Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

The Mencois – No Other Brazil Attractions Can Ever Match Up To The Mencois

October 20th, 2010 No comments

Slate magazine not long ago reviewed a Hollywood science fiction movie from India called Robot, that was set to take the world by storm. As is customary in Bollywood movies, the movie is full of songs set in exotic locales around the world. One of them is a natural wonder of the world – one of seven in the world. It is the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. If you ever go to Brazil, attractions in Rio, São Paulo or even the Iguazu should come second to the wonder that is this national park. It’s a sight to behold.

Did you ever wonder what a mirage would look like if you ever happened to be caught in the middle of the desert without water? You’ve heard accounts of how distant dunes would shimmer like pools of water until you got close and found nothing but dust bowls. What if the distant dunes actually did contain crystal-clear pools of pure blue water? Water, just inexplicably, Incongruently and gloriously just sitting there in the middle of dunes of beautiful powder white sands?

In northeastern Brazil by the Atlantic coast is a kind of desert that defies all logic. The desert itself is a deeply beautiful sight to behold, and could qualify as one of the world’s rarest sights on its own – beautiful snow white desert sands spread out over more than 500 square miles. The best time to visit would be about June. The rains of the region around this time have just replenished the beautiful limpid pools of the national park; and about this time, the tourists haven’t taken to arriving as they tend to starting in July. June is also a great time to arrive at Sao Luis, the biggest city in those parts for their festival of Juninas.

The best way to get to the national park would be to take a flight to Sao Luis from Rio or from Sao Paulo  (a ticket costs about $150) and from there onwards, to take a four-hour bus ride to the town of Barreirinhas, the closest town to the national park. You just want to make sure that you arrive at a reasonable hour to make it in time for the scheduled bus service. Or else, you could find that your flight in from Rio lands at 2 AM, you have about five hours to kill on the eerily-deserted streets of the town before the buses start.

Alternatively, you could find a hotel – there being plenty of good reasonably-priced ones. My personal favorite around the town is the cute little Pousada San Jose that sits in the middle of a great natural garden and a little brook, and that is run by a chatty and friendly family. You’ll get a homemade breakfast to set you in good stead on your trip for the rest of the day, and you’ll probably get them to pack your lunch too.

The lagoons of the Lençóis, start right there, with a short 50 Real tour from the hotel. There can be too many tourists so close to the base camp though. To really enjoy this natural wonder, you’ll probably need to venture farther out to towns like Atins where the remoteness makes sure there is nothing between you and the most famous of Brazil attractions – what seems like millions of miles sugary sand and pure blue lagoons interspersed right here for you to take in.

There are other Brazil attractions around the area too. The culture and cuisine of the area are pretty great if you can get adventurous and sample the local fare. It’s a wonder how little it costs in Brazil for truly out-of-this-world experience.

Protect your gear

May 27th, 2010 No comments

Recently I decided to plan a trip to Argentina. I’ve been to South America before but never to Argentina. I’ve heard so much about the beauty of Buenos Aires, Patagonia and the Iguazu Falls. In fact, when I was backpacking through Brazil a few months ago other travelers could not believe that I was not going south. I was already in the area so why would I not? Well, now that I’m home I’ve realized how right they were.

Since my trip will be during the shoulder months (ie. October) my list of travel gear will be quite different than if I’d planned to go in the summer. I will need some warmer clothes and perhaps even some mitts. Other than that I’ve decided that this time I will bring my laptop. When I was in South America last time I did not have my laptop. I missed it a lot because there were many times that I could have used it to take advantage of free Wi-Fi or go through all my photos. By bringing a laptop though I’m adding to my target potential for theft. Any time you add expensive items to your gear list you become a more desirable target. I will therefore make sure that my travel insurance covers something happening to my laptop.

I enquired with my local insurance agent and they were unable to offer the coverage I wanted for the price I wanted. I began a search online for a suitable policy. I came across an article that gave me a World Nomads review. Everything that I was looking for in travel insurance was offered online by World Nomads so I decided to sign up for a it. I can now go on my trip to Argentina knowing that my laptop is covered if anything happens to it.