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1. Posted by counsets (Budding Member, 3 posts) 30 Jun '06 01:17

counsets has indicated that this thread is about Brazil

I am beginning to plan a road trip to Brazil. That's right - driving my station wagon from Indianapolis, IN all the way down through Central America to Salvador, Brazil. Aproximately a 3-4 week trip for summer 2007.

If anyone's ever driven from the United States to Brazil before, please let me know what i'm getting myself into as i am not an experienced traveller.
Is it possible?

Any and all responses or comments are greatly appreciated.
-Tom

2. Posted by thespis (Budding Member, 39 posts) 30 Jun '06 03:25

Hi Tom. You can expect big adventure crossing the Amazon Forest. Just keep in mind that you will cross the biggest forest in the world.

First question: when you say summer, you mean summer in the US or here in Brazil? I don´t think it is a good idea to be in the rain forest during the rainy season (usually from Dec to May). You can probably only cross the forest by car during 6 months a year.

I never did the trip, but as far as I know, there is only one way to get to Brazil from the north by car. You need to get to Boa Vista from Venezuela, and then to Manaus taking the road BR 174. Because of some (almost) wild indian tribes, some parts of the road you can not stop your car nor drive at night. From Manaus you probably will need to put your car inside a boat heading to Belém.

Good luck to you!
Flavio

3. Posted by paulhein (Budding Member, 11 posts) 30 Jun '06 11:46

Everything is possible but there are a lot of questions

Your StatWag neede uploaded gasoline? Brasilian gasoline is blended 20% alkool, and sometimes 15% pure water.
1 liter = exactly 1.10 US$ at cheapest points

The rainy season stos june, but the roads are damaged until september.

On the Br 175 you can't stop because o civilized bandits, there are no wild indian tribes all over Brazil (excuse me thespis)

http://www2.world66.com/southamerica/brazil/manaus/internetcafes/tourist_internet_m
Manaus Belem you can only go by boat (balsa) 7 days
Or Manaus Porto Velho also by balsa ( 9 days)

http://www.gaiaexpedicoes.com/Site_ingles/index.html
From Belem to Salvador you use The Green Line road also damaged
Or another route from Porto velho you can cross the highlands, Jalapão, to salvador also damaged roads

to go back you will need a new car, I guess.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Manaus

hope to be helpful

4. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru, 586 posts) 30 Jun '06 11:49

Imposible and I mean it, to drive your station wagon through the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, for those without vehicle I have the info. on the Yacht Club in Colon, Panama where generally you pay 250US a person for the 5 day sail to Cartagena, Colombia or if qualified try to on as a crew member. There are no ferries from Panama to Colombia and Freighters rarely take on passengers, so in Panama City find yourself a good freight forwarder and ship the station wagon container lift on lift off to Cartegena or Guayaquil in Ecuador, etc. Ecuador would be best, besides teh ongoing security situation in rural Colombia, as you are unable to drive in the Amazonia of Brazil, so should enter through Bolivia and Argentina into Southern Brazil. You'll be unable to accompany your vehicle in container Panama-South America so you'll have to fly to the SA port to get your vehicle out of customs. Don't even think about trying to drive the Darien Gap!!!

5. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru, 586 posts) 30 Jun '06 11:57

They have Ethanol85 everywhere in Brazil, but your vehicle engine must be modified to use..also 100% gasoline is sold much more expensive.

In Central America Gas is more expensive than in the US.

Make sure your vehicle is in top mechanical shape and make sure you can fix it to get to town if it breaks down in a remote area. In mountainous areas a standard is preferable to an automatic, you can also jump start a standard on any hill or pushing.

6. Posted by thespis (Budding Member, 39 posts) 30 Jun '06 12:58

The road from Venezuela to Manaus is BR 174 (see map at http://www.transportes.gov.br/bit/trodo/br-174.jpg ), and the indian reservation is the Waimiri-atroari (check http://indian-cultures.com/Cultures/waimiri.html ) . They are not really wild, but they would never accept white people inside their land at night. And sometimes they close the road for some days, like they did in March 2006 (see http://www.brasiloeste.com.br/noticia/1769/waimiri-atroari ).
Just for paulhein´s information, there are wild indians in Brazil, with no (or very little) contact to civilization. Some wild tribes: Masko-Piro, Kanoê, Akuntsu, Zo'é, Hi-Merimã and Korubo.
There´s even a state department responsible for them, called National Coordination of Isolated Indians (http://www.funai.gov.br/quem/endereco/fone/cgii2.htm)

7. Posted by cacaria (Budding Member, 8 posts) 30 Jun '06 18:35

Well,Tom.I can say it's not a good idea.If you try to cross the
Amazon forest by car you can take from 7 to 40 days... in a boat,depending of the period of the year.The city of Manaus is like an island in the Amazon rain forest...Hard to reach,hard to go out.Think abt this!

8. Posted by counsets (Budding Member, 3 posts) 1 Jul '06 20:44

Sorry, I guess i forgot to distinguish between summers.
I plan on travelling during my summer - Probably June of '07

I've taken a good look at the Amazon forests and I agree with all you that it probably wouldn't be worth the risk. I have changed my route to head around the North and North-East coast of South America through Venezuela, Guyana, etc. Then on my way back, head around the southern (more populated) parts of Brazil and go through Bolivia and Peru while i head back north. I am hoping to stay on major highways as much as possible.

