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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to the Brazilian Amazon

Where: Manaus, Brazil
January 22, 2015 at 1:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

Fun fact: the exotic wilds of the Brazilian Amazon are only a 3-hour flight away from Miami. Even better, the airfares on TAM go on special often enough to make a long weekend’s trip to this natural wonder very possible.

Venturing “off the grid” to lounge in hammocks with monkeys and dine on piranha isn't as crazy difficult and potentially dangerous as it sounds, so long as your preparations go beyond saying “hey, let’s go to the Amazon!" To help, we’ve already detailed how to get the Brazilian visa, what to pack, and even what NOT to do there when you arrive.

The Brazilian Amazon is tropical, humid, and appropriately exotic year-round, but there are some times when it’s best to go and best to stay away.

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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to Iguazu Falls

January 14, 2015 at 9:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

What waterfalls are taller than Niagara Falls (3x taller!), wider than Victoria Falls, and so genuinely ginormous that they form part of a border between countries? The answer, of course, is the South American UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iguazu Falls.

The Falls are split between Brazil and Argentina (and Paraguay isn't too far away, either), and each comes with its own name, airport, and visitor vistas. In Brazil, you'll land at Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport-IGU, the falls are named the Cataratas do Iguaçu, and wooden walkways take visitors out and over the waters to the very edge of some of the falls. On the Argentinian side, you'll land at Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport-IGR, the falls are the Cataratas del Iguazú , and the viewing is mostly from the tops of the cliffs.

While the decision over which side to visit may be a difficult one, at least one thing is quite simple: the beautiful year-round weather on both sides.

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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to Rio de Janeiro

January 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM | by | Comments (0)

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

Brazil is so hot right now.

Coming off 2014, the year the country successfully hosted the World Cup, energy is still high and airfare deals are plenty. For Rio de Janeiro in particular, tourism has never been better, and it’ll only continue trending upward as the city preps for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

To get in while the going’s good, plan a Rio trip for 2015. To help, we’ve already detailed how to get the Brazilian visa, what to pack, and even what to say when you arrive.

Rio is tropical and temperate year-round, but there are some distinct times of the year when it’s best to go, or best to stay away.

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Book Flights to Brazil for Under $200, but Beware the Fine Print

Where: Brazil
November 10, 2014 at 4:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Brazil is about to get a little early Christmas present. The country's third largest airline, Azul, started by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has announced it will begin flying between the United States (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando) and Brazil as early as next month.

Our friends at The Flight Deal have discovered an unbeatable Azul deal for December, from Fort Lauderdale to Brazil, for $193 one-way in Economy or $510 one-way, in Business Class (reclining, not lie-flat), taxes included.

We're been a bit hesitant to promote the deal, since it's definitely going to be a headache for travelers who aren't completely confident in their ability to "hack" budget flights. In order to take full advantage of the Azul flight deals, you'll need to book through their Portuguese site, hunt-and-peck for valid dates, use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, already have or obtain a Brazil visa ($160+ pp), be okay with arriving to an "alternative" airport, and be prepared to either pay much more for the return flight, or book a one-way home on another airline using frequent flyer miles.

Scared? Don't be. Just keep in mind that this is the infancy of budget flights between the US and Brazil, so the situation will only improve.

What to know to grab this deal:

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The Little Things: Magical Brazilian Butter Toffees Onboard TAM

October 1, 2014 at 10:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

When you think of tasty Brazilian treats, what comes to mind? Açaí berries, "Pão de Queijo" cheese puffs, "Brigadeiro" chocolate truffles, and "Quindim" coconut flan for sure, but what about Butter Toffee? Bear with us a moment; you see, Butter Toffees are a traditional onboard goodie of TAM, Brazil's largest airline. As such, they're known, salivated over, and enjoyed throughout the country.

In particular we speak of Butter Toffees produced by the Brazilian food company Arcor. The flavor favorite of TAM is specifically Torta de Limão, or Brazilian Lime Tart, a close cousin of Key Lime Pie. It calls to mind the iced lime tea—Matte Leão Limão—so beloved by Brazil's beachgoers, and is in itself a tiny taste of Brazilian cuisine.

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Travel Jobs: Live and Work Rent-Free in Rio

September 10, 2014 at 3:08 PM | by | Comments (0)

Have you always wanted to live in Rio? What if you could live there rent free?

