Tuesday, April 30, 2013

♥ Coffee Love ♥

Brazil is by far the world's largest coffee exporter, so you can bet our coffee is great!

I know you will have a chance to try some in your hotel, but when you are out there enjoy sitting in our coffee shops to appreciate this awesome beverage. If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, don’t worry, the bakeries (padarias) are perfect places to enjoy an excellent breakfast and brunch.

Café Colonial Bela Vista - Gramado RS
Café Colonial: This is a German tradition brought to Brazil that became very popular over the years. In the afternoon the table is set with a large variety of bread, cakes, pies, waffles, coffee, fruits, yogurt, jam, cheese and so on. I highly recommend!

By Marcelo Cabral
Brazilian coffee is stronger and darker than Colombian, the most common methods of preparing it is: boiling, filtering or pressure (espresso).

Here the coffee is served black in a small cup, what we call cafezinho. If you want coffee and milk, large, you better specify it all. You can even speak in the italian way: capuccino, machiatto... but the Brazilian version of cappuccino has cocoa in it.
\It is not usual to add cream to the coffee here, as well as drinking flavored coffee but you can always ask. Some places have hazelnut, vanilla, chocolate flavored coffee.

For those who like brands, here are some franchises you will find:
  • Café do Ponto: located in almost every host city, you can also buy their ground coffee and take home with you.
  • Casa do Pão de Queijo: besides regular coffee you will also find flavored coffee. Don't forget to order the traditional pão de queijo (cheese bread) or any of their pastries.
  • Amor aos Pedaços: when you order a coffee it comes with a delicious brigadeiro, a Brazilian candy made of condensed milk and chocolate, very commonly made for birthday parties. They also make many kinds of pastries and cake.
  • Kopenhagen: they are specialized in chocolate, there are more than 300 stores in the country. Take your time, enjoy your coffee and buy chocolate to the loved ones.

*There are Starbucks in Rio and São Paulo as well, usually they are located in malls, and they have free Wi-Fi.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Host Cities and Stadiums

On today’s post I will give you some basic information about the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Here is a list of the host cities, the state where they are located and the name of the stadium where the games will take place. Later on I will list the first games in each stadium so you can start planning the trip of a lifetime. The event will take place from June 12th to July 13th, 2014. Some cities will also host the Confederations Cup from June 15th to 30th, 2013.
There will be 12 host cities where you can watch the games:

Manaus (Amazonas)
Arena Amazonia
An urban place in the middle of the jungle, Manaus has over 2 milion inhabitants. This city is located right where the rivers Negro and Solimões meet forming a beautiful sight; the brown muddy water of Solimões meet the black waters of Negro without mixing. The picture shows the beautiful Teatro Amazonas, that houses the annual Amazonas Opera and Jazz Festival. When visiting Manaus have in mind visiting the rainforest, going fishing, and buying crafts from the natives. 
Cuiabá (Mato Grosso) 
Arena Pantanal
Cuiabá is located right in the center of South America; 2,000 miles from either coast. It is surrounded by three ecosystems: Pantanal, Cerrado and Amazon. The picture shows the Chapada dos Guimarães, a national park and archeological site, a must-see. The stadium Arena Pantanal was specially built for this World Cup and sustainability has been a major consideration, the stadium earned the nickname "The Big Green".

Brasilia (Federal District) 
Estádio Nacional
Welcome to Brazil's capital! Before landing, look from above and you will see something curious, Brasilia, built in 1960, has the shape of an airplane. We could say that Brasilia is an outdoor gallery; if you like contemporary architecture, have your camera ready, this city achieved UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to  the architects Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa, Burle Marx and Athos Bulcão. Some of the must-sees are: Praça dos Tres Poderes, Palacio do Planalto and the Metropolitana Cathedral. 

Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul)
Estádio Beira-Rio
Porto Alegre is different from everything you have heard about this tropical country, the city was the main destination of immigrants coming from Portugal, Italy, Germany and Poland. Besides that, the state of Rio Grande do Sul is border with Uruguay and Argentina. When you arrive here in June and July it will be cold, so you can enjoy the restaurants, good wine and the typical churrasco gaúcho, well known world-wide. I will also suggest few other places where you should go, such as a winery tour in Bento Gonçalves. And the charming cities of Canela and Gramado.

Curitiba (Paraná) 
Arena da Baixada
This modern city has one the best welfare and quality life of the country. The picture on the side shows the Botanical Garden, a place you can't miss. In June and July the city tends to be chilly, perfect to visit the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, enjoy nice restaurants and stop at Café do Paço for a hot chocolate. You can also spend a day in a train tour in through Serra do Mar. The Arena da Baixadhas been considered one of the most modern and best-appointed stadiums in Brazil.

Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) 
Estádio Mineirão
Known as "Bay-Agah,"(BH in Portuguese), this city is the capital of Minas Gerais. Has over 2.3 million residents and a careful urban planning. Take time to enjoy the city like a local, make a stop for an espresso with pão de queijo (typical cheese bread) and head to Mercado Central. There you can buy everything, there are over 450 tents where you should test your bargain skills!  The stadium Mineirão is ready and beautiful to host 3 games during the Confederations Cup and 6 games during the World Cup.

Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro)
Blog Marcelo D2
Rio is the city that gets the most hype. Maybe it's because it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, maybe it is because of the carnival, or because of the Maracanã, the beautiful bodies, the Girl from Ipanema... oh, Rio... so much to see, so much to do... you know what, let me prepare a special post about this Marvelous City and I will tell you everything about it! Grab your coconut milk and enjoy!
Click here to know about hospitality, restaurants...

São Paulo (São Paulo)
Arena de São Paulo
Getty Images
This is one of the largest cities in the world and one of the most populated, with over 11 million residents. São Paulo attract basically the business tourism and is the most ethnical diverse city in Brazil. Here you find almost everything, I mean, you won't find beaches. But the best museums, restaurants, night life you find here. São Paulo is modern, luxurious, rich, cosmopolitan, and unique. But plan your trip before arriving here. I will help you!

Salvador (Bahia)
Arena Fonte Nova
The locals say Salvador is a synonymous of joy, happiness, proud and, magic. This was the first urban area set in Brazil by the Portuguese and became the main pole for slave trade in South America. You will witness a strong African influence in the culture, watch capoeira, visit the churches, don't leave without trying acarajé and without visiting the Pelourinho, elevator Lacerda and Mercado Modelo. I forgot to mention, Salvador has amazing beaches as well!

Recife (Pernambuco)
Arena Pernambuco
With so much to see I hope you don't forget to watch the soccer match! Recife will host both the Confederations and World Cup.
Here you will see the perfect blend of urban architecture and the tropical beaches. Learn how to dance frevo if you can with the colored umbrellas. Don't miss the Praia de Boa Viagem, the ceramics, the city of Olinda a charming beach town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Porto de Galinhas if you can spend few days in paradise.

Natal (Rio Grande do Norte)
Estádio das Dunas
By Ricardo Lima
Every year Natal receives over 1,7 million tourists looking for beautiful beaches of blue ocean and soft light sand, good food and of course, sunshine. In this tropical city there are about 300 sunny days a year. It doesn't matter if you have 1 day or 5, we invite you to Ponta Negra, Vila Costeira and so many more beaches where you can enjoy life and thank God for this blessed place on Earth!    

Fortaleza (Ceará)
Estádio Castelão
By Jarbas Oliveira
Forget diet! Before and after the matches you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, eat fresh crabs, fish, have some drinks by the shore, look around the craft fair and nap before enjoying the night life.
This is a place where you can see how people can be so happy and live in such a good mood all year long. Just don't forget your hat and sunscreen.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SONGS: Girl From Ipanema

Play the video and enjoy this post.

Garota de Ipanema was written in 1962 by Vinicius de Moraes with music by Tom Jobim. The song came to public in 1963 and soon became famous worldwide, it’s said that this song was recorded 170 times and it is one of the most recorded songs in the world.
By Layover Guide


Ipanema is a famous neighborhood located in Rio. 
Heloisa Pinheiro, a 19 year old girl would pass everyday in front of the Veloso Bar where Vinicius and Tom wrote the song, towards Ipanema Beach and also in her regular routine, giving them inspiration for this beautiful song. Nowadays that very bar is called Garota de Ipanema located at Rua Vinicius de Moraes, 49 in Ipanema. 

In 2004 the Library of Congress selected Girl from Ipanema as one of the 50 songs to join the list of National Recording Preservation Board as a song of cultural and historical importance for the United States of America.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Facts About Brazil

It is hard to define such a diverse nation such as Brazil. People love stereotypes, but in my point of view they are usually not fair. I know Rio is the most famous city in Brazil and one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world, but Brazil goes beyond. And this is what I want to show you. 
There will be 12 host cities spread around this land and I want to make sure I tell you all about them. There are some similarities, but they are all very particular and unique.

