Monday, October 28, 2013

Want a Local Friend?

Dear readers how are you today?

Have you been planning your trip to Brazil?
It's not too early at all!

Today I'm here to talk about this idea that I fell in love with... rent a local friend!
Want a friend? by

I've never used this service, but it might be very useful in a country like Brazil where the majority of people don't speak English, or French, or Deutsch. And I guess the majority of travelers prefer to experience a country like a local other than a tourist. And more... this is a great alternative if you are traveling by yourself.

The team of friends is made by all kinds of people including journalists, photographers, chefs, that like you, also love to travel.

They will create a tour that includes everything according to your interest, so let them know exactly what you like and the places you want to visit when filling up the form.
The best idea is to choose a friend that has the same interests as you, and that speak your language.

You will find friends in the following host cities:
São Paulo, Rio, Curitiba, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, and Salvador.

The video bellow is cool and explains it all, take a look:

Website: Rent a Local Friend

Like the idea? Have you used this service?
Leave your comments bellow.

Até mais :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pantanal wetlands

Hello dear readers,

Today my post is about this curious place, a wild land with so much to discover, it is word's largest wetland, perfect for birdwatchers and wild life enthusiastic... welcome to Pantanal! 

A vast place with “amazing ecological quality” despite cattle farming and other environmental concerns. National Geographic

In the Pantanal, the jaguars may be evasive, but the capybaras, the hyacinth macaws, the giant anteaters and the ring-tailed coatis will practically pose for you if you approach quietly. The New York Times

Onça Pintada (Jaguar) - Trip Advisor
You are about to visit the best place in South America to spot wild life, so in my opinion you should plan this trip in advance. The dry season, considered by many people the best season to go to Pantanal is between April and September, during this time it is easier to spot the animals and is less muddy. Here is my first advise: Vaccines. It is important to take yellow fever, malaria and tetanus shot before traveling to Pantanal. And bring bug spray!

Alright, now let's see how you can make this trip work. 

by New York Times
If you are in Cuiabá the best way is to take a bus from the bus station and get a hotel (simple and rustic) in one of these cities: Poconé, Cáceres or Barão de Melgaço. Most of the hotels offer breakfast, lunch and dinner included. But if you are not into simple stuff, you have other options such as the SESC Porto Cercado Hotel, or Pousada Pouso Alegre in Poconé.

The best thing is to hire a guide to show you around, they are local people that take you to the coolest places where you can spot the animals. A binocular and a flashlight are also good items to bring besides the camera!

Caiman by Interativa Pantanal
Once you get there, the hotels will offer you tours options, like hike, sunrise view, boat trip, night walk... 

Tuiuiú - Symbol of Pantanal
by Sonia Furtado via Flickr

Check some expeditions before you go:
-  Interativa Pantanal
-  Pantanal Nature
-  Jaguar Ecological Reserve

- Pousada Rio Claro - Poconé
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, free wi-fi, horses, pool, ac.
- SESC Porto Cercado - Poconé
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, horses, pool, playground, ac.
- Araras Eco Lodge - Poconé
Breakfast, luch and dinner, horses, pool, ac.
- Hotel Baiazinha - Cácere (good for fishing)
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, playground, pool, horses.

Dual Survival: Pantanal

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cuiabá - Places to Visit

Dear readers and visitors of Cuiabá...

Enjoy some tips on things to do in the capital of Mato Grosso.

Chapada dos Guimarães - A Must Go for the adventurous
The National Park is 69 km (42.87 miles) from Cuiabá. A rocky formation with steep cliffs, crystal clear waterfalls and caves. 
The Expedition Interativa Pantanal can take you there, check the website for information about hospitality.
Chapada dos Guimarães National Park by interativapantanal

SESC Arsenal - art museum
You can visit the art gallery, crafts exhibition, even have a beer!
Every Thursday meet other people there, eat Brazilian food and see crafts for free. From 6 to 10 pm.

SESC Arsenal - by

Casa do Artesão - shop
Good place to buy souvenirs and crafts from Cuiabá, there are many works made by native indians that you can see.
Casa do Artesão - crafts
Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho - church
Considered the most beautiful church in Cuiabá, it has a neo-gothic style, is located up the hill Morro do Seminário. The church was built in the XVIII century, but the current architecture was built in 1918.  In the same space you will find the Museum of Sacred Art, where pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries are exhibited. The visit is free of charge.
Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho by Francisco Aragão on Flickr
For more about the culture of Mato Grosso visit the Flickr: Ação Cultural
Tomorrow you will find out about the wild wetlands of Pantanal

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cuiabá - Restaurants

Dear readers...

Today I will show you some of the best restaurants in Cuiabá and tell you what you should try.

