Places we visited: Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Buzios

Length of stay: 15 days

High point: Spending a sunny day aboard a schooner (boat) exploring the islands
around Paraty, watching futbol at an open air bar in Paraty's old town, the abundant
tropical fruits such as acai, munching on "salgados" at a corner stand in Rio, the
energy on Ipanema and Copacabana beaches in Rio, discovering caipirinhas, the low
cost of Havaiana flip flops (we stocked up), finding a little slice of paradise known as
Brava Beach

Low Point: It rained the whole time we were in Rio, and Rio is absolutely a city to be
adored in the sun

Local food/flavor: guarana flavored drinks (guarana is a plant with small berries that
contain more than five times the amount of caffeine in a coffee berry), salgados (small
snacks that are sold in every bar and on almost every street corner), cachaca (a liqour
made from fermented sugarcane from which the famous Brazilian caipirinha is made),
arroz-feijao (black beans and rice--eaten A LOT in Brazil), and finally, suprisingly
enough--lots of pizza!

Language: Portuguese

Currency: Real

Unique Sights: The "dental floss" bikinis worn by women in Brazil, the hybrid game of
soccer & volleyball played by very talented men on Copacabana beach, the number of
different kinds of fruit juices available on every corner, locals wheeling around large
carts filled with different kinds of cake and custard for sale by the slice, the noticeable
air of happiness about the Brazilian people

Purchases: Five pairs of Havaianas flip flops (four for us and an adorable pair for our
baby niece)

Things we did:
  • Flew into Sao Paulo and took the local bus to Paraty
  • Spent one day sailing in the mesmerizing blue ocean around Paraty aboard a
    giant catamaran, stopping at four different island beaches for swimming and
  • Risked ankle injury by walking on the giant cobblestones that make up the
    charming streets of Paraty's old town
  • Enjoyed the plentiful array of tropical fruit included in our hotel's breakfast buffet
  • Counted our blessings on arriving in Rio safe and sound after a bus ride along
    the twisting and turning coastal road from Paraty
  • Joined the hundreds of people strolling along the road in front of Ipanema
    Beach on Sunday morning when the street is closed to cars. We stopped to
    watch a circle of kids practicing capoiera a blend of martial arts and dance
    created by slaves brought to Brazil from Africa, browsed the wares of the many
    street vendors (most selling knock-off football jerseys), and enjoyed the many
    games of football and volleyball taking place on the sand.
  • Braved the steady downpour of rain that plagued our entire week in Rio as we
    visited Cristo Redemptor (the Christ statue overlooking the city) and Sugarloaf
    Mountain. Both of these sights typically provide stupendous views of Rio's
    unique landscape. Unfortunately the thick rainclouds almost completely
    obscured both views. We caught very brief glimpses of the view, just enough to
    torture us with what we were missing.
  • Took the bus north to the tourist town of Buzios
  • Splurged on a waterfront hotel room with a giant window opening up to the
  • Visited three of Buzios beaches (Brava, Azeda, and Olho de Boi) and decided,
    hands down, that Brava beach is the place to be
  • Sipped heavenly caipirinhas from a beach shack on Brava beach
  • Lounged under an umbrella as we stared into the beautiful blue sea at Brava
  • Took the bus back to Sao Paulo to catch our flight to Lima, Peru
Brazil Overview
Buzios, Brazil