Subject: Re: Brazil in December
Hello Helio - I just saw Julia´s mail about your trip. I have been away for some time, travelling. Reason why I did not see your mail.

Two weeks ago we were in Foz do Iguassu - marvelous. The weather did not help, but even with rain and fog, the falls are magnificent. They are even larger than Niagara Falls. The volume of water is simply overwhelming. We stayed at the Sheraton in the Argentinian side and visited the Cataratas Hotel on the Brazilian side. The advantage of the Sheraton is that it is located within the falls park - so you are right there at all times. The view from the rooms is really something! There are very good pathways to and from all parts of the falls, well indicated. You get so close to the falls it is unbelievable.

Almost all of the Atlantic coast of the state of Sâo Paulo is very beautiful. There´s an island, Ilha Bela, that is just great, with lots of nice places to stay and dine. There are many beaches along the coast all the way up to the state of Rio de Janeiro. Paratí is on the borderline. A town that was preserved because it was very hard to get to it for "centuries". Now there is a good road , no problem. The town is charming and there are several good inns. However, the good beaches are in the islands, not in Paratí itself. There are boats for hire, private and public. Further north there is Buzios - outstanding!!! Charming town, charming inns in town and further away, but again the best beaches are in the islands.

You are coming to Brazil at "vacation time" - so make reservations well ahead of your stay here. The national airline, Varig, has a site with several vacation plans. http://www.varig.com Also, as I always recommend, the Quattro Rodas guidebooks are very good. Fodor´s Brazil can give good descriptions of almost everywhere in this country.

If you have time, don´t miss the Northeast. Best beaches in this world and what a land!!!!

I agree with Julia, you have to drink a "caipirinha" - if you manage to drink only one!!! There´s also "capiroska" made with vodka instead of the local "pinga", and several other versions. All great!

Campos de Jordão is a Brasilian version of the Austrian Tyrol - huge green mountains, lovely rivers, "Austrian" houses, restaurants and shops. It is the coolest place in São Paulo, due to its height.

I´ll try to find some good informative sites for you, but I just got home after more than a month away, so it may take some time!

Hope this helps. You will have a wonderful time here. Don´t forget the sunscreen!!!!

Susana São Paulo, Brasil