MahaloA contemporary restaurant of Brazilian food.
You can try Pintado, a fish from the rivers of the region, or confit de pato (duck).
Lunch: from Monday to Friday you can choose an entree + main course + dessert - from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. On Saturdays you can serve yourself entree from the buffet + main course + dessert - from 11:30 am to 3 pm.
Dinner: à la carte from 7:30 pm to midnight.
They also serve afternoon tea every Thursday from 4:30 pm to 7 pm.
Address: Presidente Castelo Branco, 359, Quilombo, Cuiabá-MT

Lélis Peixaria - Fish from the region.
The pescado from local rivers is the basis for basically every dish. Sounds appealing, right?
The menu is neatly written in Portuguese and English, so check it out.
And more... they have a special menu with many different kinds of caipirinha. Click here

Lélis Peixaria
Getúlio - eclectic restaurant, for everyone.
There are 3 ambients at Getúlio:
VIP - at lunch there is a nice salad buffet, at dinner there is a cold cuts and cheese buffet + à la carte.
Lounge: tapas and cebiches are prepared in front of the guests at the bar. At night the DJ comes to make to dance!
Outdoor - where you can order appetizers and cold beer.
Check dinner the menu here in English. Free wi-fi.

Okada - local fish, simple but this restaurant received many good reviews.
They serve lunch every day and dinner every night except Mondays.
It's a good option if you have small children, there is a nice play area.

Okada -
Di Pietro Vineria & Ristorante - for the wine lovers, an Italian Ristorante!
Live music, the restaurant is located in a beautiful house, serving excellent food and a big variety of wines.

Di Pietro Vineria & Ristorante
I really hope you have a chance to try the amazing cuisine from Cuiabá.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cuiabá - Hotels

Dear readers,

It's about time to reserve your hotel, so here are some options not far from the stadium:
  • Deville Cuiabá
    • Breakfast included
    • 1.7 km (1 mile) from the stadium
    • AC
    • Gym
    • Pool
    • Restaurant
  • Intercity
  • Deville Cuiabá
    • Breakfast included
    • 1.9 km (1.18 miles) from the stadium
    • AC
    • Gym
    • Pool
    • Free Internet
    • Restaurant
  • Holiday Inn
    • Breakfast included
    • 2.7 km (1.67 miles) from the stadium
    • AC
    • Gym
    • Pool
    • Free Wi-Fi
  • Gran Odara
    • Breakfast included
    • 5.4 km (3.35 miles) from the stadium
    • AC
    • Gym
    • Pool
    • Free Internet
    • Restaurant
Dinner at Grand Odara

Enjoy You Trip!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cuiabá - Mato Grosso

Perhaps you've never heard of Cuiabá, but I'm sure you will be enchanted by its beauty and culture.

Tamanduá Bandeira -
Cuiabá is the capital of the state of Mato Grosso and is pronounced with the stress on the last syllable. It is the smallest of the host cities.


- Center-West of Brazil
- Geographical center of South America
- Border with Bolivia
- 1147 km (713 miles) from Brasilia
- Time: -1 difference of Brasilia

The state of Mato Grosso is rich in indigena culture, there are 38 official languages spoken by 38 different groups. The name Cuiabá, for example means arrow fishing. While visiting the city you will have the chance of meeting some natives and buying their crafts. You will also be amazed by the hundreds of species of birds and plants and other animals.
Also you will have the chance of trying many kinds of fish of that region and from Amazon.

Crafts from Mato Grosso -
The Arena Pantanal will receive 4 games during the 2014 World Cup. If your team plays in this beautiful stadium, you will be lucky!

- June 13 - Chile x Australia
- June 17 - Russia x Korea Republic
- June 21 - Nigeria x Bosnia - Herzegovina
- June 24 - Japan x Colombia

Arena Pantanal - Project -

The Marechal Rondon International Airport is located 8 km (5 miles) from the city center.
Address: Av. Governador João Ponce de Arruda, s/nº - Bairro Jardim Aeroporto
There is taxi 24h from the companCooperporto. 
Currency Exchange: União Alternativa
You can read more information in English here and in Spanish here.

Cuiabá is hot city, to see how the weather is like in June, check the post about climate.

My next posts will be about hotels, restaurants, places to visit in the city and about the wild Pantanal.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Songs: Wave - Tom Jobim

Bossa Nova

For those who are in love, or want to fall in love one of my favorite songs ever. 

Wave was composed by Tom Jobim in 1967. 
This version is sang by his daughter Maria Luiza Jobim and his grandson Daniel Jobim.

The song also got an English version sang by Frank Sinatra... check it out!

So close your eyes for that's a lovely way to be
Aware of things your heart alone was meant to see
The fundamental loneliness goes
Whenever two can dream a dream together

You can't deny
Don't try to fight the rising sea
Don't fight the moon the stars above and don't fight me
The fundamental loneliness goes
Whenever two can dream a dream together

When I saw you first the time was half past three
When your eyes met mine it was eternity

By now we know the wave is on its way to be
Just catch the wave don't be afraid of loving me
The fundamental loneliness goes
Whenever two can dream a dream together 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do you wish to look like a local?

Hello dear readers,

Today this post is for those who like to blend in while traveling and look like a local.

Everyone knows that in Brazil it is sunny all year long, the plants are always green and people are always tan. Wait a minute, that's not true about the tan.
During the 2014 World Cup it will be winter in South America and summer in North America and Europe, so you'll probably be tanner than some Brazilians by then.
So this is a plus!

You can check what the weather would be like by clicking here. There is a post only about climate.

