The famous Iguaçu Falls, a UNESCO natural wonder, straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil. They are huge, you can see them in each country, and since you are so far away from everything, I suggest you do a day on each side.
A large part of the falls are in the Argentinean’s, but for my part I prefer the view that the Brazilians have. No visa is required for Canadians in Argentina. Paths and footbridges will allow you to observe them from different angles.
I also tried the experience of going in a zodiac near the falls to feel the power and leave completely soaked. I found it worthwhile and would recommend it.
Personally, I visited them from Argentina, but there is an airport on the Brazilian side for the falls area.
Located in the state of Bahia, this green region with breathtaking landscapes will make outdoor and nature lovers dream. Rocky plateaus, mountains, canyons, waterfalls, caves, underground rivers will take you at least 3 days to discover. For a more “hippie-ish” atmosphere: hire a local guide who will plan one-day or multi-day excursions tailored to your needs.
Personally, I dealt with Rodolfo who owns the Diamantina native guides Agency. In addition to being reliable, speaking English well, he was learning French but more importantly, he was aware of what was worth seeing at the time I was there, as some of the falls were dry.
My favourites are hard to choose because everything was worth it, but don’t miss:
- the blue cave;
the mountain with a typical “postcard” view, Pai Inacio;
- to slide down the Mucugezinho River.
To get to the region, take a domestic flight to Salvador de Bahia, and then a bus to Lencois. Duration: 6 hours. In Lencois, everything is done on foot.
An exceptional seaside resort, Jericoacoara is unique because of its location on the seashore surrounded by sand dunes.
There is no road to this point, you will have to take a seat in a collective “dune buggy” which will act as a taxi.
Its sandy streets, beautiful beaches, dune exploration activities and windy paradise for windsurfing and kitesurfing will charm you.
There is a great atmosphere in the evening thanks to the restaurants with terraces, open-air music groups, bars and discos on the beach.
Take a domestic flight to Fortaleza and then arrange private or shared transportation with your hotel in Jericoacoara. On the spot, you can move on foot.
National park with unusual landscapes. You will find yourself in the middle of the desert, sailing among sand dunes and lagoons. You will even have the chance to swim there. The vastness of the territory will make you feel tiny. Mut be discovered with the help of a guide.
From Jericoacoara, take a private transport to Barreirinhas where most of the excursions start. Alternatively, take an internal flight to Sao Luis and deal with an agency that will take you there and back.
For an experience in the Amazon jungle, Manaus is the starting point. Various agencies offer multi-day excursions with accommodation in private or shared huts.
On your way to the jungle, you will be able to see the junction between the Amazon River and the Rio Negro. The colour demarcation is obvious.
Be prepared because in the jungle, it’s like a sauna you can’t get out of! It is still possible to go and cool off in the river… with caimans, piranhas and anacondas!
Overall, I found the experience interesting, but I expected to see more animals. We see mostly different insects and plants, many birds, caimans and we fish for piranhas.
Take a domestic flight to Manaus and book an excursion with a travel agency. I chose Amazongero.com and got good service.
A visa is required for Brazil but has been simplified in recent years. If you’re thinking of taking a day trip to Argentina to see the Iguaçu Falls, make sure the visa is multi-entry.
Security: Brazil is a country of great social inequalities, with a lot of poverty. Don’t tempt the devil by wearing jewelry or valuables. When you arrive in a city, ask your accommodation about places to avoid. I have always followed their advice and have not had any problems, even when traveling alone. Usually, even people on the street will tell you if you shouldn’t be there. If you are passing through Salvador, do not go out on the street after 6pm.
In Rio de Janeiro, there are free guided walking tours. They give good advice for the rest of the trip. I liked the company strawberrytours.com which offers tours in several countries.
Transportation: I find that sometimes, travel agencies exaggerate the danger of Brazil in order to sell private transportation or all-inclusive tours. Go with your comfort level and judgment, but in the city during the day, it is possible to do many things by yourself. On the other hand, it is true that some long-distance routes are poorly served and you will have to hire private transport.
Popular purchases in Brazil are bikinis, Havainas and Cachaça.
Brazilian food to try: You’ll see iced acai (a small purple fruit) and pao de quejo (cheese bread) bowls everywhere, which make great snacks. My favorite dish is the Picanha, a cut of beef that is not used here. Coupled with a Caipirinha cocktail and a brigadero treat for dessert, it’s the total Brazilian experience!
Reward points in Brazil
My last trip to Brazil allowed me to earn a lot of Aeroplan points by traveling with Copa airlines from Montreal to Rio de Janeiro. It should be noted that Air Canada also flies to Brazil. I also filled up on points during my internal flights with GOL airlines.
Recently, we received the good news that another local airline has joined the Aeroplan program, Azul airlines.