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Well hello there, 2016. A new year, a fresh start. The time for making ridiculously optimistic resolutions.

Join the gym. Eat healthier. Be on time more often. (No? That’s just me?) All mighty fine intentions, rarely carried through. Yet my good friends at — seriously, I know and love this crew — have made one resolution that I couldn’t be more excited about. They’re asking adventurers around the world to commit to travel. How great is that? Excited to pledge a New Year’s resolution I feel confident I can achieve, I enthusiastically signed up.

Here’s how I plan on keeping it.

Passport

First, the big new. Guys. I’M GOING TO BRAZIL. I’m not really exaggerating when I say this is the trip I’ve been waiting my whole wanderlusting life for – Brazil first captivated my attention in high school and in the decade since I first felt gripped to go there, it’s remained at the absolute top of my bucket list. Yet year after year, I haven’t gone. Why? There were times when I felt like I didn’t have enough time, or didn’t have enough money. I also think in a way I was scared – I wanted to do this dream justice!

And in 2016, I will. Going to Tomorrowland Belgium in 2014 was a highlight of my travels. So when perpetual travel buddy Heather proposed we make our way to the second edition of in 2016, it was an impossible proposition to turn down — and with tickets in hand, we started building a trip around it. Suddenly, the dream is becoming a reality. Brazil and I are having our moment.

Passport Pages

Of course, that’s not my only destination on the docket for the year ahead. Here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2016!

Jan-April // Thailand (and beyond!)

My year is kicking off low key – just the way I like it. I’ll spend the first three and a half months of 2016 in Koh Tao, where I’ve been since October. I’m super excited to use this time to continue getting back in shape, geting ahead on work, and just soaking up every second of stillness before things get crazy again.

Koh Tao Travel

Of course, I am a travel addict after all, and so even this period of self-imposed downtime is dotted with bits of travel. On the docket are trips to both Khao Yai and Khao Sok National Parks, a weekend getaway to Thailand’s wine region with a big group of friends, two trips to Bangkok, and quick separate jaunts to both our neighboring islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

Koh Tao Travel

I also have to leave the country on more time for visa purposes, and while I could do a quick bounce to the Burma border I am looking at possibly heading to Penang, Malaysia for a long weekend instead. I haven’t been to Malaysia in years, and Penang is just a quick direct flight from Samui, where I plan to be anyway for a midnight fun run. Some of you may remember that I had big plans to visit Burma early this year. Unfortunately, that trip is once again postponed indefinitely – long story for another post. This one is about the places I am going!

Khao Sok Travel

April-May // Brazil

I’M SO PUMPED ON THIS. I can’t wait to listen to all the samba music, eat all the açaí, drink all the caipirinhas, and lay my cheesy Brazil flag towel on ALL the beaches. And, of course, return to !

Tomorrowland Brasil

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and so clearly I have no plans to cover all of it in my five to six weeks there – or even come close. After much research and soul searching, we’ve more or less settled on a route. We’ll be kicking things off with the festival, buffered by some time in Sao Paulo prepping for and returning from it. After, we’re going to recover with a crawl up the coast to Rio, hitting several of the country’s top beach destinations en route. Finally, we’ll hop a flight to Iguassu Falls for one last hurrah before Heather heads home.

Rio de Janiero

Due to the cost of traveling in Brazil (a little higher than its neighboring countries) and the shorter length of our trip (LOL, I know) this will likely be a pretty well-planned trip before we touch down. We just don’t want to waste our time on the ground deciding things like where to stay, or worrying about things like the cheap domestic flights getting snapped up before our arrival.

Iguassu Falls

For the first month-ish, this is what we’re up to:

  • Tomorrowland // The festival that started it all
  • Sao Paulo // The biggest baddest city in Brazil
  • Paraty // A UNESCO-listed seaside colonial town
  • Ilha Grande // An undeveloped island paradise
  • Rio // Needs no introduction!
  • Buzios // The St Tropez of South America
  • Foz de Iguacu // One of the world’s most awe-inspiring waterfalls

Seven destinations in just over four weeks has this currently stationary blogger feeling frantic, but we don’t want to cut anything more than we already have, and some of them are shorter stops (Tomorrowland is four nights, and due to the internet situation we can really only stay in Ilha Grande for three or four as well). That said, we are still pulling together the details on this and I’d LOVE hearing from you guys in the planning stage. Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? How many days did you spend and did it feel like enough? Please spill all in the comments — I’ll be taking notes!

Paraty Brazil

After Heather heads back to the US, I’m considering staying on for another week or two. However, I’m fairly undecided about where to go. Based on the time of year and what’s logical and easily accessible from my starting point, I’ve narrowed it down to:

  • Brasilia // The otherworldly capital, filled with alien-like architecture
  • Pantanal (via Campo Grande) // The wildlife-filled Everglades of South America
  • Bonito // An eco-traveler’s adventure playground near Campo Grande
  • Pantanal (via Cuiba) //  Another Pantanal port of entry, with higher quality tours and better chances of spotting jaguars

I’m very hung-ho about visiting Brasilia (I grew up hearing it compared to my hometown of Albany for their bizarre shared architectural syle), and then pretty much plan to choose to visit either Campo Grande and Bonito or Cuiba. The Pantanal in particular has me baffled and so anyone with first-hand experience, I’d love to hear from you!

Pantanal Brazil

Overall, I think we’ve got a great itinerary planned — some idyllic beach towns, some dynamic cities, and a heavy hit of natural wonders. Want more? Check out my Pinterest board for all kinds of Brazilian eye candy.

Ilha Grande Brazil

June-August // USA (mostly!)

If you’ve spent much time around here before you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I love spending my summers stateside. This one will feature the usual suspects of New York, California, and Massachusetts (home bases for the Allen-Baackes clan), though I’m also trying to work in a trip to Chicago to see family and a first-time trip to Seattle to see friends. I have grown to truly cherish my domestic travels, and really look forward to this time.

Chicago Travel

I’m also flirting with two possible international trips. One to Newfoundland, which I planned to visit last summer but scrapped after waiting too long to pull the trigger and accepting the reality of astronomical flight prices and too tight of a schedule. The other potential jaunt is a journey to Scandinavia to attend TBEX in Stockholm and visit a friend in Helsinki. This is one of the few regions of Europe that really captures my imagination, but it would be a pretty frivolously expensive trip, so whether it pans out or not will depend on finances and flights – and how the rest of the summer fills up.

St. John's Canada

September-December // Who knows?

This is so far away it’s silly to even attempt to nail down where I’ll be. I’ve got a ton of events on the calendar (in pencil!) but am not sure which ones I’ll attend or what might fill in in between –TBEX Asia in Manila, Thanksgiving in New York, DEMA in Las Vegas… we’ll see how it all shakes out.

One thing I do know about this period is that I’ve blocked off election day and the three weeks leading up to it off in my calendar — with my little sister working on a big campaign, my mom and I have decided that we’ll dedicate those last three critical weeks to knocking on doors, handing out bumper stickers and volunteering at polling places. I have a history of getting chocked up at the polls, and so I can’t wait to get more involved in the democratic process!

Martha's-Vineyard_164_1_1

Exploring More

So that’s what’s on the docket for 2016. Much of it in pencil, little of it in pen. One – maybe three – new countries. A new state. A few months of familiar old favorites, a few months of wide-eyed exploring, and a few still up for grabs. One traveler buzzing with excitement for the year ahead.

