hard to define if one more beautiful than another and it’s even harder to name a favourite beach destination. Out of all the beaches that I have visited each of them have their particular beauty. However when it comes to a beach destination, it’s not only to the beach itself that matters. There are few other facts that I personally enjoy when choosing a beach destination. I know some might like popular beaches where the rich and the beautiful locals hang around during their spare time, however I like raither distant destinations with less touristic infrastucture and a touch of the good old days when all the natural resources wasn’t yet explored. I like the destination that disconnects me more than totally from the rush and the run of every day life and makes me feel myself at the edge of the world. Therefore my top beach destination with these characteristic is the Ilha do Algodoal, a tropical island in the northern corner of Brazil. This extremely beautiful place incentivates you to listen to the voices of the nature, to pay attention to the endless horizon and to breath like if there were no worries in the entire world. For me Ilha do Algodoal is a real paradise on the earth.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Top Eco-Tourism Destination: Just like beaches, Brazil is also full of interesting eco-tourism destinations. There is everything from hiking to wildlife observation, from fishing to discovering the wonders of submarine life. There are also few unique phenomenon that can only observed here in Brazil. Pantanal happens to be world’s biggest wetland, the delta of Parnaíba on the other hand is the biggest delta of the Americas and naturally the Amazon rainforest is one in kind. However when it comes to top eco-tourism destination in Brazil, my choise  is Lencois Maranhenses, a simply unique and absolutely interesting region located in the state of Maranhão. This immense area with very fragile eco-system is formed by numerous sparkling lagoons hidden in between the white sand dunes. It’s a unique phenomenon that can only be observed in this dry region thanks to rainy season and the approximity to the Amazon basis. Lencois Maranhenses is an off-road eco-tourism experience that will surely impress you!

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Top Historical Destination: I use to say that you haven’t seen all the faces of Brazil unless you have visited Ouro Preto. You might think that travelling all the way to Minas Gerais just to spend few days in Ouro Preto is not worth it, but I do guarantee that you will be surprised. Ouro Preto is the face of colonial Brazil. It’s a destination where you will be surrounded by history and art, no matter which part of the city you are. Ouro Preto takes you to an imaginary trip back to the past and captures all your attention with neverending details of this charming city. Simply a must see destination!

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Top City Break: It might sounds like a cliché, but top city break must be the marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro, simply because of the variety of options it offers for a traveller. Beyond the traditional touristic sights Rio de Janeiro works as a city break for lovers of gourmet kitchen, for tireless party animal, for those who enjoy music and art and for the ones who enjoy chilling on the beach or practising sports. For me Rio de Janeiro is the top city break destination exactly because of its’ diversity and of course, also because of its’ unique beauty, which can be admired at any corner of the city.

Top Beach: Choosing one breach out of all the irresistible Brazilian beaches is a real challenge.  Year after year the beaches of Fernando Noronha are included into the top beaches of the country and there is no doubt that the beaches like Praia do Sancho, Praia do Leão and Baía dos Porcos aren’t some of the most  stunning beaches of Brazil, simply because of the clear turquoise and blue tones of the sea and the beautiful and well conserved landscapes of Fernando de Noronha. Beside of the archipelago, there area lovely white sand beaches with clear waters in many parts of the continent as well. In the state of Alagoas a large number of palm threes give a pictoresque appareance for the coastline, while in Ceará and Maranhão the dunes give raither a stark, but beautiful contrast for the sparkling sea.

Praia do Pesqueiro

Praia do Pesqueiro

So finally, out of all these beautiful beaches, which would I choose to be my top beach? My choise ia maybe a less known, but simply unique with a genuine feeling of an untouched beach. My top beach is Praia do Pesqueiro in the island of Marajó, located at the state of Pará, in northern most corner of Brazil. Praia do Pequeiro is a beach where the waters of a river get mixed to the sea. The water in fact is sweet, but the feeling is like if you were enjoying a bath at any seaside beach. Even smooth waves and a warm wind will refresh you in the heat of Pará. There are few rustic beach bars that serve ice cold drinks and light meals so that you can easily spend an entire day at this little paradise. The landscape is a beautiful mixture of tropical vegetation, natural swimming pools during  the low tide and endless views over this almost deserted beach. During the low season only few other tourists together with a couple of distant water buffalos and numerous sea birds will give you company. Simply a lovely place and a fantastic beach for you to enjoy youself in the middle of the virgin nature far away from the signs of modern life and from the rush and run of the cities.

Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

Top Combination: Top combination is a region or state that allows you to experince the different faces of Brazil with no need for domestic flights or endless travelling. My top destination of this category is the regions of Salvador combined with eco-tourism experiences in Chapada Diamantina and beachside extention in the tropical islands of Tinharé and Boipeba. This simple combinations allows you to enjoy the afro-brazilian culture and colonial architecture in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, experience the inlands and practise hiking in South America’s top one hiking destination, Chapada Diamantina and last but not least enjoy the stunning beaches of Morro de São Paulo and maybe even extend your stay to the less crowded island of Boipepa, both of them filled with palm trees and most importantly with no motorized traffic to disturb you. A facinating combination that allows you to experience the best of Bahia with no need to spend and time on the airports!

Top Pousada: Naming a top pousada is a pretty tough question, maybe because I’m pretty critic when it comes to perfection or maybe many of them have been at expected level, but still it’s hard to say which one would be simply outstanding. So after having tought about the options, I decided to let you know my overall top pousada, my top charm pousada and my top service pousada.

Casarão da Amazônia

Casarão da Amazônia

The first one goes to Casarão da Amazônia, a simply lovely pousada in the island of Marajó, in Pará. Casarão da Amazônia has a perfect location in the village of Souré, close to the top beaches and interesting eco-tourism sights. It’s an old colonial mansion reformed with excellent taste and surrounded by a garden with pool area. And after all it’s not just the appearance and comfort, it’s also about the friendliness of the stuff and the great value for money that Casarão da Amazônia offers for its’ guests.

When it comes to charm I would name Vila Serrano, in the village of Lencois (Chapada Diamantina), in Bahia. This tiny pousada is a enchanting combination of colonial style, feng shui and comfort. The individually decorated rooms have and romantic ambient and even the public areas of this lovely pousada are in full harmony with the nature. Simply charming!

Top service wasn’t actually difficult at all. It goes clearly to Barra Velha, a pousada located in Maragogi, the state of Alagoas. I know the northeastern Brazil is known for hospitality, tasty food and generous breakfast, but still a stay at Barra Velha went over all my expectations when it comes to the hospitality. Being welcomed by the owners and attented with an attitude that went beyond our needs and expectations was something that made the service of Barra Velha extraordinary. Really a place to feel yourself at  home!

Top Restaurant: When I travel I usually enjoy trying different restaurants, tasting several options and discovering new experiences. Basically this means that unless the food is simply irresistible I rarely eat more than once or maximum twice in the same place, and in that case I surely taste two different dishes. However there do have been few exceptions being one of them over the others. I usually ask for restaurant recommendations from the staff of my pousada or hotel. This is exactly what I did in Canoa Quebrada as well. I was recommended to eat in a restaurant called Cabana, located right on Broadway, the main street of Canoa Quebrada. After having experienced Cabana I found myself repeating the experice even more than tiwce. I tried several dishes and time after time ended more and more satisfield. Cabana offer absolutely tasty food with first class incredients and great value for money. Cannot recommend more!

Vila Serrano

Vila Serrano

It wasn’t easy and my top places might change at any moment of time,

but today these are top choices in Brazil.

Travelling in Brazil is always a pleasure, it’s full of nice surprises and after all…

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Ouro Preto, the real pearl of Minas Gerais

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Many of the mayor Brazilian cities do have their colonial side with colorful buildings, mosaics and traditional architecture, however I would say that you haven’t seen colonial Brazil before you have seen Ouro Preto. Ouro Preto is different, it’s unique, it’s a must see destination which will surprise you. What makes Ouro Preto so special then? Ouro Preto is not just a colonial old town with beautiful historic churches, Ouro Preto is an another Brazil that you will not find by visiting the well-known cities or beach destinations. After having seen a large number of less conserved cities in Brazil, what mostly impressed me with Ouro Preto was the consciousness of conservation. Without taking into account the entrance, even today the streets of Ouro Preto are made of stones and the new construction has to follow stricktly the tradional architecture. Here you will not see any modern high rising buildings netx to a lovely colonial house, no Ouro Preto is still like decades ago. Basically in the heart of city there is only one modern building. It happens to a hotel, designed by famous Brazilian architecture Oscar Niemayer. A little detail that can easily be forgiven. So once you walk in the narrow streets of Ouro Preto you can enjoy the atmospheare without running into any signs of modern construction. This fact gives Ouro Preto its’ special charm and attracts tourist both at national and at international levels.

