A Travellerspoint blog

January 2009

Rio de Janeiro, 18 - 22 January 2009

Just 4 hours up the coast by bus from Paraty, then a surprisingly very easy shuttle bus connection from the Rodoviario (bus station) right across town to Ipanema. Only problem, as always in Brazil, is getting through the turnstyles on the local buses with rucksacks on!

Not at all easy to find our nornal level of accommoation in Ipanema - nothing cheap or middle priced after quite a search so had to go up market a bit. Still, very well situated, very comfortable and even a view (in the distance) of the Christ the Redeemer statue from our bedroom window! Headed down to Ipanema Beach for an early evening walk. Impressive beach and setting, and masses of people.

Happily we visited the Christ the Redeemer statue and the Sugar Loaf mountain over the next couple of days when the weather was pretty good. Both are essential visits. In the afternoons we checked out the Leblon beach (just along from Ipanema) and Copacabana. Copacabana was on a public holiday and was absolutely heaving with people. Not our idea of a beach to sunbath or swim on, but quite an attraction to visit! (Copacabana itself, behind the beach, is certainly not as pleasant a place to stay as Ipanema).

On the last two days the weather deteriorated. We checked out central Rio - not an endearing place! ... looked round for some interest without much success and finally decided to catch a rustic tram up to Santa Teresa district. (Cheapest ride we had in South America - just €0.20). As we set off the weather looked menacing and it started to chuck it down! As the sides of the tram were completely open and the roof leaked in lots of places the passengers got a soaking. We did not bother get get off at the end as it was still a deluge, the front of the tram got hit by lightning (bit of a fright for the driver!) and finally the driver decided that the brakes weren't working well enough so we had to get off ... caught ordinary buses back to Ipanema!

Pottered around the last day and in the evening finally caught the (quiet and comfortable) bus which runs along the beach fronts, then into central Rio and via the bus station and domestic airport to the international airport. (Very handy and cheap, runs about every half hour and takes an hour or so). Would have been better to eat before going to the airport rather than at the airport!

Well, the weather was not brilliant right at the end but overall in 4 months we had had practically no rain at all. Over the whole trip we have been very lucky as, apart from the odd minor hassle you are certain to experience, everything has gone really well and the trip has been wonderful.

Ipanema Sunday evening 1

Ipanema Sunday evening 1


Ipanema Sunday evening 2

Ipanema Sunday evening 2


Ipanema Sunday evening 3

Ipanema Sunday evening 3


Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 1

Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 1


Corcovado - View of Rio to Sugar Loaf (top left)

Corcovado - View of Rio to Sugar Loaf (top left)


Corcovado - View of Lagao and Ipanema (by sea)

Corcovado - View of Lagao and Ipanema (by sea)


Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 2

Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 2


Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 3

Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer 3


Copacabana - Pulbic Holiday 1

Copacabana - Pulbic Holiday 1


Copacabana - Stall

Copacabana - Stall


Copacabana - Pulbic Holiday 2

Copacabana - Pulbic Holiday 2


Copacabana - Collecting Cans for recycling fee!

Copacabana - Collecting Cans for recycling fee!


Copacabana - Quiet day!

Copacabana - Quiet day!


Leblon/Ipanema 1

Leblon/Ipanema 1


Leblon/Ipanema 2

Leblon/Ipanema 2


Leblon/Ipanema - The Law!

Leblon/Ipanema - The Law!


Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf Mountain


Sugar Loaf Mountain 2

Sugar Loaf Mountain 2


Sugar Loaf Mountain - View

Sugar Loaf Mountain - View


Sugar Loaf Mountain - View to Copacabana

Sugar Loaf Mountain - View to Copacabana


Sugar Loaf 3

Sugar Loaf 3

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Paraty, 12 - 17 January 2009

Another overnight bus leaving at just after midnight from Curitiba, getting into the very large bus terminal in Sao Paulo at 07h00. Very comfortable. (Not the first time we have been to Sao Paulo this trip - the plane from LHR to Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of the trip stopped there!). We hoped not to have to hang around too long for a bus on to Paraty and were lucky as we got on one at 08h30. Another 6 hours through verdant countryside dropping down to and loosely following the coast for the second half. Very pretty.

Paraty is a lovely spot but very busy as its holiday time with loads of Brazilian tourists. Lucky to get a decent room after a bit of a search. Just one problem in town ... they had a flood a couple of days before we arrived and there seems to be no water supply for much of the town! They seem to be getting round this by having water delivered by lorries, although it has meant that supplies of water to our room are on sometimes, off others!

