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Brazil- Powdery white-sand beaches, verdant rainforests and wild, rhythm-filled metropolises
April 24, 2017, 2:05 pm
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The largest country in South America, Brazil occupies almost half the continent. Nearly all of it is in the Southern Hemisphere and much of it is tropical, with vast stretches of rainforest filled with exotic plants and wildlife. Its 7,400-kilometer Atlantic coast is lined with golden sand beaches, and its interior is filled with mineral resources. For tourists, Brazil is both a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and the pulsing rhythms of Rio's Carnival.

Brasilia: This city’s modern-day infrastructure is designed in the shape of an airplane in which each of its sections serve as different districts such as government, commercial, residential and cultural. The city’s new and creatively designed buildings attract many architecture aficionados. Most significant is the Three Powers Square, which houses the Presidential Palace, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Other important buildings include the Brasilia Cathedral with its glass roof that resembles hands reaching up to heaven.

Copacabana: Downtown Rio's most fashionable and famous section follows Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and is bordered all along one side by four kilometers of white sand and breaking surf. The beach is separated from the buildings and traffic by a broad promenade paved in black and white mosaic in an undulating pattern reminiscent of streets in Lisbon, Portugal. The beach is a popular playground filled with sun-worshipers, swimmers, and kids building sand castles whenever the weather is fine. Stroll the streets here to find restaurants, smart shops, cafés, and beautiful old buildings from the days when Rio was Brazil's capital.

Pelourinho: The historic center of the city of Salvador in Bahia State, Pelourinho’s photogenic streets feature brightly colored buildings, many with stucco facades. The colonial city is a convergence of European, African and indigenous cultures.

Amazon Rain Forests: About 20 kilometers southeast of Manaus, the dark Rio Negro waters meet the light muddy water of the Rio Solimões, flowing side by side for about six kilometers before mixing as the Amazon. Boat trips from Manaus take you to this point, called Encontro das Aguas, meeting of the waters. Other boat trips take you into the heart of the rain forests and the network of rivers, channels, and lakes formed by the three rivers. In the Rio Negro, the Anavilhanas Islands form an archipelago with lakes, streams, and flooded forests that offer a full cross-section of the Amazonian ecosystem. You can see monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, caimans, turtles, and other wildlife on a boat trip here.

Iguaçu Falls: This waterfall is made up of more than 270 smaller individual waterfalls, most of which, including Devil’s Throat, are on the Argentina side. From the tourist walkways on the Brazilian side, in Brazil’s Iguazu National Park, you get fantastic, though not entirely spray-free panoramic views.

Gruta do Lago Azul: The ‘Blue Lake Grotto’ is part of one of the world’s largest flooded cavities. Its blue waters extend more than 200 feet deep. The mysterious source of the lake is believed to be an underground river that has yet to be located. The grotto is rich with prehistoric bones, including saber-tooth tigers and giant sloths.

Pernambuco Beaches: The crystal waters, tall palm trees, and broad stretches of silver sand are only a few of the reasons why Porto de Galinhas is frequently cited as Brazil's best beach. The town stretching along the beach is laidback, colorful, and just the right blend of old-fashioned beach town fun and chic boutiques. Its hotels and resorts lie close to the land instead of soaring in high-rise blocks.

Jangadas, picturesque sailboats, will take you out to reef-top pools where brilliant tropical fish swim around your feet in ankle-deep water. You can also take a boat to a lagoon where tiny seahorses swim, and you can scuba dive to explore impressive coral reefs or shipwrecks, kayak in the lagoons and estuary, or buy a fanciful kite from a beach kiosk to fly in the steady breeze.

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro: Few shows match Rio's pre-Lenten Carnaval (Carnival) extravaganza for color, sound, action, and exuberance. This is not just another rowdy street party, but a carefully staged showpiece, where spectators can watch the parades of competing samba dancers from a purpose-built stadium designed by none other than Brazil's best-known architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Called the Sambódromo, this long series of grandstand boxes provides ringside seats to a 700-meter parade route where dancers and musicians from the competing samba schools strut their stuff in a dazzling explosion of brilliant costumes.

Cristo Redentor: With arms outstretched 28 meters, as if to encompass all of humanity, the colossal Art Deco statue of Christ, called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), gazes out over Rio de Janeiro and the bay from the summit of Corcovado. The 709-meter height on which it stands is part of the Tijuca National Park, and a rack railway climbs 3.5 kilometers to its top, where a broad plaza surrounds the statue. Completed in 1931, the 30-meter statue was the work of Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, and is constructed of reinforced concrete and soapstone. The eight-meter base encloses a chapel that is popular for weddings.
 
Oscar Niemeyer Museum: Oscar Neimeyer was 95 years old when he completed the Museum of the Eye. The museum focuses on art, architecture and design. Popularly known as ‘The Eye,’ the tower has four floors of exhibition space.
 
 
 
Cuisine: Brazilian cuisine has European, African and Amerindian influences.  It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences. When in Brazil, try their Moqueca, a fish stew that is served with theatrical flourish as the piping hot clay pot is uncovered at the table amidst clouds of fragrant steam.
 
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