For now I want to show you few general facts about Brazil that you might, or might not know:
  1. Brazil is the largest country in South America and the world’s fifth largest.
  2. Its official name is Federal Republic of Brazil. 
  3. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic or Protestant. Brazil is a very religious country. 
  4. Brazil is formed by 26 states and a Federal District. The capital of Brasil is Brasilia
  5. The official language is Portuguese. We are the only country in America that speak the language.
  6. In 1500 Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese, and in 1815 we became United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Yes, the Portuguese Real Family moved to Brazil and Rio was then the capital of the Kingdom. You can actually visit their residence at Quinta da Boa Vista, in Rio and one of their castles in Petropolis, RJ.
  7. The first name given to this country was Vera Cruz Island since the Portuguese travellers had no idea of the size of the territory they discovered.
  8. Brazil became independent in 1822. There is a beautiful museum in São Paulo where you can also visit, the Ipiranga Museum, where the independence was proclaimed. 
  9. The origin of the name Brazil is still not totally known, but it is probably because of the beautiful woods founded at the time of the discovery that were totally exploited by the Portuguese. You will find beautiful bows and utensils made of this wood called Pau-Brasil. 
  10. Feijoada is a traditional black beans and pork stew that used to be made by the slaves (prior 1888) and now it is appreciated in every state of Brazil and internationally famous. This dish is served with white rice, collard green and farofa. (You may need a nap after this).
  11. There are over 7 million lebanese descendants in Brazil. More than the population of Lebanon.
  12. There are 6 climatic regions in Brazil: equatorial, tropical, semi-arid, highland tropical, atlantic tropical and subtropical
  13. Football in Brazil is serious stuff. It is by far the most popular sport over here, it is so popular that people say: “I’m going to play ball.” or “I’m going to watch the game tonight.” and everyone knows they are talking about soccer. Football, or soccer, is present in our lives all the time, just like a religion.  
  14. Brazil is the only nation who was present in every single World Cup edition.
  15. Brazilians are in general very friendly and generous people. If you have any trouble trying to speak Portuguese, you can try Spanish, or English. But if none of the alternatives work, don’t worry, they will try to communicate and help you no matter what!
*Watch what Antony Bourdain says about feijoada: "The perfect dish".

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This is a very important post.

I will talk about the vaccines you should take before travelling to Brazil. 
But you also should talk to your physician or health-care provider about this.

Follow health tips and enjoy this amazing trip!

  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B - the vaccine is recommended for all travelers.
  • Yellow Fever - recommended for the following states: Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Federal District, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins and designated areas Bahia, Parana, Piaui, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo. Also recommended for those coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, and for Brazilians coming from different states. Not recommended if you are traveling to coastal cities.
  • Rabies - for those at risk for animal bites.
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and typhoid - if you were not previously given

** Everyone should also be aware of malaria, since there are no vaccines to prevent it. **
Malaria is a serious infectious disease caused by mosquito bite.

Areas of Brazil with Malaria: States of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins, and western part of Maranhão. Rare cases in Belém. No transmission at Iguaçu Falls.

Be aware of the symptoms and look for a doctor right away, malaria can be fatal in some cases: 
high fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, lost of appetites, and fatigue. 

It is recommended the use of bug sprays, long sleeve shirt, nets at night, and also avoid swimming in lakes where the contamination could be possible.

Web. <http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/samerica/brazil.php
Web. <http:www.drauziovarella.com.br/clinica-geral/malaria/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Who needs visa to go to Brazil?

Brazil requires US citizens to carry a valid passport and visa to enter the country. You can get the visa in any Brazilian consulate or embassy, also there will be some fees you have to pay.

If you are coming from Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and China you DO need a visa to come to Brazil.

Many other countries do too, I just listed a few.

Some South American countries just need an ID to travel and some other countries are required to pay a fee, these procedures are always reciprocal to what these countries require from Brazilian citizens traveling to their country. 

Here is a list of countries that don’t need visa, just a valid passport with at least six months validity past your arrival in Brazil. Some South American countries just need an ID to travel and some other countries are requirens.









Plan Your Trip

Brazil is a huge country with unique characteristics, we are latinos but not hispanics, our culture is a mixture of influences: African, Italian, French, Portuguese but in a very unique way.
Here you will discover great places, tasty food and drinks so my first tip is: come out of your bubble and let yourself be influenced by our happiness. We are loud, we love colors, and we are gonna make you dance and cheer!
There are plenty of places to visit, and you will discover that Brazil is much more exciting than you expected. But remember to talk to the locals, Brazilians are the biggest attraction besides the beaches, the architecture, the music, and so on.

Follow this blog and plan the ideal trip!

Have you been to Brazil before? Share your experience with us.