2-week Highlights of Brazil Tour

My 2-week Highlights of Brazil tour

Last summer, I went to Brazil for two weeks. I wanted to see as much as possible of this great country, while focusing on the most emblematic places. So I started to read a lot about the sites to visit and I selected 5 destination points that I could visit in 14 days: Recife, Salvador da Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande and Iguazú.

It is very easy to get around by plane between the big cities of Brazil. I was a little apprehensive about internal flights and their punctuality (because I was going to have to take 4 domestic flights anyway!) But everything went very well and I luckily had no delays. I booked internal flights with Brazilian airlines Azul, Gol and LATAM, comparing prices on Skyscanner. In each Brazilian city, it is very easy and economical to get around thanks to the Uber mobile application. It is the safest and most efficient form of transportation. In terms of security, which was my main concern, I can say that you can visit Brazil without encountering any particular problems if you stay in tourist areas and if you behave in a reasoned and logical manner (without taking out your big tickets, your Rayban sunglasses, your latest iphone or your last camera – which can be a little frustrating for photos and selfies lovers).

2-week Highlights of Brazil map
Here is a map of my trip to Brazil that I made in 2 weeks.

1. Recife

I arrived from Madrid to Recife on an Air Europa flight of around 8 hours. I decided to include Recife in my travel itinerary because I wanted to see Olinda, a magnificent colonial city from the 16th century classified by Unesco, but also to visit the city center of Recife (notably the place of Marco Zero and its festivities) and enjoy a bit of the beach. It should be noted that I traveled to Brazil from late August to early September and since Brazil is in the southern hemisphere, I was in late winter. Recife is located near the equator, so it is possible to swim there all year round, while paying attention to sharks in certain beaches.

Olinda

Olinda is one of the oldest cities in Brazil (1535). Its historic center has many multicolored colonial buildings.

Porto de Galinhas

Located an hour’s drive south of Recife, this small seaside town of Pernambuco boasts magnificent beaches and natural pools where you can see multicolored fish.

Where to sleep in Recife?

I decided to stay three nights in the Boa Viagem district of Recife, along an urban beach of 7km, where I could enjoy a very good gastronomy, large shopping centers, dance clubs and public parks. I slept at the Anahi Hotel, very close to Recife Airport and the beach and offering the perfect balance between comfort and style. If you forgot to take a few things with you in your suitcase, the Rec Store clothing store will fix that.

2. Salvador da Bahia

From Recife, it is very easy to get to Salvador da Bahia on a 1.5 hour flight only. The city center of Salvador is splendid and authentic and contains a spectacular colonial architecture. It is possible to walk there day and night completely safely. In the evening, the historic district of Salvador hosts a lively and very traditional nightlife with Afro-Brazilian music in particular. Tuesday is the busiest day.

Where to sleep in Salvador da Bahia?

I stayed for two nights at the Wish da Bahia hotel, a magnificent 5-star hotel that reveals all its sophistication, whose original design, from the 1950s, was considered a benchmark in Brazilian modernist architecture. The hotel offers, in addition to a gourmet restaurant, a spa, as well as a fitness and recreation room.

3. Rio de Janeiro

A short 2 hour flight separates Salvador from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. I literally felt in love with this incredible city. I only stayed 3 nights in Rio but I recommend staying there for at least 4 nights as there is a lot to see and experience. Here are the main places I recommend visiting: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches (especially at sunset), Lage park, visiting a favela (like Rocinha’s) and the district Santa Teresa. Outside the city center, there are several spectacular points of view, such as Pedra do telégrafo or Mirador do Morro Dois Irmãos (access by the favela Vidigal by motorbike taxi to Vila Olímpica do Vidigal if you want to access to the path, getting there is not easy but the view is really worth it).

Another spectacular way to see Rio is to admire it from the sky with a helicopter tour. For my part, I experienced a half-hour flight operated by Rio2Fly from Recreio dos Bandeirantes to Christ the Redeemer, via Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana and it was probably the best tourist experience that I’ve had in my life.

Where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro?

I had a wonderful stay at the Novotel RJ Botafogo hotel which enjoys a lively nightlife, as well as splendid views of the Sugarloaf Mountain. The hotel is a short walk from the metro, 10 km from Christ the Redeemer and 15 minutes from Santos Dumont Airport, Copacabana and Ipanema. There is a sauna, a jacuzzi, a fitness center, a restaurant, as well as an excellent WIFI.

4. Ilha Grande

From Rio, I left for Ilha Grande thanks to the transport company Calytour, for a journey of around 3 hours. Ilha Grande is the perfect place to rest, enjoy the beach, take a boat trip or hike. It is home to paradisiacal beaches with crystal clear waters and the ideal temperature for swimming throughout the year.

