Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 World cup host cities – Cuiaba, Brazil

About:

Founded in 1727, Cuiaba is the capital city of the Brazilian state Mato Grosso. The city has a population of about 600 000 people and has been nicknamed ‘Green City', as it is surrounded by breathtaking natural sites. Cuiaba serves as an access way to Brazil's three main and characteristic ecosystems: the savannas of the Cerrado, the wetlands of the Pantanal and the Amazon.
Cuiaba - Brazil
Cuiaba - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.

Location

Cuiaba is located in the most central part of the continent - the geographic centre of South America. The distance to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is 2 000 km / 1242 mi , so it’s in the middle between two oceans.

Climate

Cuiaba has a tropical wet and dry climate. The coldest month is July with average low temperatures of 16.6 °C (61.9 °F), but the maximum can reach 37 °C (99 °F) and the minimum 6 °C (43 °F). From August to December, the temperatures can reach even 40 – 43 °C (104 – 109 °F).

How to get there


  • by air

Marechal Rondon International Airport (Aeroporto Internacional de Cuiabá - Marechal Rondon), is located 8 km / 5 mi away from Cuiaba City center.
Bus lines from and to airport:
Line 7 – Route Marechal Rondon Airport - Pantanal Arena, fare is R$ 2,85 / USD 1,3
Taxi will cost you about R$ 45 / USD 20 to downtown.

How to Get Around

Public transport in Cuiaba is served by buses and there is light rail, which connects the city with Várzea Grande and the airport, also.
Taxi fares in Cuiaba:
Rate 1: R$ 2,82 / USD 1,25 -  Working days from 6 am to 8 pm and Saturdays from 6 am to 12 pm;
Rate 2: R$ 3,95 / USD 1,75 -  Working days from 8 pm to 6 am, Saturdays from 12 pm, Sundays and holidays.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

The venue for 2014 world cup is Pantanal Arena.  With its capacity is of 41 000 people, the stadium Pantanal Arena will be the stage of 4 matches:
Group Matches
Match 4
13.06.14 – Chile - Australia
Match 16
17.06.14 – Russia – South Korea
Match 28
21.06.14 – Nigeria – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Match 37
24.06.14 – Japan - Colombia

Pantanal Arena is located about 3 km/1.86 mi east of Cuiaba downtown. The following bus lines will be available during the World cup:

    • Regular buses: line 7 and 8
    • Special buses (only for match days): 
    • airport—Pantanal Arena route
    • hotel areas – Pantanal Arena
    • oute parking lots (UNIC/UNIRODON and UNIVAG-VAG) - Pantanal Arena
    • Central region – Pantanal Arena
    • bus terminal - Pantanal Arena
    • airport – city centre

Where to Stay

If you want to stay closer to Pantanal Arena stadium, there are no hotels available at the stadium arena, but you could book one in the center.
Anyway, the only options available approximately close to the stadium are:

Where to Eat

Local cuisine is known for its typical dishes, like pintado , matrinchã and Pacu. You will find alligator meat in some restaurants and a typical for the region fruit - pequi. Most of the restaurants and bars are concentrated around  Praça Popular .Don’t miss Peixaria Popular – offers seafood and Mistura Cuiabana – buffet .

What to see

Historic Centre of Cuiaba attracts with its old buildings and fish market. You will find enough museums to visit, like: Museum of Rio Cuiabá and Municipal Aquarius; Museum of the History of Mato Grosso, Museum Hill of the Box Of water and Museum of Rio Cuiabá.
If you want to see free wild animals, such as alligators, pumas and monkeys – Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland is the right place for you.  Another breathtaking place is The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, which is inscribed in the World Heritage List

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 World cup host cities – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

About:

Founded in 1897, Belo Horizonte (beautiful horizon) is the capital city of the Brazilian state Minas Gerais. More than 2,4 million people living in Belo Horizonte making it sixth most populous city in Brazil.  Greater Belo Horizonte is the name of the metropolitan area and its home of more than 5 100 000 people. Belo Horizonte is Brazilian first planned city and is the main business tourist destination in the country.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil  .

