Brazil Travel Guide
Brazil is South America’s largest country by land area and population, and is the fifth largest nation in the world by the previous measure. It is a country of enormous cultural diversity, as there is a blend of immigrants from a variety of European nations, as well as those from Africa and more recently, Asia.
It is a nation of enormous environmental importance as well, as the vast majority of its interior is home to the Amazon River basin, which is by far the largest remaining virgin stand of tropical rainforest in the world, and the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland.
Aside from its prowess in football, Brazil is most famous for its easygoing and extroverted lifestyle, which will even bring introverts out of their shell if they aren’t careful.
Anyone looking for a great time in South America will certainly find one here, no matter what it is that interests them: from beaches to parties, isolated rainforest to isolated islands, you will be able to find your travel bliss in Brazil.
Currency: Brazilian Reals
What To Do
For many visitors to Brazil, their first destination is often the magical city of Rio de Janeiro. Set against a series of rounded off mountains and facing the tropical South Atlantic Ocean, it truly is a city that never sleeps, especially during its world-famous Carnival celebration.
During this run up to the Easter season, there are ten to twelve days of non-stop parties where parades with some of the most elaborately designed floats and costumed marchers tramp down the streets every single day.
As far as points of interest go, make sure that you head up into the hills to see Christ the Redeemer before moving on to your next destination in Brazil.
Standing over 130 feet tall atop Corcovado Mountain, this soapstone expression of Brazil’s Christian faith is an incredibly popular tourist destination, so if crowds aren’t your thing, be sure to visit during the morning or early evening hours.
Extroverted people will definitely want to spend a day soaking up the sun on Copacabana Beach. By far the most social of Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, you won’t have a problem finding a beach volleyball or a sand football game to join if you are so inclined.
Just be sure not to bring anything you can’t afford to lose, as the severe income inequality problems that reigns in this city means any valuables that aren’t sufficiently secured or watched over have a fairly high probability of disappearing while you are out splashing around in the waves.
Brazil has some amazing cities, but many come to this country to experience its unspoiled natural settings. when you set out on a Amazon River cruise, you will get a chance to enter into a world that is largely separated from modern civilization.
Millions of square kilometers of tropical rainforest sit undisturbed (though this is changing due to unchallenged deforestation by farming and lumber interests), and there are many villages where indigenous tribes largely go about their daily lives in the same manner that they have for countless generations.
Those hoping to go on a tour down the Amazon River will have to take a connecting flight to Manaus, as there is no highway that connects this city to any other major center in Brazil (there is a road to Venezuela, But getting there will take over 36 hours).
As the capital of Amazonas, it is the perfect base to prepare for your voyage into the wild interior of the Amazon; this is the case even for culture vultures, as the Teatro Amazonas hosts regular opera and theater productions, just as it has since the late 19th century.
When you are prepared to head down the river, get a tour boat operator that will take you to a variety of places on the river where you can bear witness to the vast amount of bird, reptile, and mammal species that call the Amazon basin home, as well as a location where the Rio Negro and the Amazon River blend into each other.
At this location, the muddy water of the Amazon meet the black coloured water of the Rio Negro, refusing to mix completely for several kilometers, as the composition and temperature of each separate source of water are completely different.
A lesser-known but no less significant natural reserve that can be found in Brazil is the Pantanal. Ranking as the world’s largest tropical wetland area, the biodiversity here is as impressive as what you can find in the Amazon, yet the crowds are nowhere nearly as intimidating as what can be in the former location during high season.
Another point in the Pantanal’s favor is the fact that this wetland does not have the same lush vegetation that the Amazon has; as a result of this, visitors can see the wildlife that exists here with greater ease, making it a superior choice for those that want to see wildlife during their visit to Brazil.
Love surfing? While you can certainly carve the waves when in Rio de Janeiro, a favorite destination for surfers is the island city of Florianopolis.
Located in Brazil’s south, it is becoming a favorite haunt for beach bums among native Brazilians and an increasing amount of foreigners, as there are well over 40 beaches located around the island, some of which are considered to be the most beautiful in the entire country.
If you didn’t get to see this attraction while you were in Argentina, don’t forget to check out Iguaçu Falls, as it is an attraction that you shouldn’t miss while you are traveling in South America.
While Argentina has the majority of the fall lines within the boundaries of the park, Brazil has equal access to the Devil’s Throat, which is the most dramatic view that one can have here.
Craving a deserted island after traveling in Brazil’s sometimes chaotic urban environments? The ultimate getaway for those seeking Solitude and quiet is Fernando de Noronha.
Located more in 350 kilometers off the northeastern Brazilian Coast, its small interior mountains, and its mostly empty beaches will fill you with bliss on first sight. If you have your heart set on visiting, be sure to plan ahead, as only 460 visitors are allowed on the island at any given time.
You’ll be glad you did, as not only its natural scenery will win you over, but the many species that exist here cannot be found anywhere else, making it an essential destination for avowed naturalists.
What to Eat
Start your day in Brazil by having a crispy Pastel. Adapted from the wontons that Chinese immigrants used to sell, these are deep-fried pastry pockets that are commonly stuffed with ground beef, chicken, shrimp, cheese among other options.
There are even pastels that are filled with chocolate, but these are harder to find, though they are well worth the effort.
When the time comes for lunch, go ahead and order some Feijoada, which is Brazil’s national dish. While this dish can vary depending on the region, generally, it includes beans, salted pork, jerk beef, bacon, and sausage.
Those from the Northeast will typically add a variety of vegetables to the mix, which can include cabbage, kale, carrots and pumpkin.
Tracing its origin to the slave days, this dish’s origins come from the fact that slaves would create this meal from whatever scraps they would receive from their master’s table. Despite its humble origins, it is enjoyed by Brazilians of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Fans of seafood will want to go for some Moqueca. comprised of swordfish, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and spices stewed together in a coconut milk broth, this dish can most commonly be found in the Brazilian state of Bahia, though it can easily be found in the major cities as well.
At dessert, head to a bakery and ask for some Brigadeiro. Fancy chocolate truffle that is enjoyed by all Brazilians, it can usually be found at birthday parties, and during holidays. As a result, it is usually associated with the best of times in the lives of Brazilian citizens.