Brazil is one of the world’s most captivating places. Home to exotic wildlife, white sandy beaches, charming colonial towns, cosmopolitan cities, the world-famous Carnival and the Amazon River and Rainforest, Brazil is a melting pot and is perfect for every kind of traveller. We have handpicked some of the best places to go and things to do.
First stop is Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most vibrant and culturally-rich cities in the world. Look up from almost any street in Rio and you’ll see Christ the Redeemer, the open-armed statue of Jesus Christ that sits atop Corcovado Mountain. You can reach the top of this peak and enjoy an unforgettable view of the city by taking a narrow-gauge train.
Whilst in Rio, climb the Escadaria Selarón, 125 metres of steps covered in bright tiles, which have been transformed into a world-known piece of art designed by the Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón.
Take the cable car up to Pão de Açúcar for incredible views over Rio de Janeiro. At the top, the city unfolds beneath you with Christ the Redeemer off to the west and Copacabana Beach to the south. Make sure you have time to walk along Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach, especially at sunset – it’s beautiful!
Rio de Janeiro is home to the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations! It is an epic festival of music and samba with everyone dressed in elaborate, colourful regalia as they take to the streets by the thousands. The entire celebration is one last hurrah before the start of Lent’s quiet period.
From Rio, go to Ilha Grande. This tropical island served for decades as a pirates’ hideout, a high-security prison and a leper colony. Spared from development by this unusual history, its jungle-clad slopes and dozens of beaches are some of the best preserved in all of Brazil. Ilha Grande, whose name literally translates as “Big Island” is a car-free zone, home to gorgeous beaches and sun-kissed waters – it’s no wonder the locals from nearby Rio come here on the weekends to hang out and relax.
Next stop is Iguazu Falls. This UNESCO-listed National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina is world-famous. The name itself “Iguazu” comes from the Tupi/Guarani language and means “big water” and with good reason – the falls are made up of 275 waterfalls which are over 150 million years old.
Brazil’s ‘Garden of Eden’, Pantanal is the largest wetlands in the world and is Brazil’s wildlife capital. Over 11,000 species of animal live here, including the rare marsh deer, the giant anteater, and the hyacinth macaw. It is also one of the best places in South America to see the elusive jaguar.
From here, explore the Amazon Rainforest. The world’s biggest and best-known rainforest has outdoor excursions of all sorts, and for all types of travellers. The best reason to visit the Amazon is to get out into the jungle: to wind along waterways in a canoe, hike lush leafy trails and to scan the canopy for monkeys, sloths and other creatures!
Our final stop is Salvador. The world capital of Afro-Brazil, Salvador is famous for capoeira, colonial Portuguese architecture, African street food and one of the oldest lighthouses in the Americas. Salvador was formerly one of Portugal’s biggest slave trade centres and one of the first colonial cities in the Americas. Learn all about Afro-Brazilian culture in this cosmopolitan town, known to be the music and cultural centre of the country. A great way to end your Brazilian adventure!