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Old 02-19-2008, 08:33 PM   #1
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Question Exploring Brazil....

Hello again! I know there are so many discussions here for solo travelers, and I'm just curious about getting around Brazil. I think I will go for the South America trip, and I definitely want some good Brazil time.
Has anyone traveled around? Are buses considerably safe? Are there some cool spots that must be seen? Things cheap?
I would like to see Rio, then hit some smaller towns. Any advice whatsoever would be awesome. I don't speak Portuguese, but good Spanish. Hoping to meet other travelers also, of course. I just don't want to end up in any hairy areas, which I know definitely exist in Brazil.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:33 PM   #2
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If you don't want hairy areas, skip Rio!

I spent a few months there back in 2004 and I skipped Rio altogether but I am not the big touristy town type anyway. Buses are good transportation but if you can afford it buy one of the airpasses that's good for 5 or 6 flights, Brazil is HUGE and after I spent a week on a bus, just buy the airpass.

Search the boards and you'll find plenty! Also the archives of my blog!
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:46 PM   #3
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Yeah, I did an extensive post on Brazil (food, small cities, etc.) a year or so ago. Just type in Brazil into the search and LOADS will come up.

I'm Brazilian and I've never been to Rio. It's nice, I'm sure, but if you're trying to avoid seedy, I'd avoid Rio if possible.

The thing I've noticed with Portuguese and Spanish is that Brazilians are better able to understand someone who speaks Spanish than someone who speaks Spanish is able to understand Portuguese. They'll be able to understand your question; the answer might mess you up a bit. So, I'd still try learning some basic Portuguese questions/answers so that you'll be familiar with major words that might be different than Spanish.

Hit up the northeast! Bahia is ah-MAH-zing. Salvador is packed with history (Brazilian and African and a mix of everything else kind of chucked together). Um. And eat at some sort of meat buffet/churrasceria (I butchered that spelling, I know)/whatever at least once. It's an amazing experience. The concept of "stuffed" will have a whole new meaning.

EDIT:

In this thread, I put a lot of info about the food, mostly, but there's a smattering of stuff about places to see.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:08 PM   #4
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Just to provide some contrast, I spent 3 weeks in Rio a couple of years back and had an absolute blast! I enjoy the small, less touristy places as much as the next traveller, but Rio is a fun place, definately not one to skip.

The buses in Brazil are fantastic, but like Jake said, it's a bloody big country so be prepared for some looong bus trips.

Having a good knowledge of Spanish is more than enough to survive in Brazil. Learn the Portuguese basics of course, but there's no need to be too worried if you're not fluent in the language.

You'll meet an absolute shite load of backpackers in Brazil, it's quite a popular travel destination.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:19 PM   #5
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But yeah, like LFB said, with Spanish, you'll be more than fine (better off than people who only know English), but I'd say it's still a good idea to be familiar with the basics you would learn for any country you visit (I mean, you don't go to France knowing Italian and speak to them in Italian just because it's similar, right?). At the least I would learn "Do you speak Spanish?" just to make sure you don't offend. Some people can get pretty defensive if they think you think they know Spanish and not Portuguese. If that makes sense. Anyway, knowing Spanish WILL be an amazing help.

Just a random fact that stemmed from my mother's pregnancy with me, and you probably won't use this word, but "embarasada" is embarrased in Portuguese... and PREGNANT in Spanish! This isn't the case for the majority of words, but there are differences!
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