Here is how to spend three amazing weeks in Brazil during the Carnaval
Brazil or Brasil is a huge country. It is rightfully famous for the Carnaval in March and the beaches and the Amazon rain forests. Here is how to see the highlights in three weeks.
Three week Itinerary for Brazil on a map
Here is how to do three weeks in Brazil. You will most likely land in Rio since its the most popular international aiport. Leave for Foz. See Rio on the way back as you work through this three week itinerary for Brazil
Week 1: Foz de Iguassu and Amazon
Spend the first week getting to Foz de Igaussu and then to the Amazon rain forest via Manaus
Week 2: Recife, Olinda, Porto Gallinhas & Salvador
Visit the coastal towns of Recife and enjoy the carnaval in Salvador. Its more participatory than Rio
Week 3: Rio and Ilha Grande
See the Carnaval at the Sambadrome. See Rio’s sights and people.Head out to Ilha Grande to relax
What to do in Foz de Iguassu
Fly to Iguassu from Rio and spend two days in Foz. See the falls and the zoo. Have a nice meal at the Tropical das cataratas.
This is the largest water fall system in the world and also the 6th largest in terms of water flow. It is an amazing sight. Go right down to the falls to feel the water. You can always take a helicopter tour if you are pressed for time.
You can also take the full day biking and kayaking tour of the rain forests – Banieras Jungle safari.
What to do in Manaus
Fly out to Manaus from Iguassu.
Manaus if the gateway to the Amazon and the Amazon’s are a great sight to see.
We took a four day tour of the Amazon. It was great. We felt we were being shown around by locals. Jerry was a great host and his team made us do fun activities like:
Sleep in hammocks
Hike into the forests to see local flora
See local settlements and see how people live in this environment
Catching crocodiles at night. This was a lot of fun
We had a 3 hour stop over in Brasilia. We took a cab to see the architecture in Brasilia.
Brasilia 2Brasilia 3Brasilia
What to do in Recife, Olinda and Natal
Recife, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco. Recife and Olinda have nice beaches and are slightly off the tourist circuit. Good places to relax before you head to Salvador.
See the Boa Viagem Beach and the pastel houses in Olinda. The Carnaval was picking up as we headed to Olinda. We ran into festivities where ever we went.
Take the bus to Salvador de bahia.
What to do in Salvador de bahia
Since we only wanted to do three days of the Carvanal in Salvador, we stayed in Itapoa and took the bus into the main city. Itapoa has a nice beach and is quiet and open.
Take the elevator to the old town of Pelurinho. It is beautiful and Michael Jackson’s “they don’t really care about us” was shot in Pelurinho. The pastel colored houses and cobbled streets are full of activity in the days of the carnaval.
Unlike the cordoned off festivities in Rio, the carnaval in Pelurinho is participatory. Various streets go through the streets. There are a lot of colors. There is a lot of dancing, drumming and dress up. Pelurinho was the best part of our trip.
Do try acaraje from the Bahiana women. Its fried in Dende oil and really tasty.
Head off to Rio to see the Carnaval at Sambadrome.
Pelurihno CarnavalPelurihno CarnavalPelurihno Carnaval 2Pelurinho streetsPelurinho AcarajeSalvador CarnavalKetaki and Bahiana womenCarnaval procession in SalvadorBahaiana women at the CarnavalCarnaval Pelurinho StreetsPelurinho carnaval processionHair braiding in PelurinhoFilhos de Gandhi PelurinhoCarnival Costumes at PelurinhoSunset in Salvadorpelourinho
What to do in Rio de Janeiro and Isla Grande
We bought tickets on the night of the carnaval. It was fairly easy to get in and got good seats. We spend the entire night at the sambadrome watching each samba school dance to impress the judges.
We went to see the sights next afternoon. We saw Corcovado, statue of Jesus the redeemer and Pao de acucar with great views of Rio from both. We spent the evening at Ipanema. The beaches in Rio are great for families and for people watching. It felt like everyone was wearing a bikini and it was ok inspite of body type. There was impromptu dancing on the beach during the days of the Carnaval.
We headed out to Ilha Grande the day after the Carnaval ended. Ilha Grande is a big island about 2-3 hours from Rio via bus and ferry. It is a place to relax away from the big city. We had countless caipirinhas and sweet in the central square and stumbled back to our pousada each of the two nights we were there.
We highly recommend Ilha Grande. It was a great end to our three weeks in Brazil.