Streets of Ouro Preto

Streets of Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto enjoys an easy access from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. The distance from the city is only about 100 km and a little bit more if you depart from the international airport of Belo Horizonte. The simplest way to reach this lovely town is to hire a private transfer unless you are not into renting a car and driving by yourself, which in fact is an interesting option as it allows you to discover the nearby cities such as Mariana as well. Once you arrive to Ouro Preto the best way to move around is on foot, but pay attention on the shoes you are wearing. Forget the high heals and any slippery shoes, as walking in the city means going up and down and up again. Also, make sure you get accommodated in the heart of the city which allows quick and easy access to all the attractions at any time of the day.

Igreja São Francisco de Assis

Igreja São Francisco de Assis

Praça de Tiradentes, the main square of Ouro Preto is a starting point for your adventures in this colonial town. Visit the Museum of Betrayal (Museo de Inconfidência) to learn a lot about the history of the region. On the other end of the square stands the Museum of Mineralogy with varied collection of minerals from quartz to diamonds. Ouro Preto has 13 traditonal churches dating from baroque and rokokoo eras. All of them are worth visited but if your time and interest is limited include at least the three most important ones into your schedule. They are city’s oldest church Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar with almost 1000 pounds of gold and nearly 900 pounds of silver, Igreja de São Francisco de Assis which is a unique rokokoo church known as a masterpiece of Aleijadinho one of the most highly-regarded Brazilian artists.  The museum and the grave of this famous painter, scupltor and architect are located at the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, also worth visiting. Aleijadinho suffered leprosy and the legend says that after having lost his fingers he c0ntinued working by strapping tools to his stumps. Beside of his talent this is one of the facts that makes his art extremely interesting and definitely worth admiring. When planning your trip to Ouro Preto remember that most of the churches and museums stay closed on Mondays.

Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Ouro Preto means black gold, name that was given to the city due to the minerals (including gold) found from the region. Today, as a tourist, you can visit the mines which during the gold rush were the working place of hundreds and thousands of slaves. Narrow alleyways inside of the mine tell a cruel history of unhuman working conditions of the slaves, who made all the hard work not only in Ouro Preto but many other parts of Brazil during the slavery.  Once you have visited the principal sights, wander around the pictoresque streets of Ouro Preto, take pictures and enjoy the unique atmospheare of this charming city. In case you are visiting Ouro Preto during the summer time visit the waterfalls of the region for a refreshing bath.

Colonial Ouro Preto

Colonial Ouro Preto

When the night falls, Ouro Preto invites you to enjoy fine dining with live music. Jazz and Brasilian popular music (MPB) are the two principal rhythms heard in many restaurants. The offer of cultural events in Ouro Preto is pretty good and one of the most popular events is the festival of Jazz organized every year in September. However even outside of special dates you will always find a cozy place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a class of wine or a delicious meal while you listen to live music. On your next trip to Brazil, don’t miss Ouro Preto, it’s pure magic and easy to fall in love with.

Praça Tiradentes

Praça Tiradentes

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Hotel Solar do RosarioThe best hotel of Ouro Preto with top service and all the facilities. Solar do Rosario is well located in a peaceful corner of the city, next to the church of Rosario and just about 10 minutes walk from the main square. It offers high quality accommodation with colonial touch of Ouro Preto and all the possible services including meeting facilities, 2 pool (natural and heated one) and a gym. Highly recommended!
  • Pousada do Mondego A quality pousada next to the São Francisco de Assis church and just a block from the main square.
  • Hotel do Teatro – A tiny hotel in a silent street just a step away from the main square. Rooms of Hotel do Teatro are decorated with traditional colonial style and it offers good value for money.
  • Cafe Gerais – Tasty meals, ambient decorated with good taste and high quality live jazz in the evenings. An excellent place to enjoy your dinner together with couple of drinks.
  • Restaurante Acaso 85 Looking for a romantic ambient for special celebration? Then your destination must be Acaso 85, a restaurant that from outside doesn’t impress at all, but hides an extremely romantic ambient, with different spaces, one of them an open air garden with candle light. Highly recommended!
  • Casa do OuvidorA recommended place for lunch or dinner. Taste dishes, good ambient and great value for money. Try especially the tradional meals from the region of Minas Gerais!
  • O Passo – A pizzaria with a lovely terrace, for you to have a drink, light snack or a while while listening to live music in open air.
Igresa Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Igresa Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Alternative Rio de Janeiro

Maybe you have already visited Rio de Janeiro at least once, or even couple of times. Or perhaps you are spending a bit more than just few days in this marvellous city and are willing to see the alternative face of Rio, experience it just like the locals do. This is why we wanted to give you tips how to get beyond the traditional tourist attractions. Check out our suggestions and choose what mostly fits into your perfil as a traveller.