But Wow! i didn't realize that there is are no roads connecting Central America to South America! I feel stupid now. Doesn't look like i'll be driving through the Darien Gap, hehe. Well i'll figure something out when i get there. The only thing that i think could stop me from reaching Brazil is my car. I may arrange to trade in my current car for a 6-cylinder manual transmission before i attempt the mountanous terrain.

All other tips, advice, comments, warnings, and snide remarks are always appreciated
Tom

9. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru, 586 posts) 2 Jul '06 13:19

You cannot drive through the Darien Gap..period..you should get a standard transmission 4x4, 4 wheel drive, stocked with essential spare parts where you're going...

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Guyana is a developing nation on the north coast of South America. Tourist facilities are not developed, except for hotels in the capital city of Georgetown and a limited number of eco-resorts. The vast majority of Guyanese live along the coast leaving the interior largely unpopulated and undeveloped. Travel in the interior of Guyana can be difficult; many interior regions can only be reached by plane or boat. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Guyana for additional information.

All Americans are encouraged to carry as little U.S. currency on them as possible upon entering Venezuela. Due to the poor security situation, the Embassy does not recommend changing money at the international airport. Visitors should bring a major credit card. Travelers’ checks are not recommended as they are honored in only a few locations. It is possible to exchange U.S. currency at approved exchange offices near major hotel chains in Caracas (personal checks are not accepted) and at commercial banks with some restrictions. Due to new currency exchange laws hotels can no longer provide accommodation exchange.

Cross-border violence, kidnapping, smuggling and drug trafficking occur frequently in areas along the 1,000-mile border between Venezuela and Colombia. Some kidnap victims have been released after ransom payments, while others have been murdered. In many cases, Colombian terrorists are suspected. Colombia 's National Liberation Army (ELN) have had a long history of kidnapping for ransom, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are active in the kidnapping trade. Common criminals are also increasingly involved in kidnappings, either dealing with victim's families directly or selling the victim to terrorist groups. In-country travel by U.S. Embassy employees, both official and private, within a 50-mile area along the entire Venezuela/Colombia border, is prohibited.

The State Department warns American citizens not to travel within a 50-mile area along the entire Venezuela/Colombia border. U.S. citizens who elect to visit areas along the border region with Colombia against this warning, apart from the Colombian terrorist threat, could encounter Venezuelan military-controlled areas and may be subject to search and arrest.

The U.S. Embassy must approve in advance the official travel to Venezuela of all U.S. Government personnel. Private travel by U.S. military personnel to Venezuela requires advance approval by the U.S. Embassy. Non-military employees of the U.S. Government do not need Embassy approval for private travel.

The incidence of political demonstrations in Venezuela has decreased markedly since the referendum in August 2004. Nevertheless, travelers should be aware that violence, including exchanges of gunfire, has occurred at political demonstrations in the past. Demonstrations tend to occur at or near university campuses, business centers, and gathering places such as public squares and plazas. Most major tourist destinations, including coastal beach resorts and Margarita Island, are not generally affected by protest actions. However, the city of Merida, a major tourist destination in the Andes, has been the scene of frequent student demonstrations, some of them violent.

Sporadic incidents of harassment and intimidation of U.S. citizens by pro-government groups, Venezuelan airport authorities and some segments of the police occur periodically. Additionally, anti-American sentiment, expressed by Venezuela’s most senior leaders, including President Chavez, in harsh political rhetoric, as well as in graffiti, newspaper advertisements and rally pamphlets, exists in some segments of Venezuelan society.

Travelers should keep informed of local developments by following the local press, radio and television. Visitors should also consult their local hosts, including U.S. and Venezuelan business contacts, hotels, tour guides, and travel organizers. Information on the current situation in Venezuela is available on the Embassy’s website at http://venezuela.usembassy.gov/situation.html. U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Venezuela are advised to take common-sense precautions and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, no matter where they occur.

Venezuela is an earthquake-prone country and is occasionally subject to torrential rains, which can cause major disasters such as the one in Vargas State in 1999.........

Nothing may occur along these lines but you should be aware that you will be driving an expensive vehicle with US or Canadian Plates in very remote areas rarely traveled and there is always a chance of natural disaster, hopefully you are able to converse in basic Spanish and Portuguese (a must, not an option) and are bringing a companion on the trip who is able, as well hoping you are mechanicaly inclined, guard your toolbox as you would your life.

10. Posted by foxboy867 (Budding Member, 7 posts) 16 Jul '06 16:43

I think it is unbelievably foolish to try and drive to south america! I am not usually the type to naysay and discourage adventure but I guarantee you are taking your life into your hands. Latin America is, unfortunatley, a very dangerous place and driving it is NOTHING like driving in North america. Besides you could never do a round trip in 3 to 4 weeks(and enjoy anything anyways) Instead fly to Rio or Sao Paulo and take the bus into the interior of Brazil, much more enjoyable and safe! Boa Viagem!