Pao de acucarPao de acucarRio at nightRio at nightRio and CorcovadoRio and Corcovadopao de acucar-copacabana-flamengopao de acucar-copacabana-flamengoRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradeRio carnaval paradesambadromesambadromeCorcovado and ketakiCorcovado and ketakiRio from CorcovadoRio from Corcovadocorcovadocorcovadoipanemaipanema
Pictures from Ilha Grande
Cachaca and Churros at Ilha GrandeCachaca and Churros at Ilha GrandeIlha Grande beachIlha Grande beachSweet Seller at Ilha GrandeSweet Seller at Ilha GrandeIlha GrandeIlha Grande
Here is an amazing five week itinerary for the USA with family. We will cover:
Where to go in the united states of America?
How to enjoy the national parks in the USA?
Which cities to visit?
What to see on the east coast?
What to see on the west coast of the USA?
Week 1 – See the East coast
Spend 3 days in NYC, 2 in Washington DC and one in Philadelphia. You an consider swapping DC and Philly with Boston if you want to see famous educational institutions on the east coast
Week 2 – Experience Disney theme and waterparks
Kids will love you for taking them to Disney parks in Orlando. Stay at the Pop Resort. Be sure to visit all waterparks. They are a lot of fun. Book early.
Week 3 – See Yellowstone National Park and SF
4 Days in Yellowstone and 3 in San Francisco.
Take the flight from Orlando to Sun Valley Idaho. Rent a car. Spend the night at Redfish lake. Drive through the Craters on the moon national park on the way to Yellow stone national park.
Return the car at Jackson hole and take the flight to SF. Stay for 3 nights before driving down the pacific coast highway
Week 4 – Camp along the PCH and to Las Vegas
Rent a car in SF to return in LA. Camp at three amazing sites along the pacific coast highway between SF and Los Angeles. Get to Las Vegas and spend 3 days there before heading out to the Grand Canyon.
Week 5 – Grand Canyon and Los Angeles
Spend atleast one night at the Grand Canyon lodge to watch the sunrise and take the morning bus tour of the national park.
Drive back to Los Angeles and spend 4 days there looking at the sights and universal studios before catching your fight out of LAX.
Week 1 on the East coast
New york city with kids
Spend 3 days in New york city. NYC has great sights to see but the kids will love to go to:
Natural history museum
Central Park Zoo
Horse carriage ride through central park
Chess players at Washington Square park
The lights at time square at night
These playgrounds in NYC are great for kids to relax
Evelyn Square playground
Hells Kitchen playground
Carl Schurz – East side park
Drive to Washington DC
What to do in DC with kids
The Smithsonian museums are some of the best in the world. Spend atleast two days so that the kids can see
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Then move onto other sights on the national mall, which is very similar to the India Gate area in New Delhi. See them side by side on google maps.
The White house
The capitol building
Move onto Philadelphia and see the liberty bell and Independence hall or catch the flight to Orlando from DC.
Images from NYC
Images from Washington DC
National MallNational MallKetaki in DCKetaki in DCFirst HumansFirst HumansDrink Water like a GiraffeDrink Water like a GiraffeT-Rex SimulationT-Rex SimulationWright aeroplanesWright aeroplanesLincoln memorialLincoln memorial
Week 2 in Florida
What to do in Orlando with kids
We went to Orlando to ensure the kids saw all Disney parks including the waterparks. We spent 5 long, tiring days in Orlando and could have spent even more. Trust me, if you want to do more that Disney, you will need even more time than 5 days. And, anything over five days in Orlando is just too much. It is too tiring, too hot, too crowded, etc, etc.
The best way to do this is to buy tickets and hotel directly from Disney and book all rides well in advance of getting to the parks. Pre planning can save you over 3 hours in each theme park. All the parks are worth going to and need at least one day each.
The kids really enjoyed the waterparks. Sometimes the hurricane warnings can shutdown the parks so be patient. Often times, its only a 30 minute interruption.
The longer you stay the cheaper the per day ticket costs become.
Spend time planning your entire trip on https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/
Stay within the Disney parks since they have buses to take you to and back from each Disney park. You dont have to rent a car or worry about parking, etc.
Have fun and then head out to Yellowstone, away from the crowds of Orlando to the land of bisons and bears.
Pictures of Orlando and Disneyland
Week 3 in Yellowstone and then San Francisco
Sun valley and Redfish lake in Idaho are amazing. We flew into Sun Valley, rented a car to be returned at Jackson hole and started our drive through this beautiful part of the world.
The drive is marked on the map. Follow it. It takes you through craters of the moon national park and other scenic locations on the way to Canyon Lodge and Cabins in Yellowstone. Its a long drive and will take an entire day.
