In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #36: Brazil. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
My time in Brazil was weird. I basically went to the country so I can transit to Venezuela. Travelling to Venezuela is dangerous and I was scared to fly to Caracas airport. To make it safe for me, I learned that crossing from Brazil to Santa Elena in Venezuela is the safest way to go about it. One of the key places I wanted to see in Brazil is also Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) as I was collecting all the New Seven Wonders of the World.
VIDEO – Country #36: Brazil
Blog post on Brazil
- Complete Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil Spending Breakdown
- How to Safely Enter Venezuela from the Brazil-Venezuela Border
- The Top 10 Friendliest People I Met During My 380 Days of Travel
- The Complete 7 New Wonders of the World
- How to See the Cristo Redentor if You’re at the Rio de Janeiro Airport
- Belem Brazil – Why Should You Go There?
Flying from Foz Do Iguaçu Brazil to Sao Paulo to Manaus to Boa Vista
After crossing over to Brazil from Argentina, I boarded a flight going to Sao Paulo. My goal is to eventually reach Boa Vista where I can grab a shared taxi to take me to Venezuela.
I was dead tired at this point but I still had one more flight left before I can get some rest. From Sao Paulo, I boarded another flight going to Manaus where I would be spending the night.
Taxi prices are so expensive in Brazil. I literally paid $20 for a 5-minute drive to my hotel from the airport. Why is Brazil so expensive? I ended up staying in an Ibis hotel because it was the closest one to the airport. Thankfully, the hotel provided a free breakfast. When you’re backpacking, you eat as much as you can when buffets are presented because you never know when you’ll have a lot of food again.
I was also glad I got a priority pass card in Canada before I travelled for a year giving me unlimited access to select airport lounges around the world. From Manaus I then flew to Boa Vista.
Upon arriving in Boa Vista, I took another overpriced taxi to take me to the Pacaraima shared taxi depot. From there, I will be taking a long journey into the Brazilian town of Pacaraima and then crossing over to Venezuela.
Taking a shared taxi to Pacaraima
The shared taxi going to Pacaraima is brutal. Basically, they wait until they have enough passengers before the taxi will depart. I was lucky to be the last passenger they needed when I arrived. Or maybe I am unlucky because I got the worst seat in the taxi.
I basically sat at the trunk of the shared taxi where I had no leg room and it was very uncomfortable.
Thankfully, the shared taxi has a stop halfway for people to use the washroom and stretch their legs. Truthfully; though, the cramped seat wasn’t the worst of the trip. I felt extremely paranoid while the shared taxi was driving towards the border town. Venezuela is a dangerous country and I was scared someone will stab me when I cross over the country.
Before long, we arrived in the border town of Pacaraima. From here, I dreaded the next part of the journey which is crossing over to Venezuela.
While waiting in the Brazil side of the border, a man kept staring at me. I felt like he was ready to pounce at any time and stab me to death. Thankfully, the Brazil immigration has guards which eased my mind a little before I crossed over to Venezuela. I’ll be sharing this part of the journey on the Venezuela part of this blog post series.
Shared taxi from Pacaraima to Boa Vista
After an intense adventure in Venezuala, I was back in Pacaraima again. There’s a part of me that felt relief to be out of the dangerous country of Venezuela. Now the long wait begins at the Pacaraima shared taxi depot. We needed to make sure the shared taxi was full of people before it departed back to Boa Vista.
Decompressing in Boa Vista
I felt completely destroyed by the time I reached Boa Vista. During my time in Venezuela, I made friends with some Russians who recommended I stay in this specific Airbnb. The owner of the Airbnb was really friendly and made me feel comfortable during my stay.
During my 2-3 days here, I got caught up washing all my clothes. I also took the time to just relax after being on guard for the last several days in Venezuela. I basically did normal people stuff like buy groceries and watch some shows on my laptop.
A few days later, it was time to continue my journey to Guyana. This next chapter of my journey will be the craziest I ever had in my life. I’ll cover it in more detail on the Guyana blog post but basically, I ended up in a vehicle with a smuggler in this country.
Flying from Cayenne French Guiana to Belem
After one of the most insane travel experiences I ever had when I did an overland trip to Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, I had flown back to Brazil and I just felt dead. I paid the hostel in Belem to pick me up from the airport but since I arrived at 6 am, I couldn’t check in yet. At that time, I ended up sleeping on a bunch of bean bag chairs for several hours until they let me in the dorm room.
By the time they let me check-in, I caught up on more sleep as I try and processed the craziness I went through overlanding the Guianas.
On my first full day in Belem, I decided I wanted to be a normal person. I ended up going to a local shopping mall and eating McDonald’s and then watching a movie by myself.
On my second day in Belem, I befriended a German couple who ran into some bad luck. The girl had her debit card eaten by the machine and she needed it to get money. I took the time to help them out and eventually, luck was on our side. We found a tweezer in the hostel and used it to pull the debit card out of the machine.
Hunt for a printer
After my friend’s debit card was safe and sound, my friends decided to help me find a printer in Belem. I needed to print my ticket to Cristo Redentor before going there and our hostel didn’t have a printer. We ended up exploring the city of Belem together which was interesting seeing all the old colonial-style buildings.
The port was also funny as I witness a guy flat on his face asleep on one of the boats.
We were so lucky because we found this one store that had a printer. An English speaking Brazilian helped us speak with the store staff and asked them to help me print my documents. They were very kind and helped me out and I was on my way to explore Belem some more.
We got a chance to eat some local food in Belem such as Brazilian nuts. My favourite would have to be the rice and meat stew I ate in the local market. It was so delicious, I wish I can eat it again someday.
At 3 am, I flew out of Belem and I was now in Rio de Janeiro for a layover before my flight out of South America.
Rio de Janeiro layover – quick stop at Cristo Redentor
My layover in Rio de Janeiro was short. I think I only had 8 hours in this city. I decided to shop around for a taxi company that was most affordable that can drive me to Cristo Redentor.
With my ticket voucher ready, I exchanged it at the country for the tram ticket to take me to the top of the mountain.
There are tons of tourists in the Cristo Redentor. Normally, I hate crowds but after travelling roughly in the Guianas, this was a welcome sight to see.
The view of the Rio de Janeiro harbour is breathtaking. It was probably nicer looking at the view of the waters than seeing Cristo Redentor itself.
I actually think Cristo Redentor is a nice statue but I wouldn’t say it’s at “world wonder” level. In my opinion, they should’ve made Angkor Wat one of the Seven New Wonder instead.
After spending an hour at the top, it was time to take the tram back down and to head back to the airport.
Flying from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon
With my priority pass card in hand, I searched for a lounge to get some food to eat. To my surprise, the priority pass lounge in Rio de Janeiro is amazing. It truly is one of the best lounges I’ve ever been to. They even had a free shower service which I took advantage of. I felt human again after taking a nice shower.
Not long after, I boarded my TAP Portugal plane destined for Lisbon. This is my final day in South America and from here, I would be continuing my journey to Europe which is the last continent I would visit during my one year trip around the world.
My biggest regret while travelling in Brazil was not seeing Lençóis Maranhenses. This place is in my top 10 bucket list travel destinations. I also wished I planned my trip better in Brazil. I wasted a lot of money flying to Manaus, Boa Vista, Belem, and Rio de Janeiro. Had I planned better, I could have redeemed my British Airways Avios instead of flights within the country.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to plan when you’re travelling long term and going to countries where your plan can easily be ruined. Well, at least I have an excuse to return to Brazil one day and see Lençóis Maranhenses with my girlfriend instead of just by myself.