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Main cities to go by bus while visiting Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, the city, is the capital of Rio de Janeiro State. With a population around 6.5 million, it is the second largest but most infamous Brazilian city. It is known for beautiful scenery, endless beaches, hot bodies and steamy music. Pronounced “hee-oh day jan-air-oh,” meaning, “January River,” it definitely lives up to its fame.

This bay town, a mix of sunny coastline and high mountains inside the city, makes you feel like you are in paradise. The city runs around the base of the mountains while the mountains themselves are home to the notorious favelas. These are the neighborhoods where people live in the thousands, illegally, in makeshift structures.

Some of the more famous mountains are Corcovado Mountain, with the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain, accessed by cable car and home to the most breathtaking views of the city.

Some of the more famous beaches are Leblon, Copacabana, Ipanema and Botafogo. Each beach has its own charm but they are all steaming with hot and quite bare bodies. Brazil’s hot and sexy reputation was well founded in Rio and the locals are more than welcoming to travelers.

However, there are other parts of the city which are worth visiting. Lapa and Santa Teresa are bohemian neighborhoods where you will find great nightlife, restaurants and live music.  Rio, of course, is the birthplace of Samba and Bossa Nova. It is also the home to the largest Carnaval parade in Brazil.

Visiting places outside of the city is easy. Buses leave daily to the beaches north and south of the city. The highway runs along the coast and offers breath taking views of mountains cascading into the sea.

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Imagem Rio de Janeiro - Novo Rio - RJ Rio de Janeiro - Novo Rio - RJ

Foz do Iguaçu (Foss doe Ee-gwa-sue), as it is called in Portuguese, is a small city and also an enormous waterfall. In English, it is called Iguaçu Falls (Ee-gwa-sue falls).

This semicircular waterfall is almost 3km wide, averages approximately 80 meters in height and has a water flow capacity more than three times that of Niagara Falls. It is truly one of the wonders of the natural world.

The area is also very interesting because it is located at the intersection of three countries; Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. So, in a small amount of time, much can be seen and done which makes Iguaçu Falls very popular with travelers.

The city of Iguaçu Falls is located in the Brazilian part of this trisection. Directly west is Ciudad de Este, in Paraguay. The waterfall is just a bit south of the cities and is divided between Brazil and Argentina. So, in one trip, you can see one of the most amazing natural spectacles of the world and visit three cities in three different countries.

There are shuttles, vans, and taxis that take visitors from their hotel to the waterfall. Also, cars can be rented at the Iguaçu Falls Bus Station.

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Imagem Foz do Iguaçu - PR Foz do Iguaçu - PR

Origins
Brazilian Saint-Tropez with its own statue of Bridgitte Bardot. It’s hard to believe Nature managed to fit 23 (!) beaches on a peninsula with only 8 kms of coastline. Armação dos Búzios, usually simplified to “Búzios” (pronounced “boo-zee-ous”), was once as a village of fishermen.

It started new life as a holiday spot in the 20th century – first as a vacation spot for rich cariocas, seeking refuge from the bustle of Rio de Janeiro. In 1964, the French cinema star Bridgitte Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend visited Búzios. This was a turning point – the voyage, widely reported by international media, resulted in global fame and a wave of visitors from all around the world.

 

Attractions and activities
A variety of beaches means everyone can find an ideal spot, whatever your preferences.

Ferradura is perfect for families, with a wide stretch of sand, serene waters and pedalos for rent. The same is true for João Fernandes though it tends to be crowded due to easy access, bars and restaurants. For a maritime swimming pool, with the warmest waters, zero waves and perfect sunsets, choose the Tartaruga beach.

Always wanted to learn surfing and feel the time has come to try? Go to Geribá, a long and wide beach with moderate waves and a bunch of surf schools. Once you know the ropes, check out the adequately-named Brava (Ferocious) Beach with its open sea and wild waves.