Spend the next two days driving up to Mammoth and spending the night there. Come back down to Canyon lodge the next day. Day 4 – Drive to Jackson hole, return your car and fly to the west coast – San Francisco.
What to do in San Francisco with kids?
Fillmore St to see San Francisco’s crazy topology
Twin peaks to see the view of the city and take pictures
Skip Alcatraz and hike Angel Island instead. Camp there to have an experience that very few tourists do
See the nighttime view of San Francisco from Treasure island
One afternoon – take the long walk through Golden Gate Park all the way to Ocean beach.
If you can ditch the kids, go to the wine country. If not, go hiking in Marin County. The hike at Stinson beach is easy and worth it.
There is a lot to do in the San Francisco area. Three days is not enough.
Where to eat in San Francisco
Breakfast at Dotties’ True Blue cafe
Breakfast at Chloe’s Cafe, Church Street – if you like eggs
Breakfast at Hollywood Cafe on North Beach street
Lunch Sandwiches at Molinari’s Deli in North Beach
Burrito’s at Taqueria Cancun in the mission or at the fancy mexican at Gracias Madre or Tacolicious on Valencia St.
Ice cream at Ghirardeli Square
Chicago style pizza at Patxi’s
Chicago style pizza at Zachary’s in Berkeley or Oakland
Bread and pastries at Tartine Bakery
Pastries and coffee at Stella Cafe in North beach
Eat at established high end dining places like
Michael Mina – Westin St. Francis
Amber Indian Restaurant – Market St.
Again, there are way too many good places to eat in SF or in New York than you can cover in 3 days.
Moving onto the pacific coast highway.
Images of Yellowstone and San Francisco
Drive to YellowstoneDrive to YellowstoneDrive to Yellowstone 2Drive to Yellowstone 2Bison herdBison herdBisonBisonExcelsior GeyserExcelsior GeyserBears eating a deerBears eating a deerBear and three cubs with a deerBear and three cubs with a deerDeerDeerGrand Prismatic springGrand Prismatic springMammoth hot springs hotelMammoth hot springs hotelOld faithfulOld faithfulPicnic at MammothPicnic at MammothRedfish lake and mountainsRedfish lake and mountainsRedfish lakeRedfish lakeSquirrelSquirrelStreamsStreamsTainted woodTainted woodVastness of yellowstoneVastness of yellowstoneYellostone lake with kidsYellostone lake with kidsYellowstone – Volcanic activityYellowstone – Volcanic activityYellowstone general storeYellowstone general storeYellowstone lake lodgeYellowstone lake lodgeJackson hole airportJackson hole airport
Week 4 on the pacific coast highway and the drive to Las Vegas
Rent a nice car in San Francisco and return it at LAX
Spend three nights camping on the drive from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. Here are our favorites:
Pfeiffer burn’s national park in the redwoods
Lime kiln park by the beach
Pismo beach – family camping and activities
It will get cold at the coast so make sure your sleeping bags are warm. If you missed seeing the elephant seals at Pier 39 in San Francisc, you should definitely see the elephant seals at the Elephant Seal Vista point at San Simeon. It’s the most accessible place for you to see then in the USA. It is also worth going to Hearst castle in San Simeon.
Head to Las Vegas from here.
What to do in Las Vegas with kids
The beds in Vegas will feel great after 3 nights of camping on the coast. Watch O at the Bellagio. It is the most spectacular show you will sea.
Show them the outrageous hotels like the Wynn and the Bellagio. Stay at the Paris hotel and Spa so that you can see the fountains of the Bellagio from your window every evening.
Watch the fountains right in front of the Bellagio at night. Its an amazing show. Add more shows if you have the budget for it. The Blue man group is fun for kids too.
Head out to the Grand Canyon – South rim
Pictures of the pacific coast highway campgrounds and Las Vegas
Week 5 – Grand Canyon and Los Angeles
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim is a 4 hour drive.
Grand Canyon to Los Angeles is 7.5 hours. Plan your drive. It might be good to stop at Vegas on the way back to LA to catch your flight out of the USA.
Grand Canyon South Rim is open throughout the year and is at an average altitude of 7000ft. It is a hard to appreciate the scale of the grand canyon just from a single vantage point. If you have the time for it, hike down the canyon and see the inner canyon.
he Inner Canyon
includes everything below the rim and is seen mainly by hikers, backpackers, mule riders, or river runners.
The inner canyon is a harsh desert environment with little shade and summer temperatures over 100°F. (>38°C)