After a slightly overwhelming month that involved a long weekend trip to Ontario, a 10km road race, and studying for and writing my engineering ethics exam, I am ready for a new adventure. So I’m lacing up my hiking boots and strapping on my backpack for my second trip to South America, this time with my sister!
My last trip to South America was to Peru in 2013 and I haven’t been on a trip with Emily since we went to Ireland together in 2011. We make a good travel team because I’m more of a planner/organizer type and she likes to go with the flow, so we balance each other out. The many years of living together have taught us how to tolerate each other’s eccentricities and our sister-sense generally keeps us on the same page. So I’m looking forward to two full weeks with one of my favourite people!
So why Brazil?
I get this question all the time when I tell people I’m going to Brazil and I don’t really have a proper answer for it. To be honest, there are not many countries that I wouldn’t love to visit and Brazil is just one of many on my list. The biggest attraction for me is Iguazu Falls, which I’ve wanted to visit since I read about it in a travel memoir, and Emily is particularly interested in visiting the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. We considered a few different countries for our sister trip, but since airfare is usually more expensive from Newfoundland (where Emily is currently living), I let her pick our destination.
Our trip to beautiful Brazil starts this weekend! I’m leaving from Vancouver on Saturday morning and Emily is leaving from St. John’s. It’s a full day of flying, so we’ll both arrive in Rio de Janeiro early on Sunday morning. We have two full weeks of adventure planned and as usual, I invite you to come along! I blogged from the road on my last two trips (California and Peru), and I’m hoping to do the same on this trip. Stay tuned for lots of stories and photos! Before we leave, I just want to fill you in on some of the exciting things we have planned.
I usually don’t like to stay in one city for too long, but Rio offers so many incredible attractions that we decided to set up a home base there instead of wandering around the country like nomads (which is what I usually do). We’re spending a few days in the Lapa neighbourhood of Rio when we arrive and are hoping to see the Christ the Redeemer (Christo Redentor) statue, explore the city centre, and spend a day hiking in Tijuca National Park, Rio’s urban forest.
From there, we’re taking a flight to Foz do Iguacu where we plan on spending a few days visiting Iguazu Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world! It’s located right on the border between Brazil and Argentina, so we’re planning to hop across the border to see the waterfall from both perspectives. Like I said, this one has been on my bucket list for a while, so I’m really looking forward to it!
Following Iguazu Falls, we’re flying back to Rio for a few more days, but this time we’re going to focus on seeing the south zone of the city. We’re planning on taking the gondola up Sugarloaf Mountain for some awesome views of the city and spending some time exploring Rio’s premier beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema. We’re actually staying just a few blocks away from Copacabana beach and we’re looking forward to taking it easy.
Our second side-trip is going to be to Ilha Grande. Ilha Grande is an island a few hours drive away from Rio that boasts amazing snorkeling and miles of untouched beaches and wilderness. We’re going to take a bus/boat over to the island and do a little bit of hiking combined with some beach lounging. We’ll probably hop on a boat and check out the snorkeling scene while we’re there as well!
Ilha Grande is the last big part of the trip and we’re finishing off with a few more days in Rio. We haven’t quite decided how we’ll spend the time, but we’re hoping to experience more of the Brazilian culture. We definitely want to check out the samba scene and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the timing might be right to catch a soccer game. Otherwise, we’re looking forward to sipping caipirinha’s on the beach!
It’s our first trip togther in a while (unless you count a brief trip to Washington State last year), so mostly I’m just looking forward to spending some quality time with my sister. We’ll see how long she puts up with me!
Talk to you soon!