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10 must-see places in Brazil (2011 edition)

10 must-see places in Brazil (2011 edition)

Here’s our annual rewrite of our list of our list of favourite places in Brazil (previous editions include Top 10: favourite places in Brazil and 10 must-see places in Brazil).

Here is the 2011 ranking of my 10 must-see places in Brazil. Click on the names of the places to go to their full destination cards here at the blog, and find out more about them. Some of the destinations are really well-known. Others fall within the hidden jewel description. I have only included places I have been to (places I’ve read/heard about but I haven’t visited didn’t make it into the ranking).

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1. Fernando de Noronha (Pernambuco)

Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

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2. Paraty (Rio de Janeiro)

Paraty, Brasil

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3. Lençóis Maranhenses (Maranhão)

Lençóis Maranhenses

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4. the Pantanal (Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul)

yacare caiman, Pantanal, Brazil

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5. Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós (Pará)

Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, Amazon, Brazil

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6. Iguaçu falls (Paraná and Argentina)

Iguazu falls / cataratas de Iguazú

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7. Ilha Grande (Rio de Janeiro)

Ilha Grande

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8. Brasilia (Distrito Federal)

Congresso Nacional, Brasilia

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9. Boipeba (Bahia)

Boipeba, Brasil

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10. Curitiba (Paraná)

Parque Tanguá, Curitiba

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RELATED POSTS:
10 must-see places in Brazil (2010 edition)
10 must-see places in Brazil (2009 edition)
Brazil 12 months 12 destinations
top 10 Brazilian beaches – 2009 edition
São Paulo’s top ten

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February 21, 2011 | By More
bus transportation in Brazil

bus transportation in Brazil


Purchase your Brazilian bus tickets from abroad with our search engine.

What with rocketing airfares, more and more people are turning to buses as a means of transportation in Brazil. Finding your way through hundreds of bus companies, bus stations, infinite destinations and information hard to come by is definitely no easy job. Hope this entry can in some way help alleviate your pain – for finding up-to-date and reliable bus information in Brazil can certainly become a very painful process.

There are a handful of online sources you must know if you are to embark on a bus journey in Brazil.

1. ANTT (for all destinations)

The one and only country-wide official source is the website of the Agencia Nacional de Transportes Terrestres (ANTT), the Brazilian’s government official body for road transportation. Unfortunately, it’s an incredibly unfriendly site, even more if you are a foreign user with no grasp of Portuguese. Never mind the fact that can be infuriatingly stubborn. If the spelling of your destination is different from the one held at the ANTT database, you will be going nowhere. At Link: buses in Brazil I gave a step-by-step guide on how to search at the ANTT site.
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2. Socicam (for Aracaju, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo)

Much friendlier than the ANTT site is Socicam‘s own website. It would be my number one choice if it wasn’t for a small detail: its restricted coverage. Socicam is a private company running the bus stations of the following cities:

Angra dos Reis (Río de Janeiro), Aracajú (Sergipe), Fortaleza (Ceará), Guarujá (São Paulo), Mogi das Cruzes (São Paulo), Niteroi (Río de Janeiro), Poços de Caldas (Minas Gerais), Ribeirão Preto (São Paulo), Rio de Janeiro, São Carlos (São Paulo), São João da Boa Vista (São Paulo), São José dos Campos (São Paulo) and the three bus stations in São Paulo (Barra Funda, Jabaquara and Terminal Tietê).

So Socicam is only good if your origin or destination is one of the cities I’ve just mentioned. For as long as your starting point is one of those bus stations, your search will be succesful – your destination doesn’t need to feature on the list. For instance, you will find information on the São Paulo – Florianópolis route although the Florianópolis bus station is not run by Socicam.

To search for a route, choose Consulta de partidas de ônibus on the left sidebar. Choose your starting point from the Cidade de origem pop-down menu, and your destination from the Cidade – UF de destino menu. Quite straightforward, specially if you compare it with the ordeal that a consultation on the ANTT site is. If you are lucky, your search results will show the webpage and contact details of the company operating the route you were searching for. Unlike the ANTT site, Socicam only informs the details of the companies, no information on timetables or prices to be found here.

