Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

From Foz de Iguazu to Bahia

Posted: November 13, 2012 in Brazil

After seeing both sides of the falls, I entered back to Brazil and continued back towards the coast. The idea was actually to get to Sao Paulo for the carnival and then head to the coast which was just a couple of hundred km away.

On the inside, the views were mainly filled with hills and farms.

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Camping on the side of the road with a nice view.

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More gorgeous hills.

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A ferry crossing in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

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The next day, camping on an island. Ended up spending a couple of nights there. It doesn’t look like I took too many pictures so you wont get to see much. This was only a couple hundred km south of Sao Paulo.

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The super nice owners of the campground! Super nice hosts!

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And then, entering Sao Paulo.

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You can see the guy on a motorcycle going between cars. That’s called lane splitting. Here in Calgary, Canada where I live, it’s illegal but there it’s normal. You can see sometimes dozens of bikes coming in a line pretty fast and missing the cars by only a couple of cm. Going in, I have witnessed 2 bike accidents. The average for Sao Paulo is 1 motorcycle death per day.

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I didn’t take any more pictures of Sao Paulo or the Carnival festivities since I hate carrying my large camera around big cities. If you want to see the Samba competitions though, it’s worth going to Sao Paulo instead of Rio. I had looked up hostels in Rio and for a simple bed in a shared hostel room the prices were between 80-100$ per night with a minimum of 5-7 nights booking. In SP, I was able to get a nice bed for about 20$ a night. The reason is that everyone leaves SP during the carnival to head to the beaches and islands but the samba competitions are just as big as in Rio.

After spending a few nights in SP, I headed towards Ihlabela just a few hundred km away to meet a good friend I hadn’t seen for a while.

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The ferry crossing to the island.

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Not sure if you remember him, but this is Josh. We crossed from Panama to Colombia on the same sailboat. I hadn’t seen him for many many months, since Colombia.

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Once again, I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures on the island. We were too busy partying in the last days of Carnival. I gotta tell you though, the islands is where it’s at during the festivities! Rio is a tourist trap so if you’re more interested to experience true Brazil Carnival, head to the coast and find yourself a nice island.

From rough bikers making it through the Americas, as the carnival days passed, we changed a bit too… Always good times buddy! 😀

I left Josh behind and I was back on the road, heading towards Rio.

Some camping along the way.

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And incredible scenery right out of movies…

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And finally Rio.

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Rio is a black and white city. In other words, it’s a great touristic destination for those who like doing what every other tourist has done before them. It’s also the most dangerous city in Brazil. Most people think of Brazil actually as a dangerous country when really, Rio is the danger and the rest of the country is not that bad. So I only went into Rio in the morning and got the hell out of there a few hours later. That city just wasn’t for me. I had heard great things about the Bahia province a bit further north so I wanted to head that way.

While on the #1 tourist hill in Rio, I did manage to take a few shots and after a few modifications, I really like how the following 2 came out.

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Nice Rio De Janeiro

So I got out of the city and started riding North along the coast. The ocean was pretty dark in color, cold and strong.

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But then I got to this point. If you look closely, you will see 3 very distinct colors in the ocean. I’m guessing that this is where the currents meet. You get the nice green water coming from the North and the darker colder one from the South. A totally incredible sight!

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Around this area, there are lots of rivers. I had to turn around a few times for long periods of time because I couldn’t find a way to cross.

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Night was falling and I had to find a place to sleep. Once again, I took a side road that brought me to a large tree plantation. Between the plantation there was an unused road so I went in on that and set-up camp.

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You could hardly see my green bike or green tent.

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Next day, more small towns along the way. I would just go in, ride around town and get out. These few days mainly consisted for 12 hour days of only riding. Speeds were slow as I was taking mainly side roads so I wasn’t getting too many km done in one day.

