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Laura Lindsay from Lonely Planet answers your travel questions

I will be going to Brazil soon and would love to visit Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, the Iguaçu Falls and make my way north. What are the best places to see in the north of Brazil? I’ve heard that Fernando de Noronha island is a must-see. Rory, via email

The first part of your trip should be fairly straightforward as Sao Paulo, Rio and Iguaçu Falls are all in south of the country and along a fairly well-used bus route. Fly into Rio, and then you can reach Sao Paulo by bus (six hours) and onto Iguaçu (16 hours by bus).

To reach the north of Brazil, I would opt for an internal flight from Iguaçu to Natal. This will save precious time as the drive is more than 3000kms from Iguaçu. Natal is one of the jump-off points to Fernando de Noronha. Fernando de Noronha is described by our Brazil author as ‘probably Brazil’s most awed destination.’

This is due to its ardently protected coastline, which boasts crystal clear waters, abundant marine life and near-empty beaches.

island paradise does come at a premium, however, as it is only accessible by plane, imposes a visitors’ tax (starting at £11 a day) and accommodation is expensive.

Opt for a cheaper option in the form of a local homestay (yourway.com.br).

If you decide that Fernando de Noronha is too pricey, take a small detour south off the Rio – Iguaçu Falls route to the island of Santa Catarina. The island has 42 beaches, each with their own vibe. There’s a great surf scene, too!

I’m considering an Alaskan trip: Anchorage to Juneau including Kenai Fjords, Denali (via Fairbanks), Wrangell-Saint Elias and possibly Glacier Bay national parks, the last by boat. I’m concerned about accessibility, safety and spiralling costs in such an isolated place. Any advice? Maria, via email

Alaska is home to Mt McKinley, the highest mountain in North America and one of the longest rivers. It is also, unfortunately, a destination of high prices and long distances.

You will need to allow a decent amount of time to see most of Alaska’s top sights. To give you some context, Alaska is more than 2000 miles wide and almost 1500 miles long.

The distances between major destinations in Alaska are often described as overwhelming, for example: a common tourist route between the lively city of Anchorage to the Northern Lights town of Fairbanks is more than 350 miles.

The itinerary you mention would mean covering about a third of this area. Break up your journey at Talkeetna, a small town with lots of evening entertainment in the form of gigs and theatre Talkeetna is also the gateway to giant Mount McKinley.

Fortunately for you, Glacier Bay is now much easier to reach by boat as the Alaska Marine Highway ferry service calls at Gustavus – the gateway to Glacier Bay.

A round trip from Juneau takes three-and-a-half hours and costs £20.

 

Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to
traveltips@tntmagazine.com.

If your question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.

Images: Getty, Jupiterimages


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Lonely Planet travel expert's top tips for visiting Brazil and Alaska
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