Is this your year? Again, my friends at Overnight are asking adventure lovers around the world to make the pledge to . I don’t know about you guys, but like I said — that’s a New Year’s resolution I can get behind.

Overnight-

I understand how easy it can be to let work, money, fear and other obstacles get in the way of your wanderlust. But if you’ve been itching to make travel a bigger priority in your life, make this your year. Whether it’s a weekend trip to visit a friend in a nearby town or the international adventure you’ve been dreaming about for a decade, take the leap. and use the hashtag #ExploreMore2016 to stand with me in pledging to:

Take a trip with my best friend.
Have breakfast in one city and dinner in another.
Live out of a bag for a few days. Eat where the locals do.
Watch a sunset every week.
Learn how to say ‘Cheers’ in three different languages.
Say yes to unexpected invitations.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of my announcement, and absorb all the brilliant travel advice I’m sure is coming my way (you guys always give me the best tips and tricks.) More importantly, I want to know about your upcoming travel plans and dreams — let me know what you’ve got on the docket!

2016, we’re coming for ya. Here’s to a year of adventures.

Meihoukai in Wanderland

This post was brought to you by Overnight. If AirBnB and HotelTonight had a baby, Overnight would be their bundle of joy.

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152 Comments...
  • Hoping those summer plans involve the Vineyard with ME!

    Other than my trip to see you, a weekend to see Jade/Angie in Florida, and my family vacation to Europe for three weeks in August, I have no plans this year, and it feels pretty good to have the ability to be flexible for a change!
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Wait, I thought Jade was in Cali? And also HARUMPH to you and Angie having fun without me. Is this revenge for Vegas? 😉

  • Mary B
    January 8 2016

    Those are some resolutions I can get down with! 2016 looks like it’s shaping up to be an amazing year for you – I hope it brings you some wonderful travel surprises in addition to all your plans!

    I’m moving to DC next week so a lot of my year will be exploring my new city and the surrounding area, which I haven’t spent much time in at all. I’ll also likely be traveling to Ghana several times for my new job (so excited!!) and I hope to maybe fit in some extra days in neighboring countries or European stopovers on those trips. I’m especially going to work on “saying yes to unexpected invitations” as I start to build a life in a new place!
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    • Melissa
      January 8 2016

      Welcome to DC!

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Indeed I’m sure it will! While things are pretty planned out until May, the rest of the year is pretty much just daydreams and guesses at this point. It’s always fun to go back and read this post for prior years and see what panned out and what didn’t!

      By the way, Ghana?! I’m so jealous! I have a friend there who I met at Burning Man and is has been there DJing (of all things) for a while now. So tempted to go to one of her dance parties!

  • Laryssa
    January 8 2016

    That sounds AMAZING Meihoukai!! You are going to love Brazil. Friendly people, amazingly fresh fruit, and DELICIOUS meat. Ah, now I’m missing it…

    Things may have changed — and you likely already know this — but back when I went in 2012 it was impossible for foreigners to score cheap domestic flights within Brazil… you have to have a Brazilian ID number (I forget what it’s technically called). Fortunately, my friend whom I was visiting is Brazilian and was able to buy the ticket for me, but it was a pain in the neck. Hopefully it’s better now, but just a heads up!
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Now that you mention it, I vaguely remember reading about that when I first starting fantasizing about going to Brazil many years ago. Thankfully, it seems that restriction has been lifted as Heather managed to book one of our cheap internal flights the other day. But good to know if you run into trouble a Brazilian friend can help — I do have one of those too! 😉 We are traveling mostly overland, but there are a few flights in there. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.

  • I loved the very small slice of South America that I’ve seen, so I look forward to following your trip to Brazil!

    My first “big” trip is 2 weeks in Thailand/Cambodia in March, a hiking/road trip this summer – Yosemite, Washington or Colorado. Hopefully kayaking in Baja at Christmas and if there’s any money leftover in the budget, I’d love to do a yoga retreat in Central America over Thanksgiving. Oh, and trying to save up to quit my job in 2017 and go on “sabbatical” for a bit.

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Wow, ALL those plans sound drool-worthy, Leigh! Crossing my fingers you get to head to the yoga retreat, because I want to hear all about it 🙂

  • Erin
    January 8 2016

    Awesome plans, Meihoukai!! I was totally guessing Australia for your hinted-at international trip but Brazil is amaaaazing!! I went to Brazil on a tour a couple years ago and basically did the first part of your plan in (somewhat) reverse – Rio, then Ihla Grande, Paraty then Iguassu Falls (with a quick stopover in San Paulo). Obviously tours whip you through very quickly but I think 3 days in Ihla Grande is perfect. We were there 3 nights and that was a great amount of time. We were in Paraty for 2 nights and I could have used a little bit longer, though not too much. Maybe 3 or 4 nights. Rio, definitely need to go back as spent a very short amount of time there!

    I’m super excited to hear your coverage of places I’ve been and also places I wasn’t able to make it to, like Buzios and all your potential destinations after Heather departs! As for my plans, I’m heading to both Thailand and the Philippines for work!! Cannot wait – my first time to Asia! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      So glad to hear that about Ilha Grande! We were considering trying to stretch it to four nights since I do want to dive but I also know that I might start to get twitchy without reliable internet for that long (especially after just coming back from a festival with no internet) and if we were unlucky with the weather it seems like it wouldn’t be the best place to be stuck. We are planning to stay for a nice chunk in Paraty because it will be basically our first stop post-festival, so we want plenty of time to both recover and to catch up with our online businesses. And explore, of course!

      And welcome to Asia in 2016! I hope it blows your mind as much as it has mine 🙂

  • Kristen Sarra
    January 8 2016

    Those plans sound fantastic Meihoukai! I’m also taking an epic trip with my best friend. She’s been married for 5 years so wanted to go out with a bang before trying to gt pregnant so we’re spending a few weeks in the Balkans – mainly Montenegro! I also booked my first trip of this year for next month in Guatemala – it’ll be my first time to Central America and couldn’t be more excited! All the best for 2016 and I look forward to following along.
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      That sounds amazing, and a great excuse for a trip 🙂 Central America has my heart in a big way, so I’m always excited for people to head there. I think it’s the most colorful place on the planet (at least that I’ve seen so far!)

  • Molly
    January 8 2016

    Awesome itinerary! I’m looking towards Brazil as well after a few weeks in Colombia, now with the lax summer visa requirements! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your travels! 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      UGH I’m so bitter about the fact that they are going visa free over the summer — I wish they were extending it a little earlier 🙂 It’s going to be super complicated/expensive for me to get the visa as I’m coming straight from Thailand. But ah well, it will be worth it! And I definitely understand it’s only a fraction of what we put other countries through, too.

  • Adrienne
    January 8 2016

    Our big trip for 2016 is two weeks in Thailand over my birthday in May! I’ve been casually planning this one for years (your blog has been a fantastic resource, of course) so I’m super excited that it’s finally happening this year. I’m also hoping to go Mexico or the Caribbean towards the end of the year and I’ll be traveling a lot within the US, mostly for friends’ weddings (I’m at that age where everyone is getting married…).
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      All those plans sound amazing! I think traveling for weddings can be fun, depending on the destination and the required expenditure. Talk to me in a few more years though and ask me if I still feel that way 😉 This is the first year in four or five that I haven’t had a wedding on the docket.

