Brazil is a sprawling, live-wire experience that moves to a Carnival beat
Taking up half the South American continent, Brazil is a sprawling, live-wire experience that moves to a Carnival beat. With more than 4,500 miles of coast facing the deep-blue Atlantic, the former Portuguese colony boasts endless white-sand beaches with palm trees swaying in the breeze. There are also many offshore tropical islands, colonial towns and coastal cities filled with the sounds of sabma, Bossa nova, choro, sertanejo, breg, lalago, frevo and other styles of music.
Within its massive interior, Brazil boasts crystal rivers, soaring waterfalls, deep canyons and much more. The most famous attractions are, of course, the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal, the world's largest wetland. With their amazing biodiversity, the two offer unmatched opportunities for wildlife watching and adventure. The Amazon alone is home to tens of thousands of plants and some 2,000 species of birds and mammals. In fact, one in five of all the birds in the world live here.
But you don't necessarily need to go into the jungle to find adventure. Kayaking, rafting, trekking, snorkeling and surfing are just a few ways to spend a sun-drenched afternoon in almost any part of Brazil.
Known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), Rio de Janeiro is flanked by majestic mountains, sugary beaches and lush rainforests fronting the sea. From the renowned beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to the scenic outlooks of Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar, to the dance halls, bars and open-air cafes that are found everywhere, this is a city that knows how to live.
Sao Paulo Sao Paulo is a large sprawling city of 11 million, and the tourist attractions are spread out. Enjoy the art and the shops while the sun is shining and soak up the rich culture, food and bars by night. Laze by the lakes in Ibirapuera Park where you can even borrow books from the unique Bosque de Leitura (Reading Woods). Another highlight is the Snake Farm where you can see snakes, scorpions, and spiders from around the world.
Brasilia The planned city of Brasilia was built in only four years and was designed to impress. Houses along the wings of the airplane shaped city all look out onto park and wide boulevards lead to the centre. Take the time to check out the modernist architecture such as the Square of the Three Powers, the Palace of Justice and Brasilia Cathedral.
Iguazu Falls Iguazu, meaning 'great waters' is surrounded by national parks on both the Argentina and the Brazil sides. The falls themselves are divided into 275 separate falls, the highest being the Devil's Throat, higher than Niagara Falls at 70 m. Jump on a boat that will take you right under the falls, an awesome experience.
Salvador Give in to the charms of Salvador, the old colonial capital built on a peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Todos os Santos Bay. The beaches in the bay are calm with long stretches of sand, while the Atlantic beaches are good for surfing. The tourist epicentre is Pelourinho, the ‘city within a city’, with cobblestone streets, churches and brightly-painted buildings as well as bars, restaurants and other attractions.
Recife The busy seaport of Recife is a commercial and trading centre where looming high rises overlook the inlets, canals and bridges the city is built around. Because of this it is known as the ‘Venice of Brazil’. Discover Recife’s artistic and folkloric traditions, and lap up the arts and entertainment on offer.
São Luis Sao Luis is one of the liveliest and most photogenic urban areas of Brazil, offering great beaches, delicious seafood and a thriving live music scene. If you’re into reggae you’ll be right at home in Sao Luis as there are regular live outdoor performances and weekend parties. Wednesday’s have also been established as a big reggae night.
Florianopolis Over one hundred beaches grace the coast of Florianopolis. Head to Praia Mole in summer for a touch of Ibiza, when international dance-music DJs play outdoor sets. Praia Joaquina is a great place for sand boarding, as the dunes reach speed-gathering heights behind the pretty beach. Or try Praia Brava, a great spot for surfing.
Manaus Manaus is in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, 1000 miles from the mouth of the river. Once in Manaus it is easy to arrange some visits to the jungle, enjoy canoe rides on the river, visit settlements or get up close and personal with the amazing wildlife.
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