Archive for July, 2010
Welcome to the Brazil Travel Blog and our special report on the 2010 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Interlagos.
1. THE DATES
GP Brasil Formula 1 will be held at the Interlagos circuit on Sunday 7 November 2010 (training sessions on days 5 and 6). Full schedule of events at the GP’s official website.
2. HOW TO GET TO INTERLAGOS
Do avoid getting to Interlagos on your own car. During the celebration of the GP, the traffic jams on the region of the circuit are horrendous.
1. Shuttle buses.
Every year the local transport authority runs shuttle buses from five different points in the city of São Paulo:
• Shopping Interlagos
• terminal Jabaquara (subway, line 1, blue)
• Praça da República
• Shopping SP Market
• Congonhas airport (domestic flights, shuttle bus operating from 7 am).
The Praça da República option is good for those staying in the area of Avenida Paulista.
Longer but much faster is the Jabaquara option. Take the subway till the end of the blue line and hop in one of the shuttle buses.
2. Suburban train (CPTM)
This is an option of interest for those staying near the Pinheiros river (mainly in the Avenida Berrini area). Take the train (line 9, direction Grajaú) and get off at the Interlagos station. There is no direct access to the circuit from the station, you will have to find your way around. Follow the crowds.
3. Private transfers
Most hotels hire their own fleet of vans. Do find out.
It is impossible to figure out the cost of a trip to Interlagos, but due to the horrendous traffic it can set you back anything between R$50 and more than R$100.
3. WHAT TO DO IN SÃO PAULO
If you read Spanish, you might be interested on my very own 132-page Guía de São Paulo.
Linha Turismo is the name of Curitiba’s hop-on hop-off bus. It is an excellent service for the tourist for –as we saw at destination: Curitiba– the city sights are spread across the metropolitan area. With the tourist bus you can reach them all easily.
The bus follows a circular anticlockwise route. It begins and ends at Praça Tiradentes, in the town centre. It has the following stops:
1. Praça Tiradentes
2. Rua das Flores
3. Rua Visconde de Nacar
4. Museu Ferroviário
5. Teatro Paiol
6. Jardim Botânico
7. Estação Rodoferroviária/Mercado Municipal
8. Teatro Guaíra/Universidade Federal do Paraná
9. Passeio Público/Memorial Árabe
10. Centro Cívico
11. Museu Oscar Niemeyer
12. Bosque do Papa/Memorial Polonês
13. Bosque Alemão
14. Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente – Unilivre
15. Parque São Lourenço
16. Ópera de Arame/Pedreira Paulo Leminski
17. Parque Tanguá
18. Parque Tingui
19. Memorial Ucraniano
20. Portal Italiano
21. Santa Felicidade
22. Parque Barigui
23. Torre Panorâmica
24. Setor Histórico
At the map of Curitiba we prepared for the blog you can check the location of all the places visited by the bus.
Buses run every 30 minutes. The first bus leaves from Praça Tiradentes at 9:00, the final one at 17:30.
3. Working days
From Tuesday to Sunday. During the summer season it runs on Mondays too.
At the time of publishing this entry the ticket had a price of R$20. The ticket allows you to hop-on and hop-off from the bus at four different stops.
5. The buses
Linha Turismo uses double-decker buses. During the high season a support bus drives along the main one so no passengers get stranded due to a full bus. There is an audio system with tourist information in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
6. Is it worth it?
For groups of three or less, we feel Linha Turismo is definitely worth it in spite of the limitation to the number of times you can get off the bus. If you are four, you might consider using a taxi. It won’t cost you more than the price of four bus tickets, you’ll be able to visit all the places you want and you won’t have to wait for the bus to appear.
7. Our advice
To make the most of your ticket, use it only at those sights further away from downtown. Among them, the Jardim Botânico, the Torre Panorâmica, the Santa Felicidade neighbourhood (but only if you are planning on having dinner there), the Memorial Ucraniano and the Ópera de Arame (and nearby Parque Tanguá too).
Rua Gonçalo Afonso, aka beco do Batman (Batman’s alley), is a narrow alleyway in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood known for being a true open air graffiti museum. Here you will find São Paulo‘s street art at its best.
A 360º panorama of the alley:
The entrance to the alley:
All the walls are covered with graffiti from different artists.
Two videos to give you and idea of what the alley looks like:
How to get there:
The following map shows the exact location of the alley.
See the map on a new window
There are two easy ways of getting to the alley:
- Take the number 2 (green) line of the underground/subway system towards the Vila Madalena end and hop off at the Sumaré station. From there it’s just a 20 minute walk to the alley.
- Take a bus at the Avenida Paulista making sure it goes down the Cardeal Arcoverde street. When you reach the cemetery (you’ll recognize its long walls), get off the bus, walk around the graveyard, and you’ll reach the alley.
destination: São Paulo
from Guarulhos airport to São Paulo’s bus station
accommodation at Guarulhos airport in São Paulo
affordable accommodation in São Paulo
São Paulo’s top ten
São Paulo getaways
youth hostels in São Paulo.
Alter do Chão is a small town in the state of Pará, council of Santarém. It is located at the entrance of a lake formed on the right bank of the Tapajós river – one of the biggest tributaries of the Amazon and known for its dark-blue waters. When the level of the Amazon river is low, from July to January, a beach of fine and clear sands appears at the entrance of the lake, the praia do Amor. Alter do Chão is known as the Caribbean Amazon for its combination of clear waters and sand.
But beyond its famous beaches, what makes Alter do Chão a remarkable destination is the fact that it makes an ideal base for a perfect Amazon experience in the nearby Floresta Nacional do Tapajós. Community-based ecotourism at its best.