Belo Horizonte - Brazil
Belo Horizonte - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Built on several hills and surrounded by mountains, Belo Horizonte is located 430 km / 267 mi, north of Rio de Janeiro.

Climate

Belo Horizonte has a tropical savannah climate and average temperatures between 9 °C and 35 °C (48 °F and 95 °F). The coldest month is July and the hottest one is January. The summer is rainy and winter is dry.

How to get there


  • by air

There are two airports in Belo Horizonte :
Tancredo Neves International Airport – Confins  (Aeroporto Internacional Tancredo Neves) is located 40 km / 25 mi away from the city center.
Bus lines from and to airport:

    • Line 5250/5270 – Confins International Airport - Bus Station of Belo Horizonte, fare is R$ 8,70 / USD 3,8;
    • Line 5251 – Pampulha Airport - Confins International Airport, fare is R$ 8,70 / USD 3,8;
    • Line 5252/5271 –  Confins International Airport - Bus Station of Belo Horizonte, fare is R$ 7 / USD 3, but it takes 15 minutes more to travel;
    • Executive line -  Confins International Airport – Alvares Cabral Terminal (Belo Horizonte), fare is R$ 19,25 / USD 8,5.

Taxi companies that serve the airport: Coopertramo,  Cootramo, Cooperfins and Minas Táxi. It will cost you about R$ 85 / USD 37 to downtown.
Pampulha airport (Aeroporto Carlos Drummond de Andrade) – it is used for domestic flights and is just 9 km / 5 mi away from the city center. A taxi from the airport to downtown will cost you about R$ 35 / USD 15.

  • by bus 

You could get to Bello Horizonte by bus from most of the Brazilian cities.  “Rodoviária” or the bus station is at the center at the northern end of Afonso Pena avenue.

How to Get Around

Public transport in Belo Horizonte is served by buses and metro (subway). Buses are color coded as follows: blue, red, orange, green and yellow.
There is only one metro line and the single ticket costs R$ 1,8 / USD 0,8.
Taxi fares in Belo Horizonte:

    • Rate 1: R$ 2,40 / USD 1 -  Working days from 6 am to 10 pm and Saturdays from 6 am to 2 pm;
    • Rate 2: R$ 2,88 / USD 1,3 -  Working days from 10 pm to 6 am, Saturdays from 2 pm, Sundays and holidays.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Belo Horizonte was one of the host cities of the 1950 World Cup, so it will be the second time host in 2014. Mineirão stadium will be the stage of 6 matches:
Group Matches
Match 5
14.06.14 – Colombia - Greece
Match 15
17.06.14 – Belgium - Algeria
Match 27
21.06.14 – Argentina - Iran
Match 40
24.06.14 – Costa Rica - England
Round of Sixteen
Match 49
28.06.14 – 1A v 2B
Semi-finals
Match 61
08.07.14 – W57 v W58

Mineirão stadium is located about 9 km/5.5 mi from Belo Horizonte center. You could use bus lines 64 (from the Avenida Augusto de Lima in downtown) and 2004 (from the Avenida João Pinheiro)  to get to the stadium.

Where to Stay

You can book a room in one of the many hotels online, preferably in downtown. If you want to stay closer to Mineirão stadium, there are only few hotels available:

Where to Eat

Belo Horizonte offers good restaurants that serve international cuisine, traditional bars on street corners, pubs and cafés. Local cuisine is famous for its traditional dishes, like tutu de feijão , pão de queijo, feijão tropeiro, chicken-and-okra and drink of cachaça.
Don’t miss Bar do Careca, Stonehenge Rock Bar, No Fundo do Baú or Soho.