  • Marni
    January 8 2016

    Your year sounds amazing! Congrats on finally getting to Brazil!! Prices for airlines are outrageous up here in Canada and driving times can reach astronomical lengths, but starting next month, New Leaf airline is starting up and offering amazingly cheap flights. The catch is they’re only out of 7 smaller airports so far. Even though none of the airports are located in Newfoundland, I thought I’d pass it along to you in case your plans for Canada change slightly and you want to change your destination:

    I only have one big trip planned for this year, and that’s to Scotland & England this summer, which I am beyond excited for. What Brazil is to you, Scotland is to me. Other than that, I’m also a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding this year, so my vacation days are already almost accounted for. It’s not the worst thing, though, because next year I have 3 big trips planned, so saving up is probably a really good idea.
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Thanks for the tip, Marni! We were just looking up flights to Newfoundland recently and they were SO reasonable — like $320ish from Boston. I think they go up and up though so might be something I need to lock in early to avoid last summer’s disappointment, when they were almost $600.

      Scotland is so gorgeous, I can see why you’re super excited to go there! And yes, saving is always a good thing. So is plenty of time to daydream and plan!

  • Fernanda
    January 8 2016

    Meihoukai i feel I have so much to say! Not only I am from Sao Paulo last year I went back for 5 months (as home is NZ now and I’m currently on the road) and also had a Californian friend visiting me. Lets do it by parts:
    Sao Paulo – can really be amazing but you have to know where to go and its big and hard to navegate. I highly recommend that you stay either in the Vila Madalena/Pinheiros or Vila Mariana/Paraiso neighbourhoods, those are super cool, full of bars, served by the subway and reasonably safe. Staying somewhere else could completely change your experience in a bad way…
    Rio – you will soon learn that people from SP are not usually fans of Rio, I went to Rio for the first time last year and took my friend, we both felt is overrated but I hope you have a blast and call me crazy! Rio can be super expensive, and although I know there are some hostels around I believe airbnb is the way to go, we stayed in a AC basic flat in Copacabana and got a pretty cheap deal, budget permitting I recommend you to stay in Ipanema or Leblon as those are a bit nicer than Copacabana.
    I haven’t been to Ilha Grande in over 15 years but its great, 3 nights will be ok. I haven’t actually been to either Buzios or Paraty but I believe they are pretty similar places, maybe you can skip one and use the time for a more different experience.
    Foz do Iguacu – we did that last year as well, we stayed at a great hostel called Poesia and we visited both the Brazilian and Argentinian side, they Are pretty different, in Brazil the park facilities are top noch and the waterfalls huge, in Argentina the park is run down and the waterfalls smaller but there are so many of them! I enjoyed both but as you know you need a visa for both countries and it is not cheap and if you are crossing the border by public transport it can be a bit hard, the busses usually stop only at the Argentinian Immigration but you guys would have to stamp exit from brazil and entry in Argentina and the other way around on the way back, we ended up missing one stamp because the bus driver didnt believe we had to stop and almost got fined on the way back. Also there was a huge line and we missed the last bus that crosses the border. In the end my friend thought that going to the Argentinian side was not worth the effort.
    I have only been to Brasilia as a kid and I like it but I am not sure I would recommend to a foreigner, there was a big music scene there in the 80’s but I am not sure what the city has to offer now a days apart from the architecture, I would say don’t spend too long there if you really want to go.
    Never been to Pantanal but heard it’s amazing, I believe most people do a river tour and stay in the boat for a couple of days, I would definitely do it.
    One place that my friend and I really enjoyed was Ouro Preto, a city built around the gold mines back when Portugal ruled, its full of history and great architecture and its the place I felt the safest in the whole country. This is in Minas Gerais estate, border with Rio, its not close but it wouldn’t be too hard to do it on your way to Brasilia I guess.
    I guess that is what comes to mind at the moment but don’t hesitate to me if you have any questions. I would definitely take you guys out if I was around, maybe my brother can do it, he follows your blog as he is a diver and his gf lived in NY for a bit, I am sure you guys would have heaps to talk about.
    Let me know if you have any doubts.

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Hey Fernanda! Thank you so much for all your amazing tips!

      I’m actually pretty excited for Sao Paulo. I heard someone compare Sao Paulo to New York and Rio to LA or Miami, and I thought that was an interesting comparison. For the first two nights before the festival I’m planning to stay in a design hostel in Vila Mariana, and then after we are looking at AirBnBs in Vila Madalena. So hitting both your recommended spots 🙂

      We are also looking at AirBnBs in Rio — we’ve found some that look like a great deal! All the nicer ones seem to be in Copacabana, so we are trying to decide if we’d rather stay in a basic place in Ipanema or a nice place in Copacabana.

      Interesting to hear your take on Iguacu. It is definitely a bit frustrating to pay $130US for a visa to go for just one day — I wish they had a day rate! 🙂 We debated this a bit but in the end felt like it would be crazy to go all the way there and then not see such a big chunk of it so we will probably just suck it up and pay. We might do the organized transfer to and from to avoid any of the border problems you mention, they do sound annoying! Actually in my original plan I wanted to go to Ouro Preto instead of the falls, because I was too put off by the distance and the visas and all that. Heather convinced me we had to do the falls and it wasn’t too bad of a compromise to make! 😉

      I do really want to go to Brasilia which I know is strange for a tourist 🙂 But like I said I grew up hearing it compared to the strange architecture of my own hometown in Albany, New York and so it feels a bit like a pilgrimage. I found a hostel and since it is easy and cheap to get there with flights I think it will be a nice little detour for maybe two days.

      Thank you so much for all your advice! It is really helpful. And I’d love to be put in touch with your brother, always great to know a local in a big city!

      • Emma
        January 9 2016

        I was also going to suggest going to the Argentine side of the falls, but wasn’t sure if they had a special visa waiver for one-day hops across the border. You get fet helicopter trips from the Brazilian side which will give you a different perspective, but if I remember rightly the boat trips out to the falls themselves are based in Argentina.
        Buzios is beautiful, two things I recommend eating:acai (with or without granola) and tapioca, which are more like pancakes, and can be sweet or savoury. There’s a really nice café in Santa Teresa in Rio which also does great acai and granola.
        Really looking forward to reading about your Brazilian adventures, it’s a country I’d love to explore more.

        And if you do go to Penang, the Indian quarter has some really good curries, as you’d expect!

        One thing we discovered the hard way in Khao Yai is that they don’t sell alcohol in the park (at least they didn’t 10 years ago) and as we definitely didn’t bring enough for the weekend! But it’s a beautiful part of the country, rubbish stealing monkeys included 🙂

        • Meihoukai
          January 9 2016

          Ugh, yeah, I wish they had like a one day discount or something, ha. Full $130, even just for a few hours. They have boat trips on both sides, and I’ve gotten mixed reports on which is better (a lot say that the Argentina ones get closer, but my guidebook insinuates the Brazil ones are safer and more organized). I guess we will just see what fits with our schedule.

          And good tip on Khao Yai! We’ll be sure to stock up before arrival 🙂

      • Fernanda
        January 24 2016

        I will send you an email with my brother’s details. As per your travel plans, have you considered spending a few days in Buenos Aires to make the most of your visa? It is an amazing city, very European and very different from anything in Brazil, I don’t think the flights should cost too much, you probably have considered this already but I thought I would mention it. In the meantime time, I am in Bangkok right now and will be heading to Ko Tao soon, possibly with my brother who is considering doing his dive master. If you have the time and would like to meet up I would love to have drink and give you some more tips about Brazil.