Praia Vermelha

Praia Vermelha

First of all, as always accommodation is one of the most basic needs when we are out of our homes. How to choose an alternative accommodation in Rio de Janeiro. The touristic neighbourhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon are filled with hotels, some of them chic ones, others basic tourist class hotels like anywhere in the world. If you wish to feel the real Brazilian hospitality try to look for some smaller options, such as the brazilian pousadas. In a huge cosmopolitan city like Rio de Janeiro there are not that many pousadas as in many smaller villages, but still you can find some. A charming pousada with individually decorated rooms can be found right from the heart of Copacabana and a stylish luxury pousada in a hidden location is an excellent option for those looking for high quality escape. If you prefer raither simple life style, try out some of the bed & breakfast style pousadas in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa and a radical adventure minded traveller will get some unforgettable memories by accommodating in a simple pousada located inside of a favela. Some peaceful favelas controlled by police offer bed and breakfast accommodation for tourists allowing them to see from close how is the real life in these communities. An excellent choice for you who want to experience Rio beyond the touristic sights.

Biking in Rio

Biking in Rio

During the day time try out some alternative ways to experience Rio de Janeiro. If the day is sunny, there is nothing better than biking in the fresh air while you admire the breathtaking landscapes of Rio de Janeiro. You will find traditional bicycle tours taking you to the world famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro or to the cultural heritage sites of the city. Some interesting alternative options  are biking through the forest of Tijuca National Park or along the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Grumari and Prainha located west of Rio de Janeiro. If you are not into sports and wish to enjoy the city without practising physical excersise, get yourself a local friend. Local friend is a person, who has been chosen according to your needs and interests. Your new friend will plan a taylor made itinerary taking you to the most exciting spots of the city. This service will offer you a personalized way to explore the city just like if a local friend would be taking you to the most impressive viewpoints, the charmiest restaurants and the best parties of the city.

Bar do Arnaudo

Bar do Arnaudo

When the night falls you can always opt for some of the pulsing lounge bars of Ipanema and Leblon or enjoy the vibrating samba nights of Lapa. However, if you are looking for an alternative program check out Feira São Cristovão, a closed market place located in northern part of Rio de Janeiro. Feira de São Cristovão is an homege for the culture of northeastern Brazil. During the day time it’s an excellent place to buy local handcrafts and enjoy delicious tastes of northeastern culinary. Feira de São Cristovão is open every day, except on Monday and nonstop from Friday 10 a.m till Sunday 6 p.m . During the weekends you will have a chance to assist several shows of live music, all of the representing typical northeastern music styles. So if you are not afraid of loud music and crowds of people, Feira de São Cristovão is a alternative option for you to experience a piece of northeastern culture in the middle of Rio de Janeiro.

Jazz at the Maze

Jazz at the Maze

In case you prefer less crowded places with boheamian touch, check out the jazz jam sessions at Maze, a unique bar located inside of Tavares Bastos favela, in southern zone of Rio de Janeiro. The jams are generally organized on the first Friday of each month, however exceptions do happen so keep an eye on the schedules. The jazz night in an awasome experience and quality musicians will entertain you while you enjoy some of the most spectacular views over the bay of Guanabara,  in one of the safest favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro with all its’ attractions is waiting for you.

For further information, contact Brazil Diversity!

Samba Carnivals in Brazil

Carnival is celebrated widely around Latin America, but there is no other so wellknown Carnival as world famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. The date of Carnival changes depending on the year. It starts officially on Saturday, 40 days before Easter and goes on until Tuesday. However a large number of celebration is hold both before and after the official days.

Samba Parade

Samba Parade

Carnival is celebrated widely around Brazil and the style varies depending on the geopgraphical location. The fame of Rio de Janeiros’s Carnival is one in kind, even though the world’s biggest street party is celebrated in Salvador (Bahia). One of the most traditional Carnival takes place in Olinda, which a small colonial city next to Recife. The Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro is celebrated in Sambadrome designed by famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer. If you pretend to assist the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, make sure you get your ticket early enough and be prepaid to pay a good price of it, as this world famous parade is not an economic happening at all.

