About the Photo Above: My Hostel in Florianopolis, Brazil
Nice view right? Yep, that’s the breakfast and bar area of my hostel in Florianopolis, Brazil (Barra Beach Club Hostel). My actual dorm room is behind me in the photo.We had a great ocean view all day long (I was a very happy camper here)
Crazy $193 Visa Fee to Enter Brazil!
Another word to add to your vocabulary: “reciprocity.” OK now say that three times fast. R-E-C-I-P-R-O-C-I-T-Y which basically means and eye-for-an-eye straight from the old testament of the Bible. The USA, for whatever reason, charges Brazilians $160 to enter the States (along with tons of paperwork). In response, Brazil says, “Well, if that’s the way you want to be, guess what? Any American wanting to visit Brazil gets to go through the same process.” However–wait for it–if you decide to go to the embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, they want you to pay your $160 in Argentinian pesos which they then assign a crazy conversion rate formula not found on any realistic website and comes to a grand total of $193. If you want to enter Brazil, that’s what you have to pay (or go the Brazilian embassy in the USA and pay $160 in dollars). So, I jumped through hoops to get a yellow fever shot, four photos of myself, bank statements, copies of hotel reservations, flight reservations, and a complete itinerary, all to satisfy the good old reciprocity requirement (and feel the same frustration a Brazilian feels entering the USA).
Porto Allegre, Brazil
It’s a basic port town and not really anything special for tourists other than the logical stop while riding a bus in the direction of the beautiful beaches and islands further north. I spent two nights here just relaxing and enjoying the awesome luncheon buffets where you pay by the kilo. For about $7 you could get a giant plate of food including steak (or other meats) cooked to your liking by your personal chef. Yum!
This is just one of the many wonderful beach towns between Argentina (or Uruguay) and the big tourist destination of Rio. Florianopolis is located on an island with just a short bridge connecting it to the main land. Most of the city proper is located just across the bridge on the west side. However, a few other village communities are located on other parts of the island. I stayed in a village on the east side about 15 minutes from the main area (not exactly sure of the city name). I absolutely enjoyed my time here just being lazy and lounging near the beach. My hostel had an ocean-front view (as you can see from the picture above). The biggest downside was the heat combined with swimming in humidity and no air-conditioning. Oh, and did I mention the mosquitos love to come out and devour humans around sunset? But, despite these couple of draw-backs, this is a fantastic place to visit!
Map of My Travels in South America
I just completed a map of my travels in South America (view map).
Costs in Southern Brazil
While hostels were cheap, food costs were similar to the USA.
Hostel: $10-12/night (shared dorm) including breakfast
Food: typically $7-12 meal for lunch or dinner; I ate lunch at buffets for $8 or “by the kilo” for $6 to $7 for a large plate of food.
Transportation: City-to-city buses cost about $5/hour. I rode two buses, one for five hours and the other for six. Costs were $25 to $30 for day buses.