The Discovery Hostel in Rio de Janeiro is now giving travelers the chance to live for free in exchange for working the front desk. This is a common practice at hostels around the world, but Rio presents the unique opportunity of getting in and becoming familiar with the vibrant city ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

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Inside the Greatest Aviation Museum You've Never Heard Of: Brazil's Museu TAM

September 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every aviation museum worth its salt these days can boast of classic warplanes, military fighter jets here and there, and perhaps a pre-jet-age Lockheed Constellation, but few go the extra mile to secure and preserve the rarest, most historic, and, in some cases, most expensive airplanes nearly lost to history as does the Museu TAM.

The museum is the baby of TAM Airlines and is now the largest museum in the world maintained by an airline. Unfortunately it isn't the easiest daytrip destination; the Museu sits in a spacious pair of hangars just outside the town of São Carlos, an hour's drive from the city of Ribeirão Preto (location of the nearest commercial airport), which is itself an hour's flight (or 3-hour drive) from São Paulo. You'd never expect to find one of the world's most important aviation museums way out here, in this part of rural Brazil better known for sugarcane plantations, but here it is.

The museum opened to the public in 2006 with only around 32 aircraft, but they've been quite busy since and the collection now numbers 89 vintage and rare flying machines (49 of which are incredibly still in flying condition).

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When to Register as a Volunteer for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

August 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM | by | Comment (1)

The 2016 Summer Olympics won't take place for two more years but planning is well underway, including the search for helpers.

Every four years hundreds of volunteers from around the world travel to the Olympics' host city to be a part of the festivities. Volunteer responsibilities range from providing transportation for the athletes and VIPs, to pointing tourists in the right direction.

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Brazil's Azul Sets Sights on First Flights to Florida

Where: Brazil
August 12, 2014 at 6:58 AM | by | Comments (0)

Not too long ago we heard about Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S/A—or Azul to their friends—and their plans to expand outside of the market down in Brazil. Nothing has been made official as of yet, but it does sound like the domestic airlines is close to fulfilling their hopes of going international.

One of the first routes to see Azul may be between Sao Paulo and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the airline plans to undercut the competition with fares below $1,000—maybe even as low as $600 through promotional rates.

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Brazil or Bust: The Words to Know in Salvador da Bahia

June 26, 2014 at 4:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Brazil is so hot right now. Actually, Brazil is one of those perpetually hot places, topping travel bucketlists for decades, but especially so now with both the World Cup and Summer Olympics on the calendar. Thanks to TAM Airlines and Brazil Nuts tours, we journey south to see why.

"Capital of Happiness" is quite the boast for a city, but there's no doubt Brazil's third largest city, Salvador da Bahia, turns frowns upside-down. Whether you call it "Salvador" to keep it simple, or "Salvador da Bahia" to differentiate it from the many, many other Salvadors of the world, the vibrant, Afro-Brazilian metropolis of 3.5 million will be on your lips as Brazil's cultural hotspot (so much for Rio as the end-all be-all).

Here are the words to help you on your way in Salvador da Bahia:

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So Google Put All the World Cup Stadiums on Street View...

June 12, 2014 at 5:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

We have a long-standing policy against implying or suggesting or hinting - let alone declaring - that gee-whiz Google Maps and Google Earth technology can allow people "travel without ever leaving home." That phrase needs to be driven out of the lexicon, then captured as it tries to flee, then cast into the sea in a chained iron box protected by witchcraft and pirate curses.

That said, this thing that Google did where they put a bunch of the FIFA World Cup 2014 stadiums on Street View is actually pretty cool. It's not "just like being there." It's not even the "next best things to being there." But it's still pretty cool.

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Brazil or Bust: The Words to Know in Rio de Janeiro

June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Brazil is so hot right now. Actually, Brazil is one of those perpetually hot places, topping travel bucketlists for decades, but especially so now with both the World Cup and Summer Olympics on the calendar. Thanks to TAM Airlines and Brazil Nuts tours, we journey south to see why.

Just as travel expands horizons, so it also does vocabulary. Even without a trip to Brazil, you'll have heard of at least a few words that matter, like "Copacabana," "Caipirinha" and "Capoeira," but Rio de Janeiro requires fewer inhibitions and more twists of the tongue.

Here are the words to help you on your way in Rio:

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