Beach Park Adventures in Fortaleza


Beach Park is Brazil’s largest water park and you’d be a fool to think I’d come this far and not go visit.

I consider myself a water park aficionado, and when I found out that Beach Park was just a short drive away from downtown Fortaleza, I was all in!

With that scheduled for day two in Fortaleza, I spent my first day in town exploring the city.

It was hot, very hot, which definitely limited my movement and enthusiasm until the sun went down. However, I really enjoyed Fortaleza, there’s a raw beauty to the old colonial buildings pressed against a beautiful waterfront.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a live Forró concert that first night and really enjoyed the music and people watching.

The second day I headed to Beach Park to stay and explore the water park.

Not only is it Brazil’s largest water park, but it is also home to the second tallest body water slide in the world! Just recently knocked off of the number one spot, Insano, the 135-foot, 14-story drop is… Insane!

The greatest thing about a slide like this is that it scares so many people, there’s no line! Actually, when I arrived to the top of Insano the first time, two grown men waved me forward because they were still trying to overcome their fears.

As you can see from the video, this wasn’t the first time Beach Park tested the will of men!

If your travels ever take you to Northeastern Brazil, which they should, I highly recommend you come spend a day here at the park.

Insano Beach Park Fortaleza Brazil

Read all about my Beach Park experience on the Visit Brasil Blog.

Watch the Beach Park Fortaleza – Travel Deeper Brazil episode here

Belo Horizonte Through Local Eyes

The reason I travel the way I do is because I believe local interaction is the key to understanding a place and culture.

Building true friendships leads to the most authentic experiences and to me, that’s everything.

I was fortunate to meet Rey (Reinaldo), a Belo Horizonte native, and someone who made my trip to the city so special.

I also met a few great girls while exploring the city on my own, who showed me a excellent first night in town.

After traveling throughout Brazil over the past year, I can say (in my experience) that Belo Horizonte is home to the friendliest people in the country. They helped me with directions, invited me in and made me feel welcome.

I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and stayed through Monday, here are some of the things I did and things to do in Belo Horizonte.

Brazilian Food from Belo Horizonte to Try:

Pão de queijo, feijão tropeiro, frango com quiabo, tutu de feijão, doce de leite and all the fresh regional cheese!

Belo Horizonte Nightlife: 

Belo Horizonte is known for their incredible nightlife and you can find a place to party any night of the week.

Edificio Maleta (Maleta Building) is a great spot to sit and hangout with friends in one of the many traditional table setups.

Feirinha da Savassi is an awesome Thursday night street party with food, live music and a cool, diverse crowd.

The two popular nightlife neighborhoods are Savassi and the more upscale Loudres.

Otherwise, there are a million different bars, dance clubs and live music venues in the city. Check out the BH Guide for nightly information.

Drink: Catuaba – a sweet-wine that’s cheep a dangerously refreshing.

Belo Horizonte (and surrounding area) Activities:

Day trip to Inhotim, day trip to Ouro Preto (new video coming soon), Pampulha lake area, Cruzeiro/Galo soccer match, Central Market, Feira Hippie (sundays), Parque Municipal (central park), Serra do Cipo (waterfalls)

If you’re looking for a more long-term guide, check out the Brazilian Gringo’s guide to Living in Belo Horizonte.

Things to do in Belo Horizonte

Pantanal Wildlife & Piranha Fishing

As mentioned in the video, The Pantanal wetlands weren’t even on my radar until I arrived in Brazil.

Friends at the tourism board suggested I visit the region, so after a little research, I caught a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Campo Grande for a four-day adventure.

Campo Grande is the southern gateway city into the Pantanal, and the meeting point for my peeps at Pantanal Discovery.

After a night in the city, I took a shuttle van about three and a half hours northwest before catching a covered pick-up truck to finish the five-hour journey on dirt roads into the wild Pantanal.

The lodge was simple and clean, with great food and perfect access to the water and Pantanal wildlife.

My timing was a little off in regards to spotting big animals like jaguars, tapirs and anteaters, because I arrived during rainy season, but the abundance of birds I encountered was like nothing I’ve ever seen in the wild.

It was a beautiful and peaceful few days, and I’m so happy to have learned about this unique region of Brazil.

For more on the Pantanal wildlife, read the full story and see all the photos from My Pantanal Experience.

Pantanal Wetlands Brazil

Rio Othon Palace on Copacabana Beach


With only 10 days left in Rio de Janeiro, my apartment was scheduled for renovations so I needed to find a place to crash.

Luckily, my friends over at the Rio Othon Palace in Copacabana Beach had an extra room available for me.

The hotel is one of the tallest and most well known on the Copacabana strip and was my ideal place to finish up my time living in Rio de Janeiro.

Along with a series breakfast spread and ridiculous oceanfront views, the rooftop pool was top notch.

Rio Othon Palace - Copacabana Beach - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Breakfast with a view! Rio Othon Palace, Copacabana Beach

I actually stayed here while working at the World Cup with the Aussie crew, but I didn’t have time to enjoy it.

This time however, I enjoyed the scenery from my suite, spent an hour at breakfast and took advantage of the pool.

And as you see in the video, the location was absolutely perfect for Copacabana beach access, and it’s only a few blocks from the closest metro (subway) station.

Rio Othon Palace - Copacabana Beach - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

The view down at Copacabana Beach from the Rooftop pool at Rio Othon Palace

Next time you’re looking for a place to stay in Rio, I highly recommend checking out the Rio Othon Palace on Copacabana beach!

Tell them “Andre” sent you!

 

 

Beaches & Buggies in Natal Brazil

Natal is my favorite city of the four major northeastern Brazilian cities (Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador), because it seems the cleanest, safest and most visually stimulating them all.

While Salvador reigns supreme as the culture capital, Natal is undeniably the epicenter of an endless supply of ridiculously beautiful beaches.

If you look at a map of Natal Brazil and the surrounding area, there are literally hundreds of beaches to choose from. Look.

Natal Brazil Beaches Map

I only had a few days to meet the city so I divided into two equal parts of relaxation and adventure.

On day one I explored a few of the beaches within Natal’s city limits, including the popular Ponta Negra beach just south of the city.

I road all the way up through downtown Natal to Fort dos Reis Magos to check out the beaches on the other end of the city.

The urban beaches were clean and small sand dunes and offshore reef added a cool landscape.

After a relaxing first day, I decided to take a dune buggy tour into the famous sand dunes just outside Natal.

I was picked up from my hostel by a local guide and a few other traveler friends and we headed into the sandy unknown.

It was a full day filled with off-roading, zip-lining, lounging and swimming.

Natal is definitely a place I’d like to spend more time getting to know. Next time I’d like to try my hand behind the wheel of one of these dune buggies myself.

Natal Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read all about the Dune Buggy Adventure in Natal

Watch Episode #7 Natal Beaches & Buggies via YouTube (as well as the other episodes).