Culture, Cuisine, Wildlife and More in Brazil

Brazil is the home to samba, beautiful beaches, Carnival, amazing cuisine and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. For two weeks, it was also recently “home” for our member bigpetebrown as they visited some of the less-travelled parts of this beautiful country. São Paulo, Cuiaba, São Luis and the capital of Brasilia were all on the itinerary.

There are only a few ways to fly from Australia to South America. Qantas is the only airline offering direct flights, while LATAM Airlines and Air New Zealand offer one-stop flights via Auckland. (LATAM Airlines will launch direct Melbourne-Santiago flights later this year.) Our member opted for the direct Qantas flight, booking Premium Economy on the Boeing 747. Happily, the requested flight upgrades came through and our member enjoyed Business class across the Pacific to Santiago.

We’re sat in the small cabin right up in the front of the plane in 3 J/K. It’s fantastic!

While the on-board meals and wine were nice, and the Qantas cabin crew couldn’t have been more helpful, our member couldn’t help feeling a tad underwhelmed with Qantas’ Business class product. The Business seats on the refurbished 747 drooped when made up as a bed. And our member couldn’t help but feel that the dessert – an ice cream served in a wrapper – was anything but premium.

This was our third Qantas international business flight, all points upgrades from premium economy. We flew two flights from New York – LA and LA – Brisbane two years ago. Last year we flew with Air New Zealand to and from Buenos Aires and paid for business for the return flight. Qantas is good but both of us think Air NZ is better.

The QF crew were excellent. They couldn’t do enough for us. If the crew was as crap as the plane there’s just no way we’d bother with QF.

Nonetheless, our member made it to Sao Paulo after another short hop with LATAM Airlines and the sightseeing began! The first day in Sao Paulo was spent visiting some of the city’s top museums, while the second day was dedicated to exploring this enormous city – the largest in the southern hemisphere – on foot. Sao Paulo is home to some incredible street art, and this did not go unnoticed by our correspondent!

The next stop was Cuiaba, from where our member joined a tour to Pantanal to check out the Brazilian wildlife.

It was about a two hour drive to Pousada Rio Claro, the last 45 minutes on a corrugated dirt ‘highway’ called the Transpantaneira. The wildlife spotting started not long after we started on the highway.

Follow the trip report HERE as bigpetebrown continues the journey through Brazil!


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]