Brazil: The land of the Samba, football, religion, rainforest, magnificent sprawling cities and unspoiled beaches. From vibrant beachside cities to local culture in rural villages, Brazil has so much to offer; its natural wonders, including the majestic Iguazu Falls and the amazing Amazon rainforest, have inspired globetrotters for over 500 years.
Brazil’s beauty lies not only in its natural wonders, but also in its people and culture - an ethnically and culturally diverse population whose heritage is expressed in vibrant art and celebrations, historical cities and bustling urban centres.
One of the first things you’ll notice as you arrive to Brazil is the people’s zest for life. Brazilians live for today. Whether rich or poor, they enjoy life and they’re not afraid to express themselves! They smile a lot, they laugh a lot, they yell a lot, they sing a lot, they dance a lot and they sure do celebrate a lot! When you’re around Brazilians, somehow this energy starts to become contagious…
Here are 11 reasons why Brazil is one of the best destinations to visit:
1. Brazilian Beaches
More than 2,000 beaches stretch along Brazil's shoreline and more than 1,000 islands dot the Atlantic Ocean within the country's limits. While many of them are densely populated, many are preserved ecological sanctuaries. The salty sea lapping against the strips of sandy shore as far as the eye can see, while the wind whispers through the fronds of the palm trees is absolutely one of the best reasons to visit Brazil.
2. Amazing Landscapes & Ecosystems
Brazil is the most unique destination with more than 1km of rainforest housing more than 100,000 tonnes of living plant life. The Amazon River and Rainforest and Iguaçu Falls are the most famous natural attractions in a country that has 62 National Parks and hundreds of conservation units. Brazil holds several records for its wildlife numbers and diversity. As one of the responses to the urgent need to preserve seriously endangered natural treasures, ecotourism and responsible travel initiatives are on the rise, making it possible for more travellers to enjoy Brazil in a sustainable way and opening up perspectives for local communities.
3. Brazilian People and Culture
For hundreds of years, Brazilian culture has been in the making by people with a very diverse ethnic and cultural heritage. A glorious mix of contributions is imprinted in the culture that generated easily recognisable expressions such as bossa nova, capoeira, and the yellow soccer jersey. Strong cultural resilience sustains, for example, the efforts of indigenous peoples and African-Brazilians as they reaffirm their sense of identity through strife. And it's safe to say that the people who have created Brazil are, as a rule, friendly to foreign tourists.
5. Celebrations & Events
Charismatic Brazil is famous for its hugely popular Carnaval, outrageous costumes, street dancing and parties that carry on until dawn, bring the city to life. They draw in some wild and festive characters from all over the world that come to party here from dusk til dawn. Rio has set the standard for the world and Carnaval is definitely a reason to visit Brazil for the avid partygoer.
However, there's much more to the Brazilian calendar. For example, many international travellers have discovered that Reveillon, the Brazilian New Year, is as much fun as Carnival.
6. Brazilian Cuisine
If you are serious about your food, then this will be your reason to visit Brazil. Making their distinctive dishes the same way as their ancestors did you can be sure that you are in for a treat. Whether at an open air restaurant or at a high end eatery or even at a street vendor, you will be captivated by the sights, sounds and aromas that burst out of bubbling pans held over open flames. Washed down with fried coconut bananas and coffee, the gastronomic delights are endless.
Great chefs, inspired by the country's diversity of native ingredients and regional traditions, are writing a whole new chapter in Brazil food. One of the best ways to get in touch with this diversity is through one of Brazil's many food festivals.
7. The Incredible Weather
As most of the region is tropical, the weather is absolutely awesome, well most of the time, and it also depends on where you are. With seasonal rainfall areas providing light relief from the tropical heat, the balmy, warm evenings and super sunny beach days, every day, means that you are just about guaranteed to have an outdoor adventure every day!
Northeastern coastal cities like Fortaleza have about 300 days of sunshine a year. Fall and winter travel in a great part of Brazil is delightful, with cool sunrises, a general shedding of sweaters during unbelievably bright sunny days and clear, chilly nights that are perfect for cuddling by the fireplace.
8. Hotels and Pousadas
Places to stay that could be destinations in themselves, such as rainforest lodges; better hotels, increasingly demanded by a growing business travel industry, and charming pousadas in the most attractive destinations are some of the trends in accommodations in Brazil.
