72 days and counting:
I haven't been in 12 years but I am looking forward to returning to Brasil.
Our airfare was $878 p.p., round trip, from Minneapolis to Sao Paulo on Continental. The cruiseline air was $600 without deviation. We opted to do our own. Once we did the deviation, paid the deviation fee and the added charge it would probably have been more expensive than what we paid.
South America air isn't bad. It's about equal to Europe.
I personally believe that South America will become the new Europe, especially with the weak dollar against the Euro and the Pound. It's also a place that offers the history of Europe with the beaches and eco-tourism not found in Europe. There are also many cruise options that offer one way cruises that take in the Panama Canal and or give you the fun of Rio and you only have to go through one longer flight.