Monday, June 28, 2010

Chronicles of Planning a Trip to South America: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After footing the initial cost, my girl friends and I were surprised to know how much it will cost to go on a trip to South America.  So we considered to explore South Africa instead and push our South American trip in 2014, in time for the world cup. The former will costs about $3,500, for 2 weeks, while the latter costs $5,000 for 3 weeks.  But on a per day basis, it's just about the same.   South Africa has been on our wish list for years while South America, popped out only recently.  However, after getting insights about South America, South Africa becomes less interesting.  At the end of the day, we have agreed to go for South America while we are still young and single and vow to live frugally in the next 9 months.  So I continue to google...

Sao Paulo is the capital of Brazil, but there is not much to see there but high rise corporate buildings.  If there's one place to visit in Brazil, it must be Rio de Janeiro.

A typical day tour in Rio de Janeiro would be:

  • to hit the beach early in Copacobana or Ipanema
  • Then head up to the Corcovado and see Rio laid out below you in all its glory including the largest art deco in the world, the Christ the Redeemer.
  • Stop in for a quick lunch at any of Rio’s countless kilo restaurants, 
  • then in the afternoon head to Centro to explore what you’ve seen from on high. 
  • Wander old Rio: check out the Uruguaiana shopping district, and countless baroque churches. 
  • Finish your walk with a nice cold chopp (beer) at a sidewalk cafe in Cinelândia,or in the countless patios in the Arcos do Teles. 
  • Have dinner backin the Zona Sul, at one of the top-notch restaurants in Leblon. 
  • If it’s a Saturday in pre-Carnaval season, go see a samba school rehearsal.
  • Or find a botequim or restaurant that plays music and enjoy Rio until the wee hours.
CURRENCY:  Real (U$1 = 1.77 Real)

WEATHER: Summer is December through March and winter June through September

Warning for Women:
Walking in the streets of La Rambla in Barcelona, partying in Florence, or even dining in Champs Elysees; we had our share of unwanted attention which can sometimes be a heart pounding experience.  So for this trip, we are hopeful to find some travel buddies of the opposite sex to come along.
Machismo is alive and well in Brazil, but it’s a kinder, gentler machismo than in other parts of Latin America. Single women and a few women traveling together will undoubtedly attract masculine attention. There are upsides to this. It’s usually fairly harmless and can sometimes lead to some fun conversations. Brazilian men, it seems, have an insurmountable urge to flirt. Perhaps because flirting is such a way of life, they take rejection well.  Brazilian women in groups of two or three often link arms or hold hands as a sign that they are not interested in male attention. Use common sense to avoid situations where you may find yourself alone with someone giving you unwanted attention. At night, taking taxis is safer than walking by yourself.

Most major airlines fly to Rio de Janeiro - Galeão Airport, sometimes with a stop or connection in São Paulo.

Rio’s second airport, Santos Dumont, Praça Senador Salgado Filho (& 021/3814-7070), is located downtown.

Taxis at Galeão are a challenge. Drivers will start to hassle you the minute you step through the sliding doors. The safe bet is to buy a prepaid fare at the Transcoopass desk in the arrivals hall (& 021/2560-4888; all major credit cards accepted). Rates range from R$58(US$29/£16) to Flamengo, and R$60 to R$70 (US$30–US$35/£16–£19) to the beach hotels of Copacabana and Ipanema. Prepaid taxis are about 40% more expensive, but give you peace of mind; it doesn’t matter if you get stuck in traffic or the driver takes the long route. On the other hand, if you know what you’re doing (or can bluff ), you can cut those prices significantly just by hailing a regular taxi out front of the terminal. A ride to Copacabana should cost about R$40 (US$20/£11) in average traffic conditions.

Realtur/Reitur Turismo (& 0800/240-850) runs an airport bus service to the tourist areas along the beaches of Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Barra da Tijuca. From 5:30am to 11pm a bus departs every 30 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour to make the full trip from the airport to Barra. R$6 (US$3/£1.60) per person. Note that it only stops on the beach avenue. Check with your hotel to see if it’s within walking distance of the bus stop.

Genernal Information:
Open Hours:
Ticket Booth Opens 8:00 AM and Closes 7:50 PM
Last Ride from Station I to Station II:  8:00 PM
Prices :
Adults – R$ 44,00
Children ( 6 years to 12 )  - R$ 22,00
Below 6  - Free
Payment :  CC – Visa  / Mastercard / Diners – No checks
Tickets are only valid for the day of purchase.


fairfieldhotelohi said...

This is my first time I have visited your site. I found a lot of interesting information in your blog. From the volume of comments on your posts, I guess I am not the only one! keep up the good work.

freeze said...

thanks fairfieldhotelohi, keep coming.

nina said...

Good luck! Kayang kaya yan! :D

freeze said...

thanks! i need that Nina :D

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