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Rio Summer Games Vacation Add Ons

May 18, 2016 by Michael Eiseman divider image
Angra-dos-Reis-Brazil

Ah, Brazil— Soccer culture, raucous celebrations, delicious food, breathtaking scenery and some of the most amazing wonders found anywhere on the planet. It’s a country with as many things to love as it has beaches… and that’s a lot!

But, those who never have made the journey to Brazil may be surprised to learn the flight time from America’s southernmost international airport still tops out at more than eight hours and can cost as much as $1,000 depending on the time of year.

For North American travelers heading south this August for the 2016 Rio Summer Games, it pays to take advantage of the relaxed Visa entry requirements around this period and see more of the country than just Rio and Sao Paulo.

Whether you prefer toes in the sand, the city, the jungle or even aboard a luxury yacht, there’s something awe-inspiring waiting for you in Brazil before or after your Rio Summer Games trip.

Here are our top five recommendations:

HIT THE BEACH

Take the scenic three hour drive up the coast to Buzios, where more than 26 tranquil beaches with glass-like crystal clear water await. Brigitte Bardot first made this quaint town famous during her 1960s visit to the area. Today this still small, yet quite sophisticated, town boasts an international flair and some of the country’s finest restaurants. Although you won’t want for dining and nightlife, it is the widely varied beaches of Buzios that beckon travelers northward from Rio. There are beaches for lounging, beaches for surfing, beaches ideal for mixing and mingling with other singles and beaches just perfect for families. Of course, with this many beaches (Buzios is on a peninsula after all), there also is no shortage of water sports, including sailing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, kayaking, wake-boarding, waterskiing, fishing, kitesurfing, standup paddling and more. Three or four days in Buzios at the end of your Rio Summer Games vacation will make for a much-needed wind down from the hustle and bustle of Brazil’s biggest cities.

GO ISLAND HOPPING

Less than three hours from Rio in the opposite direction from Buzios lies an ecological paradise home to more than 365 islands, 2000 beaches and more than a few pristine swaths of Atlantic rainforest. Known as one of Brazil’s most beautiful locales, Angra dos Reis is a well-known honeymoon destination and celebrity hideaway that boasts an ambiance somewhat similar to the Virgin Islands. Although there are several properties we love in Angra dos Reis, including Pestana Angra, Pousada Picinguaba and even private villas and islands, we think the best way to experience all this scenic area has to offer is to do a bit of island hopping throughout the archipelago. Highlights include the visiting the historic town of Parati, diving or snorkeling in Ilha Grande Bay, seeing the Carmo Convent, trekking to Pocao do Abraao waterfall and simply chartering a boat to explore all this rugged tropical region has to offer. Three to four days in the lovely Angra dos Reis archipelago will provide a serene respite after a week at the exciting Rio Summer Games.

STEP BACK IN TIME

One of the oldest cities founded by Europeans in the Americas, Salvador de Bahia was Brazil’s first capital city and remained so until the mid 18th century. It is located on the country’s northeastern coast, approximately a two-hour flight from Rio, and is well worth the trip time for its historic city center alone. Salvador also was home to the first African slave market in the Americas, making it a rich site for Afro-Brazilian heritage and history and the epicenter of Afro-Brazilian society. Today, the city stands in two distinct encampments, with the lower section housing the oldest architecture and original port, while the upper section houses the later Colonial architecture often described as some of the finest available anywhere in the world. For these reasons, the city has been recognized by UNESCO as having Outstanding Universal Value. Of course, there is much more to Salvador than history, including beaches, coconut plantations and towering mountains, but you won’t want to miss the region’s folklore, customs and friendly people. We highly recommend seeing a capoeira demonstration here, where the traditional martial art derived.

EXPLORE NATURAL WONDERS

You may not want to get soaked by the falls during the time of year around the Rio Summer Games, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to miss seeing this UNESCO World Heritage Site that is both one of the world’s largest waterfalls and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Iguazu Falls, with its 257 falls located along the Brazil-Argentina border, truly is a can’t miss site in Brazil and a great gateway to Argentina should you have more time to spend exploring South America. Begin with the La Gran Aventura boat tour where you get to see the base of the falls up close after a meandering up river trip. From here you really can head anywhere in Argentina (wine tour anyone) or stay in Brazil and head on to the largest power plant on Earth, the Itaipu Dam, and Yacutinga Lodge and Private Reserve for a bespoke jungle lodge experience like no other. Whether you want to add one night and only see Iguazu Falls or add three to five more days and tour the surrounding regions, there are boundless natural wonders to explore.

CRUISE THE MIGHTY AMAZON

Big ticket bucket list trips often include visiting Machu Picchu, cruising the Galapagos Islands and trekking in Patagonia. Right up there with them is a visit to the wild and rugged Amazon. Lucky for you, you’re half way there once you’ve arrived in Rio! We can arrange for you to stay at one of our favorite eco lodges or resorts in the Amazon Rainforest, but our favorite Brazil Amazon journey is via luxury yacht. These private eco-expeditions provide flexibility and comfort while visiting indigenous villages and many shallow water spots the larger river boats can’t access. Get ready to swim with the pink dolphins, be wowed by exotic mammals, reptiles and tropical foliage, take a floatplane flight and more as you make your way up the Rio Negro through national parks and wide open lakes. All meals are provided on board and each evening is capped off with an informal entertainment hour (it’s actually more like four hours) in the living area. The Amazon is roughly 2,000 miles from Rio, so the travel time warrants at least a four-day stay in the region.

If you don’t want your Brazil vacation to end when the 2016 Rio Summer Games do, contact us today to add on one of our top five favorite Brazil vacation add ons— trust us, they’ll be yours too!


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