By Pedro Souza
October 31, 2017

Covering a great part of the northwest of Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. A plethora of incredible animal and life species inhabit this gargantuan forest, hundreds of thousands of them still undiscovered. Below, we have compiled some of the most fascinating animals that live in it.

Green Anaconda: Growing up to 9 meters long and weighing as much as 200 kilos, the green anaconda is the largest snake in the world. Lurking in the Amazon River, this enormous reptile kills its prey by coiling around it and squeezing it until it dies of suffocation, swallowing it whole after it is dead. While it usually preys on mid-sized mammals such as wild pigs and capybara, it has been known to kill cows, alligators, jaguars and even humans in rare cases. Despite its capacity of eating large animals, it does not eat very often, and can live without hunting for weeks or even months after a large prey.

Electric Eel: Despite its name, this fascinating animal is not really an eel, but a fish that inhabits murky streams in the Amazon and Orinocos basins. Growing up to 2.5 meters long, it can generate 600 volts of electricity in a single discharge from its specialized organs filled with cells known as electrocytes. The electric eel uses this ability for stunning its prey and for defending itself against predators. Humans are also in danger of being electrocuted it they accidentally touch this animal, though deaths are very rare.

Poison Dart Frogs: The poison dart frogs are not a single species, but rather a group of frog species that inhabit the Amazon Rainforest. These frogs are some of the most beautiful animals in the forest, displaying brightly colored patterns across their skin. As beautiful as they are, these frogs are colored precisely to signal the fact that they are extremely venomous. Through their skins, they secrete a powerful venom that paralyzes its prey and can cause heart failure within minutes. The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have been using these frogs for a long time to poison their darts, which aided them in hunting. This is where their name came from.

Harpy Eagle: Known in Brazil as gavião real (royal hawk), the harpy eagle is the largest and most powerful raptor in the Americas, weighing up to 10kg. This fierce predator has claws that can grow up to 13 centimeters, which it uses to snatch and kill sloths, squirrels, rabbits, birds, armadillos and even capybaras and deer. Unfortunately, destruction of its natural habitat is making this majestic animal disappear. In Central America the harpy eagle is almost gone, but in Brazil it is found in many parts of the country.

Brazilian Wandering Spider: There are eight species of the Brazilian wandering spider, which is a common animal in the Amazon Rainforest. These spiders are not only among the most venomous spiders in the world but they are also extremely aggressive, attacking if they feel threatened. Their venom is a powerful neurotoxin, which causes extreme pain, loss of muscle control and breathing problems, which can lead to death by asphyxiation. They get their name from the fact that they can be seen wandering across the ground at night. During the day, these spiders prefer to hide inside termite mounds or under rocks and barks.

By Pedro Souza
October 31, 2017

Rio de Janeiro is indeed a beautiful state. Being home to an array of dazzling beaches and arguably the most beautiful city in the country, it also has much more to offer. If you are a fan the outdoors and know how to appreciate a good day hiking, there are many trails available for you to choose. To help you with your choice, we have selected some of the best trails in the state.

1: Trilha da Pedra Bonita
Right next to the city of Rio de Janeiro Lies Pedra Bonita, a rock formation that has become a popular point for hang-gliders. The Pedra also offers a stunning view to the city of Rio, which is sure to delight anyone that is willing to take the trail. The trail itself goes up to the Pedra through the thick Atlantic Jungle, which is teeming with wild animals. While the trail is quite steep, it takes only about 40 minutes, and is a great option if you want to bring your family for a fun evening. To get there by car, you should take the Lagoa Barra road in the south of the city and take the entrance that leads to Joá. After driving for a while in the Estrada das Canoas road, a sign will point the way to Pedra Bonita. If you would rather go by bus, you can take the line 448 from Maracaí to Conrado, which passes through the entrance to the trail’s parking lot.

2: Mirante Excelsior
Located in the Parque Floresta da Tijuca, the Mirante Excelsior is a bucolic semi-abandoned lookout with an amazing view. The way to the lookout was once paved, but hasn’t been maintained since around 1945. Little remains of the pavement nowadays, making it mostly a trail. On the way, which takes around one hour, visitors can appreciate the scenery and the lush vegetation that surrounds it. The large canopy of the trees add to the beauty of the place, giving the impression that one is in a natural cathedral. The scenery at the top doesn’t disappoint as well, offering a wide view of the mountains in the area, the city of Rio and the Guanabara Bay. To get there, you have to drive to the Parque Floresta Tijuca, passing through the main gate at a square. After that, drive until a place called “Barracão”, where the entrance to the trail is located.

3: Cachoeira Conde D’eu Trail
A geographical accident of the Paquequer river, The Cachoeira Conde D’eu waterfall is truly a wonder to behold. Falling from a height of 127 meters, it is the highest free-falling waterfall in the state of Rio. When the water hits the well at the bottom, it sends a spray upwards that turns into a rainbow on sunny days, adding to the beauty of what is a dazzling sight in itself. The waterfall is located near the Dona Mariana district, in the town of Sumidouro. To get there, one needs to take the road RJ-148 from Sumidouro and then follow the signs pointing to the waterfall. At one point, it is impossible to go ahead by car, and this is where the trail begins. Going through the thick vegetation, you can hear the sound of wild animals and the constant rumble of the waterfall in the background. At the end of the trail, you can bathe in the waters and get some relief from the heat.

