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If anyone has some questions about Brazilian Ports


msclover

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Thanks dfb and scottishmaid. I will be in Parintins on the Veendam in March and most likely skip the BoiBumba.

Since it is sunday I will go to mass probably in the cathedral and wander around.

We were on the Veendam last March, Rio to Fort Lauderdale via the Amazon. Most of the ports are the same as on your trip, so keep asking questions!

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We were on the Veendam last March, Rio to Fort Lauderdale via the Amazon. Most of the ports are the same as on your trip, so keep asking questions!

 

Did you do any excursions on your own?

If so, would you have any guides you can suggest in the brasilian ports of Recife, Belem, Macapa and Santarem?

Thanks

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Did you do any excursions on your own?

If so, would you have any guides you can suggest in the brasilian ports of Recife, Belem, Macapa and Santarem?

Thanks

Several places on the NE Brazilian coast did not seem safe. People from the ship had cameras pulled from their hands in Salvador and Belem. I was much more comfortable in the Amazon. We wore money belts and took only a little Brazilian money with us. However very little English is spoken in Brazil so it is hard to find guides. I learned more Portuguese by the end of our trip than the average Brazilian knew of English.

Recife: The ship had trouble with the health authorities, due to norovirus on board so we were very late being able to get off. We took a taxi to Olinda. We felt safe walking around the wonderful churches and then having a beer and finding a taxi. However, as we looked for our first taxi at the port, many taxi drivers were offering only "tours" for inflated $$ prices. People were paying the prices and going in crowded minivans. Eventually things calmed down and we found a one way taxi ride. However one needs to be firm, learn the Portuguese phrases, use Brazilian money and offer the amount you think the ride is worth. Or insist on using the meter and risk being taken on a circuitous route.

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Several places on the NE Brazilian coast did not seem safe. People from the ship had cameras pulled from their hands in Salvador and Belem. I was much more comfortable in the Amazon. We wore money belts and took only a little Brazilian money with us. However very little English is spoken in Brazil so it is hard to find guides. I learned more Portuguese by the end of our trip than the average Brazilian knew of English.

Recife: The ship had trouble with the health authorities, due to norovirus on board so we were very late being able to get off. We took a taxi to Olinda. We felt safe walking around the wonderful churches and then having a beer and finding a taxi. However, as we looked for our first taxi at the port, many taxi drivers were offering only "tours" for inflated $$ prices. People were paying the prices and going in crowded minivans. Eventually things calmed down and we found a one way taxi ride. However one needs to be firm, learn the Portuguese phrases, use Brazilian money and offer the amount you think the ride is worth. Or insist on using the meter and risk being taken on a circuitous route.

 

 

Thanks for your comments, I can see that you must take the usual precuations that you take anywhere in the world.

I will look for the taxis in port: am familiar with Brasil and spanish is my language so hopefully I will be able to secure a good non ship excursion.

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We were in Salvador two years ago and will be back in March. There is no need to take a cab up to Pelourinho. Just walk from the ship through somewhat crummy old business district -- which is in the process of being gentrified -- part a delightful handicraft market to the huge elevator that takes you up for pennies. We did that also in coming back and had no problems.

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We were in Salvador two years ago and will be back in March. There is no need to take a cab up to Pelourinho. Just walk from the ship through somewhat crummy old business district -- which is in the process of being gentrified -- part a delightful handicraft market to the huge elevator that takes you up for pennies. We did that also in coming back and had no problems.

We also did that with no problems but someone from the ship had their gold chain necklace snatched near the elevator. We were told not to wear jewelry.

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Did you do any excursions on your own?

If so, would you have any guides you can suggest in the brasilian ports of Recife, Belem, Macapa and Santarem?

Thanks

At Belem and Macapa we took the Veendam's highlights tour. We were uncertain what to do as the ship tenders/ docks about 30 miles from the center of each. Then AFTER the deadline for an excursion refund the ship announced a shuttle service at each for about $15.

At Belem our tour went to the Ver-O-Peso market, fort, basilica and Emilio Goldi zoo and botanic gardens. I would have liked more time at each as they were all interesting. Our guide was good and he actually ran over to some clueless people from the ship's shuttle to beg them not to walk alone in the direction they were headed. It looked like a nice innocent park. There are beautiful old buildings which are being restored. So really I don't have a solution for Belem. Again it is a tender port then a long way into the town.

