As the largest country in Latin America and the 5th largest country in the world, Brazil is country which lives up to its scale and offers a huge variety of holiday opportunities. It’s a country with some of the biggest and best sights in the world although you may not know about many of them.
Rio de Janeiro is a must for any first time visitors to Brazil. Without doubt it’s the most visually beautiful city in the world. Despite much of the negative press it receives, the city is a joy to visit. Take the cog train up to Corcovado and look down on the Zona Sul below to view forests, favelas, the beaches and the bay, all of which combine to make the nickname of Cidade Maravilhosa (the marvellous city) to be a very apt one.
Most first time visitors to Brazil will also try and include a visit to Iguassu Falls in the south of Brazil, and rightly so, as they are the most impressive waterfalls in the world, surpassing those of Victoria and Niagara. Staying in the south would also enable you to visit the great beaches of Santa Catarina, famous for surfing and for whale-watching whilst inland you can experience European communities including the 2nd biggest Oktoberfest in the world. The south is great for beer but also for wine and in Rio Grande do Sul are Brazil’s best vineyards which make excellent sparking whites.
Many people bypass Sao Paulo but it’s a great city with fabulous shopping, nightlife, the best restaurants in the country and the cultural capital of Brazil. Heading north-west from Sao Paulo will bring you to the grasslands and floodplains of the Pantanal which is the stand out location for wildlife in Latin America. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, then the Pantanal should be high on your list and it’s the best place to see jaguars in the world plus a variety of other big mammals and is sensational for birders.
The Amazon is more famous than the Pantanal and is a wonderful location to immerse yourself into nature. It’s not so good to see wildlife but the experience more than makes up for this. Visit on a boat or stay in a yacht and if time allows try to visit both the north and the southern Amazon.
Brazil was settled by the Portuguese who left their mark, for good and bad, throughout the country. There are some wonderful colonial towns and cities such as Salvador, Paraty, Olinda and Ouro Preto whilst much of the best history can be discovered at colonial fazendas, where the landowners created beautiful homesteads which you can now experience.
There are superb national parks for trekking such as the Chapada Diamantina while the stunning sand dunes of the Lençois Maranhenses provide a surreal visual treat with their vast pools of water.
The beach is where all life can be seen and it’s an important part of Brazilian culture. For tourists there are endless options from the windswept beaches of the north which offer world class kitesurfing and windsurfing, to the super cool beaches of Bahia such as Trancoso and Corumbau. The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is home to Baia do Sancho, which is regularly voted as the best beach in the world and is home to some tremendous diving and marine life.
If you’re only going to visit Brazil once in your lifetime then try and do so doing carnival, the biggest party in the world. Whenever you go you’ll find Brazilians welcoming to their country, a country of great diversity, and one which is ideal for all the family on a luxury holiday.