Get Lost: Our News & Politics Director  Takes a Quick Jaunt to Brazil
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Brazil is an amazing country, with an even more amazing history. But the average tourist may not know where to start when it comes to exploring the sights and sounds of the South American nation. And that’s where a tour company could become of use.

Earlier this month, I traveled through Brazil with SouthAmerica.travel. Under the guidance of the company’s owners, Juergen Keller and Bradley Nehring, as well as a rotation of tour guides, there were many sights that I was able to discover, that I probably wouldn’t have come across on my own.

According to Keller, SouthAmerical.travel allows travelers to customize their tours, which range between 10 and 14 days. The travelers also have the ability to choose between 3, 4, 4+, and 5-star hotels. 

“We go beyond simple customizing. We talk to and analyze the client to find out what they really want,” Nehring said.

First Stop Curitiba

Curitiba is the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Paraná, and probably the least diverse. With 78.9% white people, and less than 3% Afro-Brazilian people, it definitely would not be on my list of places to visit, when wanting to get a feel of Black Brazilian history. But with plenty of history of its own, it made for an interesting experience.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum

One of Curitiba’s main attractions is the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, which focuses on visual arts, architecture, and design. Niemeyer, the architect behind the museum, completed the original building in 1967, when he was 95-years-old. The newly designed annex was completed in 2002.

Other attractions visited in Curitiba included Brazilian winery Familia Fardo and Vinícola Araucária, a vineyard located in São José dos Pinhais.

Familia Fardo Winery’s proprietor

The second day of the stay in Curitiba included a 3-hour train ride through the Atlantic rainforest to Morretes, Brazil. The Serra Verde Express is a popular train in Curitiba and also has antique-looking cars that offer its passengers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Outside of being able to witness a Brazilian rainforest first hand, one of the most interesting things learned on the train ride was about the history behind the railroad we were traveling on.

André Pinto Rebouças was an Afro-Brazilian engineer and abolitionist who designed and built the railroad. Rebouças received his education at two military schools in Rio, and once he left the military, he became director of the Rio de Janeiro Customs Dock Company, where it allowed him to build railways, and a drought system that saved lives.

Can’t go to Brazil and not hit the beach!

Bem Vindo Ao Rio

It would be an understatement to say that Rio de Janeiro is a vacationers’ dream. From the culture to the food, Rio has so much to offer travelers, that it even has famous songs written about it. Can you even think about Rio without humming to yourself, “At the Copa…Copacabana”?

Yesha Callahan, ESSENCE News & Politics Director & Caleigh Alleyne from En Route Mag.

But Rio is more than the infamous Copacabana. Rio is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and Brazil’s third-most populous state. And although some people may want to perpetuate the stereotype that Rio is also crime-ridden (it actually has one of the lower crime rates in Brazil) and that Cariocas (the name given to those who lived in the slums) have ruined the city, Rio is rich in culture and flavor.

Most people who travel to Rio tend to flock to the city during Carnival, where there’s an abundance of eye candy for everyone. But there’s more to Rio than Carnival, as well as the famous landmarks that include the  Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and Sugarloaf Mountain and its cable car.

Sure, those are must-see sights, but so are the hidden treasures that a tour company could help you discover like:

The Botanical Gardens

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura: RGPL

São Bento Monastery:

When visiting Brazil, it’s best to have a plan of action, and if you choose to go the route of a tour operator, make sure you pick one that is flexible with your needs, is knowledgeable about the area and makes a conscientious effort to supply you with a rich cultural experience.

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