Brazil’s Other Adventurous Side

With Brazil’s big party, Carnival, coming to an end a few days back, I thought that it was appropriate to look at the country’s other adventurous side, far away from the beaches and party scene of Rio and the other major cities. Brazil has plenty to offer the traveler who is looking to get off the beaten path, and explore some of its more remote regions.

One of the more famous of these attractions is Iguassu Falls, located along the border between Brazil and Argentina. Iguassu is a collection of more than 275 waterfalls compressed into an area that is roughly 1.5 miles in length. Some of them are as tall as 270 feet, and the total amount of water that crosses over Iguassu Falls is more than twice that of Niagara.

While Iguassu doesn’t see nearly as much traffic as Rio or the other major cities, plenty of intrepid travelers still make the journey to take in that natural wonder. For something a bit further off the tourist radar, consider a trip to the Brazilian region of Pantanal, a tropical wetland, much like the Florida Everglades, but on a much larger scale. During the rainy season, the Amazon River overflows into the area, creating a unique and diverse ecosystem with literally thousands of species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. Exploring the area by boat is akin to taking an African Safari, with giant river otter, colorful maccaw, marsh deer, and even piranha on display.Of course, the most famous region of Brazil is the Amazon Rainforest, the vast region that covers much of the South American continent in a dense jungle that is home to more than tens of thousands of plants alone, and thousands more animals. This is a part of the world that most travelers never venture into, even if they come to Brazil, but it is possible to camp and trek through the rainforest, And for those that want to experience the place for themselves, but don’t feel like roughing it, there are a number of eco-lodges in the region, such as the Araiau Towers.

Finally, for the truly adventurous, there is a little known region that falls on the border of Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana known as Roraima. This very remote place was the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and has become a favorite destination for backpackers. Roraima lies beyond the Amazon Basin, and is in the most distant area of Brazil. The tallest mountain in the country can be found here, and it is possible to hike to the summit of the “table-top” mountains, known as “tepui”, that are the hallmark of Roraima. Adventurous travelers can expect to spend four to five days en route to the top, where they’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding area.

While Brazil has a much deserved reputation for being a party destination, there is also plenty to offer the adventurous traveler who goes there as well. Get out of the large metropolitan areas, and there is plenty of unique and interesting places, unlike anywhere else on Earth, that will give you a completely different impression of the country.

Irate first class passenger pulls emergency slide, leaves plane

There seems to be no shortage of stupid things passengers are doing on planes these days.

The latest boneheaded move happened in Guyana this past Friday. A first class passenger on a Delta flight from New York to Guyana became so angry that economy passengers were exiting the plane before him that he activated the plane’s emergency slide and used it to leave the plane.

The Associated Press, via MSNBC.com, is reporting that airport authorities in Guyana promptly arrested the man, who they described as intoxicated. The man posted bail and was released not long after the incident.

Delta says it intends to press charges against the man on the grounds that he obstructed the flight crew.

For those of you out there wondering how much of a hassle it is to repack the emergency slide, Gadling’s resident flight attendant Heather Poole says it is a huge expense for an airline, which has to take the plane out of service. “It doesn’t get fixed quick, that’s for sure,” she says.

Thanks, Ben, for tipping us off to the story!

Virgin Holidays & Cricket World Cup 2007

Virgin Holidays Hopeful fans of Trinidad & Tobago’s Soca Warriors raced over to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup games and returned without a cup, but with more determination than ever for the next installment in 2010. In the meantime they get to lounge lazily on their sister islands whiling and liming away the day until the next big thing, which for Trinidad is never too long of a wait.

Sports fans can continue to cheer and root for their favorite country team during the 2007St. Lucia Cricket World Cup games being held for the first time ever all over the Caribbean. Trinidad & Tobago is only one set of islands playing host and Virgin Holidays is offering packages to get you there. The matches are being held in March and April of 2007 and packages are going fast. See Virgin Holidays for more details on getting you to unspoiled West Indian beaches, then visit their partner Cavendish Hospitality to find match tickets. Other islands hosting the games include Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts. St. Vincent and Guyana will also host games, but it doesn’t look as if Virgin Holidays will be offering packages to vaca in these two tropical countries.

Let the games begin, again!

VIBE’s 2006 Hot Spots

SoAmericaIt is rare that I flip open the pages of VIBE magazine and uncover some really awesome recommended travel destinations. Apparently the four 2006 hot spot package is a first time feature for the magazine and writers Casey Woods, Tom Masters, Corey Takahashi, and Carina Ray did a fine job in unveiling some very offbeat vacation ideas in London, Ghana, Suriname and Little Haiti. Turning most of my attention to the two page piece on Suriname, covered by amazing photos of forest just outside of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname and the Djuka people that reside in the country, a trip to the country seems almost necessary. When the writer describes the capital city as part Amsterdam and part South Beach my curiosity certainly hits an all time high for the Dutch speaking country lost by somewhat well-known countries Guyana, Guiana and very well-known, tourist trampled Brazil. Recommended places to crash while visiting Suriname include Hotel & Casino Torarica and Guesthouse Albergo Alberga. Dining spots include Indisch Restaurant Sarinah and Restaurant Dumpling #1. Sadly the article isn’t online, but you can pick up VIBE on almost any newsstand or if you’ve heard enough skip right over to this Suriname tourism site.

Going to Guyana

guyana

When you think about it, there aren’t many countries left in the world like Guyana. The country still has a fairly vast rainforest teeming with exotic life, and tourism there has remained pretty low due to the political situation and the overall lack of infrastructure. But that may be changing.

I enjoy posting pieces about off-the-beaten-track locales as often as I can. I discovered this piece in a terrific Canadian magazine called Outpost that talks about how quickly Guyana is becoming one of the top eco-tourist destinations around…or at least it is for the more determined and dedicated eco-tourist types (you know, the ones that actually know a hundred species of bird and enjoy gnawing on tree bark for breakfast). The article takes you (via a Toyota land Cruiser) on a visit to the village of Surama, one of the half-dozen or so Amerindian villages in Guyana’s interior that have recently started to cash in on the eco-tourism thing. There the author deals with stealthy snakes, nosy tapirs, monkeys, birds, and a particular golden frog whose nerve toxin is “160,000 times more powerful than cocaine.” (Important safety tip: Don’t lick the golden frogs).

Of course, with the rise in eco-tourism there, it is easy to be concerned about the degradation of the very environment that is being appreciated. Increased tourism will lead to more development, which will lead to forests being felled. So perhaps now is the time to follow the article’s advice and see Guyana for yourself. For more on Guyana’s rainforests and eco-tourism opps, check out this link.