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Brazil

A guide to its main attractions
by piero scaruffi
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Selected by piero scaruffi | Back to the travel page | Suggestions
Pictures of Brazil

South

  • Sao Miguel das Missoes
  • Porto Alegre
  • Sao Paulo

    • ++Iguacu Falls
    • The Suite Vollard, Curitiba, the world's first rotating building
    • Gru Chapel by Yuri Vital in Guarulhos
    • Avenida Paulista
    • +Hotel Unique in Parque do Ibirapuera, Avenida Brigadeiro Luis Antonio 4700, Jardim Paulista
    • Parque Burle Marx
    • Teatro Municipal
    • Martinelli Building
    • Catedral Metropolitana
    • Top Towers by Konigsberger Vannucchi
    • Ruy Barbosa Labor Courthouse by Decio Tozzi
    • CEPEMA (Centro de Capacitacao e Pesquisa em meio Ambiente/ Environment Education and Research Center) by Carlos Bratke in Cubatao
    • Loducca building by Triptyque located in the "Jardins" neighbourhood
    • Harmonia 57 (that's the address) in Vila Madalena by Triptyque
    • Edificio Copan by Oscar Niemeyer and neighboring buildings
    • SESC Pompeia by Lina Bo Bardi
    • Biennial Pavillion by Oscar Niemeyer in Parque Ibirapuera (interior!)
    • Vertical Favela on Rua Paim in Bela Vista near the Frei Caneca shopping mall (picture)
    • Ohtake Cultural building by Ruy Ohtake
    • House 53 Paulo by Marcio Kogan 3
    • Campos do Jordao by Milton Braga

Rio de Janeiro

  • +Nossa Senhora de Candelaria
  • Paco Imperial
  • Arco do Telles
  • +Mosteiro de Sao Bento
  • ++Edgar de Oliveira de Fonseca's Catedral Metropolitana (1979)
  • Pao de Acucar/ Sugar Loaf Mountain
  • Copacabana
  • Ipanema
  • +Cristo Redentor (1931)
  • Ministry of National Education (1936) by Le Corbusier
  • Max Gruzman's Santos Dumont (1975)
  • +Roberto Luis Gandolfi's Petrobras (1972)
  • Teatro Municipal
  • Parliament
  • Museum of Contemporary Art by Niemeyer in Niteroi
  • Favelas (Rocinha)
  • Petropolis: Quitandinha, Palacio Imperial
  • Pedra Azul

Minas Geiras

  • Belo Horizonte: +Sao Francisco de Assis (1943) by Niemeyer in Pampulha
  • Ouro Preto (scam alert: no photos allowed inside churches!): +colonial town, Nossa Senhora de Conceicao, Nossa Senhora do Pillar, +Sao Francisco de Assis
  • Inhotim: Bernardo Paz's contemporary art complex and botanic garden
  • Mariana: old town
  • Tiradentes: old town
  • Congonhas: Basilica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos (1771)

Noreste

  • Salvador: +Catedral, +Sao Francisco, +Pelourinho (old town),
  • Recife
  • Olinda: Sao Bento
  • Joao Pessoa
  • Fortaleza
  • Sao Luis: Palacio does Leoes
  • Casa das Tulhas

Amazon

  • Belem: Ver o Peso
  • Manaus: +Teatro Amazonas, riverfront
  • +Amazon river
  • Boa Vista

Mato Grosso

  • Brasilia:
    • Os Candangos
    • Memorial Juscelino
    • ++Congresso Nacional
    • ++Catedral
    • +Quartel General do Exercito
    • +Supremo Tribunal
    • +Esplanada dos Ministerios
    • +Santuario Dom Bosco
    • +Palacio de Justica
    • ++Praca dos Tres Poderes
    • Senhora de Fatima (Metro 108 Sul)
  • Pirenopolis
  • Pantanal, the world's largest wetland

Links


Notes (2011)

