First Visit: October 2011
Number of Times Visited: 1
Cities Visited: Rio de Janeiro, Florianopolis, Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls)
Favorite Memory: Between the beaches, the sightseeing and the relaxing in Brazil it was pretty hard to pick a favorite memory. If I had to pick one it would have to be the relaxing three days we spent in the tropical paradise of Florianopolis. We stayed in what stands to this day to be the nicest hostel I have ever slept in which was located in the Lagoa da Conceição district outside of the main city. The area was very peaceful and serene, and close to the ocean beaches. The weather while we were there was beautiful, the beer was cold and we had a great time.
- We started our trip and our time in Brazil with three days in Rio de Janeiro, which truly is a world class city. We stayed in the heart of the city in the Copacobana district, home to one of the most famous stretches of beach in the world. Some people say Rio is a very dangerous city, and if you stray into the wrong part of town it definitely could be. However, we never felt unsafe, and even went with a group to a club in a favela one night and had a great time partying and dancing with the locals. The people are friendly, the beaches are huge and thanks to the geography the city is just so unique, do not let what some people say sway you from visiting this gem of a city!
- My favorite moments in Rio were during the city tour we did which took us through the various districts of Rio and through the neighboring Tijuca Forest National Park and up to the summit of the 2,300 foot Corcovado Mountain where the massive and iconic Christ the Redeemer statue stands tall over the city far below. That day was somewhat rainy and dreary, but the views of the city and coastline from up there were absolutely stunning.
- Brazilian BBQ and Buffets are fairly famous around the world, and are definitely popular in Brazil. There are two types, one where you pay by weight for what you consume, and one where you pay a flat fee for all you can eat. At the all you can eat variety they bring the meat to you on various skewers and platters. From pork to beef to chicken hearts, we tried it all and definitely never left hungry!
- Visiting the Iguazu Falls was so awesome that we spent two days, one on the Brazilian side and another on the Argentinian side. Although both were great, if I had to pick one, I would recommend the Argentinian side, and I’ll have more on this in that post. Either way, these are by far and away the best falls I have seen in my life, far more impressive than Niagra Falls!
- The one stressful experience I had during the above mentioned time in Florianopolis was when we borrowed some bikes from our hostel and went for a ride around the lagoon, which was about a 10km loop along a fairly busy road with not much of a shoulder. This was the year before I seriously took up triathlon and as a result was not much more confident on a bike than I was on my near death experience in Amsterdam. This time I had the added horror of completely disfiguring the bike seat which probably wasn’t built for a guy my size. However, the people at the hostel were so nice and felt so bad that they did not charge me for the damage I caused!