Things to do in Brazil
There are plenty of things to do in the country, so we’ve collated this guide to show you the best of Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro
Stunningly beautiful and vibrant, Rio is home to legendary beaches, tropical forest, samba, football, unrivalled carnival parades and lively cariocas (Rio’s residents). As well as the iconic landmarks of Corcovado and Sugar Loaf mountain forming part of the city’s magical backdrop, Rio offers a wealth of other attractions. In the old centre, historic alleys and colonial buildings coexist with neo-classical and modern architecture, revealing intriguing stories from Rio’s past.
An old tram still runs along the former aqueduct to the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, full of century-old mansions and artistic studios. Meanwhile, the sweeping beaches of Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana are perfect for relaxing.
Foz do Iguaçu National Park is home to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – Iguaçu Falls. It also features a vast array of wildlife, including rare tropical birds and endangered jaguars. The dramatic spectacle of thundering white water is complemented by other wonderful sights, including rainbows straddling clouds of spray, screeching green parrots flying across the waters and colourful butterflies hovering over lush greenery.
The Pantanal is a mosaic of lakes, rivers, savannahs, seasonal streams and forests that supports a great biological diversity. Lazing capybaras, sun basking caimans, iguanas, tapirs, giant anteaters, marsh deer, whooping howler monkeys and an enormous variety of birds are all easier to spot here due to the lack of dense vegetation. It’s also the last stronghold of the elusive jaguar – chances of spotting one is greatest from July to October.
The world’s largest tropical rainforest covers almost half of Brazil’s territory. Mighty waters, ranging from yellow-brown to blue-black, cut through the thick jungle, home to a spectacular biodiversity of flora and fauna. The majority of wildlife is hidden in the canopy, but common sightings include caimans, monkeys, toucans and pink river dolphins. The city of Manaus is a gateway to the region and a starting point for boat trips along the river. Not far from the town, at the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Solimões, a fascinating spectacle can be observed – the dark and sandy-coloured waters of the two rivers flow side by side for 6.5km before merging. Only from this point on is the river called the Amazon.
The gold and riches of Brazil have left some amazing colonial towns, many of which are now Unesco world heritage sites and feature cobbled streets, beautiful colonial churches and colourful houses.
Particularly recommended are Paraty to the south of Rio, Ouro Preto and Tiradentes in Minas Gerais, or Salvador, Olinda and São Luís in the north-east. Salvador, the capital of Bahia, is also one of the country's most vibrant cities due to its strong African influences and has a carnival to rival that of Rio.