Beautiful trip of northeastern Brazil
Jul 28 - Aug 9, 2023
Beautiful trip to see some of the northeastern parts of Brazil. Among the highlights were spending the afternoon in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and swimming in the lagoons; one of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders we've seen. Also spectacular was watching the sunset congregation of thousands of red guarás in the Delta Do Parnaíba.
Our guide in Salvador, Bruno, was particularly informative about the realities of Brazilian life and history and Pedro, our guide in Parnaíba, was playful and entertaining, helping us with our poor Portuguese pronunciation and creating a playlist for us of Brazilian music.
There were a few minor hiccups along the way but Rachel was able to make adjustments and provided a couple extras to ensure we had a trip smooth.
Easily the best place we stayed in Brazil. Lovely rooms with great use of space. Breakfast buffet was excellent and relaxing. If you stay in main hotel area closer to the entrance I'd recommend a 2nd-floor room as the nice wooden floors tend to create a lot of noise.
Very nice hotel with especially good breakfast buffet in Copacabana and right on the beach. This is more of a large corporate hotel and doesn't really have a lot of character but the staff was friendly and the room very comfortable. The beach view didn't hurt either. It's about a 20 minute walk to neighboring Ipanema where most of the nicer shops and restaurants are and, if I were to do this trip again, would prefer to stay in that area (though there are fewer hotels there).
The Hotel Villa Bahia in Salvador was a beautiful place. It's located right in the old part of town among the colonial buildings, which gave it a unique charm. The rooms and the building were gorgeous and the staff was very helpful. However, it was a bit of a ghost town due to the time of year we visited, which detracted from the overall experience.
This was a quick overnight so it was more of a short stay than an experience. It's a corporate-type building and we didn't spend much time there. Though the service was great, I can't give much feedback on the overall environment or amenities.
The resort was quite nice. We didn't have any issues during our stay. The environment was pleasant and the service was up to the mark
The Casa de Santo Antônio Hotel de Charme in Parnaíba was a beautiful hotel. It's a converted hospital and school which added to its charm. We only stayed for a night so didn't get to fully experience it, but from what we saw, it was lovely.
Unique visit into a favela and hike to top of prominent peak overlooking Rio. To start we rode on the backs of motorcycles to get to the top of the favela, where the hike started, and then walked through it on the way down. This is not an easy hike. It's not particularly dangerous but there are some somewhat steep areas and it can take a good hour to get to the top. Bring plenty of water, especially on a hot day, and decent shoes (no flip-flops).
Beautiful trip through the delta on a speedboat to see a variety of birds and crabs. Culminates at sunset with a spectacular congregation of red guarás on a small island. Driving back through delta in near total darkness was oddly calming (if a bit scary). Boat driver was excellent.
Bumpy long ride to get to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park but, wow, so worth it. Stunning initial views of endless white dunes with blue lagoons nestled in between. You can easily find your own private swimming areas and wander into the sand.
We had a full-day tour in Old Rio which was overall interesting. However, there were moments when the tour guide was following us a bit too closely, especially in the shopping areas. It would have been more comfortable to have some space to explore on our own.
We did some sightseeing in Salvador which was quite enjoyable. The city is beautiful and has a lot to offer.
This tour was slightly repetitive, especially after the national park tour. It was a bit less interesting. It would have been nice to have some time to explore on our own.