I am planning to spend a month travelling around Brazil from start of September 2004
Could anyone tell me how long it would take roughly from Sau Paulo to Belem by Bus or Coach ?????????
Also how long would a boat trip from Belem to Manaus take as well ??????
Would it be cheaper to fly to Belem or to a destination that is further up north and are the internal flights in Brazil cheap?
Is it better to buy dollars or the national currency while out there ????????
Any othe hints or tips for the trip please drop me a line
The cheapest domestic flights in Brazil are by GOL airlines (www.voegol.com.br). Visit the site, they have a version in English, and you can purchase the ticket online using a credit card. A roudtrip ticket should be around 250 dollars. If you decide to go by bus, the best way is to stop along the way to rest in some cities (how about Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerias state, and Brasilia, the national capital, with all the modern architecture). Try to learn a bit aboutn these cities in the internet so you can decide.
About the boat trip, Belem shoul be the best start and the best source of info.
From Sao Paulo to Belem - about 3 hours direct flight (hard to find direct flights, maybe you will spend more than 4 hours). You will spend several days using a bus.
Don't buy your air tickets here. They will cost a lot more money here. Go to GOL airlines webpage as aniel recommended, and compare prices with travel agencies from where you live. It is possible to buy from there an airpass for USD $ 400, with four different Brazilian destinations. Here you will pay more than that only for the tickets from Sao Paulo to Belem.
From Belem to Manaus - Boat: from 5 to 8 days, great experience if you speak some portuguese or spanish, terrible one if you speak only english. I met a guy traveling from Porto Velho to Manaus, similar trip, that spent four days inside a hammock, scared to death because he could not understand what was going on, and who could he possible trust.
Aniel recomended well some the destinations on your way from Sao Paulo to far North. I will add some more, trying to tell you the best places on your itinerary, in my humble opinion.
Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Belém (boat to Manaus). I never travelled from Belem to Brasilia, but I know there's a road there. I would use an airpass at least to cover big distance, like Brasilia/Belem and Belem/Manaus.
Go to http://www.embratur.gov.br/en/home/index.asp to know more about the country.
You can use your ATM card at cash machines here on almost all the cities. Don't expect to use it at the countryside or forest, like between Brasilia and Belem or between Belem and Manaus. The ATM machines will give you the best exchange rates, but you can use also travel checks and american dollars, and always change it for Brazilian Real at the day rate.
I hope it helps.