Mariana Van Zeller is a co-host alongside chef Michael Voltaggio, in our newest show (coming early 2015) Breaking Borders. In Mariana’s “other life” she’s a correspondent for Fusion/ABC NEWS, and on a recent trip to Brazil to cover the World Cup, she took some time out to explore the Amazon rainforest. We asked Mariana to tell us a few things about her excursion with her husband and 3-year-old son.
What brought you to Brazil (Vacation?): To cover the World Cup. Vacation? Haven’t had that in years!
Who did you travel with? My husband who has worked with me for more than 10 years, and our 3-year-old son who has traveled all around the world with us.
Recommendations for what to pack? Bring good bug spray. It is the jungle after all.
What’s the best way to travel in Brazil? By speedboat, or as locals call it, “Voadeira” (the flying boat).
What’s the best thing you ate in Brazil? The world’s mightiest river is home to some mighty good fish. The Pirarucu is the largest fresh water fish in South America and can weigh up to 450 lbs.! And the ribs of the Tambaqui are as meaty as baby backs, and is also a local favorite.
What’s on your “not-to-miss” list? Any opportunity to get out on the rivers with a good guide and wander through the little canals and tributaries that wind and snake through the jungle. Also, there’s nothing more spectacular than an Amazonian sunset.
What was your favorite part of the trip? Looking for the feared Jacaré, or black Caiman. It can grow up to 20 feet long and is the largest predator in the Amazon.
The next time you’re in the Amazon rainforest, what will you do? Bring binoculars. Spotting wildlife in the dense jungle is difficult.
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