As the 5th largest nation in the world in both area and population, Brazil has a variety of landscapes and cultures to suite every taste. A trip to Brazil could take you from the remote waters of the Amazon, the dazzling sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast, the wildlife-rich wetlands of the Pantanal, to the roaring cascading waters of Iguaçu Falls. Enticing cities ooze with culture and heritage – from the rich African influences of Salvador to the Colonial streets of Paraty, and the irresistible samba beats of Rio Carnaval. With such diverse offerings to suit all tastes, you’ll be planning your next trip before you’ve even begun you first!
The spectacular Iguazu Falls that straddle the Argentine-Brazil border, are made up of 275 individual waterfalls lining a 2.7km wide horseshoe-shaped gorge. The Falls are located where the Iguazu River cascades over the edge of the Paraná Plateau. The Falls can be viewed from both the Argentinian and the Brazilian sides, the Brazilian side offering a broader, panoramic view, with the Argentinian side offering a series of catwalks that allow you to experience the Falls from close range.
Rio de Janeiro, was the capital of the Portuguese empire and of the country up until 1960. Nicknamed A Cidade Maravilhosa – “The Marvellous City” is world renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and location, nestled between steep, green mountains and crystal clear seas. Rio is one of the most important cultural and economic cities in Brazil, and features some of country’s most famous attractions such as the Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar), the Corcovado, and Copacabana and Ipanema beach. The city is full of energy and Cariocas, the locals of Rio, are known for their care free spirit and charm. Whether you are looking to experience Carnaval, relax in a natural environment, or enjoy all the luxuries of a cosmopolitan city, Rio de Janeiro has it all!
Salvador, in Brazil’s North-eastern state of Bahia, was once the magnificent capital of Portugal’s New World colony. It is known for its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, 17th and 18th century Portuguese colonial architecture, and tropical coastline. The historic heart of the city is the Pelourinho neighbourhood, where cobblestone alleys open onto large squares lined with ornate churches and colourful buildings. Most nights you will hear Olodum drummers pounding out powerful rhythms in the streets. The heritage of the descendants of African slaves is well preserved here, from music and religion to food and dance.
Manaus is the Amazon’s largest city, and capital of Brazil’s enormous Amazonas state. Despite its location over 1500km from the Atlantic Ocean, it is a major port for ocean vessels, and the gateway for all commerce and tourism in the Brazilian Amazon.
A place that is larger than life, the Amazon comprises half of the world’s remaining rainforest, whilst the Amazon River is the second longest in the world. Home to more species of wildlife per square kilometre than its African or Asian counterparts, the Amazon rainforest is positively humming with life. Butterflies the size of birds, brightly coloured Macaws, comical Tucans and an array of cheeky monkeys frequent the tree tops, whilst Anacondas, Coatis, Capybara and Jaguars are among the lowland neighbours. Add to that 2.5 million species of insects and you can understand why an Amazon Jungle tour would be an experience of a lifetime. Navigating the River is by far the most popular way to tour the Amazon. As well as being a convenient way to travel it is also very rewarding. You may be greeted by one of the enigmatic pink river dolphins, locals will wave excitedly as you cruise past and enormous trees will stand sublime on the river banks welcoming you to your Lodge.
The island retreat of Ilha Grande, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, is covered with tropical beaches and virgin rainforest and only a few small settlements. It has a rich history, having housed a leper colony and then a high-security penitentiary for some of Brazil’s most dangerous political prisoners, until its closure in 1994. The island is noted for its unspoilt beaches, rugged landscape, rich vegetation and scenic beauty. The largest settlement on the island is the picturesque, palm-fringed beachfront town of Vila do Abraão.
Set against a backdrop of steep mountains covered in lush forest, the small, historic coastal town of Paraty is one of Brazil’s gems. It was a port during the Brazilian Gold Rush and the cobbled streets of the colonial centre are lined with 17th and 18th century buildings and churches. Paraty sits on the Bay of Ilha Grande. The emerald green waters are dotted with tropical islands and lined with secluded beaches.
Located 170 km from Rio de Janeiro a short, pleasant 2½ hour trip will take you to the peninsula of Búzios – home to more than 20 magnificent beaches with crystal-clear waters which are in perfect harmony with sculpted landscape and exotic vegetation. Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, this historically diverse city enjoyed periods of prosperity and emerged as one of Brazil’s most picturesque fishing villages. In more recent years, the actress Brigitte Bardot popularised the town when she visited in the 60’s. As one of the most beautiful areas in Brazil, it is famed for its unique combination of rustic charm, distinctive archictecture, incredible allure, and sophisticated restaurants and boutiques. Every year thousands of visitors come from all corners of the world to enjoy this Brazilian beach paradise.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world. Mostly residing in Brazil, the enormous basin receives a massive amount of water from the highlands during the flood season, which dissipates into a landlocked delta. This lush environment attracts countless species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Often overshadowed by the Amazon Rainforest, the Pantanal is actually considered to be the world’s densest flora and fauna ecosystem. Due to the delta’s wide-open wetland spaces, animal spotting in the Pantanal is a lot easier than in the neighbouring Amazon, offering amazing photographic opportunities. Sunsets in this area in particular are simply spectacular.
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