5 Fun Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro

For those of you who have been following the 2016 Olympic Games, you know that the city of Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer.  If you seek to explore a new city or to spend time with nature, Rio de Janeiro is the place for you.  Rio offers the best of both worlds with a booming city life, beautiful beaches, mountains and so much more.  Experience Rio de Janeiro to the fullest with these five must do activities.

VISTAS

If you want to get some of the best views of Rio, take a ride on a cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain or Bondinho do Pao de Acucar, is a must.  Have your camera ready to capture Rio’s breath taking views.  Once you reach the top of Sugar Loaf at 1,299 feet above sea level, you will see the views of Niteroi, Copacabana and Santa Cruz Fortress.  The cable cars move between Praia Vermelha and Sugarloaf Mountain and stop at Morro de Urca.  The cable cars run between 8 AM and 10 PM every 30 minutes.  One of the world’s best known attractions, the ride is divided into two sections with each section lasting about 3 minutes.  The first section goes from Praia Vermelha, or Red Beach, to Morro de Urca, or Urca Hill.  The second section goes from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf Mountain where you will enjoy 360 degree views along the ride.  The views, or vistas, include Rio’s Flamengo, Botafogo, Leme, Copacabana, Lpanema and Leblon beaches.   

FEIJOADA

Feijoada is Brazil’s national dish which features a variety of pork slowly stewed with black beans and spices.  Many restaurants around the city will feature this dish on Saturdays and is a must while visiting Rio.  A few other food items that you absolutely must try while visiting Rio are pastels, Pão de Qucijo, Açaí and Kebabs.  Pastels are a popular street food that contains a hot filling such as cheese, meat, shrimp or a combination of each within a pastry.  These pastels can be found in the markets throughout Rio.   Pão de Qucijo, or cheese bread, are highly addictive cheesy balls made from yucca flour and several cheeses.  They taste best when they are served hot, straight from the oven.  Açaí recently became popular in the US, from ice cream to beauty products. However in Rio it comes in a bowl or cup with granola.  Kebabs are served on the street near bars or at street sambas.  Kebabs consist of skewers of pork, beef, and chunks of sausage or chicken.  They are grilled street side and rolled in farofa, toasted manioc flour, served on a small plate with a salad of chopped tomatoes and onions and a mound of toasted farofa. 

CHRIST THE REDEEMER

Christ the Redeemer is a recognizable symbol of the city of Rio de Janerio and of the warmth of the Brazilian people who receive visitors with open arms.  Located on Corcovado Mountain the art deco statue of Jesus Christ overlooks the city.  Sitting at 2,300 feet above the city, the statue is one of the must see spots in Rio.  On a clear day, the views from the base of the statue are fantastic.  At night, the statue is lit up and looks just as amazing.

THE BEACHES

Rio is known for having some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.  Copacabana Beach is a two mile stretch of white sand beach where both locals and tourist gather to play volleyball, drink cocktails, or soak in the sun and beautiful ocean views.  The beach culture in Rio is great and is transparent in all facets of life in Rio.  Sunday is the day to spend at the beach. It’s the day that many locals head out to the beaches and enjoy a relaxing day in the sun.

GAFIEIRAS & CARNIVAL

Last, but certainly not least, gafieiras, or dance halls, are a great way to spend the night out.  Some of the best spots can be found in the Bohemian neighborhood of Lupa.  Rio knows how to party; the wildest party to definitely check out is Carnival.  Carnival takes place during the month of February and lasts four days.  People from around the world come to party during the festivities of Carnival.  Carnival is a festival held before Lent every year and is the biggest in the world with 2 million people per day on the streets.  The highlight of Carnival is the Samba Parade which is not to be missed.

That wraps up our list of the top five things to do in Rio. For all of your passport and visa needs, be sure to check out our company Fast Passports & Visas.

How to Get to Rio 2016 Olympics

This year the summer Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If you want to watch the games in Rio rather than from your couch at home, you will need to plan accordingly. There are several things you will need to take care including tickets, flights, travel documentation, and hotel accommodations. Here are 4 tips from our travel experts to help you plan out your trip to Rio 2016.

How to Get Tickets

You can’t just get tickets anywhere. As a matter of fact, each country only has one designated agency through which you must purchase your tickets. In the United States, the ticketing agency is CoSport. You will need to create an account with them and search for available tickets. By this time, there may not be a wide selection of tickets available as the games are less than a few weeks away. Checking out CoSport is still worth a shot, and you can also look for tickets on sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Planning Your Flight to Rio 2016

After securing tickets, you will want to book your flight as soon as possible. Finding a flight to Rio should not be difficult at al. Multiple airlines in the States offer routes to the city. Search around several different airlines to secure the best fare. Another thing to keep in mind is that some days will be more expensive than others. A few days before the opening ceremony and after the closing ceremony is when prices will be at their highest. To save some money, schedule a flight after the games have already started and stick around a few days longer after the closing ceremony.