1. HOW TO GET THERE:
Whether you arrive by bus or by boat, the entry point to Alter do Chão is the city of Santarém.
By plane, the nearest airport is Santarém’s. The main Brazilian airlines fly to Santarém from Manaus and Belém (flight time is approximately 1 hour from both cities). From Santarém airport to Alter do Chão, 25 km away, a taxi will set you back approximately R$90.
You can reach Santarém by boat from Manaus or Belém. Travel time is two days. From Belém to Santarém a cabin will cost you R$170. From Manaus to Santarém, R$125.
2. WHEN TO GO:
Weather-wise, temperatures in Alter do Chão range from the warm to the hot. Rarely does the termometer fall below 20 degrees Celsius and maximum temperatures usually reach the 30’s. It rains heavily from January to July.
The best time to visit Alter do Chão goes from July to September, when the river levels begin to descend and the beaches appear. From January till June there’s heavy rain and the beaches are submerged. From October to December the heat is intense and the river level reaches the year’s low. The magic igapós (flooded forests) dry up.
If you don’t appreciate crowds, we would advice you to avoid Alter do Chão during the Brazilian bank holidays, when the village and the beaches are crowded with tourists coming from Manaus and Belém. The carnival period is particularly critical.
3. CAREFUL WITH:
- trying to visit Alter do Chão during the Sairé festival during the second week of September; finding acommodation is next to impossible and prices shoot up.
- sting rays. They are found in most beaches, particularly when the river level is low. Accidents are numerous. Before entering the river you need to make sure there isn’t a ray hidden under the sand.
- entering the jungle on your own. It’s a definite no-no.
4. WE LIKE THE MOST:
- the majestic Tapajós river
- the imposing jungle full of surprises
- the wide range of trips available from Alter do Chão
- the development of true ecoturism in the region
- to spend the day at the Ilha do Amor (literally, “love island”) eating snacks and drinking beer
- to watch the sunset from the new pier and end the night with a piracaia (barbeque fish) at the beach
- the remote and untouched character of Alter do Chão
5. WE LIKE THE LEAST:
- noise pollution along the river front and the Praça Matriz
- the Ilha do Amor vanishes for several months
- Sunday trippers in Alter do Chão; fortunately, by Monday they are gone
- the unstoppable and destructive advance of men towards the jungle
- the incredible closure and neglect of the Museu do Índio
- the closure of the peixe-boi project, preserving the manatees on the Tapajós river
6. FAVOURITE PLACES:
The Ilha do Amor, the Ponta de Cururu, the Floresta Encantada, the Canal do Jari, the FLONA, the Tapajós river
7. PIECE OF ADVICE:
- there are plenty of things to do in Alter do Chão’s surrounding area: a quiet walk along the flooded rainforest and virgin beaches, river-dolphin watching; trekking at the National Parks; getting to know the natives; and even discover two typically American village built by the Ford company during the rubber fever (Fordlandia and Belterra). At an Amazon adventure: trips around Alter do Chão we gave details of the most exciting trips around the Alter do Chão region.
- during the weekend Alter becomes the beach for the inhabitants of Santarem; the place is chock-a-block. During the week it is much quieter
- you can rent a kayak at the Praia do Amor
- there is a supermarket and several shops where you will be able to obtain supplies; however, there are no ATM’s in Alter do Chão
- Alter is an exceptional place if you want to purchase authentic indigenous crafts; some of the shops are real museums
- there’s a great travel agency at the main square, run by Argentinians: Mãe Natureza. They offer good advice and excellent juices and sandwiches
- stalls at the main square sell local food and sweets. A must!
8. IS IT WORTH VISITING ALTER DO CHÃO JUST FOR ITS BEACHES?
We believe the beaches on the Tapajós river are a fantastic bonus to any visitor to the region. But given how costly it is to reach the region, they could never constitute the only reason for a visit to the area. There are much better beaches all along the Brazilian coastline.
You need to bear in mind the beaches only emerge from July to January. Visit Alter do Chão any other time and you will need a wet suit to see the beaches.
More on the topic at our Alter do Chão, are its beaches worth a trip?
There aren’t many options of accommodation in Alter do Chão. Those with a web site are listed at hotels and pousadas in Alter do Chão. We stayed at the pousada Tupaiulândia. It has no website but offers an excellent value for money.
Some of the indigenous communities in the National Forest offer very basic acommodation to its visitors.
If you are visiting Alter do Chão you are adviced to get your yellow fever shot (more information at 10 facts about yellow fever in Brazil“>10 facts about yellow fever in Brazil). Malaria has not been an issue on the region for some time.
The high acidic level of the Tapajós river guarantees low proliferation of mosquitos. You will find them during your treks in the jungle.
There are no specific pages on Alter do Chão worth mentioning. On Mãe Natureza‘s website, with a version in English, there are detailed descriptions of the activities that can be done in the region. IBAMA’s site devoted to the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós has maps of the region available for download in PDF format.
12. WEATHER FORECAST:
Average temperatures and rainfall in Alter do Chão (Santarém) at msn.weather.
13. GOOGLE MAPS:
Alter do Chão in Google Maps.
Our Alter do Chão photo album in Flickr.
15. OTHER BLOG POSTS ON THE AMAZON REGION:
an Amazon adventure: trips around Alter do Chão
“cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region
tourism on the Amazon region is a foreign affair
destination: Ilha do Marajó
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
To complete the information given at destination: Curitiba we are publishing the following map prepared with the help of Google Maps. You will find on the map the location of the most important sights in Curitiba. The satellite images for Curitiba are in high resolution, you will be able to appreciate the details of most buildings and locations.
Ver mapa Curitiba a pantalla completa