Archive for the ‘Places to visit’ Category

Catholic Church to Upgrade Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

October 30, 2009

Christ the RedeemerThe Catholic Church has announced plans to raise 3.5 million dollars for a major upgrade of Christ the Redeemer, the iconic giant statue of Jesus with outstretched arms that overlooks Rio de Janeiro.

The 30-meter (98-foot) tall stone and cement Christ the Redeemer stands on an eight-meter high pedestal on top of Mount Corcovado, overlooking the metropolis of around 10 million people. The statue’s designer, Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, ceded all the rights to the monument to the Catholic Church. Paul Landowski, a French sculptor of Polish origin, sculpted the statue. It was inaugurated in 1931 after five years of work.

Archbishop Ornani Tempesta told reporters Wednesday that cleaning and repairing the 78 year-old statue will take four to six months.

Some of the money will be raised by selling small metal brooches of the statue, available for 4.30 dollars at any of Rio’s 252 parishes, Tempesta said. “It is a way to get to know Christ even better. We will carry him on our chest.”

Brazilian mining giant Vale will also pay for part of the project.

Christ the Redeemer was classified as a historic monument in 1973. Every year some 1.8 million visitors stop by to see the stature.

Hot Spots: Belém, Brazil

October 22, 2009

BelémWhat often surprises tourists about the city of Belém is the unique way in which nature is integrated into modern urban life. Everyone I know who visits Belem is completely taken aback at the small enclosures of gardens resembling the nature of the Amazonian forest and the surprising manner in which they merge with the unceasing movement of the city. You will never forget the backstreet scenes that go on in that city. Belém also offers visitors with an interest in the culinary arts the chance to sample traditional cuisine, which happens to be some of the most authentically Brazilian or Amazonian you will find on your vacation to Brazil. Dishes such as duck dressed with tucupi, maniçoba, tacaca, crab shellfish, fish soup and turtle sarapatel are some of the delicious dishes that illustrate a regional culinary art rich in flavors.

At the picturesque marketplace of Ver-o-Peso in Belem the fascinating mixture of colours, fragrances, flavours and exotic dishes are just as feverishly devoured by the eyes as they are by the mouth. A spacious, open, free market, Ver-o-Peso is a place where thousands of people visit daily to both shop and indulge in enriching social interactions. In the numerous huts you will find all the delicious fruits of the region (pineapple, papaw, bacuri, cupuaçu, uxi, tapereba, açai, pupunha, etc.), as well as a wide variety of fish, meat, vegetables and plants used in traditional medicine from the forest. You will also find a mystical and magical touch to the list of possible purchases, all sorts of potions and remedies from infusions to cures for a mere toothache, to flasks (garrafadas) containing concoctions of plants and animals’ parts destined to tame “free-spirited” husbands.

By Jennifer Bunin

BTOA Debuts New Brazil Tour Brochure

October 15, 2009
Gorgeous Recife

Gorgeous Recife

For those traveling to Brazil, the Brazil Tour Operators Association’s (BTOA) new 26-page brochure which debuted this week is full of information sure to guide you towards all the wonders Brazil has to offer.

The organization’s 24 active members include AAT American Adventure Tours; Abreu; Air Projects; American Express Vacations; Avanti Destinations; Borello Travel and Tours; Brazil Nuts Tours; Brazilian Vacation Center; BROL/Brazil Online Travel; Chanteclair; Cox & Kings USA; Discover Brazil Tours; Dumonde Travel, 4 Star South America Tours & Travel; Fredson Travel; Globus; HOTUR – Just Brazil Vacations; Marnella Tours; Pan American Travel Services; SITA World Tours; Skyline Travel Specialists; Tourlite International; VIP Tour Group; and Visit Brazil Tours.

Associate members include the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Bahia, Ceará, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco, plus the city of Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Convention and Visitors Bureau.