What to see

There is a lot to see in Belo Horizonte - from its green areas to the careful city-planning; nature wonders of the Serra do Curral;  Liberdade Square Circuit – a rich complex with cultural venues; Central  city market;  Pampulha Complex – you will see some of the Brazil modern architecture; Alta Vila Tower; Museu de Ciencias Naturais and Praça da Liberdade – fantastic  palm tree-lined square.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Brasilia, Brazil

About:

Founded in 1960, Brasilia is the federal capital of Brazil. More than 2,5 million people living in Brasilia  making it fourth most populous city in Brazil. The modernist architecture  of the city is listed as UNESCO world heritage site.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Brazilia - Brasil
Brazilia - Brasil, Foto: Embratur

Location

Brasilia is located in the Central Highlands of Brazil, which is in the Central-West part of the country.
The city is divided by wide avenues into north and south part. These two parts are divided in numbered superblocks and sectors. There are sectors for specified activities as:

    • Hotel sectors (Setor Hoteleiro) 
    • Embassies sector (Setor de Embaixadas)
    • Commercial sectors (Setor Comercial) 
    • Residential sectors (Superquadras) 
    • Local commerce sectors (Comércio Local).  

Climate

Brasilia has a tropical savannah climate and temperatures, which varies depending on the season. During the dry season From April to September, the temperatures are between 17 °C / 63 °F and 28 °C / 82 °F. During the rest of the time, about 22 °C / 72 °F.

Travel tips that you’ll find useful when you visit this place:

How to get there


  • by air

Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport,  is located 11 km / 7 mi away from the city center.
Airport is served by bus transportation and of course it is more convenient to take a taxi.
It will cost you about R$ 30-40 (USD 15-20) to get to the Centre by taxi and R$ 8 (USD USD 3.5) to travel by bus.

Bus lines from and to airport:

    • Line 11 – Q. 716 North / Esplanade – Airport
    • Line  31 – Q. 716 North / W3 North South – Airport
    • Line 102 – Plano Piloto Bus Station / Airport – you can use line 102 to Rodoviária bus terminal and  to use line 131 to get to the Metro or the Rodoferroviaria Train Station.
    • Line 113 - executive line: Airport, Esplanade, Plano Piloto Bus Station, Hoteliers sectors North and South, Airport.
  • by bus 

If you decide to get to Brasilia by bus, it’s good to know that the main bus terminal, called Rodoviaria is located at the western end of the Eixo Monumental and you could get to downtown by bus line 131.

How to Get Around

Public transport in Brasilia is served by buses and metro (subway). To travel by bus, you have to pay R$ 2 (USD 0.9) when you get on the bus by the front door.  There are two subway lines – Orange and Green and 24 metro stations in the city. Single ticket costs R$ 3 / USD 1.30 and R$ 2 / USD 0.9 on holidays. Metro is not very useful for tourists, as it does not visit most of the attractions, so buses are better option to access to the city centre.
It is good to know that taxis in Brasilia are relatively expensive and to take a taxi you should take it by Taxi stands or to call to some of the companies that provide such services.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

The venue for 2014 world cup is National Mané Garrincha Stadium (Estadio Nacional de Brasilia). The capacity of the National Stadium is 71 000 people.
The stadium will be the stage of 7 matches – highest possible number for 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Group Matches
Match 9
15.06.14 – Switzerland - Ecuador
Match 21
19.06.14 – Colombia - Côte d'Ivoire
Match 33
23.06.14 – Cameroon - Brazil
Match 46
26.06.14 – Portugal - Ghana
Round of Sixteen
Match 53
30.06.14 – 1E v 2F
Quarter-final
Match 60
05.07.14 – W55 v W56
Play-off for third place
Match 63
12.07.14 – L61 v L62

National Mané Garrincha Stadium is located about 2 km/1.24 mi from Central metro station and 4.5 km / 2.79 mi from Rodoviária bus terminal, between the TV Tower and the JK Memorial. There is bus connection with the stadium, the bus terminal and city centre.

Where to Stay

You can book a room in one of the many hotels online. If you want to stay closer to National Mané Garrincha Stadium, there are a few affordable hotels, east of the stadium.