Linhas Rodoviárias , a site with bus travel information

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3. Linhas Rodoviárias (for São Paulo)

Excellent resource for departures from São Paulo to any state in Brazil and international destinations too. We have full details at Linhas Rodoviárias , a site with bus travel information.

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4. Terminal Novo Rio (for Rio de Janeiro)

If you are travelling to or from Rio de Janeiro, you might as well check the incredibly simple to use Terminal Novo Rio website. It’s by no means a pretty website, but hey, nothing beats simplicity. Type the name of your destination (or point of origin) at the PARTIDAS NOVO RIO box and off you go. The search results show the company (or companies) operating the route, including a link to their website. If you want more info, we’ve already devoted a blog post to the Rio bus station: Terminal Novo Rio.
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5. Rodoviária de Porto Alegre (for Porto Alegre)

The Rodoviária de Porto Alegre (Porto Alegre’s bus station) website in another useful source of information for trips on the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Click on Horários de Ônibus and then select your destination from the Porto Alegre para menu, the day of the week at the Dia da Semana menu (choose any day / qualquer dia if you prefer) and the departure time (Horário do Dia).
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6. Rodoviária de Curitiba (for Curitiba)

The Rodoviária de Curitiba (Curitiba’s bus station) is another site that combines ugliness with friendliness (if that could ever be possible). Simply select your destination from the De Curitiba para drop-down menu and off you go. The results page has a valuable link to the bus company running the service.
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7. DETER (for the state of Santa Catarina)
A very useful tool for trips that begin and end within the State of Santa Catarina. Go to DETER‘s website and choose Consulta de Horários de Partida de Viagens. Write your departure and arrival points, and off you go.
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Below there is a series of blog posts we’ve written with information on how to get to a few destinations in Brazil:

NATIONAL

from Angra dos Reis to Paraty
from Angra dos Reis to Rio
from Brasilia to São Paulo
from Buzios to Rio
from Campinas and Viracopos airport to São Paulo
from Curitiba to São Paulo
from Curitiba to Foz do Iguaçu
from Curitiba to São Paulo
from Fortaleza to Natal
from Foz do Iguaçu to Curitiba
from Foz do Iguaçu to Rio
from Foz do Iguaçu to São Paulo
from Natal to Fortaleza
from Paraty to Angra dos Reis
from Paraty to Rio
from Porto Alegre to São Paulo
from Rio to Angra dos Reis
from Rio to Buzios
from Rio to Foz do Iguaçu
from Rio to Paraty
from Rio to Salvador
from Rio to São Paulo
from Salvador to Rio
from São Paulo to Brasilia
from São Paulo to Campinas and Viracopos airport
from São Paulo to Curitiba
from São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu
from São Paulo to Porto Alegre
from São Paulo to Rio

INTERNATIONAL

from Buenos Aires to São Paulo / Rio
from São Paulo to Santiago de Chile
from São Paulo to Paraguay
from Montevideo to Porto Alegre and São Paulo

I’d been meaning to write a post like this for a long time. But it was only this week, when fellow blogger Gene suggested the topic that I decided to have a go at it. From Goiáis, where he lives, Gene writes a blog full of useful information for anyone planning a spell in Brazil: Expat American Living in Brazil.

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November 29, 2008 | By More
When to visit Brazil, month by month

When to visit Brazil, month by month

Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

When do I go to Brazil? What is the best time of the year to visit Brazil? This is a recurring question for travellers planning a trip to Brazil. Here is my attempt to reply to those questions. The list below contains, above all, general trends that might or might not change on a given year. Remember climate change and El Niño are on the loose.

JANUARY

  • FOR: good weather all throughout the country, it’s summer, after all. Plenty of sunshine and heat.
  • AGAINST: it is the main high season. Millions of Brazilians are enjoying their holidays. All the touristic destinations are jam-packed, and prices rocket. Violent tropical storms in the South and Southeast regions.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: big cities are at its best, without the big crowds, and about acceptable traffic. The volume of the falls at Iguazu is at its best.
  • BEST AVOIDED: any beach destination – it will be overcrowded for certain. The Lençóis Maranhenses, where the lagoons are empty and it rains a lot. Fernando de Noronha, where the sea is quite rough at the most beautiful beaches.