9. They Love Tourists
Forget the thin lipped concierge, and the grumpy store owner, Brazilians treat visitors as if they were long lost friends that they have been waiting their whole lives to meet up with again. Tourism is a hugely integral sector of the country’s economy and Brazilians make a point of making travellers feel so at home and welcome, that visitors really never want to leave.
Brazil, like its people, has a colourful history that goes way back when to 1500, when Portugal displayed Brazil in its property portfolio. Tenacious and vibrant, the communities of Brazil took a few knocks in their time, building the country up to what it is today. Trials and tribulations over sugar harvest and gold mining left some interesting historical figures and stories that still get passed on today.
Soccer fans around the world make this their number one reason to visit Brazil. With Brazil being the home to the best soccer team in the world, you can be rest assured that soccer is an integral part of a staple diet here. Brazil and its residents take the sport super seriously and are incredibly supportive and proud. The Brazilian Soccer Culture is definitely not to be missed!
You don’t need reasons to visit Brazil – I just need to build it into my vacation budget.
- Rio de Janeiro with its famous beaches, caipirinha and carnival- Salvador, the most African city of Brazil- Pantanal and Bonito, a region with a large biodiversity- The Amazon, an incredible tropical rainforest- Foz do Iguazu, the world’s largest waterfalls.
Covering a huge territory of over 8.5 million square kilometres, Brazil comprises half the landmass of South America. With most of its 188 million population concentrated on the coast, a wild nature defines the interior. Brazil has the highest number of plant, primate and amphibian species of any country. In the Amazon forest alone, there are 30,000 plant species, 2,000 kinds of fish, 1,000 kinds of birds, 300 mammals, 300 amphibian animals and 250 kinds of reptiles. Brazil has over 350 national parks, accounting for 5% of the national territory
Portuguese is the official language of Brasil. Except for the languages spoken by Indian tribes living in remote reservations.
The local currency is the Brazil Reals. 1 USD is 3,8 Brazil Reals (July 2017). 1Euro is 4,3 Brazil Reals
Cities such as São Paulo, Brasília, and Belo Horizonte have very mild climates averaging 19°C. Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador on the coast have warm climates balanced by the constancy of the Trade Winds. In the southern Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba, the subtropical climate is similar to parts of the U.S. and Europe with frosts occurring with some frequency. The annual average temperature in the Amazon region is in the range of 22-26°C. The hottest part of Brazil is the northeast where, during the dry season, between May and November, temperatures of more than 38°C are recorded frequently.
Capoeira is a ritualised, styled, combat-dance with its own music. It is a characteristically Brazilian expression of both dance and martial arts. The combatants move in a series of swift cartwheels and whirling handstands on the floor. The musical ensemble that accompanies capoeira includes the berimbau, a bow-shaped piece of wood with a metal wire running from one end to the other.
During the Carnival period you can't help it, you will be swept away by the rhythms. The happy energy can even be felt in the air and with every beat of the percussion instruments, in your heart. The atmosphere is one never experienced in other parts of the world. It cannot be written, it has to be experienced, felt, breathed and lived. Only then you can unterstand what it means to enjoy the tropics at its best.Today Rio de Janeiro has the biggest and best known carnival in the world - its most colorful event is the Samba School Parade. The samba schools taking part in the parade - each roughly having three to five thousand participants - are composed overwhelmingly of poor people from the city's sprawling suburbs. Every carnival Rio's samba schools compete with each other and are judged on every aspect of their presentation by a jury. Each samba school must base its effort around a central theme. Sometimes the theme is an historical event or personality. Other times, it is a story or legend from Brazilian literature. The costumes must reflect the theme's historical time and place. The samba song must recount or develop it, and the huge floats must detail the theme in depth.
Discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Brazil achieved independence in 1822 after three centuries of Portuguese rule and became a republic in 1889. Overcoming more than 50 years of military rule, civilian rulers were given power in 1985. With vast natural resources and a large workforce, it is South America’s leading economic power today, although income disparity remains a problem. Brazil has the largest Afro-population outside of Africa – 10.5 million according to the 2000 census – and is also home to the largest community of Japanese outside of Japan, approximately 1.5 million people. Other immigrant arrivals over the past two centuries include those from Italy, Spain, Germany and Poland.
More then 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. But there are many small minority groups of Jews, Moslems and Buddhists; and numerous adherents of Candomblй. Candomblй is a religion that was brought to Brazil by the Yoruba slaves from Nigeria and Benin.