We thought we should have a short holiday (!) before the end of our South American trip, and this is an ideal spot. Very pleasant town with colonial architecture, lots of pleasant places to eat and drink, lovely beaches not far away (accessed by bus or boat), port area with schooners and barques doing trips to beaches round the bay, etc. Lovely to get back to fish and lots of fruit after many weeks of mainly meat and potato based meals ... (Superb prawn and fish in sauces).

Had plenty of time: at various beaches, on a schooner trip stopping at beaches only accessed by boat and at other spots where you just dived into the clear blue/green waters, ambling round the old town and pier area, eating seafood every night, caipirinhas at one or the other bars next to the square, and even a bus up into the countryside to check out a waterfall and a cachaça distillery nearby. Definitely was holiday time!

Must go back again one day.

Paraty1

Paraty1


Paraty10

Paraty10


Paraty11

Paraty11


Paraty7

Paraty7


Paraty2

Paraty2


Paraty3

Paraty3


Paraty4

Paraty4


Paraty5

Paraty5


Paraty6

Paraty6


Paraty8

Paraty8


Paraty9

Paraty9


Paraty Caipirinha

Paraty Caipirinha


Trindade1

Trindade1


Trindade2

Trindade2


Sao Gonçalo Beach 2

Sao Gonçalo Beach 2


Schooner Trip 3

Schooner Trip 3


Schooner Trip 1

Schooner Trip 1


Schooner Trip 4

Schooner Trip 4


Schooner Trip 2

Schooner Trip 2


Trindade3

Trindade3


Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 1

Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 1


Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 2

Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 2


Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 3

Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 3


Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 4

Inland - Waterfall and Cachaça Trip 4

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Curitiba, 10 - 11 January 2009

You cannot stay in exotic places all the time! ... ... Its a very long way from Iguazu to the coast at Paraty, where we are hoping to have our penultimate stop before Rio. So, we opted for a quick stop at Curitiba, which is capital of the state of Parana.

This was 9 hours on a very comfortable overnight bus from Foz do Iguaçu. This is over the border in Brazil which meant ... bus from where we were staying in Puerto Iguaza to the border, hop off the bus at the Argentine border, with rucksacks etc, for stamp out of Argentina, bus waits ... then off the bus at the Brazilian border for stamps into Brazil, bus does not wait ... catch next bus into Foz do Iguaçu, then get final bus out to the Long Distance Bus Terminal (a long way out of town). Quite a trek!

We have had a night in a hotel here and are leaving tonight at around midnight for an overnight bus to Sao Paulo, where we need to get another bus for the remainng 300km to Paraty!

Curitiba has been quite a pleasant spot for a couple of days. The historic area is good for a stroll, a drink, a meal, and a very large Sunday Craft Market. Downtown (Rua das Flores) is pedestrianised, and practically all the paving in town is done in mosaic of small stones (pretty, if not wonderful to walk on in flipflops!), and there are sights to see on the outskirts of town for those who want to take a tourist bus.

We decided to try to get to one of these sights, the Oscar Neimeyer Museum building (see photo), on public transport ... we were sent to four different bus stops before we caught something in vaguely the right direction from one of those wonderful bus shelters ... walked back! Of course, our lack of Portuguese does not help.

Coming back into Brazil reminds us how good the breakfasts are, usually included in the room price, in contrast with the rest of S America where its usually a simple continental breakfast. This morning - fruit (melon, water melon, pineapple, papaya, orange, banana), eggs and hot sausages, cereals, cakes, ham, mortadella, cheese, various fresh fruit juices, and other goodies ... Shame most of the main meals tend to be meat + rice + chips (yes, rice plus chips) !

Curitiba - Historic area 1

Curitiba - Historic area 1


Curitiba - Historic area 2

Curitiba - Historic area 2


Curitiba - Historic area 3

Curitiba - Historic area 3


Curitiba - Historic area 4

Curitiba - Historic area 4


Curitiba - Historic area 5

Curitiba - Historic area 5


Curitiba - Downtown1

Curitiba - Downtown1


Curitiba - Downtown2

Curitiba - Downtown2


Curitiba - Downtown 3

Curitiba - Downtown 3


Curitiba - Downtown Bus Stops !

Curitiba - Downtown Bus Stops !


