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Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

Rochester, NY
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Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

All, I am planning a visit to Brazil at the end of Jan 09 / beginning of Feb 09. Long story short, here is my initial itinerary, which covers Manaus, Sao Paulo, and Rio. I will be posting this in the other city's forums as well, to get general advice.

Day 01 Sat, Jan 31 MIA to MAO

Day 02 Sun, Feb 1 Hotel/rest day in Manaus

Day 03 Mon, Feb 2 Amazon Riders Day 01

Day 04 Tue, Feb 3 Amazon Riders Day 02

Day 05 Wed, Feb 4 Amazon Riders Day 03

Day 06 Thu, Feb 5 Amazon Riders Day 04

Day 07 Fri, Feb 6 Hotel/rest day in Manaus

Day 08 Sat, Feb 7 Fly from Manaus to Sao Paulo

Day 09 Sun, Feb 8 Mercado Municipal; MASP; March st Market; Avienda Paulista; Liberdade area; Jardins area

Day 10 Mon, Feb 9 Nature Jeep Tour

Day 11 Tue, Feb 10 Fly from Sao Paulo to Rio

Day 12 Wed, Feb 11 Jardim Botanico; Corcovado mountain; Tijuca national park

Day 13 Thu, Feb 12 Copacabana beach; Sugar Loaf Mountain

Day 14 Fri, Feb 13 Ipanema beach and shops; Spa

Day 16 Sat, Feb 14 GIG to MIA

My questions:

1) Tourist VISA: where do i pick up a tourist VISA for my stay? If i book a United Airlines flight into Manaus, do i get the VISA through United ?

2) Internal flights: I need to fly from Manaus to Sao Paulo, and then from Sao Paulo to Rio. How do i decide whether to get the Brazil Airpass, or just book each individual flight? What is the best way for a US citizen to obtain the Airpass, OR make the individual flight reservations, using a US credit card ?

3) Vaccinations: I will be scheduling vaccinations for yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, and other necessary ones. Do i need to carry vaccination proof documents with me?

4) Language: i will be getting a pocket dictionary / list of common phrases to study well before leaving the US. Should this be enough to communicate in each city?

5) Itinerary recommendations? - - I know that my Sao Paulo and Rio schedules are "tight" .. but that's how i like to do things.. i'm much less of a "lounge on beach" person, and more of a "walk around the city from sunrise to sunset" and see everything i possibly can. My "rest" days and "beach stuff" are only in there because of the others who may join me on the trip. Any other must-see's, outside of the things i've listed above, which i gathered from TA forum posters? I generally prefer jungle/activity/nature things, instead of beach/resort/history things, in general.

Thanks in advance !!

-Josh

Rio
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1. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

1. You need to obtain a visa from the Brasilian consulate. Closest is probably in NYC. This will take time if done via mail so get on it. A visa service may be worth your while.

2. I think ( not at all sure) that a domestic air pass has to be bought when out of country. Have you researched this online? Once in Brasil you will have difficulty using any credit cards other than AMEX to buy flights.

3. You may need proof of yellow fever shot to go to places after you have been in the Amazon. Best to carry proof with you.

4. Yes, though English speakers may be somewhat more common in SP not many locals speak it in either Rio or Manaus so study well.

5. 2 days for Copa and Ipanema strolling may be 1 too many for someone not into beaches. You can probably combine both on Feb 12 and plan something else for Feb 13, perhaps a trip to the Paraiba fair located on the road to the airport.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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2. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

Manaus has 2 seasons, Hot & Wet and Hot & Humid. February is the Hot & Wet season which means LOTS OF RAIN. The saying "when it rains it really poors" must have been invented there.

If you're truly into nature, maybe the Pantanal is a better idea. Either together with the Amazon (skipping SP and part of Rio) or instead of the Amazon. The wildlife is much easier to spot.

Hamburg, Germany
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3. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

I have been to Manaus on a sunday recently and everything was cloes during the day and the streets were deserted. It was a national holiday too but maybe someone elso knows about sundays in manaus. I also think that one day is enough in Manaus.

Don't know about Sao Paulo on sundays as well, the city center might not the best place to be on a sunday.

