South America: Quick tips on Brasil & Colombia

Two of my good friends, Nick and JP are visiting Brasil and Colombia respectively, soon.
Here are some quick tips / advice I shared with them…


Brunch in Salento

‘Pollo asado con papas fritas + jugo de naranja’ in Salento, Colombia

 1. Don’t miss the Zona Cafetaria (Armenia, Salento) – my favorite region!

 2. I loved Medellin city the most. There’s something about the city!

 3. Food: Try ‘arepas con queso’. Don’t miss ‘Crepes y Waffles’ restaurant – AMAZING!

 4. Cali is salsa capital of the world! Take a crash course in salsa or Spanish lessons

 5. Santa Marta is strictly OK, but I loved Cartagena and of course, Parque Nacional Tayrona.

 6. Cali is a bit commercialized, although I only spent 2 days here so can’t judge it so well.

 7. Scuba diving is supposed to be great and cheap, up north in Taganga.

 8. Shop for apparel. The styles, collections and prices are too good to resist.

 9. In Medellin, take the metro which doubles up into a ropeway at no additional cost.


Paulista Ave. - Consolação

(The Street of) Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo

 1. Learn to speak Portuguese – the best advice ever!

 2. Pick up a pre-paid phone card if in the country for 2 weeks+ … just $5

 3. Eat lotsa acai, Drink Guarana Antarctica and caipirinhas!

 4. The metro in most major cities rocks! Use it everywhere u need to go, besides buses.

 5. Throughout the country, restaurants serve food by the ‘qilo‘ – buy it buffet style and pay by weight…
– It’s great, and you’ll save a lot of money + get to taste a wider range of food!

6. Buy a pair of Havaianas

 7. Always greet women with a single-cheek peck/kiss. How tough is that?! 😀 On both sides in Rio though!

 8. In Sao Paulo, visit the Santander building for a free panoramic view of the city.

 9. Don’t go home without a heli-tour of Rio, around Christ the Redeemer. Costs ~ $100, totally worth it.

10. In Rio de Janeiro, I’d say skip Copacabana and stay in Ipanema/Leblon.


Exotic Gringo (Kaushal Karkhanis)

Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, I started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'. An epic life-changing trip to South America an year later gave birth to this blog, Exotic Gringo.

Blog Comments

Ola Gringo!
having lived in Brasil i agree with all you said, would like to add more, Rio is a dangerous place, so you got to be very very careful regarding your belongings and security. Also, with proper guidance the Niteroi favela is quite a treat in its own way.

Pao de Quiejo, the ‘girl from ipanema’ t-shirts, going to Minas Gerais and knowing the history, and Brasilia are a must haves.

Brasilia, as a city and capital is one of the most organised(considering it has architectural habitation), and with one of the best bridges of the world in it, the city/capital has a methodical madness to it, quite unlike paulistas and kariocas.

yeah, i miss the ‘kissing the cheeks to greet’ part of being in brasil.


Veronica – thanks for the feedback and comments!

I do agree, although in the one month I lived in Rio there was no particular incident, it’s definitely important to stay alert and safe. Thankfully my friend has a Carioca friend who will also help him once there – so yes, it’s always MUCH better if you have friends in a new city one plans to visit!

Pao de queijos are delicious – yes, great note… unmissable!

I didn’t get a chance to visit Minas and Brasilia, maybe next time 🙂 thanks once again for the useful info and see you around