At Macapa we docked at the cargo port, also a long way out. They are exporting Manganese. Very few cruise ships go here. There is not a huge amount to see but the state of Amapa is pushing tourism and you won't meet many people who have been here. Our highlights tour official guide only spoke Portuguese so there was a Brazilian student to translate. He had learned his English as an exchange student of engineering in South Africa. We went to a high quality craft shop, I think built by the state, with unique crafts like manganese pots. I think they took visa and also there was an ATM outside. The shuttle bus dropped passengers there too. Very close by is the fort, for which we were given too little time. Then we drove to the "sustainable development museum and botanic garden". It was very interesting but crowded by tours and our two guides were overwhelmed. The notices are in Portuguese only but there were most interesting displays for example on Dengue Fever and also collections of moths etc. It looked like a unique museum worth quiet perusal. Finally we went to the Marco Zero Monument, the equator line, where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere. But tourism is so under developed that there were no postcards, no souvenirs!

We docked at Santarem. I've been there twice and both times taken the Veendam's tour Maica Lake and Piranha fishing. You go as a group of about 25 on an old wooden river boat. On both occasions our guide was very educated, one a college professor, one a nurse. I saw the wedding of the waters up close, a floating gas station, river barges, houses on stilts, birds, iguanas, water buffalo, among other things, and the guides gave good information. We fished for, caught and photographed piranha which then were cooked on the boat for us to taste. More cruise ships stop at Santarem than Belem and Macapa so the tour is done fairly often. However I saw no sign that you could book such a tour on your own. It is a cargo port outside town. Other people got taxis outside the ports gates to the center of town.

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Several places on the NE Brazilian coast did not seem safe. People from the ship had cameras pulled from their hands in Salvador and Belem. I was much more comfortable in the Amazon. We wore money belts and took only a little Brazilian money with us. However very little English is spoken in Brazil so it is hard to find guides. I learned more Portuguese by the end of our trip than the average Brazilian knew of English.

Recife: The ship had trouble with the health authorities, due to norovirus on board so we were very late being able to get off. We took a taxi to Olinda. We felt safe walking around the wonderful churches and then having a beer and finding a taxi. However, as we looked for our first taxi at the port, many taxi drivers were offering only "tours" for inflated $$ prices. People were paying the prices and going in crowded minivans. Eventually things calmed down and we found a one way taxi ride. However one needs to be firm, learn the Portuguese phrases, use Brazilian money and offer the amount you think the ride is worth. Or insist on using the meter and risk being taken on a circuitous route.

 

Hello ScottishMaid,

 

can you tell me how much was the taxi to Olinda? my parents will go to Olinda in December and they are a little worried about the safety in Brasil.

 

Thanks!

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Hello ScottishMaid,

 

can you tell me how much was the taxi to Olinda? my parents will go to Olinda in December and they are a little worried about the safety in Brasil.

 

Thanks!

 

About 20 to 30 reis each way. As I said in a post above, Americans were paying $50 or more each for a tour in a crowded minivan. When the confusion finished we offered a taxi driver 30 Brazilian reis to take 3 of us to Olinda.

On the way back two of us found a taxi and told him to use the meter. It was about 22 reis for both of us. That is the real price but of course the taxi drivers will charge much more if tourists will pay a high price.

For the safety, tell them to wear old clothes, no jewelry, no expensive cameras, use local money, don't carry much money, speak some Portuguese. I see you live in Spain so you know European tourist places attract pickpockets. It is the same in Brazil. The more you look like a penniless European backpacker, the safer you are, I believe.

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Ok ScottishMaid, lots of thanks!!

 

I'm from Galicia, in Spain. We live near Portugal and we speak "gallego" that is like portuguese, so that is not a problem :D

 

Thanks again!

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msclover:

 

Can you advise if it is possible in Rio to buy Schweps Diet Tonic Mix or another brand of diet tonic mix?

Also can one buy bourbon and scotch.

Are there specialty liquor stores to buy such items?

Thanks for your help.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 5 months later...

In Salvador, if you have only a day, you can take a taxi from the port up to the nearby historic center of Pelourinho and walk around on your own to see sights, buy souvenirs and eat lunch. For some history, I would get a good guidebook to read beforehand. A guide won't necessarily help much more. A good online site is www.bahia-online.net to get an overview of sights and neighborhoods. Take the Elevador Lacerda back down to the Lower City and go to the Mercado Modelo for more great shopping. If you have more time, take a taxi from there to the old sugar plantation and current museum of art Solar Uniao (and wait for a taxi to go back). Or you could take a taxi out to the church at Bonfim to get a traditional ribbon on your wrist and see the odd little museum with relics of blessings received.

********************************************************

 

We will be on Vision of the Seas in February. It looks like we are going to be in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil for two days. You mentioned taxis. Do we need to bagain? What is the going rate and what do we need to know. I will be travelling with my sister and a 9 year old niece.

 

I would appreciate other suggestions you may have and places to eat as well.

 

Thanks a lot.