Don't know about the visa, but I also purchased an airpass. I think the Tam Brazil Airpass already starts with 4 coupons of which you would only need 4. From Sao Paulo to Rio you can also consider the bus but if I were you, I would fly from Congonhas in Sao Paulo to Santos Dumont in Rio. Make sure you get a window seat and you're in for a treat at take-off and landing. Tickets are not very expensive and you will also pay less for transport from/to the airports when using taxis.

I had a yellow fever shot and stand-by medicine for malaria (Lariam) and some other ones including hepatitis a + b. I carried a proof and put it in my passport, but nobody really took a look at it. I have however heard of people being checked.

I did learn a little portuguese before going to Brazil, it helped a lot because only few people speak english (I actually met more people able to speak a little german) and people were always happy to see me trying to speak to them in their native tongue.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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4. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

Sunday is definately the "rest day" in Manaus. Everything, even most restaurants are closed. The (only) shopping opens in the afternoon and that is about it.

Personally I would not even stay the saturday in Manaus, if you get back from the Amazon Riders trip, try to get the red-eye to São Paulo.

Maybe I'm biased, I lived there for a year and hated the place.

Rochester, NY
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5. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

Darmanad, I will check into the Visa services, there seem to be many that do it. According to the embasy's web site, they do not accept applications via mail, unless going through a Visa service. Thanks for this heads up !

The Airpass must be purchased outside of Brazil, correct. Do you recommend getting an AMEX card prior to leaving for Brazil? Are Visa and Mastercard generally NOT accepted, and is AMEX generally accepted?

I will look into the Paraiba fair, thank you for this tip!

svencarioca: Is it rainy in Feb in Manaus to the point where most tours are cancelled, and would the experience be ruined by the level of rain ? I don't mind being wet the whole time, as long as the tours continue and it's warm out. What do you recommend ?

efp53: thank you for the tip on the Sunday activities, i didnt even think about that. I can shift my schedule a day or two so that my city activities occur on Fri or Sat.

I saw a web site that said: "Air passes are valid for flights between the brazilian airports served by the carrier to whom you buy the pass, except for shuttle flights between Congonhas airport (São Paulo) and Santos Dumont airport (Rio de Janeiro)." Did your Airpass work for the flight from Congohas to Santos Dumont ?

Thank you all for your help !!

6. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

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Hamburg, Germany
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7. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

No,

I had an airpass for my 4 other flights and bought the Rio - Sao Paulo flight from GOL. I think it was around 70 Euros.

I had a Master Card and it worked just fine whereever I used it and I used it quite often.

Brazil
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8. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

Amex, Mastercard and Visa are well accepted in Brazil.

Mercadão will be fine on a Sunday.Don´t know what you mean by "march market" but if it´s 25 de março street you can skip it and go to Pateo do Colégio instead.

some more options for SP:

www.fiquemaisumdia.com.br/home_en.php…

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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9. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

I've never been on a tour in Manaus, I lived there. rainfall in February can be tremendous with heavy winds.

Rochester, NY
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10. Re: Itinerary during 2-week Brazil visit

efp53, BrazilFamily4, and svencarioca, thank you all for your input. I was considering getting an American Express card for this trip, but it seems like i should be fine with a Visa or Mastercard .. i may get a Capital One card for the trip, so i can get one with no fees for international purchases (my Chase Visa card charges 3% of the USD amount, and AMEX charges 2% of the USD amount).

I was referring to the "25th of March street" .. i will check out Pateo do Colégio, as recommended, thank you for this tip ! Also, the web site posted is very informative .. thanks !

I am really debating whether to visit Manaus now, due to the rain comments. I want to do Brazil all in one two-week period, but I also want to make sure i visit Rio during the summer time .. while avoiding the tailspin of the Carnivale week at the end of Feb. Although that would be fun, i would rather avoid the crowds and higher hotel expenses.

I have spoken with two tour outfits who say that the rain is significantly more, but that they run tours all through the rainy season without issue. Of course, they are trying to sell me a tour, but are they lying to me that the rain will not be a complete ruiner of the trips into the rain forest ?

thank you all again !