Outside of the official parades and samba school competions the Carnival industry offers many other activities as well. A tourist who visits Brazil outside of the Carnival period can get a piece of the feeling by assisting the samba school rehearsals, which tend to start in September and go on until the Carnival. Before Carnival there are also bigger rehearsals taking place almost weekly in Sambadrome.  These rehearsals are basically very similar to the samba Carnival parade, but without floats and costumes. Another interesting place is the Samba City, located close to the port of Rio de Janeiro. It is an another place holding samba rehearsals and events both before and after the Carnival. The Samba City is also open all year around (except Tuesdays) for those who want to see how the costumes, wagons and instruments are made.

Bloco das Carmelitas

Bloco das Carmelitas

Beside of all the official events, a large number of street parties (blocos) are hold all around the city, staring few weeks before the Carnival. These colorful parades are an option for you to feel the spirit of Carnival without participating the official celebrations at Sambadrome. One of the most charming ones is Bloco das Carmelitas organized in the pictoresque neighborhood of Santa Teresa.

Please check out the Rio Carnival website for detailed information and schedules. In the mean while, let’s see if the 2009 champion, Salgueiro, will repeat the victory this year. The top 5 samba schools will show us the best of them in the champions parade, which takes place in Sambadrome on Saturday after the Carnival.

Enjoy the spirit of Samba!


Indigenous cultures, history and city life in Belem, Pará

Before finishing our chronicle of Pará we want to introduce the state capital Belem for you. Belem is among the most important cities of northern Brazil and is a excellent gateway for this huge region with numerous eco-tourism destinations.  The region of Belem has been home for indigenous tribes and controlled by portuguese conquerors, but today it is an interesting mixture of culture, history and present.

Ver-O-Peso Market

Ver-O-Peso Market

When travelling to Belem, make sure you get accommodated in the city center close to the old port called Estacão das Docas, which has been reformed to serve both locals and tourists with numerous restaurants, bars and shops. This elegant riverside destination is among the most visited parts of Belem and has an excellent access to other nearby attractions. Right next to Estacão das Docas you will find a famouss market place called Ver-o-Peso. Here you will find basically anything from local herbs to souvenirs and be able to taste the famous Açai of the Amazon. Ver-o-Peso is an excellent place to buy souveniers as you will find a large variety of resonably prised handcrafts. Right next to the market place stands a museum introducing the indigenous cultures and their traditions to you, it’s also a good place to shop some handcrafts done by the local tribes.

Cathedral of Sé

Cathedral of Sé

While you walk along the riverside you will come to the oldest part of Belem, which is filled with colonial style buildings reminding us of the era, when Belem was controlled by the portuguese conquerors. These colourful buildings are worth admiring and today many of them serve either as museums or as restaurants. In the hearth of the old town, right at the square of Frei Caetano Brandão you will find a number of attractions, like the impressive Cathedral of Sé, the Palacete of 11 windows (Casa das 11 Janelas) and the old fort of Belem. The Cathedral of Sé is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Brasil and the former mansion, Palacete of 11 windows on the other hand is a well conserved historical building, which today hosts a museum and a stylish restaurant with same name. The fort of Belem takes you all the way back to the days when the portugueses landed here in 1616, and built the fort with an intention to start controlling these distant lands. Today the fort includes also a very interesting museum taking you to the history of the indian tribes and showing a large number of historical items found in the archelogical excavations.

Colonial houses

Colonial houses

Today Belem is a culinary capital of Amazon region with many stylish restaurants offering tasty meals prepared with local specilities. Try out lunch at the restaurant of Mangal das Gracas, an ambiental park that in addition to the culinary experiences introduces you also to the nature of these ecuatorial regions. For a romantic dinner at candle light, try out the fancy restaurant of Casa das 11 Janelas (the Palacete of 11 windows), where you will feel the presence of history while you enjoy your meal.

Every October the largest catholic festival the Cirio de Nazaré is celebrated in the streets of Belem as homage for the virgin of Nazaré. Once you are familiar with Belem, check out the other attractions (Ilha do Algodoal, Ilha do Marajó and Alter do Chão) of this state where all the events are accompanied by local music Carimbo.

Brasil Diversity recommends:

  • Hotel Espresso XXI Nazaré – If you search for a centrally located accommodation suitable both for business and leisure, try out Espresso XXI Nazaré  a modern hotel in the hearth of Belem.
Estacão das Docas

Estacão das Docas

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