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Brazil

Foz do Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro, Florianopolis, Sao Paulo

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Foz do Iguaçu is the Brazilian city on the boarder of Argentina where you can go to see the iguazu falls. We spent the night there as it was cheaper to fly out of there than Argentina. It was sweltering hot and the falls were quite pricey so we decided not to go see them again. Foz do iquazu city is rather random so we thought we would spend the day swimming and chilling by the "dam" we saw on the map! The hostel told us which bus to take to the dam and we headed off with our suncream and swimming costumes only to find we weren't at a swimming dam like we pictured we were at a hydroelectric dam! Ha ha. But since we had missioned out there and had nothing else to do we took a tour and it ended up being quite interesting.The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.The dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual energy generation. The power is shared between Paraguay and brazil and at least we got to cross the boarder and can say we have been to Paraguay!

Itaipu dam
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That afternoon we flew to Rio. Since it was the lead up to carnival the hostels were so booked up and pricey but we had booked the cheapest place available and it turned out to be a great hostel in the botafago area with a view of the Christ redeemer statue. We only arrived on the 1st night at about 11pm but we dropped our bags and decided to go for a drink in the neighborhood we were staying in. It was a Tuesday night and the bars that are all 24hrs were packed. Such a great chilled vibe with everyone sitting on the pavement. I had the strongest caparina cocktail ever, it was pure tequila.
The following day we tried to see as much as we could as our time in Rio was limited. It was a Scorcher of a day so we headed straight for Copacabana beach which is an awesome long beach and it was packed even though it was a weekday at 10am. We then walked to Ipanema beach where we had a swim and chilled there until we had had to much sun. Just behind ipanema beach is a main high street with so many cool shops and restaurants. We had the most delicious lunch. It was a Buffett with so much choice so we went crazy as though it was our last meal ever! We then took a wander around the Leblon area and the huge shopping mall. The shopping in Rio is awesome but rather pricey!
After a fun day at the beach and shops we took the subway back to the hostel to have a quick shower ( We have decided London officially has the worst subway in the world, the subway in rio is airconned and brilliant!) Our plan was to go up sugarloaf mountain before sunset but it wasn't the clearest of days and we had heard there was a better place to see the view so we missioned off to get there but when we got to the top of the hill the view point was closed. So we decided to walk back down the hill and stumbled across the Escadaria Selarón steps . They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as "my tribute to the Brazilian people". We then found ourselves at a little road side bar in the neighborhood but as soon as the sun went down we thought we better move on as it didn't feel so safe so we went for a lovely dinner in the saint Teresa area.

Rio
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Then it was off to florianopolis which is the capital city of Santa Catarina state in the Southern region of Brazil. We struggled to find accomodation because it was school holidays and the week before carnival but in the end we booked a lovely little self catering unit for 8 nights. It was situated in the east of the island in rio Tavares area near the lagoa de conceicao which is an area on the lagoon with lots of shops and restaurants.
We stuggled in the beginning to work out the bus times/routes but in the end we got the hang of it. Over the week we managed to explore most parts of the island although there are 42 beaches. We spent a day on each of the following southern beaches: Campeche, Joaquina, Mole,but our favorite was Barra da Lagoa. Barra de logoa which turns into mosambique beach has the perfect sea, the waves were in enough for Byron to surf but not too big for me to have a nice swim and its more sheltered from the wind so we ended up going back to this beach a few times.
All the beaches are stunning! They are all long and wide with lovely white sand and warm sea. Florianopolis is known for its "hot chicks" but I personally just thought it was full of bum implants, boob jobs and flabby bums in gstrings!
We hired a car for 2 days which was great to go explore the northern beaches and the center of town. The beaches in the north are more built up and busy. We had a swim at praya brava which was nice and then drove along the coast stopping off at a few other beaches. We had brilliant weather most of the time we were there except for one day where it rained non stop but luckily we had a couch and tv.
We loved our time in this beautiful place, it was a great relaxing way to end of our trip!

Florianopolis
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Our flight to London was booked from São Paulo so we booked 3 nights there. We had planned to take a 12hr bus but when we went online to book we realized it was cheaper to fly but when we arrived at the airport in "São Paulo" we asked the taxi how much it would be to get to the centre of town and he just looked at us and said "São Paulo? That will cost 350 which is about £80" so we realized we were not actually in São Paulo, we were 100kms away. Luckily we found out the airline had a free bus and we arrived at our hotel at About 12 at night. We had booked a place that was in the ghetto! It was Saturday night and carnival weekend so we decided to go for a walk but we soon bought a packet of chips for dinner and hid out in our hotel room. I spent the night staring out the window convinced I would witness a shooting but instead watched a huge drunken bitch fight!São Paulo is one of the richest cities in the southern hemisphere, though inequality between the classes is blatant ( a bit like joburg).

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with a city population of about 11 million and almost 20 million in its metropolitan region. It really is a huge city so we weren't sure where to start. We walked along avenue paulista which is the Main Street in the business district and walked through some lovely parks. It was a sunday and they had blocked off the street to cars so there was a lovely vibe with everyone riding bikes around. That afternoon we needed to escape the heat and I wasn't very well so when we found a shopping center with a cinema where all the movies are in English we got rather excited. A girl who spoke English helped us buy tickets for Lincoln and we got chatting to her. We were so embarrassed that we were watching a movie instead of exploring the city, it was clearly the end of our trip!
The next day before our flight we walked around Ibirapuera Park which is a lovely huge park in the city. It was a public holiday so it was packed with joggers, cyclists, skate boarders etc!

Unfortunately The carnival was not what we thought it would be. Unless you know a local it's hard to find out what's on and you can't buy tickets on line with foreign cards. The tickets to the parades were over USD200 and unfortunately I wasn't feeling up to the crowds of the block parties in São Paulo so we didn't get to experience carnival like you see on tv but it was still a nice time to be there.

Brazil was an awesome country to end our travels on, I would love to go back for the Olympics or World Cup, the vibe will be brilliant!

Posted by karenandbyron 22.02.2013 14:23 Archived in Brazil

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