About Travel Documentation

Under normal circumstances, American visitors would need a Brazil visa to travel to Rio. However, due to the Olympic Games the government has decided to waive that requirement for a few select countries. The United States happens to be one of those countries so you will not need to obtain a Brazil visa. From June 1 to September 18, 2016, American travelers can get into Brazil visa free. You will, however, still need a passport.

Finding a Place to Stay

Hotel space is limited in Rio. Though, there is no need to worry. There are several other options available. Airbnb, an apartment sharing service, has been named as the official alternative lodging supplier. Searching through their inventory reveals multiple rooms available that can be had for several hundred dollars a night. Prices will most likely fluctuate as rooms fill up. You can also secure a room through CoSport, the same company that sells ticketing. With the games so close, you will want to secure a room as quickly as possible.

That wraps up our tips for traveling to Rio 2016. While you are in Rio, don’t forget to enjoy the culture and other attractions.  The beaches are especially noteworthy, and you wouldn’t want to miss them.

Need a passport? Fast Passports and Visas can help you order and receive your passport quickly when you are in a hurry.

How To Get An Emergency Brazil Visa

emergency brazil visaPerhaps you have heard about the great tourist experiences in Brazil or you need to visit for business reasons. Whatever the reason, you will need to obtain a Brazil visa. If something just came up that was not previously planned, you could say that you need an emergency Brazil visa. There isn’t a specific emergency visa; it just means that you need a visa as soon as possible. There are several things to keep in mind to make sure that the application process goes as smoothly as possible.

Using a Passport and Visa Agency

The best advice for those who need to get an emergency Brazil visa is to complete the application process through a visa agency. While you can visit a Brazilian consulate and complete the process on your own, a knowledgeable visa agency will be able to streamline the process and make it as easy as possible for you. Furthermore, the processing time often depends on which consulate you submit your application to. The problem is that each state is assigned to a certain consulate and each consulate has different processing times. For example, if you live in Michigan your consulate is located in Chicago and the processing could take 2-3 weeks.

On the other hand, residents of Colorado go through the Houston consulate in Texas and the processing at the location can be as short as a few days. The good news is that some visa agencies with special connections can override this policy and run your application through a consulate with quicker processing times (especially helpful when you need an emergency Brazil visa). An added benefit is that a visa agency can help you fill out your forms and avoid any mistakes that can delay your processing time.

What Type of Brazil Visa Do I Need?

Another important consideration is the type of visa you will need. Each visa has its own requirements, and you will need to gather different supporting documents. Again, here is where a good visa agency can assist you as the process for some visa types can be rather difficult. You will definitely want to go through a visa service if you need a visa that has a more complex application, and you need an emergency Brazil visa.

Here are a few of the visa types so that you can get an idea of what you need:

VITUR – This visa is for those who are visiting Brazil strictly for tourism, visiting friends and relatives, or unpaid participants in a conference or competition.

VITEM I – This visa covers a wide variety of travelers including researchers, scientists, exchange students, volunteers, and those undergoing medical treatment. It covers a broad range of uses, but you should consult an expert when deciding which visa is for you.

VITEM II – This is the business visa. It is useful for those who are visiting for business meetings, company representation in trade expos, and the adoption of a Brazilian minor.

There are several other types of visas such as those for clergymen, permanent residents, and media correspondents. If you need assistance in figuring out which visa is right for you or in obtaining an emergency Brazil visa, contact Fast Passports & Visas. Their knowledgeable staff will be able to help you quickly apply for and obtain a visa.

 

5 Reasons Why You Must Travel to Brazil

Many people travel to Brazil as a result of checking off a major item on their “travel bucket list.” The imagery in one’s mind that Brazil conjures up is timeless.  Sitting on a beach in Ipanema, enjoying some refreshing coconut water straight out of its shell that a street vendor cut open for you moments before. Beautiful sun-bronzed people crossing your path, gorgeous high sun in your peripheral. Yes, it’s no wonder why this destination is on everyone’s bucket list. You have many many reasons to travel to Brazil, whether it is to immerse yourself in Carnaval, see the famous beaches, or tour through the Amazon, there is no shortage of reasons why you should travel to Brazil. There is so much to see though and how do you choose? On this Brazil bucket list we give five of our favorite Brazilian destinations. We feel these are just a small sampling of the vast amount of undisputed reasons to travel to Brazil. Make sure you take note of these tips and make your Brazil experience the best it can be.

