Travel Deeper with Gareth Leonard | Tourist2Townie.com http://www.tourist2townie.com Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Next Travel Adventure Awaits http://www.tourist2townie.com/adventure-travels/the-next-travel-adventure-awaits/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/adventure-travels/the-next-travel-adventure-awaits/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 02:56:51 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=8686 When I created my five-year travel plan (five years ago), Brazil was supposed to be the final trip.

I thought working at the World Cup and living in Rio de Janeiro would be the perfect climax to all my Latin America adventures.

From there, I’d return to the States, start the next business, find a wife and begin making little townies.

What happens however, when your passion becomes your business?

What happens when your last trip only strengthens your desire to continue, to get better, to do more?

You go to Mt. Everest of course!

Mt Everest Base Camp

The Goal: Mt. Everest Base Camp (photo via rei.com)

Next Friday, March 27th, I’ll be flying to Kathmandu, Nepal to begin a three-week trek with Active Adventures to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

Over the past five years, each of my “T2T Missions” has focused on the social aspects of a foreign culture; however, this trip will have the additional twist of being tremendously physically and mentally challenging.

The person I have to thank for this is friend and fellow traveler, Clint Johnston of Triphackr.com.

Clint Johnston aka Triphackr

Mr. @Triphackr Himself

Clint and I met back in 2013 at a traveler’s conference in Toronto and we got together again in Rio during the World Cup.

When I recently returned Stateside from Brazil, we started chatting about upcoming plans and he mentioned this trip with Active Adventures. I was immediately hooked on the idea and did everything I could to get onboard.

**Follow Clint via Instagram, Facebook & Twitter**

Here are some details of the trip and what you can expect to follow along with…

Nepal and Mt. Everest

Mt Everest Base Camp Altitude Chart

We have a few days in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu before beginning our ascent, where we will load up on supplies and begin acclimatizing to our new environment.

From there it will take nine days to reach Base Camp at 17,589ft. You can see the day-by-day route by location and altitude above.

My biggest concern for the entire travel adventure is my reaction to the altitude. This will be the highest I’ve ever been (including college), and no matter my training, it will be difficult. Luckily, we will have a great team around us who know the mountain and how to deal with the altitude.

Bhutan

Bhutan - Tigers Nest

The “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery in Bhutan  (photo via en.wikipedia.org)

Upon returning to Kathmandu after the trek, we will be crossing over to neighboring Bhutan to explore the country with Yeoong Tours and Travels.

One of the most exciting things about the Bhutan trip that Clint and I are both really looking forward to is visiting the “Tiger’s Nest” monastery located in the cliffside of the upper Paro Valley. This sacred Buddhist site looks absolutely incredible!

We will be spending a week exploring Bhutan before flying back to Kathmandu so Clint can catch a flight home.

Meanwhile, I have one more stop planned…

Tibet

Potala Palace Lhasa Tibet

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, China (photo via whc.unesco.org)

From Kathmandu, I’ll take a quick flight over to the Tibetan city of Lhasa to explore this region of China for eight days with Budget Tibet Tours.

It will be an overland trip that will include stops in many historic cities and landmarks including Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri, Old Tingri and Zhangmu (I’m not making these up).

We will also get to see another side of Mt Everest Base Camp from the Tibetan side.

One of the things I’m most excited about on this leg of the adventure is The Potala Palace in Lhasa. The palace was home to Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the late 1950s.

South Asia Map

So, this is the plan for the next two months of my life…

It’s a completely new region, new culture, new challenge, and I couldn’t be more excited.

It will be so much different than Brazil, and anything else I have ever done… that’s the point right?

I’m looking forward to teaming up with a fellow traveler to discover a region and culture that I know next to nothing about.

I’m also excited about the opportunity to work with such well-established tour operators who have made this trip possible.

Be sure to follow along on all the travel adventures via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and stay tuned for a completely redesigned Tourist2Townie.com coming very soon!

And follow Clint as he delivers his take on the entire experience on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well.

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Travel Deeper – Brazil http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/travel-deeper-brazil/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/travel-deeper-brazil/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:57:15 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=8668
Five years of traveling deeper in South America, and it all led me to this… One of the most incredibly difficult and absolutely amazing years of my life – Living and traveling in Brazil.

