Brazil, the name alone already make many people think of white beaches, blue sea, green lush mountains and dancing people on the streets. Even though all of these are true facts of Brazil, the country holds much more than this. Being the biggest country on the continent and as diverse as South America itself, obviously Brazil has a lot to offer. Some of the deepest and most pristine Amazon Rainforests in the world, a huge coastline filled with tropical beaches and islands, vibrating cities full of cultural day and nightlife, great museums, the mighty Iguazu Falls, the Pantanal Wetlands, etc… the list is endless. Having borders with almost all countries in South America (except Chile and Ecuador) the country holds some of the best of both worlds. The Brazilian people are known for the positive spirit and joy of life, something you will feel on almost any street corner. This is a country that is much more than just beaches; this country is one to discover and keep discovering.
Rio de Janeiro, probably Brazil’s most emblematic city, home to many famous landmarks, such as Corcovado Hill with the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the new 7 wonders of the world. The city is home to over 11 million inhabitants spread out over upscale areas to some of the poorest areas on the continent. Besides the Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio is also home to some of the most famous beaches in the world; Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon Beaches rank among the top beaches in the world. Downtown Rio is also a sight not to be missed. Driving a tram in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, walking through the narrows streets of historic Rio and suddenly stand eye to eye with some of the biggest buildings in the country. A list of what to see in Rio would not be complete without a visit to the Sambadrome, a huge drive-through stadium, centre to the yearly worldwide known Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. Or visit the San Sebastian Cathedral, a strange modern cathedral with a huge internal space. Finally Rio is home to some of the biggest football clubs in South America and hence one of the biggest stadiums in the world the Maracanã Stadium. Because of this wide scale of things to do, the great weather all year round, fabulous beaches and friendly population, Rio is definitely a place to take your time for to get to know.
Also in the Rio province you can find other great and more relaxed beaches. Cities such as Buzios, Angra Dos Reis and Arraial Do Cabo are only located at two or three hours driving from Rio and are great retreats from the hectic big city life. Here you can also find great hotels and resorts to make the last days of your holiday pass by in complete luxury and tranquility.
Known as Brazil’s capital of happiness due to the local populations easygoing and extrovert nature, Salvador is the first colonial city of Brazil. One of Brazil’s largest cities this city has much to offer. Notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil's Northeast. Over 80% of the population of metropolitan region of Salvador has Black African ancestry making it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture soething that can be seen on every street corner, especially during the carnival time of year. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The city is divided into two sections; the Cidade Alta ("Upper Town" - rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa ("Lower Town" - northwest region of the city), the former some 85 m above the latter, with the city's cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. Another famous landmark, the elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades. Around Salvador you can also find some of the best beaches in Brazil and in general these are more quiet than the ones I Southern Brazil.
The Pantanal is located in South East Brazil and is a tropical wetland and the world's largest wetland of any kind. It lies mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul but extends into Mato Grosso as well as into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area of over 140,000 square kilometers. Various sub-regional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological, geological and ecological characteristics The Pantanal ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates. Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal are the Marsh Deer and the Giant River Otter. The Pantanal is also home to one of the largest and healthiest Jaguar populations on Earth. This area can be visited on multi day safaris that combine excursions to the different parts of the Pantanal and the animals living here. The Pantanal is probably one of the best places in South America to see wild life.
The famous Iguassu Falls are located on the border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. After Argentina, Brazil has the second largest part of the falls within its territory. The main city from Brazil to visit the Falls is Foz do Iguacu. From here it is only a short drive to the Falls. The Brazilean side as the Argentinean provides some walkways to admire the Falls upclose. The actual border between these two countries runs throught the “Devils throath” the main flow from the Falls. The Falls are located in a national park that is protected and is part of the only Atlantic Rainforest on the planet. The Atlantic Rainforest is also worth a visit as these is abundant wildlife and due to other climate paterns than the Amazon Rainforest posseses a different fauna and flora than the latter one. Of course Foz de Iguacu holds some great hotels such as the Hotel Das Cataratas, located in the national park and operated by Orient Express.