This was the second trip to Brazil visiting three areas of the country.  First up was the sole visit to the Amazon with direct flight from Los Angeles to Manaus which is the main city.  A brief stay in Manaus was followed by a two hour boat road up the river to the Ariau Tower Lodge where stayed for a few days and took excursion on the river.   Next was flight to Recife in northeast Brazil where stayed for pre-Carnival.  This was the first of three visits to Recife.  The last stop was Rio de Janeiro where stayed during Carnival.  This was the second of many visits to Rio but it was the first of four stays in Brazil during Carnival of which this was the only one in Rio.

Amazon - Manaus; jungle lodge

Manaus is located in the Amazon and is a big city with a population of about one million.  It was a very important and rich city in the early 1900's due to a flourishing rubber trade but that is no longer the case.  There used to be direct flights from Los Angeles to Manaus years ago and when this trip was taken but that ended.  There are still direct flights from Miami.  While Manaus still has the opera house which was famous in past history, now the city is mainly a gateway to the rest of the Amazon.  On this trip, a brief two day stay in Manaus was followed by a two hour boat ride to the Ariau Tower Lodge on one of the estuaries of the Amazon River where stayed for a few days.  A river cruise and village tour were included.

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Recife

Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state, is located on the northeast coast of Brazil.  It is another big city of over one million population.  It has a neighboring historical city called Olinda.  About an hour's drive north of Recife is Itamarica Island while an hour's drive south of Recife is Porto de Galinas, both of which were visited.  These are both beach areas popular with locals and tourists.  Most tourists to this northeast part of Brazil are from Argentina and other South American countries, and some European but not many North American.  The trip included visit to World Vision project on the outskirt of Recife.  The trip was during pre-Carnival in Recife.

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Rio de Janeiro

This was the second visit to Rio de Janeiro, five years after the first visit.  Stayed in Copacabana and visited Petropolis which is at a higher elevation about an hour's drive north of Rio; World Vision project in Sao Goncalo which is across the bridge east of Rio; pre-carnival ball at Sugarloaf in Rio; and the main Samba School parade in Rio.  

 

The latter is a competition between different samba schools from various Rio neighborhoods, kind of like a soccer league where this is the first division while other divisions parade in other parts of Rio but less followed.  The main parade is a very big event with eight schools parading on Sunday night from 9pm to 5pm and the other eight on Monday night.  Each school has about an hour long parade in front of the judges.  There is a different general theme each year that the parades have to be based on.  Attended the Sunday night parades but the driver got lost and there was so much traffic and so got there late not long before midnight just as the third samba school was finishing.  This is why the second slideshow below only shows five samba schools.

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