        • Meihoukai
          January 25 2016

          Hey Fernanda, that’s awesome! I’ll look out for your email. I’m heading off the island on Wednesday for a bit but perhaps our paths will cross.

  • Ashley
    January 8 2016

    Ahh, such exciting travel plans!! I can’t wait to read about your experiences in Brazil – your itinerary looks awesome. I have yet to step foot on the South American continent, but Brazil is high on my wish list!

    I took the Overnight pledge to explore more – I love the idea of committing to spending one weekend away every month, especially since I’m living abroad at the moment and have so many amazing weekend trip options! I don’t have definite travel plans for most of 2016 yet, but I’m heading to Berlin in Feb and thinking of spending St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      Those sound like some awesome plans! Yeah, I am basically doing the “one weekend away per month” thing while being here in Thailand. Some of the trips are a little longer than a weekend since it takes quite a while to get on and off this island to anywhere else. But I love it as a general guideline for life!

  • Kacy
    January 8 2016

    Ah! I get such second hand excitement hearing about people visiting Brazil. It’s such a beautiful, magical place! Sao Paulo and Rio are amazing, and Paraty is simply perfect! (Although if you’ll be driving from SP, be prepared for a somewhat terrifying experience – look up alternate routes if you can!) You have to be sure to go to the Saco do Mamangua (a tropical fjord) – so gorgeous. Trindade, a little beach town nearby, is totally worth a visit as well since there really aren’t any great beaches within the town of Paraty itself (the local beach is cute, but leaves a little to be desired). I agree with above commenter about knowing where to stay in SP. Jardins/Pinheiros/Vila Madalena are definitely your best bets. And based on your blog, I think you would LOVE Casa Jaya – a vegan restaurant and eco center with yoga classes and more. I couldn’t get enough of it when I discovered it on my last visit, right in Pinheiros. Oh and ZaZa Bistro Tropical in Rio is another must! Gah, I could go on but I’ll give it a rest 🙂

    I would have loved to have gone to Iguazu or the Pantanal while there, but missed out last time. Looking forward to reading about your experiences and going myself one of these days.
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    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2016

      I was all over your blog while researching 🙂 We are taking a shuttle transfer from Sao Paulo to Paraty — hopefully that will be okay? Thank you for the tips on Casa Jaya and Zaza, I just added them to my trip notes! Heather is a vegetarian which I think may be a struggle for some parts of this trip 🙂 I’ll be splitting my time in Sao Paulo between Vila Mariana and Vila Madalena. I’m actually so excited about that city!

  • I can’t wait to read about your Brazil adventures! I have watched a lot of Brazilian soap operas in the past (thanks to my Portuguese grandmother) and Brazil just looks insanely gorgeous! Looking forward to the pictures and stories! 😀
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Ha, that’s hilarious. I might have to watch a few to get into the spirit!

  • madlen
    January 8 2016

    Your plans for 2016 sound amazing! I’m sure that you’re gonna have a fantastic time in Brazil!
    I have a five week vacation coming up, starting with visiting family in New York and Charleston and three weeks in Nicaragua after that (thanks to your Posts about that area). I mostly want to spend time at the pacific coast, surfing and doing yoga. It would be awesome if you could give me some advice on where to go and how to travel around (I also sent you an email a few days ago). I know that you’re really busy and it will be a fantastic trip for sure!
    Thank you for inspiring me to see a country I wouldn’t even have considered otherwise!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Oh man, Nicaragua! My favorite! Just went and searched for your email — sorry, the pile is enormous right now. But I do have it — will respond now 🙂

      • madlen
        January 10 2016

        Thank you so much for your advice. Knowing how busy you are it really means a lot. Can’t wait for the trip 🙂

  • Leah
    January 8 2016

    Putting me to shame in the planning department! I feel like my year is still entirely up in the air, and that’s a sort of frustrating feeling when I was hoping not to move around as much as I had been. Now I’ve got all kinds of ideas swirling around in my head and only time will tell what’s going to actually come to fruition. You’re going to have an amazing year though and I’m excited to follow along! xx
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      I know how you feel — it sucks when practicalities and logistics get in the way of our grand plans! Here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing for you in the year ahead 🙂

  • Cassie
    January 8 2016

    I really hope you end up visiting Newfoundland! I finally made my way over there last summer despite being born and raised in Canada myself, and I absolutely loved it. St. John’s is such a lovely place, and the people are truly the friendliest. Sounds like you have an exciting year ahead of you, can’t wait to follow along!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      I really hope I make it as well. I was so pumped to go last year but with an ever filling calendar and flight prices over $600 I just couldn’t justify it. Fingers crossed it works out this time!

  • Catherine
    January 8 2016

    Hey Meihoukai! I spent last year living in , Sao Paulo Brazil. I got a chance to go to both Pantanal and Bonito and I loved them both! In Pantanal I went on wildlife tours, eco tours, and got to go horseback riding. In Bonito I went scuba diving, snorkeling, and rafting. Both places are great!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Hey Catherine! So you went into the Pantanal from Campo Grande then? I like the sounds of the tours going out of Cuiba better but do love that from Campo Grand I could visit Bonito. I’m torn!

  • Melissa
    January 8 2016

    If you can fit it in, I highly recommend Fernando de Noronha while in Brazil. Hop an Azul Air flight from one of the eastern cities.

    It’s a super small island that only allows so many people to be on it at one time. It’s home to several of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and has some prime diving excursions as well. It would be an awesome spot for a low-key weekend in the middle of the otherwise chaos that is traveling domestically within Brazil. It was my favorite part of the two weeks I spent there for the World Cup.

    Also, Natal is fairly nice, a bit farther north. It’s home to the largest Cashew Tree in the world, and Pippa is an amazing beach town a short drive away.
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Fernando de Noronha was at the top of my list when we started planning, but I quickly realized it’s not the best time of year to go 🙁 It will still be super rainy then, and with flights almost $400 RT it just seems too risky in April-May. I know that I will absolutely be back to Brazil someday to see the northeast of the country, so I might just have to save it for then…

  • KB
    January 8 2016

    I visited the Pantanal via Cuiabá in October 2015. It’s an interesting area to visit but if you’re expecting a lot of animal sightings (I thought it would be similar to a safari in South Africa or to the Galapagos), you might be disappointed. It’s much better for birding than it is for spotting other animals. Having said that, we did see a giant anteater and there are caimans and capybaras everywhere. We didn’t see any jaguars. I found it expensive for what it was as an experience. If you do go, check out Chapada dos Guimarães about an hour northeast of Cuiabá as well, as the landscape is entirely different from the Pantanal. We added an extra night to our trip to Mato Grosso there and it ended up being our favourite part.

    I’m currently living in São Paulo and second the suggestion of staying in Vila Madalena. It’s a really fun area with a lot of street art, cool bars, live music, great restaurants, etc. I’d recommend the caipicolé (caipirinha with a fruit popsicle inside) at Vila Seu Justino on Rua Harmonia. São Paulo is a huge city and can be overwhelming, but it has a great energy to it. If you’re looking for more suggestions, just ask!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Hey KB, thanks for your feedback! I’ve mostly read that the Pantanal is teeming with wildlife so it’s good to have my expectations managed by someone who felt the opposite. I would be so excited to see an anteater though! 🙂 What time of year did you go? And thank you for the tip on Chapada dos Guimarães!