By Pedro Souza
October 3, 2017

The seventh largest city in Brazil, Curitiba, is the capital of the state of Paraná. Known for its excellent planning, Curitiba is one of the best places to live in Brazil, as well as a great place to visit as well. If you plan on going there, take a look at our recommendations and make the most of your trip:

Botanical Garden: One of the trademarks of Curitiba, the Botanical Garden was inaugurated in 1991. The purpose of the place is to keep a collection of scientific cataloged native species, which can be seen in a large glass and iron greenhouse. The surrounding area boasts beautiful natural attractions, with lakes and native forests with plenty of trails one can hike. Whether you want to find out more about native plant species, enjoy some time hiking or simply contemplate nature, this place is worth a visit.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum: Oscar Niemeyer is known as the greatest architect in the history of Brazil. With a design planned by Niemeyer and a name in honor of his memory, the Niemeyer museum is focused on visual arts, architecture and design. Not only is the museum itself fascinating, but it also holds many exhibits. If you enjoy architecture, arts, or beauty, this is a place you shouldn’t miss.

Wire Opera House: One of the most curious sights of Curitiba, the Wire Opera House is a theater house that was inaugurated in 1992 in the Pedreiras Park. Its name comes from its structure, which is made out of steel tubes that give it a fragile appearance. The place not only features many art spectacles, but it is also located in a lake surrounded by the endemic vegetation from the Atlantic Forest, which makes the place itself a dazzling sight.

Historic District: In the city’s historic district, you will have the opportunity of seeing constructions from the 18th and 19th century. Sights like the Red House and the Church of St. Francis offer a glimpse back into the city’s historical past. The oldest construction in the city, Casa Romário Martins, has turned into a tourist information center, which is a good starting point for visitors. Another spot worth visiting there is the Curitiba’s Memorial, which offers arts exhibits, plays and musical presentations.

Santa Felicidade: Known as the restaurant district of Curitiba, Santa Felicidade is the right place for those that can appreciate a good meal. There, one can eat Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Arab, Spanish, French, Italian, Brazilian food and much more. In the Bosque Italiano (Italian Woods) one can eat the best Italian food around, as well as enjoy celebrations of the Italian community such as the Wine & polenta festival that takes place in july.

Ukrainian Memorial: The state of Paraná received an influx of Ukranian immigrants in the 19th century that has had many influences in the area. One of these influences is the Ukrainian Memorial, which is located in the Tingui Park. Composed by a traditional Ukrainian house, an outdoor stage, an entrance and a replica of the Miguel Arcanjo Church, it is dedicated to the preservation of Ukranian culture. On Saturdays, one can also enjoy traditional Ukrainian festivals and cultural activities that take place in the memorial.

By Pedro Souza
October 3, 2017

Known for the beauty of its idyllic beaches and sand dunes, Maranhão is definitely a state worth visiting. For you to get acquainted with the local language, we have compiled some “Maranhense” slangs and expressions.

Brocado: “A Maranhense” doesn’t get hungry, he gets “brocado”.
Maguaça: A “maguaça” ia a person that is extremely drunk or a mistake made by a drunk person.
Piqueno/piquena: A modified version of the word “pequeno/pequena” (little), this is how people call young boys/girls in Maranhão.
Caguetar: To snitch on someone.
Pois é (so it is): An expression used when agreeing with what someone is saying.
Meu chapa (my “chapa”): An informal and affectionate way way of referring to a friend.
Marrapá!: An expressions of surprise.
Encabuloso: Something different, or changed.
Ralado (scraped): Something that is not worth it or that is boring or low quality is “ralado”.
Mangar: To “mangar” someone is to make fun of that person.
Esparroso: Something that attracts attention is “esparroso”.
Zilado: Things are not fast in Maranhão, they are “ziladas”.
Lascado: When someone is in deep trouble that person is “lascado”.
Fuá: In Maranhão people don’t make a mess, they make a “fuá”.
Aziar: To ruin something.
Galudo: An arrogant or cocky person.
Se amostrar: To show off.
Cabuloso: Something bizarre or shocking.
Arrilado: To be “arrilado” is to be anguished.
Bagaceira: Maranhenses don’t go to the party, they go to the “bagaceira”.
Arremedar: To copy something or someone.
Mucura: A “mucura” is something ugly.
Escangalhar: To “escangalhar” something is to break it.
Fulero: Something of bad quality.
Ferro (Iron): Something you enjoy or admire.
Canhenga: A stingy person.
Na roça (In the fields): As strange as it sounds, to be “in the fields” means to be jobless in Maranhão.
Gazear: To skip or to miss something.
Azuretado: A person that is confused or daydreaming.
Quebrar a cabeça (to break the head): When you have to think intensively to solve a problem, you have to break your head over it.
Ser o bicho cacau (to be the cacao animal): To be the “bicho cacau” is to be the best.
Lacolá: A place that is very far away is “lacolá”.
Enfarento: Someone who is easy to make fun of.
Fuxicar: In Maranhão people don’t gossip, they “fuxicam”.
Marmoço: A positive affirmation one might hear after asking a question.
Pucardiquê: This word is a shortened way of saying “por causa de que” (because of what?). It is a way of asking “why”.
Gaiato: A funny person.
Dicumê: A shortened version of “de comer” (for eating), this is a local expression for “food”.
Paia: Something boring or not worth it.
Se acomodar (to accommodate oneself): To get quiet.
Bater beira (to hit an edge): To “hit an edge” in Maranhão is to take a walk with no destination.
Na pedra (in the rock): When you are in need of something, you are “in the rock”.