The largest country in South America
With its 190m inhabitants and 5,000 miles of coastline, Brazil is the largest country in South America. It’s most famous for the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and for football: Pele is seen as the greatest player of all time and the national team have won 5 World Cups, more than any other nation. The Northern region includes the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest; the main towns are Belem and Manaus. The Northeast region has a beautiful Atlantic coastline and sees the merging of black culture and early Iberian folklore; it includes Recife - ‘The Brazilian Venice’- and Bahia, a paradise for nature-lovers. The Central West region is the destination for eco-tourists and contains the wetlands of Pantanal. In the Southeast region, head for Rio de Janeiro: its spectacular harbour is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The main attraction in the South region is the UNESCO-listed Iguaca Falls.
Brazil is a unique blend of indigenous people, people of African origin and descendants of the Portuguese colonial settlers. Watch and learn the Bossa Nova and the Samba in the land of their birth. Watch a football match with 99,999 other spectators in the Maracana, the world’s biggest football stadium.
When to Go?
Please investigate the climate of the Brazilian region you choose to visit, as it varies widely in such an enormous country. In the north it is equatorial, so you have a wet and a dry season. From Sao Paulo southwards, the more familiar pattern of seasons applies. The cheapest flights are in the periods February-May and August-November. The Big Event (the Rio Carnival) takes place in March.
How to get there?
The main airport in the North is Manuas Eduardo Gomes International (MAO); it serves South American destinations, plus Atlanta in the USA. In the Central West, it is Brasilia Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek (BSB). In the south, it is Porto Alegre Salgado Filho (POA). If you’re heading for the Southeast, Rio De Janeiro Galeao (GIG) serves South American and USA destinations, plus London Heathrow, Madrid, Lisbon and Porto, Paris and several German cities.
Take an invigorating boat trip behind one of the 200-odd cataracts that make up the Iguacu Falls. Visit Florianopolis, an island city with 40 beaches. In Bahia, head for Diamantina National Park, the sea-turtle preservation project at Praia do Forte or the Whale Coast Marine Reserve; the state capital, Salvador offers baroque colonial architecture and pulses at night to the beat of rhythmic drummers. Take a boat trip up the Amazon, embarking either at Belem or at Manuas. Explore the wetlands of Pantanal on horseback. Tuck into a pão-de-queijo, washed down with a cup of the best coffee in the world!