Personal Reflections about Senior Travel to Brazil

Mar 9th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

I’ve posted three blogs about Brazil, and now I offer some personal reflections.  One of the world’s most “up and coming” economies is Brazil.  Seniors are now flocking to see what is happening in this fast-growing nation which has a very diverse population. Brazil is the biggest country in South America. It borders every other country of the continent except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world; in terms of population (186 million in 2005) as well as land area. It is the economic leader of South America, with the ninth largest economy in the world, and a large iron and aluminum ore reserve and now oil has been discovered off the coast and will soon add to the riches of the nation. Whether you are looking for an exotic holiday destination to spend time on the holidays, looking for a place to invest the money or just want to have some fun in a great sunny place, Brazil is just for you!  

Brazil is a country of great natural beauty. Dazzling beaches and rain forests are a few of the superlative attractions that await visitors. Brazil is also home to a people of great ethnic and cultural diversity, whose heritage is expressed in vibrant art and celebrations, historical cities and bustling urban centers. I did not know that there were more than 2,000 beaches that stretch along Brazil’s shoreline and more than 1,000 islands that dot the Atlantic Ocean within the country’s limits. While many of them are densely populated, many are preserved ecological sanctuaries. 

Amazonia covers an impressive 7 of Brazil’s 27 states, “The Green Inferno” as it is called covers almost 40 per cent of Brazil’s total landmass. Although parts of the Amazon cover countries bordering Brazil (notably Bolivia, Colombia, Guiana and Peru), it is to Brazil that most tourists come if they want to take in the splendors of this most magnificent natural wonder. The Amazon River system carries more water to the ocean than any other river system in the world. It is navigable for its entire 2000 mile trip within Brazil. Additional stats on this river are mindboggling (read about it here). 

Two of the world’s fifteen largest cities are in Brazil: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and are only about 250 miles (400 km) apart. Rio de Janeiro surpassed São Paulo’s population in the 1950s. Rio de Janeiro’s status also suffered when it was replaced by Brasilia as the capital in 1960. Rio de Janeiro is still the undisputed cultural capital (and major international transportation hub) of Brazil. São Paulo is growing at an incredible rate. The population has doubled since 1977 when it was an 11 million people metropolis. Both cities have a huge ever-expanding ring of shanty towns and squatter settlements on their periphery. 

I have been to SA three times (Chile, Ecuador and Argentina) and I knew that the Amazon River and Rainforest and Iguaçu Falls were among the most famous natural attractions in a country that has 62 National Parks and hundreds of conservation units. Brazil holds several records for its wildlife numbers and diversity.  I visited Iguaçu and it is totally awesome.  On the Parana River, the falls act as a natural border to the countries of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and are composed of 275 cataracts in total. The first time I viewed the Parana I thought that it was a lake. Carlos said, “No, Jim, it is flowing.  It just happens to be over a mile wide.” I discovered later that it means “as big as the sea” and is over 3,000 miles long and is the second longest river in SA. 

I also discovered that the vast majority of the Brazilian population lives in cities and towns. Take a dip into everyday life in Brazil by visiting colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and the daringly designed country’s capital, Brasília – both Unesco World Heritage sites, and you know by now my propensity for WH sites. Well, Brazil, the most important country in South America, certainly has MUCH more to offer – warm people, great cities with everything from slums to high technology, a wide range of weather patterns, an awesome mixture of cultures and races – and much more! 

Things to do in the Amazon include bird watching, trekking/hiking, climbing and taking boat journeys along the river. Without doubt, a tour to Brazil is incomplete without a trip to the Amazon. 

And weather is definitely a very personal issue. But in Brazil, the right planning can improve your year-round chances of finding a place where the sky is blue and the temperature invites you to be outdoors. Brazil asks “Why Travel to Brazil” and this site can help convince you to  visit the country.  Seniors, here is a site called How to Prepare Before Visiting Brazil and is worthy of your visit. Bone up on your Portuguese with my site. jeb



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