Dispatch from: Brazil

 Enjoying the Grande Rio Carnival Experience

Enjoying the Grande Rio Carnival Experience

Brazil is the diverse traveler's next stop... 

Brazil's local history as well as its notoriety as an iconic travel destination has not diminished, but has only increased since the days of the Rio Olympics. Brazil's diverse culture, rocky terrain, and soothing beaches are just a couple of reasons Brazil should be next on your travel list. 

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Our team recently ventured out to explore what Brazil has to offer in the famous Iguassu Falls as well as Rio de Janeiro.

Getting There

There is really only one game in town when it comes to flights - LATAM Airlines. Their business class experience to South America is second to none. 

Their Airbus 350 XWB is the most comfortable and technologically advanced aircraft in LATAM’s fleet, with the widest Business Class seats, the quietest cabin among twin isle aircraft, and full LED lighting with 16.7 million different colors for a personalized ambience; and full circulation and renewal every 2 to 3 minutes; all aimed at reducing jet lag effects. The Airbus has true lie-flat seats, comfy mattresses and bedding, nice Ferragamo amenity kits, great entertainment, and delicious food and wine. You'll arrive for your connection from their overnight flight well rested and ready to hit the ground running!

 

Iguassu Falls 

Location & Getting there: You'll travel on an approximately nine hour flight (from JFK) to São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU). You will then take a 2 hour connecting flight to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). Upon arrival to Iguaçu you'll head to a transfer vehicle for a short ride  to Brazil's Iguaçu National Park. 

Property: The only hotel located inside Iguassu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the ideal base camp. Enjoy the charming colonial-style hotel which boasts a mere two minute stroll the famous Iguassu Falls and access to the falls during park hours. 

Choose between the newly renovated Junior Suites or the two new Pool Suites which offer plunge pools and their own gardens. Enjoy the complimentary robes and Havaiana flip flops provided by the hotel. 

 Iguassu Falls 

Iguassu Falls 

 Accommodations at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

The beautiful property offers plenty to do and see for your adventure enthusiasts.

Enjoy the small but relaxing spa which is home to excellent spa services as well as a relaxation area, sauna, and lockers. 

  Spa

Spa

Macuco Safari Tour: A can't miss boat ride up to the falls. The trip begins with a three kilometer ride into the jungle followed by a walk of 600 meters through the rainforest, and the grand finale – a boat ride right up to the base of the falls. You will get SOAKING wet! 

  Macuco Safari Tour

Macuco Safari Tour

 Enjoying Devil's Throat before the park opened

Enjoying Devil's Throat before the park opened

 Parque das Aves (Bird Sanctuary) Backstage Experience

Parque das Aves (Bird Sanctuary) Backstage Experience

Guided tour to Devils Throat before the park opens: Take advantage of staying at Belmond with this private tour that begins with a walk of the property overlooking the falls, continues with a walk on the upriver trails which provides opportunities for breathtaking pictures, and ends at Devils Throat. The views are simply remarkable! 

Parque das Aves (Bird Sanctuary) Backstage Experience: This is an experience you should not pass up! A tour before the park opens is intimate, informative and magical. You'll get to meet new hatchlings, go inside the cages and feed the birds breakfast (over 150 species are represented, mostly local), and enjoy a light breakfast to yourselves in an open lounge area in the middle of the park as well as enjoy someone-on-one time with the staff to ask all of your questions. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience! 

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is an economically and ethnically diverse state city filled with authenticity, much  and the culture is best expressed through music and dance – in restaurants, clubs or even underground samba parties on the streets late at night. Exploring the one of a kind spot is sure to be something you'll never forget.

 Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Safety and getting around: While there is a scary stigma surrounding Rio it definitely isn't as scary as its made out to be. Just be aware during the day and be sure to take a cab at night. Uber is available, take advantage of this great resource! Check out this article with some helpful tips for the anxious traveler.

 

 Accommodation Options

Belmond Copacabana Palace: Staying at this iconic hotel is sure to be an experience you'll never forget. Enjoying the grand lobby and relaxing at the famous Copacabana pool are just parts of the Belmond Copacabana Palace experience. The rooms are classic, spacious, and comfortable. Take advantage of the deluxe rooms and suites which have the closest view of the beach. The buildings annex addition boasts Pool Ocean View Suites that include a kitchenette and living room. The more high end traveler can take advantage of the extremely spacious and luxurious Penthouse Suite in which you could literally fit a DJ in the bathroom!  This hotel is definitely for the more historically appreciative traveler as well as families, tennis fans (hotel boasts multiple tennis courts), as well as honeymooners. 

Dining: The hotel hosts an excellent buffet breakfast. It is also home to an amazing restaurant named Pergula. Mee Restaurant, a delicious, bold pan-Asian statement restaurant from Ken Hom, is located in the hotel and serves some of the best Pad Thai you have probably ever had and delicious sushi.

Hotel Fasano Rio de JaneiroThis hotel is ideal for the wild traveler. With a sexy ambiance this hotel is a place where it is "see and be seen." Their claim to fame is their gorgeous pool area which is located on the rooftop and includes an infinity swimming pool. The rooms are chic and comfortable. The Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro is not just a hotel but an experience! 

Hotel Emiliano RioLocated in prime location on Copacabana beach this newly opened hotel is any travelers dream. Although less known than previously mentioned hotels, the Hotel Emiliano Rio is home to a relaxing and luxurious beach and pool areas. Rooms are airy, spacious, and include private balconies where you can enjoy the view. 

Dining: Enjoy lunch in the enchanting atmosphere of Emiliano Restaurant. With food made with locally sourced and organic ingredients flavor is a big proponent, you won't be disappointed!

 

Activities: 

Hiking: You can enjoy a bike ride along the beach followed by 2-3 hour hike up Sugarloaf Mountain through an exclusive route only about 1% of tourists take. Believe it or not this unique and adventurous experience doesn't require any hiking experience!

Grande Rio Carnival Experience: This is a MUST for anyone in Rio de Jeneiro. You'll feel like a local as you take a tour through the shed of one of the main Samba Schools from Rio de Janeiro, learn a bit about the history of samba and carnival, and eventually  try on costumes and learn some rhythm and dance moves with a cast of charismatic characters! You'll be talking about this experience for years!

Take a walk to Ipanema from the Copacabana, stopping off at the Arbor Park - where you can climb a rocky outcrop overlooking local surfer hotspot Devil's Beach, as well as point out local spots! With the right tour guide it is a very informative and fun activity. 

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Feel free to reach out to Julie Banning and Emily Westaby for their firsthand insights and in-depth knowledge.

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Posted on April 16, 2018 and filed under Dispatch From.