Travel consultant Konrad shares his experiences of travelling to the North-East of Brazil.
What region did you visit?
The North-East of Brazil
How did you get there?
I flew via Lisbon with TAP which really reduced the travel times and avoided the large hubs of Rio and Sao Paulo.
Where did you go?
I started in Salvador (the capital of Bahia), moved onto Lencois and did some hiking in Chapada Diamantina, visited the beach resorts of Praia do Forte and Morro de Sao Paulo, then continued further North up the coast to the city of Recife and its colonial neighbour Olinda before finishing in the tropical paradise of Fernando de Noronha.
Have you been before?
I’ve only ever been to the South of Brazil namely Rio de Janeiro and the Iguazú Falls and that was almost 15 years ago, so I was really excited and returning to the first ever country I visited in South America.
If so…any notable differences?
The real difference I noticed was how much safer I felt in Brazil this time around. We often hear the scare stories in the media but everybody was so friendly and I immediately felt comfortable even in the bigger cities such as Salvador.
Which was your favourite…
Place: Lencois and the surrounding Chapada Diamantina National Park was the biggest surprise as I wasn’t quite prepared for how beautiful and dramatic the landscape here is. Yes it’s a long way to get here (about six hours by road from Salvador), but it’s so worth it.
Hotel: Pousada Maravilha in Fernando de Noronha. To have breakfast whilst enjoying one of the best views on the island is a pretty unforgettable! The staff also go well out of their way to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Excursion: The hike to Cachoeira da Fumaca (waterfall of smoke) which at 340m is the second highest waterfall in Brazil and offers breathtaking views over the Capao valley.
What was your most memorable moment?
Without a doubt seeing a number of lemon sharks and sting rays patrolling the beach, chasing schools of sardines...shortly before wading into the sea myself to snorkel in the same area! A real adrenaline rush.
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
I visited during the wettest month (May) and although there was the occasional shower it didn’t impact the trip and the activities too much. A great time to visit the North East (particularly for families) is August and September when temperatures are a little cooler (compared to the high heat of summer) but still perfect for beach time. If you’re interested in the cultural aspects, the months leading up to Carnival in February will be filled with plenty of music and dance.
Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?
Take a little time to brush up on your Portuguese! I downloaded a translator app that I found very helpful when trying to decipher local menus although our guides and hotel staff in general speak relatively good English.
Sum up your trip in a sentence?
Without sounding too smug (and underplaying the fact that I was actually there for work) this was probably my best trip to South America.