by Ellen Curham
Brazil is the biggest country in South America and a place you need to have on your bucket list. There’s so much to see and do in this incredible country that boasts not only stunning scenery and wildlife but also thriving metropolises.
Here’s our five picks as to why Brazil should be your next vacation destination.
Perhaps the most famous rainforest in the world, the Amazon features 5,500,000 sq. km of lush forestry, diverse wildlife and a winding river. This spectacular area is Brazil’s best-known attraction and it is possible to explore it in many different ways. Most tourists aren’t experienced in trekking though rainforests so generally take guided tours, with boat tours on the river being the most popular. Here you can witness some amazing animals like monkeys, panthers, piranhas and pink dolphins. Between the heat, sounds and sights it is a sensory overload and something you need to experience at least once!
Brazilians love the beach and try to spend as much time there as they can. And it’s no wonder, given how gorgeous the country’s coast is. Tourists are spoilt for choice in this country when it comes to access to sea and sand. There’s the famous white sands of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and the surfer’s haven of Lopes Mendes on the island of Ilha Grande. Jericoacoara Beach in the state of Ceara is another firm favourite and is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the world thanks to its blue lagoons, rock formations and rolling sand dunes. And then there’s the 42 beaches of Florianopolis…
As breath-taking as the natural scenery is in Brazil, its cities are also pretty incredible. Rio de Janeiro is perhaps the most famous of Brazil’s urban centres, given its idyllic coastal location. There’s also well-known attractions like the giant Christ the Redeemer statue as well as an unbeatable nightlife scene. It’s also particularly fun at the moment, riding on the success of the 2016 Olympic Games. Sao Paulo, meanwhile, is the largest city in the country with a massive population of 20 million in its metropolitan region. Not as scenic as Rio but it boasts an impressive restaurant and cultural scene. The federal capital, Brasilia, feels less lively but features a lot of interesting architecture and Government buildings and will be appealing to history buffs.
Food in Brazil is a melting pot with influences coming from Europe, Africa and other regions. Popular ingredients include cassava, a type of root vegetable and fruit like acai berries. A trip to a local market will lead you to many delicious and colourful fresh fruit and vegetables. Barbecuing is also extremely popular with seasoned meats grilled on skewers, along with fresh seafood. In larger cities you’ll also find world class restaurants serving local and international cuisine. When visiting Brazil, it is also essential to try the national cocktail, the caipirinha, made from a mix of cachaça, sugar and fresh lime. This delicious drink is severed in bars all over the country and is internationally renowned, too.
Carnival is Brazil’s most famous holiday. It traditionally marks the beginning of lent and does so with festivities day and night for around a week. The biggest celebration takes place in Rio with millions of people attending every year. There are huge parades throughout the city with dancers, amazing costumes, samba music and more. It will be hard to experience a better atmosphere in Brazil and this is a great time to visit the country and see Brazilian culture showcased at its very best.