Morro de São Paulo, Bahia

Kick off your shoes, make like Garth Brooks, grab two pina coladas and  get your feet into the velvet sand.  No vehicles allowed on this sandy island gem, only bikes, and pedestrian traffic  on this slice of paradise.

Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco

In the northern region of Brazil lies the state of Pernambuco where you will find a gorgeous display of nature.  Fernando De Noronha is an archipelago of 21 small islets  that is a natural habitat for sea turtles, exotic marine wildlife, and dolphins. Bring a good camera with a couple of lenses for the most breathtaking photos you’ll ever capture.

Armação dos Búzios, Rio de Janeiro

Yes, there is more to Rio than just Carnival, traffic, and streetside shops. If you venture just two hours outside of Rio is a picturesque resort town simply referred to informally as “Búzios.” It is a nice change of pace from the big city and lights of Rio and everything moves at a slower pace here. Unwind, and just melt away in this serene place

Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

The name of this quaint old mining town literally means “Black Gold.” Nestled just outside the bustling city of Belo Horizonte. Bonus to this excursion is that it is certified as a World Heritage Site, go ahead get your culture on, we won’t stop you.

Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná

Down at the southernmost point in Brazil is this gem that boasts a waterfall range that is so large that it touches the borders of not just Brazil, but Argentina and Paraguay as well.  It is possibly the most expansive waterfall range in the world. This is a MUST SEE if you travel to Brazil.

CONVINCED TO TRAVEL TO BRAZIL YET?

Whoa, slow down, we realize you are excited to travel to Brazil, but of course as with most international travel, you MUST have your passports and travel visas in order. Don’t take chances contact Fast Passports And Visas right away to get your travel papers in order then get going.

Amazon Travel Guide For The Adventurist

The Amazon, a magical place where millions of items are a click away and boxes arrive magically in as little as one day for all your…WAIT, sorry not THAT Amazon, all this travel has us jet lagged. We are talking about the lush basin in South America that is a mysterious and near mythical wonderland that is on every exotic travel bucket list. Iconized in blockbusters such as Raiders of The Lost Ark, The Rundown and Fast and The Furious, the Amazon is known for its thick, lush rain forest, exotic creatures, and, of course, dangerous ones such as piranhas. The Amazon River that defines the region contains more water than the sum of the next eight largest rivers. Amazon travel tours are more popular than ever, and people pay a hefty price to experience this exotic land. Whatever idyllic visions you have in your head right now of wild jaguars, encountering ancient Indian tribes, or finding some lost ancient artifact and being chased by the Nazis for it, forget about it. You are no more likely to see that by just going to the Amazon as you are to get caught up in the Mafia by visiting Kearney, NJ home of The Sopranos hangout, Satriales. No, the marvels of Amazon travel excursions are much more subtle but no less mind blowing.  The best place to begin your adventure is where else, but Brazil and that is what we focus on in this brief Amazon travel FAQ.

What Is The Optimal Time For Amazon Travel?

Unless you favor being cooked to death or water logged, the best time to visit the Amazon is between May and June.  With February to April being the rainy season and September to November being excruciatingly hot, travel from May to June is ideal. This is because the water levels in the river provide open waterways for river excursions, and the surrounding forest is flooded,so you can canoe through the forest as well. The combination of these conditions makes for some exciting sightseeing.

What Are The Best Amazon Travel Experiences?

The most common way people experience the Amazon is lodges set off a bit in the jungle. Most of these lodges offer private accommodations, family-style sits down meals and various daily excursions. You might want to keep in mind the rustic area you are in as in-room bathroom facilities and 24-hour a day electricity may not be available. The draw to these lodges is that some of them offer a chance to sleep in the forest among the wild, or go on interactive Survivor type hikes.

Amazon riverboat tours are another great way to see the Amazon. Most have on board quarters as trips last between five and ten days and stop for off boat excursions. All boats vary in the level of comfort they offer so do your homework before booking a trip.

Amazon offers excellent nature hikes, Tree climbing and other outdoor activities like sport fishing.  Many riverboat tours incorporate them into their excursions so you might be able to have a taste of both worlds.

How Long Should I Plan On Staying?

For most Amazon adventures, about two weeks is ideal. It factors in about three days travel to the Amazon for activities and excursions, and then enough time to get home and recuperate before work. Planning for this amount of time will also give a buffer for unforeseen delays, and give time to visit more than one part of the Amazon if you wish.

I’m Sold. What Is The First Step?

Of course, you will need to set up airfare which is the quickest way to get to your prized destination. Before you do that though, you MUST have your passports and travel visas in order. Don’t take chances contact Fast Passports And Visas right away to get your travel papers in order and BOA SORTE (Portuguese for good luck) in the Amazon!

