Introducing The Travel Scorecard , an exciting new feature on Calypso Island Chronicles. After I complete a trip, I will write a brief review of the destination including scores (grades) for both the destination and the hotels/lodges I stayed at. As I travel to many different countries, the Travel Scorecard will provide travel enthusiasts with some very valuable information. Please keep in mind, all my opinions are strictly subjective.
First up is my scorecard on BRAZIL, based on my trip there, May 17-June 14, 2010.
BRAZIL – Grade B+ Fascinating, very diverse country, many different places to explore. In the big cities and tourists spots, prices are on the high side. In the big cities, crime is also a concern. On my trip, I visited six different areas – The Pantanal, Iguassu Falls, Rio, Ouro Preto, Salvador and Barra Grande
#1 Pantanal – Grade B+ Amazing area for wildlife observation. Quiet and peaceful.
- Passo Do Lontra Lodge – Grade C/C+ Guides were pretty good, helpful. Meals were better than average, but there is a charge for drinking water! Rooms are large – designed for groups; all-inclusive package includes meals & activities. No break for single occupancy! Not a very good value. Very difficult time making RSVNS
#2 Iguassu Falls – Grade B+ Waterfalls are unbelievable. Did not have time to go to Argentine side
- Hotel Villa Canoa Grade B- Tourist class hotel located in downtown Foz de Iguacu.
Good service, helpful staff. Rooms are small and a little cramped
#3 RIO – Grade C Huge city, many interesting and different neighborhoods to visit, however I am not a fan of big cities. Probably will not return. Been there done that!
- Vila Casanova - Grade B+ Small bed and breakfast >in Santa Theresa. Nice, cozy comfortable room. Resident gourmet chef available
- Windsor Martinique Grade B Well run hotel. Good service. Tiny swimming pool. Breakfast buffet - average, good location on Copacabana beach
#4 Ouro Preto – Grade B+ Beautiful, romantic colonial city with ornate baroque architecture. UNESCO World heritage site, somewhat of a tourist trap.
- Pousada Sao Francisco de Paula Grade C Lousy but friendly management, funky place with nice views and garden. Pleasant ladies work in kitchen. Only a couple of decent rooms. They charged me more than rate confirmed in e-mail. Not a good business practice. Terrible administration
#5 Salvador - Grade C+ 3rd largest city in Brazil after Sao Paulo and Rio. Fascinating city, did not explore very much outside of Barra Resort area and day trip to Pelurinho, the historical quarter. Most of the people are black or mixed.
- Barra Guest Hostel - Grade B+ Management tries very hard, friendly but a little unorganized. Rooms are decent, nothing special. Very good breakfast. Good value.
#6 Barra Grande, Bahia -Grade A- Quiet beach town, tourism is very low key - an idyllic paradise. Love this place; great desire to return.
- Ponto do Muta - Grade A- Outstanding. Excellent breakfast, friendly management. Very comfortable, well-designed rooms. Would be nice if they had small swimming pool!
Next up - BOLIVIA