  • No visa required for European passports. Visa required and very expensive for US citizens.
  • $1=1.73 reales
  • Brazil is becoming an expensive country. Accommodation already ranks among the most expensive: it is hard to pay less than $15 for a bed in a dormitory, and the cheapest single room in any major city is about $40. Even more expensive is eating: the average meal in an ordinary restaurant with one drink is $12-15. Transportation costs as much as in Europe or the USA but by comparison it feels cheap, especially if you're also sleeping on the bus: with $100 you can travel 1,000 kms by bus and sleep in comfortable seats (although not as comfortable as in Argentina).
  • Soda in can: $2.
  • Internet per hour: $3.
  • All the warnings about crime in Brazilian cities are now vastly exaggerated as Brazil is experiencing an economic boom (2010) that has allowed the government to clean up quite a bit. Salvador's old town is perfectly safe, and so is Rio. Usual precautions apply, just like in New York and London.
  • International collect call: 0800 703-2111
  • Metro ride in Sao Paulo 2.90 = $1.75
  • Overnight bus Sao Paulo - Brasilia: 153 reales = $90, 14 hours (departs from Tiete' station, which is four metro stops from Se)
  • Hotel Banri in Sao Paulo, Galvao Bueno 209, two blocks from Liberdade metro station, in Japantown (Liberdade) which is very safe: 54 reales = $30 for a single with bathroom and tvset but no Internet.
  • Brasilia has some of the most amazing architecture in the world. The metro is efficient and fast. If you have to move between the Rodoviaria PP (the station for the city buses) and the Rodoviaria Nova (for long-distance buses) the metro is perfect. You just need to decode the names of the stations: "Central" is actually the Rodoviaria PP and "Shopping" is actually the Rodoviaria Nova. Metro: 3 reales ($2). City bus: 2 or 3 reales. Hotels are expensive but there are a few semi-legitimate guesthouses: Hostel Cury's with no name outside 707-I-15 40 reales = $22 (get any bus that goes to W3SUL or metro to 108 Sul and then walk 500 meters towards W3 Sul).
  • Bus Brasilia=Ouro Preto 156 reales = $90 12 hours
  • Ouro Preto is the most famous colonial town in Brazil although not much is left of the colonial spirit. You have to pay to enter a church and photography is not allowed. The town is expensive. +Hostel Bromas 30 for dorm, 70 for single with bath, 50 for single no bath (near the bus station). Note that maps can be misleading: Ouro Preto's street are very steep. A short distance may be very quick or very long depending if you are going downhill or uphill. If you have lots of luggage, either take a taxi or pick a pousada or hostel at the top. The bus station is at the top.
  • Bus Ouro Preto to Belo Horizonte 2 hours 21 reales
  • Bus Belo Horizonte to Pampulha 3R 25 minutes and back (the church is almost at the very end of the route)
  • Bus Belo Horizonte - Rio 71R 6.5 hours
  • It is hard to believe how much safer and cleaner Rio is now compared with two decades ago. Here the economic boom is visible because Rio's streets were full of homeless children and now there are none left.
  • The highlight of Rio is not the beaches (yuck) nor the old town (as disappointing as the rest of colonial Brazil) but, yet again, the modern architecture. The cathedral (built in the 1970s) left me speechless. Possibly the most impressive church i've ever seen. In nearby Niteroi there is a museum designed by Niemeyer: it's another sci-fi building.
  • The Cristo Redentor must be the most overrated attraction in the world. The vegetation of the mountain was interesting though: i took two pictures of the Cristo Redentor and 37 of the plants. The Corcovado Mountain is an alien ecosystem (the statue of Cristo Redentor is at the top of the Corcovado Mountain). See the pictures of Rio.
  • To visit the center of Rio (Avenida Chile, the Parliament, the old colonial churches) take the metro to Carioca.
  • From Botafogo to go to the Cristo Redentor (do it only on a sunny day because the view is the only reason to get there): take 583 from the coastal street towards the center and get off in Cosme Velho at the cable car station. You can take the cable car (43R=$25) or a taxi (the road goes almost all the way to the top). They discourage you from hiking it, but obviously it is possible (2 hours?) from Parque Lage (near the Botanic Gardens) and much nicer than sitting in an overcrowded cable car. Mini-van from the cable-car station to Cristo Redentor 46R.
  • Cable car in Botafogo to Sugarloaf 53R
  • From Botafogo to go to Niteroi's museum of contemporary art take 750D from the coastal street towards the center (5 reales). Niteroi is on the other side of a very long bridge. There are good views of Rio on the bridge so sit on the right handside with the camera handy. It is not obvious where to get off so you have to rely on the driver. From the correct bus stop, it's a 300-meter walk to the museum.
  • The address Rua barao da torre 175 in Ipanema (2 blocks from the beach and 3 blcoks from the subway stop Ipanema) is a narrow alley with a dozen hostels. The average bed here is 40R=$25 in a 9-bed dorm, but these hostels are much nicer than the Rio average. Because Ipanema is safe and these hostels are so nice, they are often full.
  • El Misti in Botafogo is located two blocks towards the beach from the subway stop Botafogo: Rua Praia de Botafogo 462. There are three hostels at this address. El Misti is very popular. It has loud music and a party atmosphere. Since i'm in Rio, why not do the Rio thing. The catch of course is that you can't go to sleep before midnight.
  • Rio de Janeiro - Salvador 21/11 @9:15am arrives 22/11 @10:15am (25 hours) 239reales = $140
  • Salvador - Recife 22/11 @19:30 arrives 23/11 @7:30am (10 hours) 123 reales = $72
  • Salvador had a reputation for crime, especially at night, but it has become a rather safe city, even at night, thanks to massive police deployment. The city has a lively night life, even in the streets and squares. From the Rodoviaria (bus station) cross the passerella towards the shopping mall and take the "executivo" bus marked Praca da Se (do not take the ordinary buses because these very crowded buses leave you to the lower town and from there it's a nightmare to walk with luggage to the elevator that takes you to Praca da Se). This executivo does not run very often but it leaves you right in the square of the cathedral. Hostel in Rua Laranjerias (two blocks from the Praca da Se): +Solar das Artes 50R for single with bath and wi-fi and they speak multiple languages
  • From Brazil to Bolivia take a bus from Campo Grande to Corumba. In Corumba cross the river to the Bolivian side (city bus marked "fronteira"). Take a shared taxi to Quijarro train station and get on the evening "rapido" train for Santa Cruz. Then take a bus from Santa Cruz "Bi-Modal" terminal to La Paz. Or simply take a flight Campo Grande-Santa Cruz.
  • Brazilians don't like to speak a second language, and most of them never studied it. Some people seem sincerely shocked that there exists people who don't speak Portuguese. They don't seem eager to use Spanish either, despite the fact that the two languages are similar. When asked is they spoke Spanish, a few times people shook their head like i asked them something dirty.