Today, the art scene in Brazil is self-assured. Brazil's painters, sculptors, engravers and lithographers show their works both within Brazil and in museums and galleries throughout the world. The Portuguese who first landed on Brazilian ground in the 16th century began the transportation of European culture to Brazil. Brazilian Culture is more than the simple result of specific contributions by Europeans, Africans and Indians. These three cultures have insinuated themselves into the way Brazilians feel and act. Today it is difficult to trace their dividing lines.
Strong influences on the music of Brazil come from many parts of the world, but there are very popular regional music styles influenced by African and European forms. After 500 years of history the Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles like Choro, Forró, Frevo, the world famous Samba and Funk Carioca.Forró is played by a trio consisting of a drum and a triangle and led by an accordion. Forró is rapid and eminently danceable, and became one of the foundations for lambada in the 1980s. Funk Carioca is a type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro. In Rio it is most often simply known as Funk, although it is very different musically from what Funk means in most other places and contexts.
Gastronomy / Food
In Rio Grande do Sul "churrasco" is the big dish. It consists of pieces of beefs which are skewered onto a metal sword, and roasted outdoors over hot coals. There is a tomato and onion sauce to go over it. If there is one dish that typifies Brazilian cooking it is "feijoada". Feijoada is a complicated bean dish prepared with air-dried beef, smoked sausage, tongue, pig's ears and tails, garlic, and chili peppers. It is customary to fill a soup plate with white rice and spoon feijoada on top. To this pulverized manioc flour (farofa) is added, a starch that thickens the sauce. The whole dish is garnished with collard greens and slices of oranges.
Brazil produces a powerful, clear, raw rum (cachaça) made from fermented sugar cane alcohol. Cachaça combined with crushed lime, sugar, and ice becomes a very popular drink called "caipirinha". Guarana, a delicious soft drink unique to Brazil, is made out of a fruit from the Amazon.
Brazil's immense area is subdivided into different ecosystems, which together sustain some of the world's greatest biodiversity. With abundant fauna and flora, Brazil is home to many thousands of species, most of them still undiscovered. There is general consensus, that Brazil has the highest number of both terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates of any country in the world. This high diversity of fauna can be explained by the sheer size of Brazil and also the great variation in ecosystems. The numbers published about Brazil's fauna diversity can vary from source to source. Also new species continue to be discovered and, sadly, some species go extinct in the wild. Brazil has the highest primate diversity of any country in the world with 77 species and fresh water fish (over 3000 species), it claims the second-highest number of amphibian species, the third highest number of bird species and is ranked fifth in reptile species. Many of the species that are at risk live in threatened habitats such as the Atlantic Forest.The Amazon is the area possessing the highest concentration of fresh water and the most varied flora and fauna on the planet. As the biggest source of life in the world, the Amazon is one of the few areas on earth where nature can still bring its immeasurable strength fully to the fore.The Sabiá, or Thrush, is known for the beauty of both its plumage and its song. It is found all over Brazil, in 12 species, the best known of which is the Rufous-bellied Thrush, or Sabiá-laranjeira, Brazil’s national bird.
The traditional souvenir from Brazil is the world-famous Brazilian coffee. You can buy beans or already ground coffee. Coffee is sold everywhere: in special shops, in ordinary supermarkets.
Another edible souvenir from Brazil is popular Cachaça–Brazilian raw rum made from sugar cane.
Brazil is famous for its precious stones. Jewelry made of them of good quality can be purchased here at lower prices than in other countries of the world.
Here you can get fine shoes and leather goods and, of course, swimsuits!
Most shops are located in Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. There are also large shopping centers: Shopping RIO SUL, Botafogo Praia Shopping. Shops are open on weekdays from 10.00 to 19.00, on Saturdays till 13.00. Shopping centers are open daily from 10.00 to 22.00 ( on Sundays from 15.00)
Sunday fairs are very popular in Rio. Here you can buy original ethnic local clothes and jewelry. One of these fairs is in Ipanema.
Unfortunately Rio de Janeiro is not the safest city in the world, so tourists should be vigilant and should not walk late at night. We do not recommend wear expensive jewelry in streets, and it is much safer to keep expensive phones or gadgets in your bag. Also, do not have a lot of cash money at you. There are safes at hotels, and almost everywhere in the city you can pay by card.
Copacabana and Ipanema are generally considered relatively safe tourist areas.