So here are some tips... 
What do Brazilians wear on the daily basis?

#1 - The casual clothes for Brazilians are less casual than some other countries, even to go to the mall, grocery store or college. 

#2 - Girls wear tight clothes, not loose T-shirts for example. A typical girl in São Paulo would wear skinny jeans and a nice blouse. Probably a scarf too. Simple and chic. Dresses are also very common.

#3 - Guys would wear nice shirts or t-shirts with jeans. No button shirt with shorts, but t-shirt with shorts are common. Usually the shirts are basic colors, white, black, blue, maybe light pink, they like to wear long sleeves and fold it. Plaid shirts are also very popular. 

#4 - Girls wear long earrings, it's not common to see diamond jewelry on a daily basis or jewelry by the beach.
Gisele Bündchen drinking chimarrão

#5 - Beach wear: don't mind our bikinis, wear what you are comfortable with, but remember to wear a long shirt (women), cover ups or dress on your way to the beach or pool. The guys usually wear shorts or swim trunks larger on the sides. 

#6 - Flip-flops, the most famous ones are Havaianas, you will find stores in many locations, there are many different styles you can choose from. 

#7 - Brazilians don't eat and drink on the go, specially coffee, but we do drink water. On the south, though, you will observe people drinking something similar to hot tea, it's called chimarrão and in other places they drink another variety of these herbs, but cold. 

#8 - When it's cold girls love high heels boots, a nice coat with jeans.

But remember, it's World Cup, so if you want, you can also wear a Brazilian jersey...
Just kidding!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brazilian Gemstones

Today I'm here to introduce you to few Brazilian gemstones.

While visiting Brazil you won't believe in what your eyes are seeing... It will be easy to find marvelous gemstones for a nice price.

Here are some images, so you can have an idea...

  • Amethyst 
    • February birthstone
    • Purple color
    • You can find amethysts in a big variety of cities, and local stores, and also as jewelry in jewelry stores. 
  • Paraiba Tourmaline
    • First found in the state of Paraiba, northeast of Brazil
    • Has a blue tone, just like the ocean
    • One of the rarest stones in the world
Paraiba Tourmaline ring with diamonds - Photo by Fernanda Cotrim
Decoration with national stones:

  • Blue agate
  • Toucans made by many different gems

Caminho das Pedras

  •  Loose stones are also a good idea to take home and customize jewelry for you or your wife!

  •  Tree made by tiger eye set on amethyst

  •  Cacatua made by many gems stand on an amethyst

Visit the most famous Brazilian jewelry stores:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Qualifiers - October 11th

Dear readers,

We are getting close to define the teams that will compete the 2014 World Cup and how the groups will be decided.

Asia has decided the teams that qualified: Japan, Australia, Korea Republic and Iran

Europe so far knows that Holland and Italy have qualified.
Europe Games - October 11th (local time)

South America Games - October 11th (local time)

Argentina is the only country from South America that has qualified so far with the host country Brazil.

Big Day

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Taxi in Rio

Hi everyone!

Today's post will talk about taxi / cab in Rio.

Taxi may be a bit expensive but in many situations they are the best option for tourists in Rio.

Photo: What We Did in Rio
The standard taxis are yellow with a blue strip and a red plate, the regular rate, tariff 1 starts at R$ 4.70 - Monday - Saturday from 6 am to 9 pm and charges R$ 1.70 per kilometer.
Tariff 2 charges R$ 2.04 per kilometer  - Monday - Saturday from 9 pm to 6 am, and all day Sunday and holidays.

In my opinion these rates will change during the World Cup, but I will try to keep you updated.

One more thing, the prices I wrote above are not valid for airports, bus stations and hotels in Copacabana, Ipanema and São Conrado. Those places have special taxis from a cooperative that  usually charge 80% more. C'est la vie. Those taxis are from companies named Coopatur and Coopertramo.

On the Go:

If you are on the street and need a cab you call one, but the best option is to look for a stand and get one. This will be easy if you are in a mall, or in a location with many bars. So choose those ones. If you can't find one, remember to look for the ones that look like what I described above.

At the airport:

You will easily see a stand at the airport: Taxis Credenciados, you can ask the attendants to calculate the price for you, go outside, compare how much the drivers are charging and decide what is the best option for you.

Don't be scared if lots of guys approach you asking if you need a cab, don't rush, take your time and choose the best option. Of course there will be thousands of people at the airport during the World Cup, but there will be many volunteers as well, who speak many languages, that are there to help you. So, don't hesitate to ask.

Usually the taxi drivers are very familiar with the city, but it is always a good idea to have the address written down, specially because some street names are hard to pronounce.

Useful Apps and Websites:
Easy Taxi

  • Easy Taxi - This app is very handy, you can choose your payment method, if you need a big trunk (port-mala grande). You will then receive information about the car such as model, and about the driver, name and phone number. You can also track the car. Cool, right?
  • Tarifa de Taxi - This website calculates how much you are going to pay for your ride.
  • Amarelinho Barra - This is a good option if you are at Barra da Tijuca or Recreio.

I hope this was an useful post for all the dear tourists who visit Rio.

I hope you enjoy your trip!