Sam's Brazilian Odyssey - South America's Land of Contrasts - One of Sam's Exotic Travels
I was fortunate enough to make an extended trip to Brasil (Brazil according to American spelling) in June 2005. The trip consisted of 11 full days in country plus two overnight flights from NYC and encompassed many of the contrasts of the world's fifth largest country. The trip included the following sites, in the order visited:
Or view information and photos on each site visited:
The Amazon Rainforest - The Amazon River Basin is home to the largest rainforest on Earth. The basin -- roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States -- covers some 40% of the South American continent and includes parts of eight South American countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname. I only saw a tiny tiny bit - up river about an hour from Manaus at the Ariau Jungle Tower on the Rio Negro. It was a memorable trip.
Manaus - Located 900 miles (1,450 km) inland from the Atlantic coast. Manaus (Ma-naus) is a a major inland port (reached by oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic) in the heart of the Amazon rain forest. The city is the major collection and distribution center for the river areas of the upper Amazon. First settled in 1669, rubber plantations in the area from 1890 to 1920 brought prosperity to the city, culminating in the building it the great Opera House and the the best entertainers from Europe and North America were brought in the pleasure of the 100 or so rubber baron families who controlled the economy. With the advent of synthetic rubber in the early 1920’s, the golden period of Manaus was over.
Salvador- The costal city of Salvador de Bahia, also called Bahia for short by many locals, is the capital of Bahia and one of Brasil’s cultural highlights. With over 2 million people, this vibrant city has retained its African soul. Ornate churches still stand on cobblestone streets. Festivals are spontaneous, wild, popular and frequent. Candomblé services illuminate the hillsides. Capoeira and afoxé dance through the streets. The restoration of the historic center of Salvador has revitalized areas that were previously considered dangerous and largely off limits to tourists.
Iguassa Falls - Iguassu Falls are considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world and are the most overwhelming and spectacular waterfalls in South America. The falls are over 3km wide and 80m high and their beauty is unsurpassed. They are also one of, if not the major natural attraction in Brazil. At the heart of this immense body of water is the Devil´s Throat, where 14 separate falls join forces, pounding down the 90meter (350ft) cliffs in a deafening crescendo of sound and spray. Situated on the Rio Iguaçu, the border between Argentina and Brazil, the falls lie 19km (12miles) upstream from the confluence of the Rio Iguaçu with the Rio Alto Paraná. Bridges connect the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu with the Argentinean town of Puerto Iguazú and the Paraguayan city of Cuidad del Este. The Iguaçu falls are situated in the middle of the national park - Parque Nacional Foz do Iguaçu that is divided between Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian National Park was founded in 1939 and the area was designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986. Due to the high humidity caused by the spray from the falls the park is very rich in superb flora and fauna.
Rio de Janeiro - Situated in southeast Brazil, on the natural port of the Baia de Guanabara (Guanabara Bay), Rio is a city of over ten million people squeezed between the ocean and the mountains. The cidade marvilhosa (marvelous city) is a melting pot of cultures and peoples in varying degrees of wealth or poverty. In Rio, the rich and poor live together and the exclusive areas stand in stark contrast and close proximity to the slum areas or favelas. But no matter what their background or economic standing, the Cariocas – as the citizens of Rio are known – are characterized by a passion and enthusiasm for life, which is on full show during Rio’s famous annual Carnival.
View Sam's Exotic Travel Video of the Amazon:
Soundtrack: Solitude by Ben Webster
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