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1 - The Road to Iguacu

2 - Iguassu Falls Nat'l Park

3 - Macuco Boat Safari

4 - Iguazu Falls Rest.

5 - Foz Tropicana Aviary

6 - Rafain Churrascaria

7 - The Road to Noronha

8 - Fernando de Noronha

9 - Sueste Bay Snorkeling

10 - Farewell to Fernando

11 - The Road to Rio

12 - The Hippie Market

13 - Sugar Loaf Mountain

14 - Copacabana Palace

15 - Too Much Gluten

16 - Botanical Gardens

17 - Buzios

18 - Copacabana

19 - Ipanema Beach

20 - Plataforma Show

21 - Corcovado Mountain

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The Jungle-Draped Hillsides of Buzios, Brazil.

At 8:30AM this morning, we meet Marcelo. Today we'll drive to Buzios, described to us as the jewel of the Green Coast.  We were trying to decide between Buzios and Angra Dos Reis, but both Luiz and Marcelo suggested Buzios out of the two, so we went along.  Buzios is about a two and a half hour drive from Rio de Janeiro, first across the bridge to Niteroi, once the world's longest (now, Marcelo tells us, it's the third longest), then through several other towns before opening up into farmland.  Marcelo tells us that there is a very beautiful road along the coast, but with only one day to see the town, there isn't enough time to take it.  Someday we'll return and drive the road - must be amazing.


Marcelo is pointing out tidbits about all the areas we pass, which is interesting, as Sandra and Bertil sleep.  Once we arrive in Buzios, we all see what the fuss is about.  The resort area of Buzios is built into a jungle-draped hillside over beautiful blue water, and sparkling white sand beaches.  There are no hotels to speak of here, just Pousadas (inns with less than 30 rooms), and so many of them are lovely, including the Maravista, which Marcelo tells us is his favorite. It has panoramic ocean views from high atop the hill.  However, you need to rent a buggy to get down to the beach.


We drive to one panorama after another, just basking in the beauty.  We stop at Praia Joao Fernandes for lunch at a beach bar called O Chiringuito, where they show us the fish that they suggest we eat.  "It's fresh", the guy says - and then we see - it's still moving!  We figure that's about as fresh as you can get, so he grills it up.  It's delicious, and big enough that it feeds all five of us. Very friendly people at this bar as well.  Of course, typical, it starts to rain, and we all huddle under the umbrella while we eat.


Fresh Fish at O Chiringuito in Buzios
Fresh Fish (still moving) at O Chiringuito in Buzios...

After lunch, it's no longer raining - just cloudy, as we make our way into town.  The town of Buzios is a perfect little tourist town.  Cobblestone streets, tons of trendy shops, several all-night night clubs, and several great-looking restaurants.  The main form of transportation is by dune buggy, which are available for rent all over the place.  There are boat tours in the bay, and several other activities, including fishing and scuba diving.  We are all very impressed by Buzios, but we're also tired from last night's partying, and we have another Rio by Night on the schedule for tonight, so we begrudgingly call it a day and head back to Rio de Janeiro.

Nilze Carvalho at Centro Cultural Carioca
Nilze Carvalho with Grupo Sururu na Roda.

We get back to Rio at about 7:30PM - just enough time to shower, change, and head back out.  Our first stop is to see Happy Hour in Rio.  There are tables set out on the street, filled with Carioca drinking beer, with music blasting from the seemingly endless pubs. All the side streets are closed to traffic, block after block of this thriving after-work get-together.  People just walk over after work and get together with a few thousand of their closest friends for a beer.  Very cool.  Next time, we'll spend some time there.  Looks like a lot of fun.



Next stop is Centro Cultural Carioca, a cozy upstairs club with a small stage and several tables.  On stage this evening is Nilze Carvalho, a very talented local musician, who seems to be very well-known by the locals.  Tonight she's playing with Grupo Sururu na Roda. The music is wonderful - everyone in the place is on their feet dancing and clapping.  It's very Brazilian, featuring Nilze on the Mandolin, with many types of percussion - upbeat and fun Samba. The band is excellent - Sandra wants to buy their CD, but they only brought ten copies, which sell out immediately.


Marcelo and Sandra are giving Samba a whirl, while Bertil and Kicki are doing their thing.  Suddenly balloons fall from the ceiling (it's someone's birthday or something), a traditional Brazilian song starts, and the whole room begins a Conga line of people Samba-stepping to the music.  It seems as if the floor will fall in under the weight of everyone dancing and stamping their feet!

At around 1:00AM, we decide to call it a night and Marcelo drives us back to our apartment.  Tomorrow, we're on our own for almost the first time since we've been in Rio.  Marcelo gets to spend the weekend with his family, then on Monday, we'll hit Corcovado Mountain.

Centro Cultural Carioca
The Conga line breaks out at Centro Cultural Carioca.

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