      And holy wow, you had me at caipirinha with a fruit popsicle inside — Vila Seu Justino is added to my must list! Thank you so much for the tip! We are planning on staying at an AirBnB in Vila Madalena for two nights post-festival, so that’s perfect.

  • Dominique
    January 8 2016

    Great plans for 2016! It’s also good that you’re leaving some wriggle room in case you need it. I’m looking forward to reading your posts about Brazil – it’s a country I’ve somehow never been interested in and I’m curious to see if you like it and if you can change my opinion as usual with your beautiful pictures and inspired writing 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      You’re too kind! Yeah, up until May things are more or less sorted (though I still have plenty of details to nail down) so there’s still plenty of room for spontaneity and surprises through the rest of the year!

  • Sky
    January 8 2016

    Brazil! That’s so exciting! I totally get what you mean about putting off a destination until you feel like you have enough time or money to do it justice. I love that you’re planning the trip around another festival.

    My 2016…a US road trip that includes Minnesota for TBEX, Tennessee for Bonnaroo (are you going this year??), and Delaware for Firefly. Then heading to Rwanda before going to Honduras to volunteer for the rest of the year, with the exception of a few weeks in September when I’ll be on a trip I’m keeping under wraps for now. (But I’m suuuper excited about!)
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Holy wow, that sounds like an amazing year Sky! I don’t think I’ll be back to Bonnaroo this year sadly, but I will be back someday! I can’t wait to hear about Rwanda… I’m so jealous!

  • Diana
    January 8 2016

    I’m half brasileira and grew up a lot in beautiful Belo Horizonte! Anyway, I completely agree with all of Fernanda’s points above. Use your “city senses” in the big cities (Sao Paulo and Rio) but you’ll have a wonderful time. Brazilians are very friendly people! I totally recommend Ouro Preto… it’s fantastic! Stop by there (and Belo Horizonte) on your way to Brasilia. If you have any specific questions, let me know!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Hey Diana! Thank you so much for your hospitality! When Heather and I first compared ideas for our trip I actually had Ouro Preto and Inhotem on the list instead of Iguassu Falls. This was our compromise 🙂 Maybe I will double back and check them out after she heads home.

  • Jessica
    January 8 2016

    Alright, those are some pretty awesome plans Meihoukai! I’m really looking forward to your posts about Brasil 🙂 I’m trying to go there at the end of the year (to combine it with my stay in Suriname and the Amazon).
    Jessica recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      That sounds awesome, Jessica! I absolutely loved my time in the Amazon (in Peru) and would love to explore it from other angles on a future trip. Unfortunately it’s not the season for it when I’m going to be there but no worries, I’ll be back 🙂

  • Katie
    January 8 2016

    Ah Meihoukai! So pumped for you after reading this post — seriously! Absolutely can’t wait to follow you in Brazil. I completely relate to your ten-year wait on this one — Spain is my big dream trip, and I’ve no immediate plans to visit for the same reason: I have to do it all the justice! Your plans so far sound like you’ll definitely be doing right by Brazil. I’ll be in Penang for much of January and February and in the States all summer as well 🙂 If you end up in North Carolina, you should let me know! Cheers to this Pledge to Travel — I’ll definitely be signing up!
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Cheers to a resolution it sounds like we’ll both keep 🙂 Good to know I’m not the only crazy one waiting to pull the trigger on their “big trip.” Whenever I get that question about where I want to go most (which is often, considering my profession) it’s usually quickly followed by, “…. then why haven’t you gone there yet?” Which is a legitimate query considering it seems I have limitless time at my disposal and can choose from any whim. In reality there are so many factors at play. I’m glad the stars finally aligned for me and Brazil — and I know they will for you and Spain someday, too!

  • Erin
    January 8 2016

    I CANT BELIEVE YOURE GOING TO BRAZIL!
    when I first read that, i thought “She’s going to the Olympics!” haha. not quite, but still amazing. Love reading your coverage of the festivals 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Ha, yeah… that would be kind of hilarious though considering I’m like the least sporty human on the planet. I once watched a field hockey game for two hours thinking it was lacrosse. Also, in general, I hate traveling in peak season. I’m just not competitive enough for that, ha. I love me some shoulder season, where you can score all the best flights, hotels, and more! I didn’t plan it this way but actually I think it’s going to be perfect timing, I’ll be writing about Brazil while the Olympics are gearing up, so that will be fun timing!

  • lisa
    January 9 2016

    Oh how I love your blog!
    I am so in for the challenge!
    What an amazing year you have planned. The falls and Pantanal are absolutely on my list as well.
    My travels this year start off next week with a 10 day girls trip to the Osa Peninsula Costa Rica.
    The first part of April is visiting my daughter in Japan and seeing Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka side trips.
    Then I am being brave (inspired by you) and going solo to play with orangutans in Sumatra, temples in Java and diving in Sulawesi and Raja Ampat. Oh…the the fall back to Vietnam, Laos , Thailand and Penang for 6 weeks.
    Yikes. ..my poor abandoned husband!

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Wow! That sounds like an AMAZING year. Love the mix of family, friends, and solo travel. Maybe you can do something with the husband too 😉

  • Julia Nix
    January 9 2016

    that sounds like a good plan. hope you are going to penang. see the many heritage shophouses, awesome local streetfood. just skip the beach there (not quite somewhere u need to go). consider staying in one of those boutique rooms in heritage shophouses. google around, make you go indecisive with varieties. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Crossing my fingers that one works out! Love that it’s such an easy flight from Samui — not cheap, but at least easy!

      • Julia Nix
        January 9 2016

        Were you looking at Firefly airline? It is another budget airline (Malaysian company). Direct Samui-Penang.

  • Adelaide Haynes
    January 9 2016

    Looks like you’re in for an amazing year! I’ve also got some big travel plans for 2016! It’s going to be amazing!

    Adelaide Haynes recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Cheers to a great year, Adelaide! Thanks for reading!

  • becky hutner
    January 9 2016

    Ah, Brazil!! So excited for you. I’ve never been but have a standing invitation from a friend to stay at his parents’ Rio pad (coastal + christ the redeemer views included) AND their magical-sounding country villa with mango grove!! Probably should have taken advantage of this BEFORE I decided to hop the pond. Speaking of which…

    My main travel plans for this year are exploring my new city of London & taking advantage of this amazing travel hub to do cool things like….take the train to Belgium. Road trip to Scotland. I guess my plan is really not to plan and just be a yes girl (and a Kayak explore girl). That said, these places are currently topping my wish list — Madrid, Seville, Iceland, Brighton (a mere one hour away!), Antwerp, Morocco, Stockholm, Lithuania, India, Indonesia…ok I’ll stop.

    The only thing I HAVE booked is South of France for a wedding in May. Otherwise, I could really end up anywhere & that is most exciting!
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      That IS exciting. Living in the UK and Europe makes spontaneous international travel amazingly obtainable — I’d say enjoy that while you can, girl!

  • Georgia
    January 9 2016

    Wow! You will have the best time in Brazil. My big trip this year is India > Burma > Laos > Cambodia > Vietnam > Borneo > Malayasia over 6 months! Your blog has been a huge inspiration for planning this trip – so thank you so much! Xxxxx

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      You are so welcome, Georgia! That’s lovely to hear — and I’m so excited for you! Borneo is still calling my name… one of these days!