Curitiba - Downtown 4

Curitiba - Downtown 4


Curitiba - Downtown 5

Curitiba - Downtown 5


Curitiba - Downtown 6

Curitiba - Downtown 6


Curitiba - Museo Oscar Niemeyer

Curitiba - Museo Oscar Niemeyer


Curitiba - Historic area with resto

Curitiba - Historic area with resto


Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 1

Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 1


Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 2

Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 2


Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 3

Curitiba - Historic area - Sunday market 3

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Iguazu Falls, 6 - 9 January 2009

19 hours by bus from Buenos Aires - not the most confortable bus journey in South America! ... Too hot during the day, too cold at night, not a lot of leg room. Still, arrived around 10h00 in the morning, not far to walk to the hotel and into room quickly.

Puerto Iguazu is a very pleasant small town on a nice scale, with hotels, restaurants handily located not far from the bus terminal - whereas Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil is a big city ... So, unless on a tour with pre-arranged accommodation, etc., we think it is much better to stay in Puerto Iguazu on the Argentinian side and spend a day each at the falls from both countries from there.

The falls, and surrounding vegitation, are absolutely magnificent, and are not to be missed.

Best to see the Brasilian side first. The numbers passing through are much larger than in Argentina, a fleet of double decker air con buses take the tourists from the entrance to the trail and back ... Its two to three hours to do the trail, generally packed with people, which gives the best panorama from a distance of the whole falls, then the trail just gets nearer, and nearer, ... until right next to the falls, or on a platform in the middle of the river right in in front of the falls (so everyone gets a soaking from the spray) on the Brazilian side. (A falls in a nutshell experience - wonderful though).

The Argentinian side is much more extensive, requires a (long) full day to do the various trails around the falls area. Its quieter, one is much more in the tropical forest (with more opportunities to experience the nature), and there are a multitude of views of the falls. There is a open carriage train which potters to a couple of strategic spots in the park. Then, there are 3 principle trails, 2 above the falls and one below, each giving completely different aspects, scenery, etc. You can even cross by (free) boat to an island in the middle of the river below the falls with small beach and further superb views of the falls. We also had an Eco boat ride (rather less of a thrill than the boat which goes right up under the falls!) but it was really nice to glide/be paddled down the river. above the falls. through different sceneries. We were very lucky when passing through a stretch covered by trees to meet up with a troupe of around 20 Cappuchin monkeys, who we watched playing noisily in the trees around us. Met up with quite a lot of other wildlife during the day too - with lots of Iguanas and Coatis.

As well as the falls, a pleasant walk of an hour or so can be had from the centre of Puerto Iguazu to the join of the Iguazu and Parana rivers (separating Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina), then returning along the banks of the Iguazu river to the small port (with nice bar under the trees), then uphill back into town.

Iguaçu Brasil 12 - Upriver

Iguaçu Brasil 12 - Upriver


Iguaçu Brasil Panorama of all falls

Iguaçu Brasil Panorama of all falls


Iguaçu Brasil 1

Iguaçu Brasil 1


Iguaçu Brasil 2

Iguaçu Brasil 2


Iguaçu Brasil 3

Iguaçu Brasil 3


Iguaçu Brasil 4

Iguaçu Brasil 4


Iguaçu Brasil 5

Iguaçu Brasil 5


Iguaçu Brasil 6

Iguaçu Brasil 6


Iguaçu Brasil 8

Iguaçu Brasil 8


Iguaçu Brasil 9

Iguaçu Brasil 9


Iguaçu Brasil 10

Iguaçu Brasil 10


Iguaçu Brasil 11

Iguaçu Brasil 11


Iguaçu Brasil 12

Iguaçu Brasil 12


Iguaçu Brasil 13

Iguaçu Brasil 13


Iguaçu Brasil 14

Iguaçu Brasil 14


Puerto Iguazu town

Puerto Iguazu town


Puerto Iguazu "port" bar

Puerto Iguazu "port" bar


Rivers Pirana/Iguazu - Paraguay, Brazil, Arg

Rivers Pirana/Iguazu - Paraguay, Brazil, Arg


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 1

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 1


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 2

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 2


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 3

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife 3


Iguazu Argentina by Devil's Throat

Iguazu Argentina by Devil's Throat


Iguazu Argentina Devil's Throat

Iguazu Argentina Devil's Throat


Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip 1

Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip 1


Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip 2

Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip 2


Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 1

Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 1


Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 2

Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 2


Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 3

Iguazu Argentina EcoTrip Cappuchin Monkeys 3


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 1

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 1


Iguazu Argentina Excitement for those who like it!

