We only went to two cities in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Rio was a real pleasure, but the Salvador was quite disappointing.
Strange bunker in the middle of the Bay
Let’s talk fist about the main issue: the budget. Brazil is REALLY expensive, almost as expensive as Australia (we went to big and developed cities, so the prices might be different in other areas). A basic meal is around $15, a cab to the airport $40 and a drink $4-$5. Activities are also expensive (we payed $30 for the Christ).
We were looking for the statue, couldn’t find it…
In Salvador, the largest city of the Northeast, anyone talking, acting or looking like a tourist (even other Brazilians!) could be charged higher prices, such as transport, restaurants, etc.
Brazil has the reputation to be a great place for food. The usual restaurant is a “kilo-restaurant” where we could pick whatever we want on a buffet and pay depending on the weight. We had great meals (Brazil is famous for it’s barbecued meat and fish-based dishes) in Rio and Salvador, but we had to pay around $20!
Brazil and Japan are quite close too (there are a lot of Japanese expats), so it was quite surprising to find sushis in every Brazilian restaurant we went to.
Great unlimited barbecue in Rio!
People, atmosphere and language
Brazil has one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor, but despite the social problems of the unequal income distribution, the people try to remain happy and festive.
A huge villa…
…not too far from a favela
1 out of 10 homicides in the world happens in Brazil… so violence is one of the main issue in Brazil. The police is taking care of the touristic areas, but some streets are not really recommend (even the locals stopped us when we tried going there!). We even saw the police on a motorbike stopping near a guy and pointing a gun at him for control.
Music plays an important part in Brazilian identity, as much as dance: Samba, Bossa Nova, or even Capoeira, a mixture of martial arts, dance, music and game created by African slaves brought to Brazil.
Overall, we had a great time in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro. We would happily go back to explore more of it (especially the Amazonian forest), but when we’ll have more money.