  • Kirk Beiser
    January 9 2016

    That looks like an awesome year. I am very jealous but I will be busy also although I still work full time. I am going to Sumatra in Feb, Lombok in March, Minnesota (home) in June and possibly the Philippines in October for TBEX.

    In addition to that I plan to complete my waterfall guide for Taiwan (100+ waterfalls) and publish a book.
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    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      Oh man, Sumatra! I’ve yet to get to that corner of Southeast Asia — one of these days! Sounds like you have some awesome plans for the year. Maybe we’ll cross paths in the Philippines!

  • Lisa
    January 9 2016

    Those plans sound amazing! I am really looking forward to reading your posts about Brazil. It is a country I would love to visit one day as well, but I have to admit that it is not really somewhere at the top of the list, so I am wondering whether my desire to go there will skyrocket after reading your posts and seeing your photos 🙂

    As for my own travel plans this year, it is still a mystery! I am going to Dublin a few days in February, but after that I will be finishing my master’s degree. From September onwards, however, I will be completely free to explore the world. I still have to decide upon that first destination, though, so who knows where I end up?

    • Meihoukai
      January 9 2016

      …maybe Brazil, after you read my posts? 😉 Just kidding, but that would be fun! Sounds like a celebration trip is in order, wherever it may be!

  • Lotte
    January 9 2016

    I’m so happy for you that you will “finally” visit Brasil, a dream coming true. I never been there, so no tips from me but I’d love to read all about your adventures! In 2016 I will also do a trip that has been on top of my bucketlist since forever. In november I will enjoy the Transmongolian Express and (hopefully) continue my journey by train all the way to Singapore!(Okay I might cheat on Mister Train by taking some buses too)
    Lotte recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      Oh wow Lotte, that sounds like a serious adventure. I absolutely love reading about everyone’s plans for the year! It’s so much fun!

  • Steph @ Wanderlust Pulse
    January 9 2016

    I’m as excited by your travels as I am my own. Can’t wait to read all about them and see all the breathtaking photos! Brazil is going to be so exciting!!

    I am spending some time at home in England until mid-March, catching up with my loved ones and exploring my own backyard with the occasional European adventure to the likes of Paris and Berlin. From mid-March until Nov, I will be going back to work for the summer, this time in Tenerife and hopefully saving enough money along the way for my first Thai experience towards the end of the year 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      That sounds like a great year, Steph! Time at home is so important. I built it into every year.

  • Amy | Toothbrush Travels
    January 9 2016

    Now that’s a resolution we can all stick too! xo
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  • Mandi
    January 9 2016

    I will see you there. Plans to arrive in Koh Tao in a week. Working on diving certs for the next few months. Super exciting. Happy to see you have big plans for yourself this 2016!

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      Thanks Mandi. Enjoy your time here on Koh Tao! As you can see, I find it well worth devoting big chunks of my year to…

  • Meihoukai, congratulations that you’re going to Brazil! I’ve never been and it looks absolutely incredible but it sounds like something you really pumped for.I apreciate how you cherish domestic travel too and that you brought that up! Have fun in Chicago.
    Lisa Jordie @TheDriftingDesk recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      Indeed. I love exploring familiar places through the eyes of a traveler. My very dear cousin lives in Chicago with the rest of my mom’s side of the family out in Decatur. I’m long overdue for an Illinois trip to see them all!

  • Thuc
    January 9 2016

    Congrats on doing a long-awaited trip! Brazil will be awesome. I can’t wait for all your posts this year.

    Me? I haven’t had a longer stint of travel for 4 years and am finally making it a priority this year. Actually going to the US to explore the National Parks in California and Oregon. I’m a massive fan of the outdoors especially kayaking and climbing so I’m unbelievably excited for it. Plus little Australia domestic getaways as well.

    Happy 2016!
    Thuc recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      That sounds amazing Thuc. My final trip to the West coast this year before returning to Asia really opened my eyes to the US National and State parks and I’ve found myself dreaming of bigger and bigger trips to see them. Excited to start writing about the baby one I did!

  • Nadia
    January 9 2016

    BRASILIA! I only wish I could justify it as part of a needed experience to teach architectural history and I would join you!

    • Meihoukai
      January 10 2016

      Oh Nadia, I am so excited. I found out I can stay in a hotel designed by Oscar Niemeyer… for $50 a night! Wonders never cease. I’ve struggled to find much in terms of tourism infrastructure (for example, to my horror there are very few if any regularly scheduled architecture tours) but I suppose it will be a fun challenge. Flights are incredibly cheap from other major Brazilian cities (I found a one way from Sao Paulo for $35, for example.) Let me know if you want to join 😉

  • Paige
    January 9 2016

    Brazil is on the top of my travel bucket list as well! The Falls, Rio and the food look amazing.
    For me, I’m on a four-month adventure in India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Bali and Australia for the first time. Railay and the whole Krabi area of Thailand was beautiful. Currently in Chiang Mai and eating my way through the city!
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    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      That sounds awesome, Paige! You’re going to lots of my favorite places!

  • Jessica Maxwell
    January 9 2016

    Loved this post! Really hope you do come visit Canada, it’s a truly amazing place no matter where you visit 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      I definitely haven’t done Canada justice! Just a few quick jaunts to Toronto and Montreal. I’m sure there’s more in my future…

  • Ellie Quinn
    January 10 2016

    I loved Paraty!! It’s such a gorgeous town, definitely plan a good few days there! And Iguazu falls was incredible!
    If you can visit for a day on the Argentinian side then you should as I actually preferred that side to the Brazilian side and both sides can be done in a day each!
    Can’t wait to read more about it! X
    Ellie Quinn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Yeah, we are going to suck it up and pay to go to Argentina for the day for sure. We can’t not, after going that far! Glad to hear a big thumbs up for Paraty. I think it’s the coastal destination we’ll end up spending the longest in as there just seems to be so much to do/see/eat!

  • manoj kumar
    January 10 2016

    good evening friends

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Good evening 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Anca | Globaloud
    January 10 2016

    I laughed a lot on your “Join the gym. Eat healthier. Be on time more often.” resolution, cause it’s pretty much the same resolution I have every year.

    Besides that, I really do like reading other blogger’s plans for 2016, mostly because I don’t have any yet. I need to plan my big summer trip and all of you guys are giving me some good ideas on where should I go.

    I always wanted to do a trip to Brazil too, but never had a chance, mostly because of the crazy expensive plane tickets from Europe. I think it’s time to think about it once again.
    Anca | Globaloud recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      This is a really good time to go to Brazil. Unfortunately for them their currency is very weak right now so I’ve been shocked at how affordable everything seems! I’m happy I’m missing out on Olympics mania though.

  • Kristina
    January 10 2016

    This sounds like it is going to be an exciting year for you! I’m currently working full time 🙁 while trying to grow my travel blog. I too plan to make this year a great traveling year! I’m hoping to do a round the world trip from sunny Tampa, Florida to Iceland, Thailand, Australia, and Hawaii! I am a frequent reader and am glad to get some tips and tricks from you!

    HAPPY 2016! 😀
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    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Those sound like some of my favorite destinations in the world! Enjoy every step of the way, even the working and saving one 🙂 Here’s to 2016!