Iguazu Argentina Excitement for those who like it!


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 2

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 2


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 3

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 3


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 4

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 4


Iguazu Argentina San Martin Island Viewpoint

Iguazu Argentina San Martin Island Viewpoint


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 7

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 7


Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 6

Iguazu Argentina Lower Trail 6


Iguazu Argentina San Martin Island Beach

Iguazu Argentina San Martin Island Beach


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife Butterfly

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife Butterfly


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife Iguana

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife Iguana


Iguazu Argentina Wildlife - Coatis

Iguazu Argentina Wildlife - Coatis


Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail view

Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail view


Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail 1

Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail 1


Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail 2

Iguazu Argentina Upper Trail 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires (Part 2), 2 - 5 January 2009

Early start for taxi to catch 07h45 bus from Montevideo to Colonia to pick up the fast ferry to Buenos Aires, then taxi to hotel and we were there for lunchtime.

Good job we had had booked in advance as hotels were full - we did not know until we checked in but the Dakar Rallye was in town !! It is being held in South America for its first time outside Africa. It starts and finishes in BA, with a 9500 km circuit around Argentina and Chile ... over 500 vehicles ... and, as it was the day before the start, they held a big parade for the vehicles around town in front of big crowds. This all passed right in front of our hotel - so we were able to watch from a balcony on the first floor. In fact, things got pretty blocked up in front of us because, shortly after passing by us, the vehicles went from an area protected by barriers to one where they got mixed up with the crowds, normal traffic trying to cross the street at the crossroads, etc ... chaotic but great atmosphere with the crowd.

We were here for 3 nights on the second visit which gave us time to visit the other interesting barrios (districts) which we did not get to first time, and to check out the sites on Avenida de Mayo again. Av de Mayo was where we were staying - and is a great area with loads of hotels, hostels, streetside cafes shaded by trees, restaurants, ... .. plus, at both ends there are major squares and buildings.

Recoleta is a pleasant and affluent district with an amazing cemetery (which looks like a miniature city) and is visited by the tourist masses (who all of course head for Evita Peron's family mausoleum), an extensive weekend artisan market, shopping malls, and lots of cafes (including a cafe/brewery - Buller, with 6 different ales to try!).

San Telmo was good fun on the Sunday - packed with people for the antique market. On the way there we had to pass the classic Cafe Tortoni where, for once, there was no queue to get in. Nice spot for a coffee. In the evening we were back there for an excellent Tango show in the intimate atmosphere of a special back room. (Drinks prices very reasonable for somewhere so busy with tourists ...).

BA - Ave de Mayo - Street cafe

BA - Ave de Mayo - Street cafe


BA - Ave de Mayo - Palacio del Congress

BA - Ave de Mayo - Palacio del Congress


BA - Plaza de Mayo

BA - Plaza de Mayo


BA - Plaza de Mayo - Presidential Palace

BA - Plaza de Mayo - Presidential Palace


BA - Presidential Palace - Evita Peron was here!

BA - Presidential Palace - Evita Peron was here!


Dakar Parade

Dakar Parade


Dakar Parade - Bike

Dakar Parade - Bike


Dakar Parade - Crowd

Dakar Parade - Crowd


Dakar Parade - Cars

Dakar Parade - Cars


Recoleta District

Recoleta District


Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery


Recoleta District - Cemetery

Recoleta District - Cemetery


Recoleta Cemetery - Evita's family's mauseleum

Recoleta Cemetery - Evita's family's mauseleum


Recoleta District - Giant flower statue 1

Recoleta District - Giant flower statue 1


Recoleta District - Giant flower statue 2

Recoleta District - Giant flower statue 2


Recoleta District - Park and weekend market

Recoleta District - Park and weekend market


SanTelmo - Sunday market 1

SanTelmo - Sunday market 1


SanTelmo - Sunday market 2

SanTelmo - Sunday market 2


SanTelmo - Sunday market 3

SanTelmo - Sunday market 3


SanTelmo - Sunday market 4

SanTelmo - Sunday market 4


Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 1

Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 1


Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 2

Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 2


Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 3

Cafe Tortoni - Coffee Time 3


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Time

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Time


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 1

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 1


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 2

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 2


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 3

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 3


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 4

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 4


Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 5

Cafe Tortoni - Tango Show 5


BA - Tango shoe shop !

BA - Tango shoe shop !

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)