The goal was to live in Rio de Janeiro, travel around the country, participate in Carnaval, and somehow work at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Through many setbacks and roadblocks, I managed to meet a lot of great Brazilian people who helped me travel deeper and live my dreams over the course of a year living in Brazil.

This video is the visual story of how it all happened and how I went from sitting at restaurants in Rio de Janeiro alone, to experiencing things beyond my wildest expectations.

Footage from this video includes my travel to the following Brazilian cities and landmarks (in no particular order):

Amazon Rainforest, Recife, Fortaleza, Beach Park, Natal, Jericoacoara, Bonito, The Pantanal Wetlands, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Gramado, Ouro Preto, Olinda, Paraty, Buzios, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Salvador, Florianopolis, Belo Horizonte, and of course Rio de Janeiro!

Brazil City Map
You can watch the entire Travel Deeper Brazil series on the T2T YouTube Channel.

 

TravelDeeper-Rio-Brazil

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Amazon Rainforest Adventures http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/amazon-rainforest-brazil/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/amazon-rainforest-brazil/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:48:27 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7380

There are certain places on this planet that seem almost like fiction. Unreachable destinations that you expect to only see in story books and documentaries.

The Amazon Rainforest in northern Brazil was one of those places for me.

So when I had the opportunity to come to Brazil, I wasn’t going to miss the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Amazon Rainforest - Flying into Manaus Brazil

My experience began in the gateway city of Manaus, where the journey into the jungle proved to be a task unto itself…

I took a taxi from the airport down to the city’s main harbor to catch a ferry across the Amazon River.

We passed giant shipping vessels, floating homes and a really cool point where the Rio Negro converges with the Amazon River, which forms a really cool color and temperature divide in the water.

Once on the other side, the landscape changed from the urban landscape of Manaus, to a very rural waterfront trading post. I passed street vendors selling giant fish and wild fruits, before boarding an old VW wagon.

Amazon River Giant Fish

Past the small towns and giant lilly pads, we drove further away from civilization before making one last transfer into a small motorboat.

As we weaved through the flooded forest, the reality of this experience started to set in!

The Ararinha Jungle Hotel would serve as the launch pad for all my Rainforest adventures. Speaking of, a big thank you to Amazon Gero Tours for hosting me on this epic travel adventure.

Amazon Rainforest Jungle Hotel

And after dropping off my bag and meeting my guide, it was time to go explore the Wild Amazon…

By day we explored the river and trekked through the rainforest.

In the water we looked out for exotic birds, hidden lizards and even the rare pink dolphins. On land it was giant spiders, poison dart frogs and all types of monkeys.

While the rare Anaconda and Jaguar were always in the back of my mind, it was the smaller animals that you really had to be aware of.    

One day while on a trek through the jungle, our guide Kenrick, unknowingly came to close to a wasp nest and was stung on the cheek. This was right after he told us to be aware of these little bastards because they are extremely aggressive and dangerous… He told us they eat poisonous dart frogs for gosh sakes!

The craziest aspect of the trip was that I was never completely comfortable. There was a constant level of tension because of the respect Kenrick and the other guides had for their surroundings.

Amazon Rainforest Tour

The whole thing was an incredible juxtaposition, as we would go catch piranha in the shallow waters and then boat out to the middle of the river nearby to swim.

It was a dangerous and beautiful place, and my senses were heightened the entire time.

Throughout the process, Kenrick and the other guides taught me some important skills and techniques for surviving in the jungle. From making weapons and building shelter to finding the best things to eat if you’re hungry… from nuts and fruits, to one very meaty maggot!

Amazon Rainforest Food

Another side of life in the Amazon Rainforest, is the close-nit community of people who live along the river. I was expecting to see naked tribes and face-painted cannibals, but that wasn’t the case at all.

I had the opportunity to meet and interact with many local residents and despite the remote location, life here seems relatively normal, and it comes with an alluring simplicity and self-sufficiency.

Amazon Rainforest People

One morning we visited one of local farms who were in the middle of cultivating the popular Brazilian staple, Farinha or Farofa. He should us how to transform the poisonous root into an edible side-dish through a pretty intensive process of creating a powder and cooking it down.