8 Things To See And Do In Rio De Janiero

Do Carnival –  Is there any better place to celebrate Carnival than Rio?  Carnival is a worldwide celebration that demarks the beginning of Lent, a season of abstaining and fasting in the Catholic faith. While there are Carnival celebrations all over the world, Rio holds the title as the most famous. As they say in Fast and Furious, “THIS IS BRASIL” and people come from all four corners of the world to dance, eat, and party for days. If you plan on scratching this off your bucket list, be prepared to book months in advance and pay a premium for everything.

Christ the Redeemer – This statue of Jesus Christ has been immortalized in films, artwork, photography and more. Standing at a larger than life 100 feet high, it sits atop the Corcovado mountain and is a major landmark in Rio. Listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World it is easily visible from any location in the city.

Life’s a Beach and in Rio it’s a beautiful one – Famously referenced in the Sergio Mendes hit, Ipanema Beach is one of the largest beaches in Rio and famous for its variety of nightlife and upscale restaurants. The other, Copacabana, the beach not the club, is great for daytime activities and sunbathing. Both beaches are famous for their stunningly beautiful residents, who have no qualms about flaunting.

Take in the view on Sugarloaf Mountain – This mountain is one of Rio’s most famous tourist attractions. At its peak of 1,300 feet, you can see the entire city of Rio sprawled out beneath you With breathtaking views of Ipanema as well as Guanabara Bay, the ideal time to get here is for a beautiful sunset or serene sunrise, charge your camera, you will want plenty of shots of this view.

Maracaná Stadium – Everyone knows soccer rules the Latin world and nobody does it bigger than Rio. Maracaná Stadium is one of the largest worldwide. With a capacity of over 100,000 people, it is truly a massive structure. It is most famous for the 1950 World Cup in which Uruguay beat Brazil. It is a tender spot for Brazilians still, so don’t show up sporting an Uruguay jersey.

Everybody Samba! – You can’t walk two blocks in Rio without hearing that iconic Samba beat or see people dance it in the streets. Whether it is during Carnival or just a local park, Samba music dominates this city. If you want to join, you can always take in a lesson in the city, but a better way to learn is to let a local in a bar or lounge show you.

The Botanical Gardens – When you are ready to unwind and take things a bit slower. Take an excursion to the famous Botanical Gardens of Rio. Take one of the free guided tours through the gardens or walk at your pace along the winding paths and nature trails. One notable attraction is the carnivorous plants greenhouse. This greenhouse, filled with huge Venus Flytraps and Pitcher plants, just keep your hands to yourself, or you might get to see Rio’s busy ER.

When you are ready to see the magical beauty that is Rio De Janiero make sure you have your travel plans in order which included your first step, obtaining your passports and travel visas. Get your passport quickly with Fast Passports and Visas

Brazil or Mexico? 3 Reasons Why Brazil is Better

We aren’t really sure if there is a debate about this yet, but we are going to start it now. Which country is better, Brazil or Mexico? We are going to side with Brazil on this one. Below we’ve got three reasons why Brazil is better than Mexico.

1. We’ve got the best barbeque.

Mexico’s carne asada doesn’t have anything on Brazilian barbeque. Picanha, or rump cap as it’s known in the US, is the most popular cut in Brazil. Typically, most butchers remove the fat from the steak before its cooked, but Brazilian preparations remove the fat only after it has been cooked. You can expect a variety of meats if you are visiting a churrascaria (barbecue-style steakhouse) such as lamb, pork, and wild boar. In any case, one thing is clear. Brazil’s unique approach to barbeque makes it far tastier than Mexico’s offerings.

2. We are better at soccer.

Mexico’s fans can argue all they want, but the numbers speak for themselves. It’s plain fact that Brazil has better soccer players than Mexico. The Brazilian national football team has won the FIFA World Cup tournament a whopping five times in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. They are also the only team to have qualified for every World Cup competition ever held. Some of the best players to ever grace the soccer field have come from Brazil. We are talking about players like Neymar, Garrincha, and Ronaldo, who are considered to be some of the best players in the history of the sport.

3. We are more attractive.

While there are surely attractive people in Mexico, overall it seems that people prefer Brazilians. For whatever reason, Brazil has a reputation for being home to attractive people. When you ask someone which countries they think have the best-looking people, Brazil is usually at or near the top of the list. Travel dating website, MissTravel, asked its members to rate the nationalities they find sexiest in a dating partner. Women said that men from Brazil were the 8th sexiest. Men said that women from Brazil take the number one spot. Unfortunately, Mexico didn’t even appear on the list.

So these are the three reasons why we think Brazil is better than Mexico. Leave a comment telling us which country you think is better and why. If you want to take a trip to Brazil or Mexico to find out for yourself, don’t forget to take care of your passport and other travel preparations.