Where to sleep in Ilha Grande?

I stayed three nights at the Asalem Hotel, located directly on the spectacular bay of Abraäo. The proximity to the ocean provides an intimate connection with marine species such as starfish, crustaceans and turtles. The surrounding forest is home to monkeys, squirrels, fireflies, blue butterflies and a wide variety of exotic tropical birds. The food is exquisite, fresh and locally produced. The atmosphere is authentic, calm and wonderful at the same time.

5. Iguazú

From Ilha Grande, I had to return to Rio airport to catch my plane to Iguazú. This is the last step of my trip but not the least because it is the visit of the Iguazú Falls. The visit of the falls can be done in two ways: either on the Brazilian side (allow about 2 hours of visit), it is a frontal view of the falls, or on the Argentinian side, where we are literally “in” the falls of water and it takes no less than 6 hours to see everything.

Ideally, I would have liked to visit both sides but having only one day available, I decided to focus on the Argentinian side which offers more to see than the Brazilian side.

My visit to the Iguazú Falls was unforgettable. It is a veritable set of waterfalls of incredible strength and dizzying dimensions. In addition, the visit is punctuated by an encounter with wild fauna (monkeys, coatis, exotic birds, or even a small crocodile (a yacaré) that I encountered on the roadside!) Which makes it a complete and unique experience.

After visiting the falls, I had a typical Argentinian lunch: the parrilla argentina and a dulce de leche for dessert, a real treat!

Where to sleep in Iguazú?

If you too decide to sleep on the Argentinian side, you will therefore stay in Puerto Iguazú. For my part, I decided to stay at the Mercure hotel in Iguazú, which blends in perfectly with its surroundings and has spacious and comfortable rooms in the very heart of the Iryapú jungle, just 20 minutes from Puerto Iguazú International Airport. The hotel has a large outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a restaurant and a wellness center.

After my visit to Iguazú ended, I returned to Recife to resume my return flight to Madrid. I can honestly say that I was amazed by each of the places I chose for my tour of the most beautiful places in Brazil. Brazil is a huge country, made up of immeasurable natural, cultural and human wealth. The diversity of its landscapes makes it a unique country to see at least once in your life. The only downsides that I could bring are: on the one hand, I couldn’t feel completely peaceful and secure, and on the other hand, the food is often repetitive. Apart from these few details, I strongly invite you to discover Brazil for yourself!

24 Responses
  1. Helge Haugland

    Hey my friend Anthony,i like your blog very much and all your great pic`s bro 🙂
    One of my brothers live and work near Rio Brazil.
    Hope you are safe from this Corona virus?And l look forward to hear from you my friend 😀

    Best regards from Norway.
    Helge Haugland.

  2. George Keen

    Anthony, Very informative blog post and some very beautiful pictures. It would be difficult to take all those pictures yourself, so I hope you all enjoyed the trip. You do a fantastic job between all the facets of your occupation. Thank you for sharing this today.

    I have not been to that portion of Brazil. All of my visits has started from San Paulo and reached out from there, so I enjoyed seeing more of Basil from your blog.

  3. Hi Anthony,

    I enjoyed seeing your journal from you trip to Brazil. I have been there several times and it is easily one of my favorite countries in the world where I have been.

    I hope you enjoyed meeting the natives who inhabit this amazing country.

    Take care.

    Kelley

  4. Mysti Ambrosía

    The trip looks so beautiful. I always want to go to Brazil and Argentina but my boyfriend wants wants Argentina but not Brazil. Thanks for the beautiful blog and great information. Maybe now he will change his mind and go to both. My downside would not only be not taking photos on my phone but also not being able to go to the less tourist places if it is not safe to do so. I love going to local places to get more cultural feel and taste of the food. Thanks for your blog.

    1. Anthony Lorca

      Thank you Mysti. Rio is the safest city in Brazil are you will be able to take pictures and even explore the surroundings without any problem. Salvador is quite safe too.

  5. Kari Antero Rinne

    Hey Anthony!

    Thank you for sharing your trip to Brazil with us. After reading this blog post i really want to visit Brazil too.

    Have a nice Sunday and hope to read new posts from you very soon
    Yours
    Kari

  6. Antonio

    Good blog! But there was soooo much more to see. Pity you only stayed 2 weeks. Notheast of Brazil has so many more places to visit. But u did very well. Next time you stay longer. And I can tell u incredible places to visit.
    Born in Riode janeiro, but live in london
    Best
    Antonio

    1. Anthony Lorca

      Thanks Antonio! There is a lot to see in Brazil indeed and I had only 2 weeks of holiday so I decided to visit only the most important places. However, I hope to come back for more! Take care

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