If you need calm waters, secluded places – opt for Praia do Forno or Ferradurinha. On the latter, there´s a chance you will see turtles! Fans of skinny-dipping are welcome in the Olho-de-Boi nudist beach.
Teenagers will love Radical Parque, an entertainment park with 12,000 square metres with carts, paintball, climbing and lots of other activities.

 

What to eat and drink
Buzios has one of the more diverse and rich offers of cuisines on the seaside in the Rio de Janeiro State – whatever your taste and/or budget, you should find  for you. A traditional, tried-and-true but not so cheap choice is the Restaurante do David (near Rua das Pedras).

There are plenty of options in Porto da Barra, a gastronomy complex on the Manguinhos beach.
For the more shoestring style of tourism, we recommend the pier on Praia da Armação, with kiosks offering full dishes at friendly prices. A local must-see (or rather, must-eat) is the San Paolo ice-cream shop where you can actually see the treat being prepared in front of your eyes on a frozen stone.

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Imagem Búzios - RJ Búzios - RJ

Origins
Paraty gained town rights as early as 1670, an played a vital role in the “golden cycle”, the colonial period in which gold from Minas Gerais was crucial for the Portuguese colony which later became Brazil.

The town served as the port for the Caminho Velho (Old Route) used by gold traders. Later, Paraty became isolated, with railways and main routes leading far from this coastal town. In fact, in the first half of the 20th century it was easier to reach the town by sea than land! In the 1960’s, a new highway linked Paraty to São Paulo, and it became a tourist attraction thanks to the colonial atmosphere it preserved.

Attractions and activities
A trip to Paraty is a journey in time. The historic centre, with its cobblestones and Portuguese-time houses, boasts some architectural gems, such as the Igreja Santa Rita (1722) or Paço Municipal (18th century). Sugar cane and cachaça also play a significant role in the town´s history and present times; don´t miss a chance to visit one of the seven alambiques (cachaça workshops).

The most traditional is Coqueiro, managed by the same family for 5 generations. In the outskirts, you can visit 2,5 kilometres of the renovated  Caminho de Ouro – which served for more than 300 years as a way to transport slaves, coffee, gold and cachaça.

The natural landscape is also a treat,  with a variety of beaches, from the serene Paraty-Mirim to the wild waves of the Praia do Sono; from the crowded Pontal and Jabaquara located near the centre to the naturist praia da Figueira. The mountains surrounding Paraty (Serra da Bocaina) is home to many waterfalls, such as Tobogã, Pedra Branca or Toca da Ingrácia; they are not only beautiful, but worth taking a dip in the lakes below!

What to eat and drink
Paraty, as usual for tourist spots, offers a variety of options and cuisines, but be prepared for prices similar to large cities such as Rio or São Paulo. Maria Fulô Bistrô is worth visiting, with their tapiocas based on organic ingredients and local produce.  Bendita´s, in the historic centre, is one of the most frequent recommendations, with generous portions, good service and live music.
There is an ongoing dispute between fans of Sorveteria Finlandesa e Sorveteria Pistache: which one is the best in Paraty. You won´t know... until you try both of them! For a party, a reliable choice is Paraty 33, with live music and a large dancefloor.

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Imagem Paraty - RJ Paraty - RJ

Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is the business center and its population of over 11 million people, inside the city limits, makes it the largest city in South America. It is the center of Brazil’s booming banking sector and home of the Brazilian stock market.

However, Sao Paulo has a charm beyond its business exterior. Like any major metropolitan city, Sao Paulo attracts people from all over and is a melting pot of culture, food, music and art. It is known for its eclectic architecture, street art and also for its four main football teams. Sao Paulo will also host the 2014 World Cup Inaugural Game and host Olympic Games as well.

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Imagem São Paulo - Tietê - SP São Paulo - Tietê - SP

Origins
Lençóis,  also known as the Diamond Capital, was one of the main places for artisanal diamond extraction (garimpo) in Brazil. In 1973 the city was officially listed a National Historical Heritage by the IPHAN institute, a fact that originated an influx of backpackers and other tourists to the town. 

