Brazil in Summary

What we did: 35 Days in Brazil, mainly covering the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and Bahia

Where we went: 7 nights in Rio de Janeiro, 12 nights in Buzios and Cabo Frio, 1 night in Tiradente, 1 night in Belo Horizonte, 4 nights in Salvador, 4 in Morro de Sao Paulo, 6 in Barra Grande.

Advice for other travelers: Plan for twice the time you think- we missed a lot of stuff we planned to see b/c we ran out of time! Bring extra sunscreen, batteries and contact solution- all are prohibitively expensive.

About Costs: Generally, Brazil is much more expensive than we planned and we met many travelers experiencing the same surprise. From what we could gather, it is significantly more costly than the other countries in South America. With that said, we stayed mainly within our budget (okay, a little over budget, but not significantly) but that didn’t come without some sacrifices. We skipped the tourist sites in Rio due to costly entrance fees (Christ the Redeemer R$36pp, Sugar Loaf Mountain R$40). We also decided against attending a soccer game, something we had originally planned on. We cooked many meals and avoided going out at night. Luckily, neither of us feel like we missed out. The moral here being that our experience was rich and full without high priced tourist stuff.

What we loved most: The fruit the juice bars, the beaches, the dancing and singing that seem to occur at random in public places. The Empadas sold on the beach. Churrascos. Bahian Dende Oil and Pimente. Manioca. The kindness of the people- patient to help you with your Portuguese, give you directions, etc- patient, oh so patient. The ability to get change on a public bus. The people here are proud of their country and it is reflected in just about everything. The night we saw the Carnival practice might be our most memorable.

Things we won’t miss: The bugs- big ones, small ones.. Bugs we’d never seen before. They are everywhere and they want to sting, bite or otherwise harass you. Also, Nothing ever happens on time here- we coined this (uncreatively) ‘brazil time’- meaning plus or minus 45 minutes or so. This was entertaining to us at first, but we quickly grew tired of this. Even Dave- who strives to be as laid back as possible, had frustrations with this. One other thing: the paper products- napkins with a thin waxy film, paper towels so flimsy they disintegrate in your hands. Granted we stayed at cheap places…

Our highlights:
Our friends took us to a traditional Brazilian Churrasco one day for lunch. No doubt a highlight of our trip that we will always remember. Tuesday nights in Salvador. Discovering Acereola (a berry) and Graviola (big green fruit with dinosaur skin). Relaxing at Copacabana beach with our hostel mates.

Low Points: The minivan ride we took to Valenca (on the way to Morro de Sao Paulo)- the only time in Brazil that I was actually scared.

Remaining Mystery of Brazil: The phone booths. They are everywhere, and in our first week we purchased a phone card from a kiosk for R$8. Problem is, we were never able to figure out how to get the phones to work- and we probably tried twenty different booths.

On deck: The island nation of Fiji.

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