FEBRUARY

  • FOR: the good weather continues. Carnival takes place.
  • AGAINST: although the January holidays are over, the high season continues in many places until Carnival. Violent tropical storms continue in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Rio, Salvador, São Paulo and Recife, if you want to be part of the Carnival. The Iguazu falls are still at their best. Far from the dates of the Carnival, the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel). The coast of São Paulo and Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios) also excluding the week of Carnival. The same goes for the Northeast coast .
  • BEST AVOIDED: Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha, Rio, if your reason for being there is not the Carnival – accommodation is expensive and hard to find.

MARCH

  • FOR: good weather all around, though autumn/fall begins at the end of the month and temperatures fall in the South and Southeast. Low season.
  • AGAINST: high season is back during Easter. Final tropical storms in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Iguazú. The north coast the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios): good weather, good prices, and very few folks around (excluding Easter). For the same reasons, the beaches of the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel). The beaches of the state of Bahia, where the rainy season hasn’t started yet.
  • BEST AVOIDED: some of the destinations listed for February (Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha).

APRIL

  • FOR: the weather is still quite good, though autumn/fall is making its presence being felt. Drier weather. Low season.
  • AGAINST: if Easter falls on April, the high season is back.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: The region of the Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais, where it has stopped raining. Iguazú. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios): good weather, low prices, few tourists. For the same reasons, the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Some of the destinations listed for February (Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha).

MAY

  • FOR: very similar to April, although it’s getting cold on the mountains in the South. Low season.
  • AGAINST: quite cold in parts of the South.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Iguazú. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais.
  • BEST AVOIDED: The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, it’s one of the rainiest months there. The beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), quite cold for a swim.

JUNE

  • FOR: low season.
  • AGAINST: cold in the South and Southeast, and plenty of rain in the coast of Bahia.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. São Luis on the second half of June to enjoy the bumba-meu-boi festival. Parintins (in the Amazon) during the last three days of June to enjoy the boi-bumbá festival. The Lençóis Maranhenses, with the lagoons brimming with water. The rain stops in the Pantanal.
  • BEST AVOIDED: The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, another rainy month. The beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold.

JULY

  • FOR: the weather is changing and new destinations are promoted to the “recommended” category.
  • AGAINST: cold in the South and Southeast. High season again, school holidays in Brazil. Prices rise.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. The Lençóis Maranhenses. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, the nicest beaches display the turquoise colour that has made them famous. Manaus and the Amazon jungle nearby. From now till November the Amazon is at its highest level, there’s more sunshine and less mosquitos.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold. Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low. The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, it rains and it’s high season.

AUGUST

  • FOR: although the month coincides with an influx of foreign visitors, it’s low season in Brazil.
  • AGAINST: quite cold in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. The Lençóis Maranhenses. Fortaleza and Jericoacoara, where the rainy season is over. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, a good month to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle nearby. You can venture into the southern coast of Bahia, where the rain is bearable.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold. Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low.

SEPTEMBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season.
  • EN CONTRA: still cold in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the Lençóis Maranhenses. All the Northeast coastline, from Bahía, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, along with October, this is the best month of the year to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold.Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low.

OCTOBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season. The weather warms up in the South and Southeast
  • AGAINST: Can’t think of anything! This is one of the best months to be visiting Brazil.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. Fernando de Noronha, along with September, this is the best month of the year to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Iguazú falls, the level of the river is rising, but it was in October when the falls nearly dried up a couple of years ago.

NOVEMBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season. The weather warms up in the South and Southeast
  • AGAINST: Can’t think of anything! Along with October, November is one of the best months to be visiting Brazil.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. Fernando de Noronha. Manaus and the Amazon jungle. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). Beaches of Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Lençóis Maranhenses, the lagoons have dried up.

DECEMBER

  • FOR: during the first half of the month it is still low season, with good weather and few people around.
  • AGAINST: the dates between Christmas and the New Year are the most expensive of all the year, and most places are crowded. The violent tropical storms are back in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). Beaches of Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Pantanal, Noronha (where rough seas have replaces the calm waters of the last few months), Lençóis Maranhenses.
March 22, 2007 | By More