Lençóis preserves a bucolic climate with its historical architecture, cobbled streets, colonial houses and antique churches dating from the late 19th century. The city is also a gate to the Chapada Diamantina mountain range, with its picturesque hills, plateaus, caves, canyons, waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes.

Attractions and activities
The main reason to opt for Lençóis is the natural beauty of its surroundings – below we list only a selection of the attractions that the locality has to offer.
For a close trip, choose the Serrano municipal park – a good destination for the whole family,  with waterfalls and sinkholes, such as Poço Halley, Cachoeirinha and Primavera to bathe and play in, as well as Salões de Areia – enormous, colourful rocks that form caves, grottos and tunnels. You also can see a beautiful panorama of the town itself. 


Complexo Arqueológico Serra das Paridas: Formed by 18 archaeological sites,  the Complex opens four of them to visitors. Serra das Paridas features various cave paintings, with images of people, animals and more abstract forms – even one that looks like Spielberg´s E.T.! To access the complex, hiring a certified guide is necessary.


Cachoeira do Sossego is a waterfall with 20 metres of height. The trail leading to the fall leads through the Ribeirão do Meio riverbed, with parts leading through rocks and lots of natural swimming pools.  It is one of the more demanding routes, so save it for a later day,  once you get to grips with trekking in the Chapada. The same is true for Cachoeira do Mixila - 80 metres of waterfall  in an extraordinary, but remote, green canyon.


What to eat and drink
The town hosts an impressive number of restaurants. Some local dishes worth trying are arroz de garimpeiro (rice with dried meat and vegetables), o godó de banana (a type of soup with green bananas and meat) and the cortado de palma (a dish from the prickly pear cacti). Some places worth recommending are Cozinha Aberta Slow Food at Av. Rui Barbosa, and Grisante, on Praça Horácio de Matos.

In the same square, a reliable spot is the O Bode restaurant with food per kilogram, with a dozen dishes to choose from. For such a small town focused on ecotourism, Lençois has a surprisingly vibrant nightlife. Make sure you don´t miss Fazendinha e Tal with its “menu” of some 50 types of cachaças.

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Imagem Lençóis  - BA Lençóis - BA

Origins
Bonito, located in the southwest part of Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the centres of ecotourism in Brazil. The region features a mix of cerrado (Brazilian savanna, rich in animal and plant biodiversity) with vegetation typical for Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest). Due to its unique character, Bonito received in 2013 the World Responsible Tourism Award in London.

Attractions and activities
Inside the municipality, around 40 attractions await for visitors. You can start from simply contemplating various wonders of nature: crystal-clear rivers, waterfalls, grottos and a rich fauna and flora (hundreds of bird, mammal and reptile species). However, Bonito offers a wide range more active and adventurous forms of tourism as well: tree-climbing (arvorismo), kayaking,  rafting, stand up paddle surfing, horseriding and mountain biking. The most adventurous can also try their skills in abseiling and diving in rivers and lakes.

An overwhelming majority of the attractions are located on private properties, at a distance of 10-50 kilometres from the town. Due to that access is limited and the visitors need to buy special passes to every site – usually and most comfortably through a tourist agency. In the city itself, visitors have  a chance to learn about regional fish species in the municipal aquarium.

What to eat and drink
Fish, as well as caimans, also feature abundantly in the local dishes. You can try them in one of the numerous restaurants in Bonito,  such as Cantinho do Peixe (Rua Coronel Pilád Rebuá, 1437) .