Amazon Rainforest People

On another day we were invited to a house party with some of the off-duty guides and surrounding neighbors.

It was great to see what life was like on a Friday night with people my age in the Amazon.

And at night, when the sensible locals would turn in, we’d launch the boat again and head out to explore the darkness.

With 75% of the animals here being nocturnal, the noises and commotion at night were like nothing I’ve ever heard.

The easiest thing to spot were caimans, whose beady red eyes surfaced across the river. And apparently, if you’re fast and quiet enough, you can reach down into the water and grab one…

Amazon River Caiman Hunting

The days passed and I grew more and more addicted to this life.

So, on my final day in the Amazon Rainforest, we decided to take a small crew out to get the full effect of the jungle, and go camp out

Usually we’d return to the lodge after our late night activities, but on this night, we were at the mercy of our surroundings.

We found a flat, dry space not far from the river and worked quickly to setup camp before dark.

Amazon Rainforest Building Camp

We chopped trees for a tarp frame, cautiously gathered firewood and began cooking dinner over the fire.

As darkness and a little paranoia set in, we enjoyed dinner and drinks to the developing sounds around us.

We listened to music, played cards, and of course, peed close by.

We had some more drinks, made hats out of palm branch and shared stories well into the night…

Amazon Rainforest Camp Out

After a delicious camp-made breakfast with fresh fruit, eggs and coffee, it was time for me to pack up and head back to Manaus.

And although I spent a week engulfed in this incredible place… the people, the wildlife, the environment… everything still makes the Amazon seem like fiction.

The Amazon Rainforest is absolutely amazing!

Amazon River at Sunset

 

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Recife Living & Porto de Galinhas Beach http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/recife-porto-de-galinhas-brazil/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/recife-porto-de-galinhas-brazil/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 20:16:59 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7353

Recife is the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian State of Pernambuco.

It has been called the “Venice of South America,” and also dubbed one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil.

The beach in the Boa Viagem neighborhood is said to be the most shark infested water in the world, and Recife’s carnival celebration is ranked among the best anywhere.

They say; don’t go in the water, don’t go out at night, but make sure you stay for carnival!

Recife Brazil - Shark Sign

With all these mixed reviews and emotions, I had to come to Recife and write my own story about this place.

I spent time in Recife’s historical center where I took in all the bright buildings and friendly faces.

I listened to the traditional Brazilian music like Frevo and Forró in the streets and witnessed all the preparations for this year’s carnival.

As I mention in the video, one of the main attractions during Carnival here Recife and neighboring Olinda are the Bonecos Gigantes or Giant Puppets, and I happened to follow a guy into the “Giant Puppet Embassy” to see the incredible (yet creepy) collection of celebrities, athletes and public figures.

Recife Brazil - Bonecos Gigantes Carnaval

The best experience in Recife actually came on a visit to the city’s largest Favela of Brasilia Teimosa, where a local friend invited me to an after-school program that she’s involved with.

The group is called Driblando Crack and it uses sports like soccer to help kids within the community of Brasilia Teimosa avoid drugs and trafficking.

Recife Brazil - Brasilia Teimosa

I loved hanging out with those kids all afternoon, despite the fact that they kicked my butt in futebol.

That evening I went back downtown and caught a sunset cruise tour through the wide canals and rivers around Recife’s historical center.

Recife Brazil - Historical Center Boat Tour

The next morning I was up early to go on a little adventure. I borrowed my friend’s car and set out on a day trip to Porto de Galinhas.

Porto de Galinhas outside Recife, Brazil

I was actually planning to go to Porto de Galinhas and Praia de Carneiros, but after leaving Porto de Galinhas I got lost on my way to Praia de Carneiros and didn’t arrive until well passed sunset.

Stay tuned for the bloopers reel for that full story.

Anyway, despite a slightly overcast day, Porto de Galinhas was beautiful and a great day trip from Recife.

There are so many amazing beaches in Northeastern Brazil that you could spend a year here and still not see them all.

After a great day at the beach, I made the hour and a half journey back to Recife for some good old fashion Karaoke.

