At the end of July/ beginning of August, I'm spending 2 weeks in Brazil with my 84 year old Grandma. What should we do for the 5 days in Rio? Where should we go after the Iguazu Falls?
We will be flying back to Rio from Iguazu and will be flying back to the States from Rio as well. We are trying to save where we can and splurge where we should. Any recommendations?
For the first 5 days in Rio de Janeiro , you should visit all the "Zona Sul" attractions. They are all 'close', but maybe you'll get long queues. Must see: Pão de Açúcar , Cristo Redentor , Jardim Botanico. About the beaches, Copacabana Beach is famous, but Ipanema Beach and Barra da Tijuca are a lot better. Program at least 1 night to a bar at Lapa and/or "Baixo Gávea". A walk trough Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is pleasant.
At Iguazu (Foz do Iguacu) I'd recommend Cataratas do Iguaçu and Templo Budista. The city has some more eco-tourism attractions. There are no bigger cities or interesting attractions nearby this city in Brazil.
The city in Paraguay is Ciudad del Este, it's very famous because brazilians go there to buy electronics and lot of other things cheaper than in Brazil (we have the highest taxes in the world). It's a little danger to go alone here, find a trusted guide if you want to try.
In Argentina you can go without properly entering their country. There's a "duty free shop" and a Cassino before the cross-borders. Obs: Cassino's are not allowed in Brazil.
After returning to Rio, if you feel like not staying in the city to know other places (it has a lot more), maybe you'd like to know a beautiful nearby region/beaches: (NORTH) Buzios , Cabo Frio , Arraial do Cabo ; (SOUTH) Paraty.
Mentioned in this answer:
Hey Lea. In Rio there are lots of things to do, the major attractions are the Cristo Redentor, Pão de Açúcar, Copacabana and Ipanema Beach, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro and Lapa. You can also go to Paraty or Buzios, there are small cities with great nature and beaches.
In Iguazú Falls there aren't so many things to do, you can see the falls (the brazilian and the argentinian side are different), the Parque das Aves and the Itaipu Binacional Power Plant (Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant), which is the biggest in the world.
About other cites, it depends of the kind of attraction you wanna see. You are coming in the winter here, so if you wanna go to the beach you should go to Northeast of the country, like Fortaleza, Salvador and Natal, beautiful cities with great views. If you like the cold weather, you can go to Gramado, a small city in the south of Brazil colonized by Germans and with a great touristic structure. Other destinations you should consider about are Florianopolis, Curitiba, and the historic towns of Minas Gerais.
Mentioned in this answer:
Check out Florianopolis for great beaches, surf and diving. Everyone who has gone there has never wanted to come back!
I am heading to Brazil as well! I would recommend heading to Petropolis, the seat of once Brazillian empire. It is really nice for hiking and beautiful mountain escapes.