Why I Went There?
For some ignorant reason I was never very excited about visiting Brazil. Not that I was going to miss the country during such a long trip around the continent, but I wasn’t eager to get there. Attending the World Cup Final in Rio eventually become the main reason to go there. I’m glad I was totally wrong about my lack of interest.
Where Did I Go?
I ended up going to Brazil twice during that summer. The first trip was an emergency one when Argentina qualified to the World Cup Final. After Rio, I went to Ilha Grande where I spent a week with the coolest group of people. I then made my way southwest to Paraty, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and Iguazu, before returning to Argentina.
About one month later, I flew into Salvador. From there I got a chance to visit beautiful Chapada Diamantina, followed by some relaxation in Morro de Sao Paulo and Boipeba. Looking for more beaches, I stopped at Fortaleza on my way to Jericoacoara. From there I flew to the Amazonian city of Manaus. The heat was too much for me, and with my desire to visit Venezuela, I rode the bus north to the border with that country.
My Other Blog Posts on Brazil
Heading to the World Cup Final in Rio
Heartbreak at the World Cup Final
A Week in Rio de Janeiro
Ilha Grande, Paradise with Good Company
A Quick Stop at Paraty
Sao Paulo and an Amazing Hostel
Curitiba Serra Verde Express – Morretes to Curitiba
Iguazu Falls – Argentina and Brazil Sides
Energetic and Hectic Salvador
The Amazing Chapada Diamantina
Rainy Days on The Beaches of Boipeba
Absent-mindedness and Kind Strangers
Lazy Days in Jericoacoara
Manaus, at The Heart of The Amazon
Crossing the Brazil-Venezuela Border
Total Days: 61
Total Expenses: 4,275 USD
Average: 70 USD/day
The above includes the 160 USD for the visa required for US passport holders, and flights from Curitiba to Foz do Iguazu, and from Fortaleza to Manaus.
How Is It Like to Backpack in Brazil?
I found it relatively easy to travel in Brazil. I do speak Spanish, which has some similarities with Portuguese. Reading signs was easy, but speaking was much harder. The buses I took to be very punctual. The standards for toilets and public transport were decent in general.
Safety-wise, I felt OK in Rio, maybe due to increased police presence for the World Cup. As for the rest of the country, Brazil in general does have a more raw and adventurous vibe to it. It’s a mix of adventure, awe, and a bit of danger, which often got my adrenaline pumping. Fortunately, nothing bad happened to me. In fact, I did manage to lose a credit card, and the waiter of a restaurant somehow found a way to return it to me the following day.
Hostel quality was high, especially with the well reviewed ones. Almost all of them include breakfast, and Brazilian breakfasts usually come with juices, coffee, bread, butter, jam, many fresh fruits, cold cut meet, and cheese, in a buffet style. This is one thing I miss very much after staying in hostels outside of South America.
Favorites And Not So Favorites
Favorite Places: Ilha Grande, Salvador, Chapada Diamantina, and Boipeba.
Favorite Moment: A boat trip around Ilha Grande with a group of people I met in the hostel.
Favorite Food: Fruit juices, especially maracuja (passion fruit).
Least Favorite Food: The street snacks were underwhelming.
Other Things I Liked: Caipirinhas.
Açai Hostel in Salvador, perhaps the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. This is taking into account facilities, staff, and vibe.
Despite my initial reservations, Brazil ended up being my favorite country in my 8+ months in South America. It has a distinct flavor compared to the other South American countries. Aside from the language, the food, music, and energy of the people are all very unique.
It’s a country that deserves repeated visits.I know I’ll be back.