Nothing beats a whole-in-the-wall bar on the wrong side of town with the right kind of people to cap off a trip.

Say what you will about Recife, but my story turned out pretty damn good. I like this place.

 

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Curitiba Parks & Private Parties http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/curitiba-brazil/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/curitiba-brazil/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:41:35 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7332

Voted as one of the best places to live in Latin America, Curitiba has developed into a city that has made others green with envy.

Boasting a well-oiled transit system and more parks than 101 Dalmatians could cover, the city is as efficient as it is refreshing.

Five days in Curitiba and it lifted and shifted my perception of Brazilian cities completely.

I explored the beautiful parks, walked around the city and crashed a few local parties that shaped my Curitiba experience in a great way.

Read all about my Curitiba trip on the Visit Brasil blog, Crashing a Culinary Moment in Curitiba and Five Perfect Picnic Parks in Curitiba.

 

Curitiba Brazil Mesa ao Vivo

 

 

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Jericoacoara, Kitesurfing & My Own Private Beach Bungalow http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/jericoacoara-prea-kitesurfing/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/jericoacoara-prea-kitesurfing/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 05:21:35 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7319

Known for its giant rolling sand dunes and stellar kitesurfing conditions, Jericoacoara or “Jeri” as it’s known, is the coolest little beach town in Northeastern Brazil.

It is a seven-hour journey from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara via public transportation (five hours in a private car), but as I mention in the video, that distance is par for the course when traveling anywhere here in Brazil.

No matter the distance, I knew I made the right decision as soon as the sun shined on my first morning on Prea Beach.

I woke up with the cool ocean breeze blowing through the open beach bungalow while waves crashing outside served as the soundtrack.

My friends over at Rancho do Peixe set me up with my own private oasis for a few nights on Preá Beach, just down from Jericoacoara, and I cherished every minute of it.

Rancho do Peixe - Prea Beach - Brazil

After a delicious breakfast, I decided to try my hand at Kite Surfing for the first time.

Because of such great wind conditions in the area, this is home to some of the most popular kitesurfing coastline in Brazil.

I fell in love with the give and take between the kite and it’s director, proving that leverage and positioning trumped strength and force.

I spent hours trying to harness the kitesurfing techniques and even spent time in the water gliding across the surface on my stomach as my instructor coached me from shore via walkie-talkie.

Kitesurfing Lessons in Jericoacoara Brazil

We wrapped it up just in time for me to get hooked on a new sport and then I caught a ride down the beach and across the sand dunes for an afternoon in Jericoacoara.

Jeri was peaceful and quiet, with a great hippie vibe to go along with the sandy streets.

There were small restaurants and tour shops everywhere, but it didn’t seem overwhelmingly touristy thanks to the visible local population.

While most visitors spend their days exploring the beautiful Jericoacoara National Park that surrounds town, everybody seems to migrate back in time to climb the giant sand dune at the edge of town to have some drinks and watch the amazing sunset over the Atlantic.

Jericoacoara Brazil

Night time in Jericoacoara brings in added layer of relaxation after long days in the sun.

With live music echoing through the streets and dim lighting provided by street vendor stalls and restaurant candles, it’s a wonderfully chill atmosphere to be a part of.

So much so that I didn’t nothing at all on my second day in town. : )

Watch the Jericoacoara Travel Deeper Brazil Episode Now on YouTube (and don’t forget to subscribe to the T2T channel for a new video every week)!

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When I asked Brazilian friends on places I should visit while traveling in southwestern Brazil, the overwhelming response was always Bonito.

The small town of just over 17,000 people is tucked away in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul and is one of the most popular Brazilian tourist destinations in the region.

Famous for its abundance of natural beauty, including wildlife, waterfalls and crystal-clear rivers, Bonito, is one of the best outdoor adventure spots I’ve ever visited.

On day one I rented a bike from town and road through the countryside to two different eco parks/public baths, Porto da Ilha and Balneário do Sol. I loved the freshwater pools that connected to small waterfalls and wildlife surrounding my every move.

No question, the zip-line into the pool at Balneário do Sol was the highlight. 