In Pantanal Carnes Exóticas (also Rua Cel Pilad Rebuá, 1808), the menu features such exotic meats like peccaries or capybaras.  For a little refreshment,  grab an ice pop at Delícias do Cerrado (Rua Pilad Rebua, 1828)

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Imagem Bonito - MS Bonito - MS

Welcome to the South! Florianopolis (Flor-ee-an-opolis) is different from the other beach cities in Brazil. South America is in the Southern hemisphere, which means that the more you go south, the colder it gets. Driving down the southern coast, the change in landscape, due to climate change, is noticeable. Things start to seem more like Europe than the tropics.

This goes for the people as well. Santa Catarina (Santa Cat-ah-ree-na), the state where Florianopolis is found, was heavily populated by Europeans in the 18th century. To this day, the population is mostly of German, Portuguese and Italian decent. This gives the south a feel that is just not the same as the rest of the country.

This is not to say that summer in Florianopolis is not hot and sticky and sexy like just about all Brazilian coastal towns. To the contrary, “Floripa,” (Flor-ee-pah) as it is often called, is a total paradise island. Indeed, half of the city is on the mainland and the other half on Santa Catarina Island (Ilha de Santa Catarina). People travel to this destination for the sun, the fun and the party that makes Floripa wonderful.

Most of the economy is based on tourism, though over the last decade it has become a “silicon valley,” of sorts. Tech firms have taken up shop in this lovely city, and today it is a place with one of the best quality of life indexes in Brazil.

The city is not large, with around 500,000 people, and the greater metropolitan area has little over a million people. There are more than 40 beaches in and around the city, and it is home to surf championships that are world renown. Below is a list of some of the beaches in and around Florianopolis.

Barra da Lagoa (Bar of the Lagoon) is a less developed fisherman’s beach, known for waves that are perfect for the beginning surfer.

Praia dos Ingleses (Beach of the English) is bordered by beautiful dunes that you can “sandbord,” down. It is a more populated beach, frequented by tourist from all over the world.

Praia da Armação is home to Santa Ana’s Church, which was where fishermen from the Armação Fishing Company would pray before going to sea on their whaling ships. It is still a fishing village and beach but it is also becoming more and more a tourist area because of the beautiful beach and scenic village.

Praia do Campeche is a famous surfing beach. It is also a partygoer’s destination, as the night life is always lively.

Discovering all that the beaches have to offer is part of the fun in Florianopolis. The city is very nice as well. There are shops, restaurants, amazing nightlife and all that you would want in a vacation getaway beach town. To get to Florianopolis by bus you will need to connect to the Florianopolis

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Imagem Florianópolis - SC Florianópolis - SC

Brasilia (Bra-zi-lee-ah) is the capital city of Brazil. Like Washington D.C in the USA, it is a Federal District and does not belong to any stare. With almost three million inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in Brazil.

The city was built in the late 1950’s in order to change Brazil’s capital from Rio de Janeiro, where it had historically been, to the interior of Brazil.

Brasilia is unique in that it is a planned city. Urban planner, Lucio Costa, and architect, Oscar Niemeyer, were given the charge of creating this new city in, what was before, only dessert.

The city is divided into several sectors.  The banking sector, hotel sector, and an embassy sector are examples. There are 124 foreign embassies in Brasilia and it is the center for the President, Congress and Supreme Court. The city also has the highest GDP per capita in all of Brazil.

Brasilia’s clean streets and nouveau style architecture make it a beautiful tourist destination and one reason that it will host many of the 2014 World Cup games.

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Imagem Brasília - DF Brasília - DF

Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais (Mean-us Jay-rice). “Minas,” for short, lays West of Rio and North West of Sao Paulo.

Belo Horizonte (Belo Oh-hee-zon-chee) is a city of about 5 million inhabitants. The meaning of the name is “Beautiful Horizon.” It is one of Brazil’s planned cities, and so you will find a grid of streets that flow up and down in a nice organized pattern. However, there are a number of diagonal streets which can help you get lost.

As you wander around this hilly city, you will find much greenery and lovely architecture. As in other great cities of Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect, built several of the buildings in BH.