  • Melissa
    January 10 2016

    If you decide to hit up Newfoundland, I grew up there and would be happy to help if you had any questions about sites, accommodations, travel, etc.

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Hey Melissa, thank you! That’s so kind. If I go I’ll be with a local so I’ll have a top notch tour guide… though I never say no to travel tips! 🙂

  • Diana
    January 10 2016

    Heading to Panama on Feb. 4 – somewhere I would have never considered until I read your blog! Can’t wait!
    Other than that, hanging around NJ and using most of my remaining PTO for weddings #americanproblems #twentysomethingproblems
    Excited for your Brazil coverage – I have a feeling I’ll be adding it to my bucket list.

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      That is so great Diana! I LOVE PANAMA SO MUCH! You’ll have to let me know if you agree!

  • Ylvalie
    January 11 2016

    Hi Meihoukai,
    never commented here before although i read your blog regularly.
    Two things i wanted to say.
    First Iguazu! Couldnt disagree more with your man about not going to see the Argentinien side. It’s so worth it! Realisticly you should spend a day there to take it all in. Both sides are amazing in different ways but if you have gone so far, don’t skip either side. It would be a total shame!!!
    Second, really disappointed to hear you say you are not that interested in Europe! You should give it a chance – it’s definitely worth it!!!

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Hey Ylvalie! I always knew that if I was going to go all the way to the falls I was absolutely going to see both sides. Not sure which of the commenters you are referring to above who said it wasn’t, but definitely I think if I’m going to pay for the flight and hotel, I guess I can fork over a little more for the visa 🙂

      As for Europe, well, I suppose everywhere cannot be top of the wishlist! At this point in my life I am just absolutely captivated by Southeast Asia and Latin America. I have traveled to Europe several times, but it definitely is a lower priority for me at this stage.

  • Camila
    January 11 2016

    Hey Meihoukai! As a silent brazilian follower of yours, I had to comment for the first time seeing you’ll be visiting my country! Your itinerary looks great! I asked a friend who has been to Pantanal through Cuiaba and through Campo Grande, and she told me that Cuiaba is much more impressive!
    Can’t wait to read your posts about it! And maybe I’ll see you in Tomorrowland!

    • Meihoukai
      January 11 2016

      Hey Camila! Thank you so much for asking your friend that for me! It definitely seems the tours out of Cuiba are higher quality and provide a much higher chance of spotting jaguars. However, I would really like to go diving in Bonito and they are super convenient to each other. Maybe I’ll have to give in and do both 😉

      Are you going to Tomorrowland as well?

      • Camila
        January 12 2016

        I’ve never gone to Bonito, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it! And yes, I’m hoping to go to Tomorrowland this year, since I couldn’t attend last year, hopefully it works out! 😉

  • Ijana
    January 11 2016

    I’m going to Brazil in April too! Just Sao Paolo for a week, as I have a job to come back to 🙁 But I’m excited to dip my toes in

    • Meihoukai
      January 13 2016

      Amazing! Are you going to Tomorrowland as well, or for something else?

      • Ijana
        January 14 2016

        No I’d love to someday but I don’t have the cash! I’m gonna try and pop up to Sao Luiz and visit Lencois Maranhenses National Park

        • Meihoukai
          January 14 2016

          I’ve always wanted to go to Lencois Maranhenses National Park! Sadly it seems the time of year I’m visiting isn’t the right time to go but I know I’ll be back. And yeah, Tomorrowland is PRICEY! Don’t blame you for spending elsewhere.

  • Maggie
    January 12 2016

    What an incredible list of places you’re already booked to visit! I am so jealous.Brazil sounds incredible,Hope you have a wonderful time this year…
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    • Meihoukai
      January 13 2016

      Thanks Maggie! I’m so pumped for 2016!

  • Ally
    January 12 2016

    Yay how exciting! I can’t wait to see your Brazil trip! 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      January 13 2016

      Thanks Ally, me neither! I’m pinching myself!

  • kristina conde
    January 13 2016

    Hi Alice,
    I am danish but have lived most of my life in Brazil!!
    I would like to let you know that you may me when you are here in Rio! I have been to all the places you plan to visit several times.
    I have been following you because I love your writing style and you make everything so interesting!
    Your blog was my guide when I went to Thailand last year! So if I could help you back in any way.. just get in touch!!( -kristina menescal)
    You will love everything here!

    • Meihoukai
      January 13 2016

      Thanks Kristina! Sounds like I definitely need to do a reader meetup in Rio! I’d love to meet up 🙂 I’m very excited for this trip! Next step is just figuring how long to stay in which places, because I already have a feeling I will want to pretty much move to Rio! What’s your favorite Brazil getaway?

      • Kristina co de
        January 13 2016

        Hi Alice!
        I would love to meet you… though I am quite older than you, we do love
        the same things… travel, photography and diving! My favorite get away is
        ceratinly Buzios! It can get quite crowded over the holidays, but it is
        amazing! Great diving points!
        My husband loves Angra – but you must have a boat, otherwise the mainland
        is not worth it…
        Paraty can be done in 3 days max! (good diving points too)
        Sao Paulo is awful…. polluted, and charmless. Great for clubs and dinning
        though- but expensive! Good cultural points.
        I’ll make up a list with my daughter(works in Hospitality) of ‘must see’
        places for you!
        Keep Bonito on your list!
        And check out Inhotim!
        Isn’t planning almost as good as traveling?? : )

        • Meihoukai
          January 14 2016

          I think it is, Kristina 🙂 Love a good planning session. I love your suggestions. Inhontim is not easy to see without a car, it seems, but I am still going to try to make it happen. I’m very excited about Buzios!

  • Jello
    January 13 2016

    Aaaah! I can’t wait for Brazil! 😀
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  • HALF THIS WORLD AWAY
    January 13 2016

    WOW!

    This is a pretty awesome list, I am very jealous!

    Hope 2016 is a great year 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      January 14 2016

      I hope so too! Happy travels to you, wherever they may take you 🙂

  • Claire Algarme
    January 14 2016

    I’ve also been wanting to travel to Brazil and the rest of South America. But time and resources have always been a consideration and like you, I want to do justice to my trips. I’m always inspired whenever I read stories of travel dreams coming true. I hope someday I’ll be able to fulfill mine and check off the places I look forward to visiting in the future.
    Claire Algarme recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 14 2016

      Hey Claire! Yeah, nice to hear from others who understand the “doing justice” logic. I know your time will come too 🙂 Happy trails!

  • Breanna Mansell
    January 15 2016

    I’m reading this while fighting off jetlag from my trip to Brazil.

    I love this country, it’s my first love and I’ve been 3 times! It’s huge, it’s crazy, and it’s worth every single penny and second you give it.

    I have been to Rio, São Paulo and Buzios.

    If I may mention my favourite places in each to give you advice,
    Rioscenarium is a must do, pricey but you won’t find a more bizarre nightclub.
    Buzios, just go to the stone street in Centro any restaurant, but Chez Michou is amazing, also Pousada Maravista if you want to splurge on a place to stay, it’s not even very expensive.
    São Paulo is like a home to me, it’s where all my friends love and while it’s no Rio it’s comfy. Iberapuera park, Cocobambu, and Pink Elephant are all worth a look.

    I am dying to read your reviews of my second home!!!!!