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Someone had told me that I should visit Caraiva. I kind of found it on the map and somehow made it without a problem. It’s a small town at the end of a long dirt road. The road itself was kind of fun. Once I got there, I asked around, talked to people just to find out that I had to leave the bike in a paid parking lot and go across on a peninsula with a small boat. So I left the bike, took my backpack and headed over to the other side. I also bought some really expensive gas from the only station around.

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On the island, the roads are just pure deep sand and you feel separated from all technology. It’s only not too long ago that they installed electricity and internet.

You are surrounded but gorgeous beaches.

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Town “center” at night

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Tree above my tent.

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Catch of the day.

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Gorgeous sunset over the river.

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The local campground owners ordered some pizza. There were a few unique decorations it came with…

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After spending a few relaxing nights in Caraiva, I kept heading North.

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Many river crossings with ferries. The heavy filled bike was always getting lots of attention.

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The night was falling again and I couldn’t find place to sleep so I took a side road like many times before. Logging trucks were using it way too much for my liking so I had to take a side road from the side road. In order to get on this road I had to cross a texas rail, or whatever those things are called. I couldn’t cross it diagonal since there was too much space in the center. I had to try and make it really carefully across like those circus people walking on ropes. I guess I didn’t quite have the same skill though…

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I got the front wheel back on track and set-up camp under a tree.

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Some friends joined me in the morning.

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Next day, I had my first glimpse of the real Bahia beaches. Pure paradise!

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I rode and rode and rode some more, till I got to another place that had been circled on my map called Itacare. I had no knowledge of this place but since the beaches were starting to look really nice, I thought I’d spend a couple of nights there. Little did I know that I would end up spending 5 months and it would become one of the most important chapters of my trip.

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Iguazu Falls

Posted: October 8, 2012 in Argentina, Brazil
Tags: , , ,

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I was now finally in Brazil. One of the very few American countries which requires Canadians a Visa. It’s also said to be one of the most diverse when looking at natural beauty, but that was left to be seen.

One major mistake was that I entered the country without exchanging any money. I thought I would do so in a town near the border. Well, in that town there was no exchange place and surprise, surprise, Brazilian bank machines only take up to 5 digits on your bank car pin. Mine had 6 digits. The gas station didn’t wanna take my credit car either for some reason so I was a bit pooched. I decided to continue till the first city and try my luck there. About 12km out of Rio Grande, I ran out of fuel… for the first time on my whole trip! Lucky me, I had a hose but unlucky me, Brazilians were not stoping as often as people in the other countries to come to someone’s rescue. There must have been 100 cars that passed by and even though I was showing them with my canister that I was out of gas, they would accelerate instead of even slowing down. Brought back memories of North American culture… Anyway, after a long while a nice gentleman with his mom stopped by and spotted me with a couple of litres of gas. I didn’t have any Brazilian money to give them and the only thing I had was a 50pesos from Argentina so I gave them that. They said they would keep it as a souvenir.

I made it to Rio Grande and found a bank machine that took my card there. Only one type of machine would work for me in all Brazil! It was called a 24hr ATM that dealt with a lot of different banks but could only be found in rare locations. I also spent a couple of days in Rio Grande but I don’t think I took any pictures. It was mainly raining and I hung out with some cool Argentinean guys most of the time. I think we even made it to the beach for a half a day between the rain.

From Rio Grande I headed inland to see the amazing Foz de Iguacu. They had been made into a natural wonder that same year so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

It took me I think 2 or 3 days to make it. The roads going inland can be a bit boring with lots of farm land left and right. I took advantage of these lands to hide off the main road and set-up camp in the fields at night.

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And then I made it. The amazing Iguazu Falls. I camped on the Brazilian side one night and checked them out then I headed over to the Argentinean side as well.

Here are the pictures from the Brazilian side:

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And now… the best of 2 sides…. the Argentinean side!

The train that takes you in:

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Visiting the falls was a truly out of this world experience. I had never seen so many falls in one place. It was mesmerizing! The carnival was coming up fast though so I had to start heading towards Sao Paulo.