Where to Eat

There is no typical, local cuisine in Brasilia, but you will find a variety of restaurants offering International one. If you like Brazilian, Mexican, French food or Sushi - CLS 405 Street is your place. On CLS 210 Street you will find some of the most famous restaurants, bars and diners in Brasilia. If you prefer buffet lunch, like in the rest parts of the country, Brasilia offers Self-service (por quilo) restaurants, which are usually cheaper option than other type of restaurants.

What to see

As I already mentioned, Brasilia is known with its modern architecture. Most of the architectural sites are on the eastern part of the Monumental Axis.
Esplanada dos Ministérios – an avenue with the ministry buildings on each side;
Praça dos Três Poderes (The Three Powers Square) – here are the seats of the Congress, the Presidential Palace (Palácio do Planalto) and the Supreme Court.
Don’t miss also: Palace of Justice, Itamaraty Palace, Palácio da Alvorada and the TV tower.
The Paranoá Lake and Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park are places for people who love the nature.
Cultural attractions:  Brasilia National Museum, Monetary Museum and Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.
If you’d like to make a bus tour, you can do it every day from the TV Tower at 10h and 17h.


Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Curitiba, Brazil

About:

Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state Paraná, which is located in the southern part of Brazil. The city was founded in 1693 and 1,8 million people live there nowadays.  The population is formed mainly by European emigrants from Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Italy.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Curitiba - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Curitiba is situated in south part of Brazil at about  105 km (65 mi) west of the Atlantic Ocean and sits on a plateau at 932 m (3000 ft.) above sea level. The city occupies an area of 432 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.).

Climate

Curitiba has a subtropical climate, but because of the altitude of almost 1000 meters above the sea level, an average minimum temperature during the winter (June-September) is 7 °C (45 °F) and sometimes falling even below 0 °C (32 °F). In the summer (December-March) temperatures could reach of maximum through 30°C / 90°F.

How to get there


  • by air

Afonso Pena International Airport is located about 17 km (10.6 miles) from Curitiba city center and close to Sao José dos Pinhais.
There is minibus line (Aeroporto Executivo) connecting the airport to the city center, which costs R$ 10,00 / USD 4,5. The Direct Line 208 (Ligeirinho Aeroporto) is another option of transportation to downtown.
Taxi services:
Associação Rádio Táxi Alternativa - +55 41 3257-5757
Associação Rádio Táxi LTDA -  +55 41 3262-6262
Associação Teletaxi - +55 41 3224-2424
Taxi service from airport to Curitiba downtown will cost you about R$ 60 / USD  27.

  • by bus

The main bus terminal is part of the larger Train and Bus station -  Estaçao Rodoferroviária. There are buses from Curitiba to most of the Brazilian cities, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

 How to Get Around

Public transportation system in Curitiba consists mainly of buses (metro system is under construction) and it is the recommended transportation option for tourists. Single ticket costs between R$ 1,50 and R$ 2,70  (USD 0,67 / USD 1,2).

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Baixada Arena will be the venue of four group stage World Cup 2014 matches. Located just 3,5 km /2 mi from Curitiba city center, the stadium has capacity of 42 000 seats.
To get to the stadium, you can take bus number 203 or to walk (which will take you half an hour from Praça Tiradentes).
Group stage
16.06.14 – Iran - Nigeria
20.06.14 – Honduras - Ecuador
23.06.14 – Australia - Spain
26.06.14 – Algeria  – Russia

Where to Stay

If you are looking for cheap hotels, the best option to find something is around Curitiba’s city Centre. If you prefer to stay near the stadium, there are a lot of good hotels at walking distance of the Arena da Baixada:

Where to Eat

Like in most Brazilian cities, you will find fixed price restaurants or Por Quilo in Curitiba, too. The very typical dish you must try is – barreado (beef stew that simmers slowly for more than 24 hours in a clay pot). Restaurants offering local cuisine can be found at the Batel area, while Santa Felicidade area abounds with Italian restaurants .
The favorite drink in Curitiba, like in the rest of Brazil is ‘caipirinha’ (cachaca, liquor that is distilled from sugar cane mixed with lime and sugar).