“BH,” is a common nickname for the city. But, since we are not in Kansas anymore, the pronunciation is in Portuguese, which should sound something like this: (Beh Ah-gah).

Minas Gerais, which means “General Mines,” is well known for its colonial towns, delicious soul food, beautiful women who outnumber men, and cachaça! Cachaça is the distilled cane spirit that comes from Brazil. Many claim that the best cachaças come from Minas Gerais. This is a matter of opinion but Minas does have a ton of these distilleries. A cachaça distillery is called an “Alembique,” (Al-em-bee-kee). They are well worth visiting as are as many small cities you can fit into your itinerary.

Ouro Preto (Oh-row Preh-toe) and Tiradentes (Tee-rah-den-cheess) are two of the bigger and better known colonial cities where you can find all of the above. Both are easily accessible by bus.

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Imagem Belo Horizonte - Terminal Central - MG Belo Horizonte - Terminal Central - MG

Overview

In the XIXth century, Angra dos Reis was the most important port of the coast of Rio de Janeiro. During the coffee boom, this was the place from which the beans sailed to all parts of the world.

Angra dos Reis is a popular holiday spot for cariocas and even people from São Paulo, since there are plenty of beautiful beaches around. If you end up in the town itself, it is quite likely that you are on your way to the popular island Ilha Grande. Apart from the town, Angra dos Reis is comprised of 365 islands and two thousand beaches filled with natural beauty, legends and social events.

Among all of its islands, Ilha Grande stands out. It is considered the paradise of adventurers, with its hiking trails, waterfalls and various beaches – from super-popular party beaches to deserted ones.

Attractions and activities

To know well this part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast), the best option is to travel by boat, being able to see the crystalline waters, and the mansions of the rich and famous, erected on private islands. There are countless beaches for you to discover, but some of the most recommended are Botinas – two picturesque islands with a variety of fish and goldfish, a diver´s treat, Praia do Dentista (Gipóia island) – for party lovers, with floating bars - and Praia de Fora (Gipóia as well) for surfers.

The island of Itanhangá is a good spot for other sporting activities, such as climbing and canoeing. Some 40 kms from Angra, you can participate in a… safari. The Portobello Resort in Mangaratiba features 300 thousand square metres of park with some 500 species of Brazilian and African fauna. For a taste of colonial times, visit the historical town of Mambucaba – a place labelled as Historical Heritage in the 60´s.

What to eat and drink

The diverse offer of restaurants and bars is a reflection of the variety of islands and beaches in Angra. A traditionally recommendable option on the island of Gipóia is the Canto das Canoas (Praia do Vitorino),  with tables set out on the beach.  On mainland, try stuffed squids and crabcatchers prepared by Dona Diva in Samburá (R. Maria Jose Lucas Peixoto, 286).
Jango´s Bar, a floating bar docked on Praia do Dentista, can bring one´s dish directly to your ship on little boats. You make your order via radio. The best parties take place on the islands, so ideally check out with the locals what are the options for tonight.

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Imagem Angra dos Reis - RJ Angra dos Reis - RJ

Overview

No major city in South America has so many ties to Europe as Buenos Aires. After becoming - at the beginning of the twentieth century -  the cultural centre of the Spanish-speaking world, the Argentine capital has received successive waves of European immigrants - mostly Spaniards and Italians - who have kept alive the connection with the Old World.

This history is still visible in architecture of the city, in its culture of cafes, scattered all over town, in food and even in the way of dressing. Still, Buenos Aires, the world capital of tango and good meat, is the head and heart of Argentina and has its own flavour.  Buenos Aires is embedded on the banks of the River Plate and has one of the busiest ports in the world. Most of the constructions in the city centre date from the end of the XIXth century.