BTOA’s “Destination of the Year” for this year is Pernambuco, a state in northeastern Brazil relatively undiscovered by North Americans. The Portuguese settled there in the 1530s and with the riches from sugar cane built ornate churches. Recife, the state’s capital, lies on almost two miles of white sand beach. Near Recife, Olinda, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has some 20 churches and monasteries built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Lining the town’s cobblestone streets are art galleries, restaurants, bars, boutiques and charming pousadas housed in centuries-old mansions. Pernambuco boasts 116 miles of gorgeous coastline. In a national survey Brazilians have voted Porto de Galinhas the most beautiful beach in the country for seven years in a row. Lying 215 miles off the coast is Fernando de Noronha, an island paradise for divers and eco-tourists. On this UNESCO Natural Heritage site, tourism is strictly controlled and only a limited number of visitors can dive in pristine waters, kayak with dolphins and snorkel with turtles.

To order BTOA’s new brochure, travel agents can email

Brazil’s Highest Quality Apartments, Flats, Penthouses, and Hotels

Hot Spots: Paraty, Brazil

October 12, 2009

ParatyParaty is one of our favorite Ports  in all of Brazil and is often wrongfully considered a city that can be seen in one day. Many tourists think that its attractions are concentrated only in the Historical Center with its preserved colonial architecture, and while this is certainly one of its great enchantments, Paraty hides a natural unmatchable beauty. The Paraty Bay, with its still wild beaches and islands, is one of the most beautiful places on the Brazilian coastline. Its clear and calm waters, full of colorful fish, beckon tourists to dive and experience Paraty’s natural marine wonders. While diving and fishing are common activities among the tourists, there is one other must activity: a visit to the absolutely charming fishing village of Trindade. This village has a rich history and seven fantastic and romantic beaches. Evenings and nights are moments to enjoy the Historical Center. Take a stroll through all the small streets and observe each house with its colonial architecture. Indulge in the small pleasures such as a street show or having your caricature drawn; go in every shop and take in some of the beauty of Paraty through the local craftsmanship. Re-fuel yourself after a long day of adventures in Paraty by visiting one of the terrific restaurants of the city and enjoy some live music in one of the bars. Be sure to reserve a night to watch one of Paraty’s world-famous, endlessly entertaining puppet shows. Paraty is also a very important cultural and artistic location, so don’t forget to see the different forms of artistic expressions that exist in the city. If there is a traditional party in the city, we highly recommend you attend it. These events are can get rowdy (in the best way possible) and generally have food stands and shows with performances by local bands.

Click here for apartment rentals in Paraty and Rio.

Hot Spots: Laranjeiras Beach, Brazil

October 9, 2009

laranjeirasLaranjeiras, or “orange trees” in Portuguese, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of Santa Catarina. Located 15 kilometers south of Paraty, the calm transparent waters of the Laranjeiras Beach are greatly sought by those who have an interest in water sports. It is 750 meters (2,460.63 feet) long and offers visitors a variety of bars and restaurants as well as nearby hotels and rentals. Another exciting attraction of the beach is the fact that it is located on an archeological site in which three-thousand-year-old fossils were found. It is possible to get there from the Interpraias Park or through cable car which is connected to the LARANJEIRASCentral Beach. During the cable car descent, which takes around 15 minutes, it is possible to see several beautiful natural landscapes. Visitors can also stop and practice tree-climbing in the areas of Atlantic Forest of the Aguada Hill. There, you will find trails and belvederes that offer a full view of the sea.

Hot Spots: Santarem, Brazil

October 8, 2009

SantaremA wonderful and unique place, Santarém is most definitely a must on your list of Brazilian cities to visit. Santarem is located in the state of Pará in Brazil where the Tapajós River joins the Amazon River. Situated right along Amazon, Santarem is the home of a visually stunning and interesting natural phenomenon. Both rivers run along the front of the city, side by side, without mixing. The Amazon’s milky colored water carries sediment from the Andes in the East, while the Tapajós’s water is somewhat warmer and has a deep-blue tone. It is a feast for the eyes! It is know by the locals and savvy travelers as “the meeting of the waters” by the locals. Being less populated than neighboring ports, it is easy to visit and explore the forest and there is a greater possibility of experiencing the wonders of Amazonian fauna. Santarém is not considered a tourist centre, so you may be able to make authentic contact with the local people and even expand your social network to include Brazilian natives!

By Jennifer Bunin