Saturday 24 January 2015

Where we stayed - Brazil

As one of the most expensive countries in South America, you do have to shop around for a good deal on accommodation in Brazil. We paid around £10 ($15) more a night in Brazil, compared to Argentina, mostly staying in private double rooms.

Here's a breakdown of where we stayed for our just over two weeks in Brazil and what it was like.

The Pantanal
In the Pantanal, we stayed at the Pousada Santa Clara, which we'd booked after a rep from Santa Clara came to our hostel in Puerto Iguazú. For around £220 ($330) each, we had 3 nights accommodation in a private double room with a bathroom, three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners, as well as all of our guided activities during the day.  

Pool area
It was a really good deal. We saw two jaguars on our first day and in the rest of our time also managed to spot caiman, different types of monkeys, a range of exotic birds as well as tapir and capybara.

And the accommodation was good value too. The showers were hot, we had good air conditioning in the room and there was a lovely communal outside area with a swimming pool and hammocks where could relax in between our activities. There was also an inside common room with a pool table and tennis table. The food was also plentiful and tasty. 

Given that it was in the middle of nowhere, there was no free wifi, but you can buy access if you really need it! 

From the Pantanal, we headed to Bonito, where we stayed in the Hostelling International hostel. It was a little pricey at around £35 ($50) for a double room with ensuite. We were irritated with the price, as it was higher than we'd been used to paying in South America and it didn't include towels, which you can hire at extra cost (a particular bugbear of mine). 

On the plus side, our room was pleasant enough and the communal area was well done, with a pool area and hammocks. The wifi was quite poor though and our room across the street from the main hostel didn't have any access to the network.

Breakfast was included in the price and there is a small food menu serving lunches and dinners. There is also a small kitchen area for cooking your own food, but there is little storage space that could have been better equipped for cooking your own food.

There's also a service in the hostel for booking up all of your excursions, which worked well.

Campo Grande
We stayed over one night in Campo Grande on our way from Bonito to Rio de Janeiro. We arrived quite late and found space in the dorm at Hostel Santa Clara, which is linked to the Pousada Santa Clara, where we had stayed in the Pantanal. It is basic but clean and cheap at around £10 per dorm bed. The hostel is pretty small and the lady running the place very friendly despite her lack of English or Spanish. It's really close to the bus station and so really handy if you need somewhere to stay when you're just passing through. 

Rio de Janeiro
Rio saw us staying with a friend in the Flamengo area of town, in a flat overlooking the sugar loaf. Thanks for having us Tariq!

It was a great location just outside of the main touristy areas - worth taking a look for Air BnB places in the area.

The sugar loaf from Flamengo
We didn't book ahead for a place to stay in the pretty streets of Paraty, but it was very easy to find somewhere. From the bus station, we walked into town and up and down the cobbled streets, checking out a few different places. We settled on a small bed and breakfast, just at the edge of the cobbled bit of the town, called Pousada do Careca. It was lovely little place, although you might find it a bit quiet if you're travelling on your own as it was not very conducive to meeting people. It was £26 a night.

Sao Paulo
Perhaps one of the worst hostels we stayed in while in South America was the Girassol Hostel in the Vila Madalena area of the city. When we arrived, there was nobody to check us in and then later there was a lot of confusion about whether we'd be able to go into the room we'd booked or would have to stay in a building across the street. Eventually, we we put in a very small double room behind the reception area with no windows and no real room to put any of our things. The communal area comprised of a sofa in a very dirty kitchen area. Breakfast was included but very chaotic as it was hard to find clean crockery in the mounds of dirty washing up. 

The other guests were friendly as was the manager when he appeared, but overall we were glad to only be there for one night!

We paid £34 for our cupboard room. 

Our advice: stay in the Vila Madalena area, but just not at this hostel!

Useful information:
The Pousada Santa Clara has an English website with information on booking and location. It also has an office at the Campo Grande bus station, where you can also find out about the Santa Clara Hostel, which is just a short walk from the bus station at 125 Rua Vitor Merelis,

The Bonito Hostelling International hostel is located at: Rua Dr. Pires, 850, Bonito. More information can be found on their website.

Have you visited any of these places in Brazil? Do you have any accommodation recommendations?

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