What to do and what to see

While in Curitiba you may visit Botanical Garden with its Flower Museum, Oscar Niemeyer Museum (One of the biggest and most modern museums in Brazil), Barigüi Park (1.4 million sq.m. park), Ópera de Arame (one of the symbols of Curitiba), Metropolitan Cathedral at Tiradentes plaza , Japan square and historic part, (Largo da Ordem / Praça Coronel Enéas, Praça Garibaldi – São Francisco).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Fortaleza, Brazil

About:

With population of about 2,5 million people Fortaleza is the capital city of the Brazilian state Ceará. Located in Northeastern part of Brazil, Fortaleza is the fifth largest city in the country.  Discovered in 1500 and founded as a village in 1726, Fortaleza is one of the popular tourist destinations with its 34 km/ 21 mi of wonderful beaches.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Fortaleza - Brazil
Fortaleza - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Fortaleza is situated in the north-east part of Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean coast and occupies an area of 313 sq. km. (121 sq. mi.).

Climate

Fortaleza has a tropical climate and average temperatures of 23º C / 73 °F - 31º C / 88 °F. The rainy season is from February to May and the dry one, between July and December.

How to get there

  • by air
Pinto Martins International Airport is located just 8 km /5 mi from the city center.
The taxi to the center will cost you about R$ 30 (USD 13.5). Another transport option to get to downtown is to catch buses:
404 – Airport-Benfica-Rodoviária
066 – Paramgaba-Papicu-Airport
027 – Siqueira-Papicu-Airport
Fare is R$ 2.20 /  USD 1.
  • by bus
The main bus terminal is close to the airport and it takes about 25 minutes to get to downtown and about 15 minutes by bus 404 to the airport. There are buses to the most parts of the country (via connections).

How to Get Around

Tourists in Fortaleza usually go to the most attractive part - Beira Mar, which is basically the sea side. If you prefer do discover the city by bus, you will have no problems to do it, because there is good public transport network. The ticket price for buses is R$ 2 / USD 1.
Taxis in Fortaleza have stickers on the rear windows, displaying the fare, so avoid those which don’t have such information displayed.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Castelão Arena (Estadio Castelao) was completely refurbished for the World cup and now it has almost 59 000 seats. Located just 7 km /4 mi from the airport, the stadium is easily accessible.
To get to the stadium, you can take bus number 666.
Group stage
Match 7
14.06.14 – Uruguay - Costa Rica
Match 17
17.06.14 – Brazil - Mexico
Match 29
21.06.14 – Germany - Ghana
Match 38
24.06.14 – Greece – Côte d'Ivoire
Round of sixteen
Match 51
29.06.14 – 1B – 2A
Quarter-Finals
Match 57
04.07.14 – W49 – W50

Where to Stay

Most of the accommodation options in Fortaleza are located east of the centre in the Dragão do Mar. Tourists prefer to stay along Iracema beach, Mereiles and along Avenida Beira Mar up to the Mereiles area.
There are however some hotels near to the Arena Castelão:

Where to Eat

Fortaleza cuisine offers  Ceará is Baião-de-dois , churrasco , feijoada , tapioca and some other typical dishes for the Northeast of Brazil and of course seafood. Most of the restaurants in the city are located around Varjota - along Rua Fredrico Borges and its side streets.
Some good restaurants and bars:
Voinilo  – a fish restaurant;
Coco Bambu – Brazilian cuisine;
La France – rich selection of dishes and good wines;
Parque Recreio – open air restaurant, which offers barbeque;
Forró do Pirata – for dance lovers;
Santa Clara Café – café.

 What to do and what to see

The city has several urban beaches, which attracts lot of tourists:  Praia do Futuro, Praia de Iracema, Meireles, Aquiraz, Caponga, Beberibe. There are a lot of opportunities for water sports (scuba diving, Surfing, Kite, and Wind Surfing) and sand buggy rides.
You may also visit Dragão do Mar Cultural Centre, Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, city Cathedral, Museu do Automóvel (car museum), Fortaleza Central Market  and to see the sunset from Ponte Metalica or Praia Iracema. In addition there are a lot of festivals during the whole year in Fortaleza.