I got lucky with the Rodeo being in town, so that evening I ventured over to the Brazilian Rodeo at the Clubes de Laço (lasso club) just outside Bonito to experience a different aspect of Brazilian culture.

I couldn’t believe how similar the Brazilian rodeo culture was to ours in the States. Just a bunch of good ‘ol boys trying to have a good time. 

The next morning I drove over to Recanto Ecologico Rio da Prata (The Silver River Ecological Reserve) to snorkel the beautiful transparent water teaming with aquatic life.

As I mentioned in the video, thanks to the enormous amount of limestone in the ground around Bonito, the water passes through a natural filter that leaves the rivers to be some of the clearest and most transparent in the world.

To maintain its beauty, there is a daily limit to how many people can enter the water so you have to reserve a spot in advance. 

From there we went to Buraco das Araras (Sinkhole of the Macaws) to witness hundreds of Macaws and other exotic birds fly around the giant redrock hole in the ground.

It was a captivating moment that felt like something out of a Pixar movie. 

That night I experienced the quiet and lovely downtown Bonito and drank some locally brewed cachaca at the popular Taboa.

Needless to say, it was a great weekend in Bonito Brazil and I can’t wait to come back again soon.

There are still a ton of things to do in Bonito Brazil that I missed, like… Abismo Anhumas, Lagoa Misteriosa, Boca da Onca Waterfall, Aquario Natural, Rio do Peixe, Rio Sucuri, Gruta do Lago Azul and Parque das Cachoeiras to name a few.

Hotel provided by Aguas de Bonito

Watch this and every Travel Deeper Brazil episode @ YouTube.com/Tourist2Townie

 

Top Things to do in Bonito Brazil

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Top 5 Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/top-5-best-beaches-in-rio-de-janeiro/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/top-5-best-beaches-in-rio-de-janeiro/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:48:01 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7283

I spent the last year living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and have had the opportunity to experience many beautiful beaches in and around the city.

The beach culture in Rio is awesome and it is transparent in all facets of life here, especially on Sundays! That is the day that many locals head down to their favorites beaches to meet friends and enjoy a relaxing day in the sun.

Thanks to the Barracas (beachside shops), you don’t need to bring anything with you besides a little cash and some sun screen. You can rent chairs and umbrellas right there as well as buy beers, coconut water and Brazilian food from the vendors along the beach.

Check out my Brazilian Beach Etiquette Guide for more information.

With all the time I spent discovering and enjoying the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to put together a list of my favorite spots…

Here are my Top 5 Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

5.) Flamengo Beach (Praia do Flamengo)

Flamengo Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Flamengo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Right next to Botafogo Beach, is one of the Best Beaches in Rio for exercise and fitness.

From Flamengo Beach, you can get a great view across the bay at Niteroi and Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).

It’s much more of a local spot for sunbathers and fishermen, but it’s great for sports and activities (especially after the sun goes down) like soccer, volleyball and futevolei.

4.) Red Beach (Praia Vermelha)

Praia Vermelha - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Praia Vermelha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tucked into the quiet neighborhood of Urca, below Sugarloaf Mountain, Praia Vermelha is a great place to unwind and escape the crowds at some of the other beaches in Rio.

3.) Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

Copacabana Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana beach is one of the most famous stretches of sand in the world and for very good reason. It’s the most popular spot for tourists in Rio and is a great place to enjoy the sun and do some people watching.

2.) Joatinga Beach (Praia da Joatinga) 

Joatinga Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Joatinga Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It’s a bit of a journey to go to Barra de Tujica, but there you will find some of the best beaches in all of Brazil. Usually there are a lot less tourists and a different vibe than what you’ll find in Copa or Ipanema.

From all the beaches of “Barra (Baha),” my selection is the secluded local favorite, Joatinga beach.

1.) Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Every day is hump day at Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach

My absolute favorite place in all of Rio de Janeiro, the incredible, bustling beauty that is Ipanema Beach.

Ipanema has the size of Copacabana with the most beautiful crowd. It’s big and busy and awesome! With views of Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain), tiny bikinis and refreshing water. To me, Ipanema Beach is the absolute best beach in Rio de Janeiro.

For the best view of sunset in Rio de Janeiro, head down to the end of Ipanema Beach to the rocks of Arpoador where you can join the crowd in applauding when the sun drops into the sea.

