So here in Brazil, there's apparently a worker's rights law in which employees receive a month of paid vacation each year. A MONTH! Alexandre is going to get this month off work in November. We're going to spend about 5 of those days on a trip together (I don't get a month of paid vacation, so I'll need to get back to work).
We just can't decide where to go! Our dream trip is to Manaus, but it's just too far out of our budget. I also convinced Alexandre about how amazing it would be to go to Belem by showing him the Anthony Bourdain episode (we seriously looked up plane tickets after we watched it), but it seems like a trip to Belem would be more like a trip to a big city (with delicious food) rather than something more relaxing and nature-based (the preference for this vacation). Am I wrong about that? Would there be nature-y options (hiking, waterfalls, boat rides, etc) in Belem?
I emailed the nice lady from CVC who helped Bianca and me plan our Pantanal adventure and asked her for some ideas and price estimations. She recommended Florionópolis, a southern beach, and Itacaré, a northeastern beach, but I'm worried that Florionópolis will be too crowded and touristy, and Itacaré is almost the same price as the Belem trip.
A friend of Alexandre's recently went on a hiking trip in the VERY rural state of Tocantins, and he recommended it. But it's also going to be more money than we're planning on spending, and I think it would be too hard-core of a hiking trip (more like trekking/backpacking) to allow for much relaxing.
Today, I also remembered the historical beach town of Paraty, but that would mean lots of driving (meh).
Now that I've typed all this out, I realize how I really really want to go to Belem, how I keep finding things wrong with the other possible locations in order to justify a Belem trip. I've also kept the Anthony Bourdain link playing as I've typed this, and it got me all excited about the city again. Maybe it'd just be better to save our pennies (or centavos, as it were) over the next two months so we can have a bigger trip budget to accommodate the extra cost of Belem.
What do you guys think? Have any of you been to (or lived in) Belem? (Can you think of ideas for justifying the extra cost during a conversation with Alexandre? :) Do you have any other ideas for a nice, relaxing, domestic 5-day vacation? We're trying to keep the hotel + flight price to as close to R$1000 per person as possible (though without staying in a crappy hotel or hostel -- the idea is to relaaaax and I'm old now and I value a good night's sleep).
Yayayayayay! All these weekends of cooking at home and translating will be totally worth it if I can FINALLY eat pato com tucupi.