Photos © Alexandra Forbes
It almost sounds too good to be true, and in principle I do hate package deals, but.... the quoted prices on the press release below are simply incredible and I just had to share them with you.
I'd never recommend any of these package tours to anyone who already knows Brazil and/or can speak a bit of Portuguese, but for first-times who like travelling with a group, or for young open-minded types they could be a good bet. Here is the press release I got:
"Brazil Tour Operators Offer Deals for Winter for Only $392
New York, NY, November 12, 2009 – A sleepy state on Brazil’s northeast coast is starting to attract Americans. Relatively undiscovered until now, Pernambuco has much to interest visitors including 116 miles of pristine coastline, charming 16th century architecture, delicious seafood and terrific toe-tapping music. So while Rio has been getting the lion’s share of attention up till now, that may change as savvy travelers head for Recife (pictured above) and Porto de Galinhas.
Lying on almost two miles of white sand beach, the capital of Recife has a laidback vibe that recalls the Miami Beach of yesteryear. And it offers fabulous dining – the city’s restaurants are rated second highest in the country. (ed note: NOT TRUE! RESTAURANTS IN GENERAL ARE MANY NOTCHES BELOW WHAT YOU'D FIND IN RIO OR SAO PAULO) The Portuguese settled in Pernambuco in the 1530s and with the riches from sugar cane built beautifully ornate churches.
Set on a hill next to Recife is Olinda, a UNESCO World Heritage site with dozens of beautiful 16th and 17th century churches and monasteries.
Lining the town’s cobble stone streets are art galleries, restaurants, bars, boutiques and charming pousadas housed in centuries-old mansions.
Just down the coast is Porto de Galinhas, its warm crystalline waters drawing surfers, divers and kite surfers. Brazilians have voted it the country’s most beautiful beach – for seven years in a row! (ED NOTE: IT'S NICE BUT OVER-BUILT AND TOURISTY, and I have no idea who voted it Brazil's most beautiful beach) (...) And everywhere – in the beach bars and clubs – is the infectious beat of the local country music, called forró.
Members of the Brazil Tour Operators Association are offering some great deals this winter. From now through December 19, Borello Travel & Tours is offering a seven day/six night “Escape to the Beach” package to Recife, Olinda and Porto de Galinhas that starts at only $392 per person, double occupancy. It includes: three nights at the 3-star Best Western Manibu in Recife; a full-day city tour that includes Olinda; a half-day cultural tour with a museum visit; a tour of an artist’s workshop and a catamaran sail; three nights at the 3-star Armação Hotel in Porto de Galinhas; full Brazilian breakfast daily; roundtrip airport transfers, and hotel taxes. Borello Travel can arrange air from Miami for $661.70 and from New York for $682.70; both include $170.70 in taxes. From January 4 to March 30, 2010, the cost of the package will be $598, per person, double. Package is subject to availability, and prices are higher for the Carnival period (February 12-17.) Call: 1-800-405-3072
Just Brazil Vacations by Hotur is offering a six-day/five-night Pernambuco packages starting at $2,489 per person, double occupancy (January 7 - March 30, 2010) which includes roundtrip airfare from Miami, six nights accommodations: two nights in Recife at the five-star Atlante Plaza, two in Olinda at the Pousada Sete Colinas and one at the Nannai Beach Resort in Porto Galinhas; daily Brazilian breakfast, half day city sightseeing in each city, a walking tour of historic Olinda, local tour guides and hotel service charges and taxes. Prices through December 23 start at $2,799, per person, double occupancy. Higher rates apply for Carnival. Call: 1-877-468-8707
Brazil Nuts is offering a “Delights of Olinda” package for $995 per person, double occupancy that includes roundtrip airfare from Miami to Recife, three nights at the charming Sete Colinas in Olinda, daily breakfast, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and a private half-day sightseeing tour of Recife. The package is available until December 15 and from January 3 to March 31, 2010. Prices are higher for the Carnival period. Call: 1-800-553-9959 The Brazil Tour Operators Association aims to raise awareness of its active members as Brazil travel experts and heighten visibility among North American travelers for all the destinations in Brazil."
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog has not tested the packages or the hotels proposed and cannot vouch for their quality. The packages are quite inexpensive, and usually, as anywhere else, you get what you pay for...