Which one would you choose?

 Watch Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro via YouTube

Watch Best Beaches in Florianopolis Next!

 

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Private Tour Guides in Rio de Janeiro – Rio Cultural Secrets http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-info/private-tour-guides-in-rio-de-janeiro-rio-cultural-secrets/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-info/private-tour-guides-in-rio-de-janeiro-rio-cultural-secrets/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 19:51:30 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7304 Rio de Janeiro Private City Tours

There are literally a million and one things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it’s no wonder why they call this place the “Marvelous City.”

You can spend weeks exploring the best beaches in Rio de Janeiro alone, but there is so much more to see and do!

From the downtown financial district to the hillside favelas, Rio boasts one of the most diverse urban landscapes you will ever see.

I was fortunate enough to spend the past year living in Rio de Janeiro, but if you’re short on time, I highly recommend enlisting locals to help show you around.

Enter Fabio and Alan of Rio Cultural Secrets, a great, locally owned private tour guides in Rio de Janeiro.

These two offer a variety of private city tours in and around Rio that will give you a wonderful glimpse into the Brazilian life and culture.

I don’t know how they are in business together considering Alan is a Flamengo fan, while Fabio supports Fluminense, but their personal approach and passion for what they do trumps their soccer club loyalties.

When I get back to Rio, I want to go with them to explore Petropolis, as I haven’t had a chance to visit the nearby city.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for Rio de Janeiro private city tours, take a look at what else they offer…

Rio Cultural Secrets - Private City Tours in Rio de Janeiro

Alan showing off a Santa Teresa Art Gallery

Rio City Tours – In seven hours you and your friends will visit the main attractions with your tour guide in Rio like the one of the seven world wonders The Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, The fantastic street art of the Selaron Staircase also the amazing area of Santa Teresa with delicious food, also the Samba Arena and we finish in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro.

Walking Tours – In this Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro you will have the opportunity to know how the citizens works around the financial district and Historic buildings that tell the story of the city and the country. Visit the famous Cafe Colombo, the Praça XV de Novembro, The Cinelândia Square, Convento de Santo Antonio, Candelaria Church and much more!

Rio Cultural Secrets - Private City Tours in Rio de Janeiro

Fabio with a tour group at Sugarloaf Mountain

Half-Day Tours – Options include; exploring the Temple of Soccer, Maracana Stadium, the place of two world cup finals, discovering the Tijuca Forest and Botanical Garden where Toucans and monkeys can be our partners during the tour, or, the third option is the Private Tour Barra Beaches and Folcloric Museum where you will visit the desert beaches of Rio de Janeiro like Prainha, Barra Grumari and Recreio. A fourth option is to see the fantastic historic Downtown with culture and history together with Santa Teresa, Ruins Park and the Selaron Steps.

Favela Tours – Since 2008 the UPP Project are giving benefits to the poor locations in Rio de Janeiro. The Favela of Vidigal is one of the best examples. Today it is a place of safety and development, and receives visitors from all over the globe. You can do the favela tour on its own or combine it with other aspects of the private tours, like visiting the Botanical Garden, Tujica National Forest and/or Chinese lookout.

Outside of Rio Tours – Take a private tour to the Imperial City of Petropolis, where the royal family spent summers from the time of the monarchy. Venture across the bridge to neighboring Nitreroi, where the French-founded city charms everyone with her beauty, gastronomy and architecture.

For more of an adventure, take a private tour to paradise AKA Ilha Grande, which is the biggest island of Angra dos Reis with around 100 beaches! I repeat, 100 beaches!!!

The greatest aspect of Rio Cultural Secrets is the fact that these are private tours and can be customized to your liking.

Whichever tour you decide, just get down to Rio and see it for yourself, and when you’re here, be sure to look up Alan and Fabio for a tour and tell them Gareth of Tourist2Townie.com told you to Travel Deeper!

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Beach Park Adventures in Fortaleza http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/beach-park-fortaleza-brazil/ http://www.tourist2townie.com/travel-deeper/beach-park-fortaleza-brazil/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:19:28 +0000 http://www.tourist2townie.com/?p=7263
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

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