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Brazil

From Bullet Holes to Murals: An Afternoon in Santa Marta Favela thumbnail

To visit a favela or not to visit a favela: it's a controversial decision many travelers to Rio will ponder at some point or another. Critics call it poverty tourism, proponents say it de-stigmatizes and brings income to marginalized communities. Even amongst my own peers, there's discord. Friends from South Africa have made me cross my heart that…

Soaring Over The Land of Samba: Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro thumbnail

Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro was just one of those things I had to do. Back when I was a distracted student sketching maps of Brazil in the back of my math notebooks, I must have come across a guidebook or an early blog post that highlighted it as a top attraction -- because while…

Waking Up With Christ Redeemer in The City of God thumbnail

There are two attractions that are pretty much non-negotiable must-sees for more travelers to Rio -- the Cristo Redentor statue, also known as the Christ Redeemer statue, and Pão de Açúcar, also known as Sugarloaf Mountain. Heather and I were no exceptions, and planned to make both a priority during our one week in Rio de Janeiro. However…

One Week in The Cidade Maravilhosa thumbnail

“On the eighth day, God created Rio.” It doesn’t take long to understand why cariocas love to say so. Palm fringed beaches bookended by iconic granite morros, the world's largest urban forest, and one infamous statue of Christ perpetually watching over the city. One of the most geographically blessed cities I’ve had the privilege to visit, it’s…

Uma Bela Caminhada: Hiking on Ilha Grande thumbnail

Ilha Grande stole my heart -- and it also gave it a workout. Cardio and adventure fans alike will flip for the hiking opportunities on this untamed Brazilian island. With sixteen marked trails of varying length and difficulty, we were spoiled for choice when it came to which corner of Ilha Grande to wander. As we were hoping…

My Kind of Paradise On Ilha Grande thumbnail

I guess I have a thing for seedy islands. A pirates lair, a leper colony, and a penitentiary for political prisoners -- much like Koh Tao in Thailand and Isla de Coiba in Panama, Ilha Grande in Brazil has quite the illicit past. And much like those islands before it, this one also managed to steal…

A Brazilian Pearl: Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Paraty thumbnail

I already confessed that my time in Paraty was a washout. But while five days of rain followed by three hours of sun was frustrating, it did leave us plenty of quality time to eat ourselves silly, lounge about in our accommodation, and look for a few creative activities that didn't require a dose of Vitamin D. Heading…

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