Brazil without flights
We are really keen to visit Brazil but it's such an enormous country and we aren't huge fans of lots of flying. Is it possible to have diverse experiences without the need for lots of flights?
Brazil, as you say, is vast and if you want to visit the classic highlights of the country, for example Rio, the Amazon and the state of Bahia, then there will be an inevitable amount of flying. However, it's possible to center your itinerary in such a way that no domestic flights are needed, or you could add one or two and you would still have a good taste of Brazil's diversity.
Focusing a trip on Brazil's Green Coast as an example, the area between Rio and São Paulo can easily fill two weeks. Start the trip in Rio with a few days exploring the city and enjoying its beaches, shopping and culture before travelling west on the road that hugs the coast to Ilha Grande, a forest covered island easily accessed from Angra dos Reis. A couple of days here can be spent relaxing or walking the trails through the forested hills. Back on the main land and not far from Ilha Grande is the charming colonial town of Paraty, with wonderful cobbled streets, churches and artisan shops. From here you can hire bicycles or sit in street cafés with a cold beer watch life pass by. After Paraty it's a four hour drive to São Paulo for a flight back to the UK and in two weeks with no domestic flights you've experienced Brazil's most exciting city, Atlantic rainforest and colonial history.
It's also extremely easy to add a short flight to the magnificent Iguaçu Falls, from São Paulo or from Rio. An alternative in the northeast of Brazil would be flying into the city of Recife and making a short transfer to the colonial town of Olinda, before renting a car and taking a few days drive down the coast to the vibrant city of Salvador, enjoying the stunning stretch of coast on the way. Flights via Portugal in to Recife and back from Salvador means no domestic flying at all but again some really diverse experiences.
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