Attractions and activities

As in any global and history-rich city, the attractions of Argentina`s capital are much more wider than this short guide. There are some spots,  however, that shouldn’t be missed even on the shortest stay in Buenos. A good place to start is Plaza de Mayo – the historic centre of the city and a place marked by protests and revolutions. There are five tourist attractions to be visited on the square: Casa Rosada, seat of government of Argentina, Bicentennial Museum, Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Historical Museum of Cabildo and the May Revolution and the Museum of the Federal Administration of Buenos Aires.

Make sure you experience the city’s past by passing a few hours ambling through the historic district of San Telmo. It is especially worthwhile on Sunday, fair day. The event is famous for its stalls of antiques and various other products as well as for the performances of dancers, musicians and artists in general.
Aiming to promote the art of South America, the Museum of Latin American Art (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, MALBA) is one of the best places to know the Latin culture. There you will find several works of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, with renowned artists on display, such as Frida Kahlo, Tarsila do Amaral and Diego Rivera. You'll find the MALBA on Avenue Figueroa Alcorta in the trendy Palermo neighbourhood.
Nearby lies the Japanese Garden, one of the most surprising and beautiful attractions of Buenos Aires. The park was built in 1967 when the Japanese emperor Hirohito visited Argentina. Inside, there is an incredible variety of plants, waterfalls, streams, and even… a library.  A pleasant and relaxing park, it offers some respite from Argentina´s bustling capital.

Last but not least tango. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a tango show or a couple dancing on the streets, but if you need an indication, Caminito in the La Boca district is a 100% spot. A famous street for its colorful houses, great restaurants and bars and many crafts sellers, you are sure to find tango dancers there.


What to eat and drink


There are two culinary experiences you cannot miss in Bs As, as it is colloquially known. One is sitting in a café and munching some empanadas. Although these pastries are widespread throughout the Hispanic world, the Argentinian version is one of the most highly praised. For fans of time travel, we recommend Café Tortoni (Av. de Mayo 825) with over 150 years of history.  Try visiting the Recoleta neighbourhood for some of the best empanadas in town, such as La Cocina or El Sanjuanino.

But that´s just for starters. The Argentinian grill, or asado, is an institution on its own, probably more solid than some state agencies. The locals are proud of it, and rightly so. There are countless options for tasty grilled beef, but one sure try is the traditional El Obrero in the Boca district (Calle Agustin Caffarena 64). Once a simple bar for the local workers (thus the name Obrero), since the 80’s it opted for a higher standard. The pictures on the walls show the visit of bigwigs like Mick Jagger, Bono Vox and Spanish king Juan Carlos, all of whom are probably attracted by the picturesque appearance of the neighbourhood and establishment.

At night, go for a stroll along the promenade in Puerto Madero. Renovated and modernized, the port has a beautiful view and is full of good restaurants, bars and nightclubs, meaning you can find a rich and fun nightlife.

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Imagem Buenos Aires - AR Buenos Aires - AR

Overview
Sometimes called “Brazilian Venice” due to the number of its islands and canals, Recife is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country. The name comes from arrecifes, surrounding reefs that protect both the port and the sunbathers from high tides. Olinda, now part of the Recife metro area, was once the richest city in the Portuguese domain of Brazil,  and it still preserves its colonial charm.

You may be taken aback by the sheer scale of the city, but the façade of skyscrapers and bustling avenues guards some precious secrets. It is recommendable to find lodgings in the calmer beach suburb of Boa Viagem or in Olinda and visit Recife proper during the day or pop in for its sassy nightlife.

Attractions and activities
A walk around Olinda’s steep streets is the best way to appreciate one of the few places in Brasil where its 500 years of history are so well preserved. You can start on Praça do Carmo and go in the direction of rua do Amparo, chock-full of museums, ateliers, restaurants and the Casa dos Bonecos Gigantes – where the giant figures used on carnival parades are stored. On Sundays, a handicraft fair awaits you on Largo do Varadouro.