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  • 4 weeks later...
It looks like we are going to be in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil for two days. You mentioned taxis. Do we need to bagain? What is the going rate and what do we need to know. I will be travelling with my sister and a 9 year old niece.

 

I would appreciate other suggestions you may have and places to eat as well.

 

If you don't know what the going rate is, it is hard to bargain with taxi drivers in Salvador, and usually you don't save that much anyway. My experience is that they are pretty honest about trips on the meter.

 

February just before Carnaval will be the height of the season insofar as music and movement in Salvador. During is crazy. Afterwards will be very quiet. (I'm seeing several February cruises with Vision of the Seas that include Salvador.)

 

The port, as mentioned, is a few minutes from the Comercio, a central point for directions and buses. I would take a taxi from the port, rather than walk there, merely because of the industrial nature of the neighborhood and the rough sidewalks. The landmark Mercado Modelo is opposite the Lacerda Elevator in the Comercio. Take the Elevador Lacerda up to the historic district of Pelourinho or use the buses from the Comercio to get around town (or taxi).

 

Many of the places mentioned below can be seen on YouTube videos, so have your niece do some "homework" online to prepare.

 

For 2 days, and especially with a kid, I'd try to pack in as much color, music and beach as possible. A good schedule might be to tour in the cooler, often overcast morning, spend the hot afternoon at a beach (although we sometimes have a noon-ish downpour for an hour or so), and go out to see some music at night.

 

The best beaches for kids, along what can be a very rough coast, are the cove at Porto da Barra (the closest urban beach, about 10 minutes by bus/taxi from the Comercio), the "piscina" near the lighthouse ("farol") at Itapoa (about 45 minutes up the coast toward the airport by local bus) and the beaches of rural Itaparica island (a 40 minute fun ferry ride from the terminal very close to the port and then a short van ride--try Ponto da Areia beach once you get there).

 

Any kid would enjoy the color of the historic district of Pelourinho and the shopping at the Mercado Modelo (cheap enough for souvenirs for all the classmates, but also has better stuff). There are also demonstrations of the martial art / dance called "capoeira" behind the building, and in the square in Pelourinho as well. If you happen to be in Pelourinho when there is a hand-clapping, drumming mass scheduled at the church called Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, do drop in for at least a few minutes.

 

The Solar de Uniao is a quick taxi ride from the Comercio (and wait for a taxi to take you back--do not walk) to see the modern art musuem housed in an old sugar plantation.

 

The church at Bonfim is another attraction. The bus ride form the Comercio is about 45 minutes, or somewhat faster by taxi. There it's traditional to make 3 wishes while 3 knots fasten a ribbon (fita) on your wrist. There is an odd "museum" of artifacts left by people whose ailments were cured by praying there. And several shops where Catholic religious articles are found alongside those for the African-based Candomble.

 

night/evening:

Before Carnaval, there will be music every night in Pelourinho, and kids are welcome in bars/clubs/restaurants in Brazil. You may see kids of all ages accompanying their parents at all hours, even quite late. The local music is the lifeblood and the fame of Savador.

 

You all might like the show at the Bale Folclorico de Bahia in Pelourinho.

 

You could also go to Rio Vermelho one evening, about 20 minutes from the Comercio (bus or taxi), to join the locals on the plaza there for an acaraje or go to one of the small clubs/restaurants for a meal and some local music. Note the fishermen's weighing house on the shore, with the statue of the "orisha" Iemanja, whose festival of offered flowers takes place on Feb. 2 in Rio Vermelho.

 

If you need any more particulars as the time gets closer, please post again.

-------

 

@ West Windsor Girl--

http://www.passeiosdebuggy.com.br/reservas/reservar

http://www.tempodeaventura.com.br/passeio/passeios-em-natal

http://www.buggyturismo.com.br/

http://www.passeiodebuggy.com.br/roteiros.php

and more (if in Portuguese, use Google translate)

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  • 3 months later...

Greetings,

 

We will be visiting the following ports and wanted to know if there are any must-buy authentic South American souvenirs, handicrafts, trinkets, etc. we should keep an eye out for.

 

Rio De Janeiro

Ilha Grande

Buzios

Paraty

Santos

Porto Belo

Rio Grande

Punta Del Este

Montevideo

Buenos Aires

 

Thanks.

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In Brazil, you can buy Havaiiana brand flip-flops in a variety of colors, patterns and styles. You can buy cangas (sarongs) to wear to the beach or sit on there. Handmade jewelry, using natural items such as wood, seed beads, feathers, fish scales, bamboo, coconut shell, etc, is usually purchased from the maker on the street. Vendors also sell a particular style of hammock, very comfortable. All of this is also popular with locals and easy to find.