    • Meihoukai
      January 16 2016

      Hey Breanna, I was hoping you’d chime in 🙂 I’m getting so very excited for this trip. I feel lucky to have tons of time to plan it out ahead of time while I’m cooling my heels here in Thailand! All your suggestions have been added to my huge document of Brazil notes.

      And now, a question! Right now I have planned four nights in Sao Paulo (two before the festival will mainly be spent adjusting to jetlag and getting over travel fatigue at WE Hostel in Vila Mariana, two after will be spent hopefully doing some exploring from an Airbnb in Vila Madalena), seven nights in Rio (a few nights in Oztel hostel in Botafogo, a few nights in an Airbnb in Copacabana — wish it was Ipanema but the best rentals by far were in Copa) and four nights in Buzios (not sure where we are staying but we want to dive, rent a buggy to beach hop, do some yoga and enjoy the nightlife!) Does that sound like the right amount of time in those spots to you? I can send you my whole darn itinerary if you want, ha! 😀

      • Breanna
        January 16 2016

        Hey, I’m so glad you thought of me about Brazil. I would say those are perfect. I could have stayed in Buzios longer, but I also could have stayed in Brazil longer too. The small stays in São Paulo are just enough, it’s not a huge touristy city. With that in mind, you will be stared at and English is not as common as one would think in that city. Also I forgot to mention if you are inSão Paulo on a Tuesday go to Boteca Redentori for 2 for 1 Caipirinha. They have more fruit flavours than you can possibly drink (I tried) and it’s cheap.

        The week in Rio is needed. I find that city overwhelming to plan for mainly because it’s hard to stick to the plan, something new always comes up. Copacabana has markets all the time and Ipanema has the Sunday hippie market well worth a visit.

        4 days in Buzios is just fine, I wish I rented a buggy to beach hop. Anexo has the best seats in the house for a sunset and I would recommend reservations.

        Also I can give you the longest list of food ever to try in Brasil, they know how to cook down there. And feel free to ask me anything at all.

        • Meihoukai
          January 17 2016

          Thanks for the tips Breanna! Glad to know our itinerary is Brazil enthusiast approved 🙂

  • Prachi Sharma
    January 18 2016

    What a great list, Meihoukai! Inspiring and exciting!

    Also, because I see your September- December slot empty, I would suggest you reserve it for your visit to India. The climate is just right around that time for you to enjoy my country. Goa, Kerala, Andaman,are few of my personal recommendations.

    I will keep coming back to your blog for much needed motivation.

    • Meihoukai
      January 19 2016

      Hey Prachi! Thanks for the tip 🙂 September feels so far away, we shall see what the year has in store!

  • camila
    January 31 2016

    Its so great to know you are coming to Brazil! The cities your are going are all great, but I would strongly recommend you include the northeastern coast and Chapada Diamantina in Bahia. Bonito would be a good idea as it has some cave diving ive hard is great. As for the prices, the currency right now has been pretty bad for us, so I think Brazil would seem pretty cheap, specially outside of Rio and Sao paulo. I was in Nicaragua last month and I honestly felt like it wasnt much cheaper than Brazil. You can find some pretty good prices for internal plane tickets if you book few weeks in advance

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Wow, that’s nuts to hear Camila — that the prices are on par with Nicaragua right now! I am definitely happy about the flight prices I’ve been looking up lately. We will be pre-booking for sure!

  • Maddy
    February 1 2016

    California! Wheeee! Let me know if you do a reader meet up in SF 🙂

    Also BRAZIL! Your plans look amazing. I can’t wait to follow along.

    Also also, my bff lives in Seattle! What a gorgeous city. I’m sure you have tons of recs already but if you need anymore, let me know!
    Maddy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      If that agenda item gets finalized, I will definitely ask for some hot tips! Crazy to think my summer plans are starting to come together already. Eeek!

  • Carmen Everywhere
    February 23 2016

    It is nice to hear someone is going to Brazil. 🙂 Brazil has been one of my dream destinations for many years but I have not been able to go there so far. It is mostly the cost and distance, it is so far from Europe. But everyone gushes about Brazil, what is there not to like. Amazing weather and culture. Good luck to you, a little jealous!

    • Meihoukai
      March 2 2016

      I felt the same way for years — I was dying to go but wanted to make sure I had enough time and enough money to do it justice. I still don’t have enough time but figured I just couldn’t wait any longer!

  • Nayana
    February 26 2016

    Very nice to see Brazil in your destinations, I live in Brazil (Saquarema – RJ to be exact) and I’m also going to Tomorrowland(again) , so if you need any help or information , feel free to me. I ‘d love to help , because I know that here the communication can be difficult, and the transport system are also not the best! ☺️? (fb. Nayana Wonker)

    • Meihoukai
      March 3 2016

      That’s so kind Nayana — I’m sure I’ll take you up on it at some point! Awesome to hear you’re going to Tomorrowland as well! How was the first one?

  • Chris
    February 29 2016

    Some huge plans here!

    Can’t wait to see that “unknown” section get filled 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      March 3 2016

      Me neither! What an amazing year it’s been already… excited as always to see what’s next.

  • Luna
    March 9 2016

    Hi, Meihoukai! I’m planning a trip to greece and found your blog. I’m from Brazil so I was curious about the places you would visit in here. So, if I can give any tips: Brasilia is not a really cool city, i would take it out of the plans, but just some hours away from there you can find a magical place called Chapada dos Veadeiros – just google it – there you can visit the most amazing waterfalls, can’t even begin to describe! And besides the landscape, the area is just special, under the ground there is a huge crystal that gives the place a mysterious vibe.

    Paraty is amazing, if you have more then 2 days to stay, try visiting the beachs around the area, you can only get by boat, with a special mention to Martin de sá – just google it too!

    Hope you have a amazing time in here <3

    • Meihoukai
      March 12 2016

      Thank you so much for the tips, Luna! I know Brasilia is kind of unusual for backpackers to visit but I love architecture, so I feel like I just have to see it! But maybe I can tack on a visit to Chapada dos Veadeiros to make it more worthwhile 🙂

  • Bruno
    May 20 2016

    These are great travel plans, I would love to visit Iguacu Falls! For Rio I recommend at least 5-6 days, getting around is not so easy and this way you have more time to take in the views.
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    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2016

      We spent a whole week there 🙂 It was awesome!

  • Pam De Guzman
    June 8 2016

    I like the way you roll. These are great trips! I hope you visit Europe in the future and other South East Asian countries such as the Philippines. I do hope when you travel to Greece or Paris you would write about it and i shall read it.

    • Meihoukai
      June 10 2016

      I’ve actually already been to plenty of those places — check out my destinations page! That said, I’m very likely to return to any of them at any moment 🙂

  • Fernanda Williams
    July 26 2016

    I was so excited to hear that you were in Brazil! That’s where I am from. I would definitely include Fernando de Noronha in there and possibly the historic cities in Minas Gerais like Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Tiradentes! Can’t wait to learn what you thought about Brazil 🙂
    Fernanda Williams recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 26 2016

      I can’t wait to start posting about it! Stay tuned!

  • Sue
    November 27 2016

    Hi Meihoukai..

    Lucky girl you are, always wanted to visit Brazil but after I saw a little video how young thieves and pick pockets are stealing during day from tourist. I decided not to go.
    I don’t wanna loose my mobile 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      December 5 2016

      I was a bit nervous about theft as well but left Brazil with all devices intact. It was worth the risk! Maybe just insure your electronics and give it a try 😉