The carnival of Pernambuco is by many considered the best in Brasil. Thanks to Paço do Frevo, a musical museum in the historic quarter,  Recife Antigo,  you can experience it all year long. The city is also home of the greatest living sculptor in Brazil - Francisco Brennand. His works are spread throughout the city – e.g. the most famous obelisk on Marco Zero square in the historic centre. For a deeper look into his work, visit the Instituto Francisco Brennand on the outskirts of Recife, located in an old sugar mill with a garden of impressive 15 thousand square metres, with lakes and promenades.


For the more active tourists,  Recife promotes itself as the Brazilian capital of… shipwrecks. There are 18 vessels sunk on the shores of the city, some of them by purpose,  for the sheer pleasure of  exploring them. Some 170 species of fish, molluscs and crustaceans and warm sea temperature attract divers from the whole world. The best time to experience the hidden beauties of the seas is in the spring, when the waters are calm and clear.

What to eat and drink
A great place to experience local cuisine are the newly (re)created Armazéns do Porto -  former port warehouses revitalised into an area of restaurants, bars, museums and craft shops. Most local dishes have seafood as the main theme. Among desserts, try cartola (fried banana with cheese and cinnamon) and bolo de rolo (a roll of very thin sponge cake with guava paste). A good spot for degustation is the charming rua do Amparo in Olinda. Also there, in the bars around Alto da Sé, you can find the best tapiocas in the region.

Nightlife concentrates in bohemian neighbourhoods of Recife Antigo and Boa Viagem. In the historical centre, the focus is on live music bars, from jazz to rock, such as Burburinho, Casa da Moeda, Confraria do Mar e Downtown Pub. On the seaside the style is rather happy hour, with beer served in Boteco Maxime and other beach pubs.

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Imagem Recife - PE Recife - PE

Overview

One of the oldest (over 470 years!) Brazilian cities with some historic remnants of its colonial past, Santos is at the same time the biggest port of Latin America and thus a thriving economy. Don’t be scared by its scale. You may think of Santos as a pit-stop to beach resorts like Ubatuba or Bertioga, but there are some historic gems to discover, and the local beach boasts some 7 km of extension.

Attractions and activities

A good place to start are the Jardins da Orla. Santos has arguably the biggest seaside park in the whole globe. Its beach, although not the cleanest, is quite varied, and whatever your focus – surf, bars, spotting vessels in the port – you are able to find a place for yourself. Once there, don’t miss the Santos Aquarium with about 1000 animals from 120 different species, including penguins, sharks and sea turtles. 

In order to learn about the city´s history, embark on the Bonde Turístico (Tourist cable car), the only remnant of Santos´ once comprehensive tram network. Within 40 minutes, you will see all the historic points from the Colonial, Imperial and Republican eras of Brazil, such as the Coffee Museum. The tram in itself is a historical object, the cars used by Bonde Turístico are roughly 100 years old.

One of them is a tribute to Pelé, Santos´ globally famous son. Speaking of which - football may be interested in the Estádio Urbano Caldeira in the Vila Belmiro district. This is the arena where both Pelé and Neymar gained fame and recognition.

What to eat and drink

Santos offers a wide variety of restaurants, feel free to explore… but if you don’t like surprises, check out our recommendations below. For fast and relatively cheap finger food, like Brazilian burgers and kebabs, go to one of the Beduinos (Av. Ana Costa, 466 or Av. Marechal Floriano Peixoto, 44). A lunch at Café Paulista (Praça Rui Barbosa 8), near the former Coffee Stock Exchange, will make you feel like you’re one of the coffee traders of yorn, discussing lot prices over a decent meal and wine. Finally, a great but costly barbecue supper awaits you at Tertulha (Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 187).

For a night out, you can start at the beach park with a stroll, the odd beer and a little shopping on one of the handicraft fairs in the weekends. The beach kiosks are also an option. Then, for some more serious partying, switch to the Centro neighbourhood with its bars and clubs, such as Clube 49, also known as Clubinho Santos, on R. Visc. de Rio Branco, 49.

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Imagem Santos - SP Santos - SP