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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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. Flanked by gorgeous mountains, white-sand beaches and verdant rainforests fronting deep blue sea, Rio occupies one of the most spectacular settings of any metropolis in the world.