 

As for quality art/crafts, it will likely not be from any of the areas you are visiting (on that list), but brought into the shops from elsewhere in Brazil for tourists to buy. The inventory might often include quality pottery items, and fine hand-made lace items from the northeast (Ceara), but also little sculptures from semi-precious stones and carved soapstone boxes, made in Minas Gerais state, colorful sculptures of women or chickens from the Recife area, and the hand embroidered table runners so ubiquitous in Brazilian households.

 

In the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio, there is one unique craft store that had prints featuring Rio sights and some clever hand made souvenir items (items that look like the bonde trolley that goes up to that neighborhood, for example) and many other items that I had not seen elsewhere. In Rio (and some other cities), you can also find high quality gems and jewelry at shops like HStern. If you are ashore on a Sunday, the Hippie Fair in Rio features some interesting craft items, and paintings in the 'naif' style.

 

In the south, you might find items for making and drinking mate'.

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  • 1 month later...
In Brazil, you can buy Havaiiana brand flip-flops in a variety of colors, patterns and styles. .

 

There are several brands, some cheaper than Havaiianas, which are the best known brand now. You really don't see most of the color and pattern once your feet are in them. In general, shoes are more expensive in Brazil than in the U.S. That especially applies to imported sports shoes.

 

Regarding the question about tonic and booze: I've seen tonic, but don't recall seeing diet. In Rio and Sao Paulo, more likely than where we usually are (Fortaleza). Bourbon and Scotch can be found even in supermarkets. Much more Scotch (both imported and domestic kinds) than Bourbon (and what you'll find most often is Jack Daniels which, of course, is not a Bourbon). But imported booze is expensive. Much more than in the States. You can sometimes save a bit by buying in an airport duty free store (you can shop in one right after Customs in many international airports). You may see some stores in cities calling themsleves duty free, but I haven't found them less expensive than regular liquor stores or supermarkets. You will see a lot of cachaça (sort of rum's unrefined cousin), but that's best in mixed drinks, such as the caiparinha. Some people will drink it straight, but it's pretty harsh. You didn't mention martinis, but if you order one in a restaurant, make clear that when you say "martini" you want a gin martini (not Martini & Rossi) and specify the ratio of gin to vermouth is not 1:1. We've taught several bartenders how to make gin martinis, but there's only so much two people can do.

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Our cruise stops in Salvador and Buzios. Does anyone know if there are any opportunities for bird watching near these ports?

Not really in Salvador. It's a pretty big city and the more rural areas are a bit more difficult to find, esp. with time constraints, as you will have. But you will have a happy and full day seeing the sights in Pelourinho, shopping in the Mercado Modelo, maybe going out to the church at Bonfim or to the Solar Uniao or the beach at Porto da Barra.

There are several brands, some cheaper than Havaiianas, which are the best known brand now. You really don't see most of the color and pattern once your feet are in them.

You can tell this comment was written by a guy, not a shoe crazy female. LOL

I currently have green Havaiianas, melon color (my very first pair dating from 1996 ;-o you always remember your first, right? ), turquoise, deep turquoise, turquoise with flower patterned soles and the thin gold straps, red, yellow, purple with peacock patterned soles and the thin gold straps, hot pink, blue with the layered Brazilian flag colors in the soles...and my Brazilian women friends always remark on which ones I, and they too, have on at any time.

Also Havaiianas are still available for R$8 (U$4) in many places in Brazil, the "hyper" supermarkets, for example; they don't necessarily have to be purchased at the most expensive tourist shop in Ipanema for R$30+.

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Not really in Salvador. It's a pretty big city and the more rural areas are a Also Havaiianas are still available for R$8 (U$4) in many places in Brazil, the "hyper" supermarkets, for example; they don't necessarily have to be purchased at the most expensive tourist shop in Ipanema for R$30+.

 

They're R$30-40 in Fortaleza, where we are. A number of other brands are available. They're flip flops, not high tech running shoes, so I'd buy whatever fits you best. Or buy them at home. Lots of potholes, even in sidewalks, where we are, so I prefer more substantial sandals, unless walking just on the beach.

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  • 2 weeks later...
AmoMondo - We've just recently returned from a marvelous cruise on Regent Seven Seas Voyager from Rio to Ft.Lauderdale. We spent four days pre-cruise in Rio (and wished it had been much longer). As you have only the day in Rio, you can make much more efficient use of your time on a tour, either a ship's tour (not my first choice) or with a private guide (we can recommend a couple of fantastic private guides, if you are thinking of using one). Fred

 

I'm just beginning to research private tours for Rio. Do you still have the contact information for a private guide? The shore excursions were just posted and they seem to be outrageously expensive. We will be there over night 12/17 -12/18 and especially would like a tour that would leave us at the airport.

 

Thanks for your help.

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