One of the world’s most captivating places, Brazil is South America’s giant, a dazzling country of powdery white-sand beaches, pristine rain forests and wild, rhythm-filled metropolises. Brazil’s attractions extend from enchanting, frozen-in-time colonial towns to dramatic landscapes of red-rock canyons, thundering waterfalls and idyllic tropical islands. Add to that, Brazil’s biodiversity: legendary in scope, its diverse ecosystems boast the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth.
Brazil offers big adventures for travellers with budgets large and small. There’s horseback riding in the Pantanal, kayaking flooded forests in the Amazon, ascending rocky cliff tops to breathtaking views, whale-watching off the coast, surfing stellar breaks off palm-fringed beaches and snorkelling crystal-clear rivers or coastal reefs – all part of the great Brazilian experience.
No less entrancing is the prospect of doing nothing, aside from sinking into warm sands and soaking up a glorious stretch of beach, caipirinha – Brazil’s national cocktail – in hand.
Brazil’s most famous celebration, Carnaval, storms though the country’s cities and towns with hip-shaking samba and frevo, dazzling costumes and carefree joie de vivre, but Brazilians hardly regulate their passion for revelry to a few weeks of the year. Wherever there’s music, that carefree lust for life tends to appear – whether dancing with Cariocas at Rio’s atmospheric samba clubs or following powerful drumbeats through the streets of Salvador. There’s the dancehall forró of the Northeast, twirling carimbó of the Amazon, scratch-skilled DJs of São Paulo and an endless variety of regional sounds that extends from the back-country sertanejo to reggae-loving Maranhão.
With so much going for them, it’s no wonder that Brazilians say ‘Deus e Brasileiro’ (God is Brazilian). How else to explain the treasure chest of natural and cultural riches sprinkled all across the country?
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Best places to stay in Brazil
All eyes on Brazil for 2014
As if endless strands of sun-toasted coast, mountains splashed with Crayola-green rainforest and significant populations of some of the planet’s most beautiful colonial villages and wildlife didn’t already add up to an unfair share of heaven, Brazil goes and snags two of the most coveted sporting events in the world, beginning .
Brazil for kids
Brazil's best beaches
Brazil destination guides
Rio de Janeiro City
At once both a cinematic cityscape and a grimy urban front line, Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), is nothing if not exhilarating.
Ten of the world's best city hikes
Stretch your legs over hours or days, without leaving some of the world’s biggest cities. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro Aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro surrounded by the Tijuca Forest. Image by Paddy Eckersley / Digital Vision / Getty Images.
In Search Of Iguassu - Buenos Aires to Rio
Get your South American rush with other young travellers not afraid to embrace the new. You'll kick off the adventure in sophisticated Buenos Aires before getting your heart pounding on horseback rides and day hikes at a working Uruguayan ranch.
Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour
Combine two of Rio's most popular tours on a full-day shore excursion packed with breathtaking views. Int he morning, you'll enjoy a panoramic city tour and have the opportunity to ride a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. After lunch, you'll travel through the Tijuca Rain Forest by cog train to the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain.
Ten of the world's best off-season adventures
Avoid the crowds and bag a bargain by travelling to the world’s best bits when everyone else isn’t. Here are 10 reasons to resist travel during high season, straight from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. 'Green season' safari, Botswana Hippos in Botswana by Mazzali / CC BY-SA 2.