Hello everyone! I am planning a trip to Brazil in March/ April and for various reasons I need to finalise details fairly soon. I will be flying into Sao Paolo and out of Rio de Janeiro.
My current idea for itinerary is Sao Paolo - Sao Sebastiano (Ilhabela)-Rio de Janeiro wtih trips to paraty and Armacao dos Buzios. However, I am wondering if I will be missing or more authenthic Brazil and if anyone can suggest anything. I will particularly value advice of locals since it is difficult to find exact details for buses from the UK. My particular worry is safety (mainly due to media but even though I know it's probably overreacted it doesn't stop me worrying). I basicaly need reliable and safe intercity buses that I can use between places. I also wanted to put Iguacu falls in thi trip but it seems impossible to me.
My advice is: forget intercities buses if you do not speak Portuguese. Almost nobody can speak English here, even in touristic spots. And the bus stations can be dangerous sometimes. Take a cab or van recommended by your hotel.
Your itinerary is very good, except for the city of Sao Paulo - NOTHING to see there but concrete if you are not interested in museums). I hope you are coming to Rio, too. If you are, it is a perfect mix of nature beauties and local culture.
Safety will not be a problem in smaller places like Sao Sebastiao, Buzios or Paraty. In Rio and Sao Paulo you have to take care. My usual advices: keep your eyes open, don´t stay in empty places, don't carry jewelry and never trust the bookguides. All the thieves do read the same books. Other good ways for staying safe in Brazil: don´t go to Sao Paulo and don´t stay in Copacabana or at the Sheraton Leblon (best places: Ipanema or Leblon, except the mentioned Sheraton).
If you want to know anything else, just write an e-mail - it will be a pleasure to help.
staying safe is good advice but not taking the busses cos you don't speak brazillian is crazy. The busses are great and very efficient and with a small phrase book you can easily get a ticket
Brazil is massive so be careful trying to cram too much into two and a bit weeks!
Foz is awesome and if you're up for the bus I think its a long one maybe 24hrs but worth it!
ditto if you need any help send me a pm
I'm from Rio de Janeiro and living in Sao Paulo for some years.Rio is unique.... city,beach and nature...put them all together you will have this place.Buzios is cool,really nice.If you have time you could go to Angra dos Reis.Wonderful!
Travelling from Sao Paulo to Rio... use a low fare company.See at www.voegol.com.br.The price between bus and plane is almost the same and you can come fast and save some time to enjoy Rio!
In Sao Paulo...Museum..restaurants...discos...places to go out.The night here is the best, lot of options...Must have a lot for the biggest city in south america.You will also see the problems of a huge city, traffic, polution...
Unfortunatelly people here does not speak english...hard to find someone to ask for help... But I'm sure that there'll be always someone trying to help you!!!
Don't forget your sunscreen!If you need more help, just ask!Will be a pleasure to help.
I agree with mim. You positively should try the buses, mainly because otherwise you won't be able to reach São Sebastião and Paraty. I really love that path. In it you will be able to find many points of interest like Angra dos Reis, Ilhabela, Maresias, Guaruja and Santos.
São Paulo is definetely worth a visit. It's the largest city in South America and there's much to see over there. It's true there are many museums, but there are also some of the best restaurants in the continent, a very sympathetic people, many great theaters and so on. Try these links:
Other reason for you to visit São Paulo is that it's the main point of departure for any other place in the country. From there, you can reach Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu falls) within nearly 16 hours by bus, or less than two hours by plane. That makes very easy for you to see the falls too. They are wonderfull and really worth the visit. But, if go there, you must see the falls both from brazilian and argentinian side. Even being a native brazilian, I find the argentinian side much better. You should also try to visit Itaipu, the largest hidroelectric power plant in the world (up to now). They have a very impressive sound and lights show at Fridays.
Finally, if you have 17 days, I believe you could have some time left to go to some beach at our coountry's northeast region. Believe me, any place you reach over there will be just fantastic.
These are just some hints of what you could see around here. Ours is a large country with very much to see. This site is a good starter: http://www.turismo.gov.br/index.html
About the language, it is true that most of the people don't speak English or any other language than Brazilian Portuguese, but I believe that travelling is a great way to learn languages, and I do believe that you will learn a lot while you're here.
I'm a Travellerspoint travel helper, so please feel free to e-mail me in pvt through the helpers directory if you like.
I've already posted some tips in antoher thread called cool places to stay in Brazil (http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=27930). I've never been to Iguazu Falls, but I think if you want to go by bus it's going to be a long trip.
If you want to go from SP to Rio, here it is my suggested itinerary.
SP - IlhaBela - (here you could stop at Maresias, which it's famous by its night, or Camburi, where the rich-pretty people hang out and there are nice restaurants) - Paraty (be sure to go to Trindade beach and walk the trails) - Ilha Grande (you get there by boat from Angra dos Reis) - Rio de Janeiro - Búzios
Don't expect much from our tranport system, but you will be fine.
And about security, unfortunatly there are many reasons for your worries. But don't walk around with lots of cash, don't walk in the most dangerous parts of the cities, mainly at night, and if something happens, no matter what, do not react.
If you have specific questions, just let me know.
have a nice trip. You'll be in beautiful places.
Thank you everyone. Aarantes, this is more less the way I intended it. I am still trying to find out if I can get from Ilhabela to Paraty by direct bus or any route other than going back to Sao Paolo.
As for security, I have heard from many people that as long as you are sensible nothing is likely to happen and I just hope it is like that.
Your itinerary looks great... but I might skip Sao Paolo as well. Ihla Grande is a great trip for a few days as well. As for wanting to go to Iguazu... you can take a flight from Rio and back and go there for two days. Well worth the trip and there are always flights, you can book it here. As for the safety bit, I live in Rio and have not had any problems - but that is also because I don´t ever carry anything around that I am not willing to lose. It is a good way to think about it. As for places to stay in Rio, I personally would recommend Santa Tereza - I live there, so maybe I have a bit of a preference but it is much more bohemian, party... next to Lapa - the birthplace of Samba and center of Foho... so it is always alive and kickin. If you need any recommendations on places to stay, no matter where you end up deciding to stay, let me know... I know alot of the hotels, poussadas and hostels in town, I would be glad to help. And hey, if you want to go dancing when you get here, drop an email. -snip-
[ Edit: Sorry, no emails in the forum please. Try the message center. ]
I have tried really hard and failed to find bus route from Sao Sebastiano to Parati without going back to Sao Paolo. If anyone knows of this, can you please let me know?
Hi. It seems to me that the bus company Normandy has a bus that goes from São Sebastião to Rio, stopping in Paraty. I don't live in Brasil anymore so I can't call them, but I found these phone numbers in the internet: (21) 263-9424 / 0300-313-1532. Maybe someone in Brazil could try to call them.
I have sent an e-mail asking them, but I don't know if they'll answer. I'll let you know.
It doesn't make any sense to come back to SP to go to Paraty. There must be a way.