ecoDestinations Brazil: So Many Destinations, So Many Possibilities

ecoDestinations Brazil: So Many Destinations, So Many Possibilities

ecoDestinations Brazil

By Ariane Janer, co-founder, EcoBrasil

 

Visitors to Brazil usually list the stunning nature of Brazil as the number one attraction, but the friendly nature of Brazilians themselves comes a close second. As anyone who has visited Brazil can attest, Brazilians are fun loving and very welcoming. You will encounter this warm hospitality everywhere you go, whether it is in a small remote community or the big city.

Visiting Brazil: The Essentials

Climate

The climate varies according to latitude and altitude. The seasons are exactly the opposite of those in Europe and the United States (except in the north of the country). The average annual temperature is approximately 28ºC in the north and 20ºC in the south.

Getting There and Around:

Many of the major international airlines have daily flights to Rio and São Paulo and are also offering starting to offer flights to places like Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Recife and Manaus. Distances are large in Brazil, so you should consider using domestic flights to get from one region to the other. Brazil has a good flight network. The main Brazilian airlines, such as TAM and GOL, cover most domestic flights. There are also regional airlines (e.g. Azul, TRIP, Ocean Air) offering high levels of comfort and security. The bus is the most popular form of transport for traveling between states, and there are very comfortable buses for long distance trips. Rental cars, with or without a driver, are available at the main airports and in city centers. There are a large number of relatively inexpensive taxis in most cities. Regular taxis, with a meter, can be hailed in the street. Radio-taxis can be called by phone. In some Brazilian regions the taxis that have air-conditioning are a bit more expensive.

Time Zones

Brazil covers three time zones. The time in Brasilia is the official time in Brazil, usually 3 hours behind GMT (London). This changes with the start of Summer Time (the clocks go forward an hour). The time in Rio de Janeiro is 2 hours ahead of New York, except during Summer Time, (3 hours ahead of Brazilian Summer Time and an hour ahead of North American Summer Time).

Safety

Brazil has an exaggerated reputation for violence and crime. Yes, crime rates are higher than in the USA and Europe, but most of it is not directed at tourists. But - and this is the case everywhere you travel - you are never immune from inconveniences. Taking some common sense precautions can greatly reduce the risks of anything happening: dress down and don't bring unnecessary valuables; don't keep your valuables together and don't be obvious about what you carry of value; make sure you know your way about before venturing off the main tourists areas. And to reduce your mental stress if something does happen: take out a travel insurance; make copies of important documents; and have numbers of consulates and credit card companies ready to call.

Communication

More than 80% of Brazil municipalities now have mobile coverage. Coverage is lower in remote, less populated regions (for instance the state of Roraima has 40% coverage). For mobile, GSM is the predominant system.

 

Brazil Great Outdoors: Fancy a bit of adventure?

There is plenty of adventure in the great outdoors of Brazil. The adventure tourism industry has grown a lot and, since 2005, Brazil is investing heavily in improving the quality and safety of its adventure tourism product. Here are some ideas of what you can do and where you can do it in Brazil.

Climbing

For those who like their shot of adrenaline in wild and beautiful natural areas, Brazil offers many interesting technical climbs. Just in the city of Rio de Janeiro there are many possibilities, including the famous Sugar Loaf. Within two hours from Rio, the Serra dos Orgãos National Park offers many impressive walls. The Serra de Cipó in Minas Gerais is a technically challenging place for limestone rock climbing. In São Paulo the hot spot for granite walls is called Pedra de Baú (Campos de Jordão).

Hang and Para Gliding

Hanggliding was introduced by a French pilot in Brazil in 1974. In the same year, the first ramp was built on Pedra Bonita in the Tijuca National Park, in Rio de Janeiro. The sport quickly became popular and today, both hang and para gliding can be practiced in many places of Brazil. The thermals over the highland plains of the "cerrado" are especially good for long flights.

Hiking and Trekking

Popular all over Brazil and there are endless possibilities. National Parks like Tijuca, Itatiaia, Serra dos Orgaõs (all in Rio State), Sete Cidades (Piaui), Chapada Diamantina (Bahia), Chapada dos Veadeiros (Goiás), Foz de Iguaçu (Paraná), Aparados da Serra (Rio Grande do Sul) all have good hiking trails. You can also hike parts of the Estrada Real (old Gold Route from interior of Minas to lovely Parati). On islands like Ilha Grande (Rio State) and Ilha Bela (São Paulo State) you can combine hiking with visits to beautiful and often deserted beaches. Hiking is also special in the dunescapes of Jericoacoara (Ceará) and the Lençois Maranhenses (Maranhão).

Mountain Biking / Bicycle Touring

Biking tours or bike day trips are offered in many destinations around Brazil and often in small villages, rural and natural areas, where you can get a feel for local culture and experience the blessings of nature. Some good destinations are: Parati (Rio de Janeiro), Campos do Jordão (Saõ Paulo), Estrada Real (old gold route from Minas to Rio), and Bonito (Mato Grosso do Sul).

Mountaineering

Brazil has 29 peaks over 2,300 meters, and many of them are located in National Parks. The highest mountain of Brazil is the Pico de Neblina ("Fog Peak") in the Serra de Imeri (RO), which at 3,014 meters overlooks the Amazon rainforest. There are other high mountains in the same range and in the Serra de Pacairama (Monte Roraima). Other important mountain ranges are the Serra de Caparao in Minas Gerais state (Pico de Bandeira, 2,890 m), Serra de Mantiqueira (Pico das Agulhas Negras, 2,787 m) and Serra dos Órgãos in Rio de Janeiro state.

Overland Expeditions

A great way to know wild and pristine parts of Brazil: overland expeditions allow you to venture off the beaten paths on often quite exclusive itineraries. Some examples are Jalapão (Tocantins), Ceará and Maranhão Coast , Estrada Real (old gold route) between Ouro Preto and Diamantina ( MG), Transpantaneira (Pantanal – Mato Grosso) and the National Parks of Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas (Goiás), and Grande Sertão Veredas (Minas Gerais)

Rafting and Canoeing

Rafting is becoming increasingly popular in Brazil. Maximum rapids category is IV+ (Itajaí-Açu) in Santa Catarina. One very special destination is the Jalapão region. Canoeing and sea-kayaking is possible in many areas.

Surf and Wakeboard

Surfing is big in Brazil and there are many waves to choose from. You can even surf the "pororoca" at the mouth of the Amazon. Florianopolis (Santa Catarina), which some consider the best place for surfing in Brazil, is a stop on the World Championship Tour.

Diving

With a long coastline, lots of reefs and shipwrecks, many caves and rivers, there are lots of places to dive and snorkel in Brazil. Even diving in the Amazon is starting to become popular! Fernando de Noronha is generally considered to be Brazil’s best diving destination.

 

Photo © Bruno Maia

 

 

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