Archive for June, 2010
The bumba-meu-boi is one of most authentic popular festivals in Brazil (brewerys don’t rule the event yet, as it is the case with so many other Brazilian festivals). And in spite of that, you’ll be pushed hard to find a mention to it on the mainstream media. We have detailed information on the festival at bumba-meu-boi.
It is now four years since our visit to Destination: São Luís and my intention publishing this blog post is to make up for the lack of interest towards the festival shown by the media and the tourism authorities.
Utter madness. The mayor of Foz do Iguaçu has been attempting for a number of years now to get the council to approve a project to set up a night time lights and sound show at the Iguaçu falls. Argentina (and a sizeable part of Brazil too) has always expressed dismay at the proposal (Argentinos rejeitam projeto brasileiro de iluminar as Cataratas do Iguaçu). And in spite of that, the project was resurrected once again recently.
Why in hell would anyone want to spoil the natural beauty of the falls? Is it not beautiful enough? The Niagarization of the Iguaçu falls only obbeys to material interests. We hope the project will never see the light of the day (or the night).
Finding affordable hotels in Rio is no mean feat, as many of you will have already found out first-hand. You can search for hotels in Rio de Janeiro through our Hotels Combined search engine, a unique free tool that searches multiple hotel reservation websites simultaneously to help you find the lowest rate instantly. It eliminates the need to search major websites one by one in order to compare prices and availability. An amazing time and money saver!
The results open on a new page.
1. Budget hotels in Rio
The French hotel chain Accor has three budget hotels located in the centry of the city and it is promising new hotels soon:
- the Formule 1 Rio de Janeiro Centro at Rua Silva Jardim, 32.
- the Ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro right next to the previous one, also at Rua Silva Jardim, 32.
- the Ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumond, right next to the domestic airport and a few hundred yards from the centre of Rio.
An outstanding feature of the hotels mentioned above is that they don’t hold any surprises – a bonus in the context of hotels in Rio. They are simple, to the point of being spartan. You won’t find charm or glamour in them. But in return for that, their fares are more friendly than the ones charged by most hotels in town. Their rates do not include breakfast. If you have stayed previously at a Formule 1 or Ibis hotel you know what to expect.
2. Bed & breakfast in Rio
There are now three networks providing Bed & Breafast accommodation
- Cama e Café. At its website you can check details of the houses providing accommodation. All the houses are located in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood.
- Rio Homestay is the upper market version of Cama e Café. Most of its apartments are located along the corridor that links Copacabana to Leblon, passing through Arpoador and Ipanema.
- Bed & Breakfast Brasil. It has 60 houses in Rio, on the most popular neighbourhoods (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Santa Teresa) and on places slightly more unusual for a hotel (Cosme Velho, São Conrado or Urca).
3. Youth hostels
On Youth hostels in Brazil we listed all the Brazilian hostels affiliated to Hostelling International. As well as those there are dozen of independent hostels in Rio. We advice you extreme care when you choosing them, as they rank from the professional to the outright rip-off.
destination: Rio de Janeiro
48 hours in Rio de Janeiro – what to do, where to go
budget accommodation in Rio de Janeiro
the Rio de Janeiro subway
map of Rio de Janeiro
the new official Rio Guide
Rio de Janeiro’s Michelin guide for free
Rio bus station: Terminal Novo Rio
If you are planning to do some sightseeing in Brasilia this is your blog post. We have already published quite a lot of general Brasilia information at our reference card destination: Brasilia.
All the prices and schedules quoted on this entry are subject to modification and we advice you to double-check them once you get to Brasilia. Sightseeing in Brasilia should include:
Torre de Televisão (TV tower)
The TV tower, a project by Lúcio Costa paying homage to the Eiffel Tower, offers the best possible introduction to the city. An elevator takes visitors to an observation deck half-way through the tower. From the tower you can see the Eixo Monumental and the Esplanada dos Ministerios, with the unmissable figures of the Congress and the Senate buildings at the very bottom.
The tower is opened during the day and admission is free.
At the base of the tower you will find a popular crafts fair.
Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
One of the best known works by Oscar Niemeyer. Its circular shape and its stained glass windows fascinate the viewer. Restoration work on the cathedral has just been completed, which means you will get the chance to contemplate it in all its glory.
The cathedral opens daily from 8 am. Closing time changes from one day to another. Admission is free.
Palácio do Itamaraty (Itamaraty Palace)
The Palácio do Itamaraty is home to the Brazilian Department of State (Foreign Office). It is the work of Oscar Niemeyer. The gardens in front of the palace were designed by landscape artist Burle Marx. In front of the archs you will see the O Meteoro statue by Bruno Giorgi. The rich art collection in the interior of the palace includes work by Portinari and Brecheret.
There are guided tours around the palace from Monday to Friday (from 14:00 to 16:30) and on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays (from 10:00 to 15:30). Admission is free.
Congresso Nacional (National Congress)
The ensmeble of the National Congress is one of Niemeyer‘s favourite works. It complex includes the convex dome of the Chamber of Deputies; the concave dome of the Federal Senate; and two 28-storey buildings with the administrative offices of the two chambers.
There are guided visits to the building. From Monday to Friday in the morning and in the afternoon; Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays in the morning. Admission is free.
Praça dos Três Poderes
The most important square in Brasilia. Around the square you will find the site of the executive (Palácio do Planalto), the legislature (Congresso Nacional) and the judiciary (Supremo Tribunal Federal). On the square itself, the statue of the Candangos, a symbol of Brasilia, and the giant bust of Juscelino Kubitschek.
Supremo Tribunal Federal (the Supreme Court/High Court)
The site of the judiciary is a beautiful project by Oscar Niemeyer. In front of the building you will see the statue symbolizing Justice by Alfredo Ceschiatti.
There are guided visits to the museum inside the building on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Admission is free.
Espaço Lúcio Costa (Lúcio Costa Space)
Underneath the Praça dos Três Poderes there is a space designed by Oscar Niemeyer to pay homage to Lúcio Costa –both were responsible for the design and urban planning of Brasilia. The space contains a giant model of the city of Brasilia that will help you understand the thinking behind the creation of the city.
The space is opened from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free.
Palácio do Planalto (Planalto Palace)
Another work by Niemeyer, the Planalto Palace is home to the Brazilian executive. It underwent complete restoration work recently. Every two hours, from 8 am till 6 pm, you can attend the ceremony of the changing of the guard.
The palace can only be visited on Sunday morning. Admission is free.
Palácio da Alvorada (Alvorada Palace)
The official residence of the Brazilian president. Another Niemeyer work, with landscaping by Burle Marx.
There are guided tours on Wednesday from 15h to 17h30. During the rest of the week the palace can only be seen from the external perimeter of the garden. Admission is free.
Santuário Dom Bosco (Dom Bosco Shrine)
The temple paying homage to Brasilia’s patron saint is one of the very few outstanding architecture works in Brasilia that doesn’t have Oscar Niemeyer’s creative hands behind. The outstanding feature of the temple are its beautiful stained-glass windows designed by Cláudio Naves and made by Hubert na Doorne.
It is opened from Monday to Saturday from 7 am till 7 pm. Admission is free.
We have published a blog post on the temple: Brasilia wonders: Santuário dom Bosco.
Ponte JK (JK bridge)
The incredibly beautiful bridge built to pay homage to Juscelino Kubitschek is the work of architect Alexandre Chan and it was opened to traffic in 2002.
The best way to reach the bridge is by car.
We have published a blog post on the bridge: Brasilia wonders: JK bridge.
This is our pick of attractions for your sightseeing in Brasilia.