Famous for being home to one of the world’s top football teams, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and the remarkable Iguazu Falls, Brazil is an exciting world travel destination. As South America’s largest country, Brazil covers a majority of the continent’s northeastern region and borders all of its countries except for Chile and Ecuador. From the Amazon rainforest in the North to the tropical beaches along the Atlantic, to the Pantanal wetlands and the vibrant metropolises of the Southeast there are plenty of interesting places to visit in Brazil.
Sao Paulo: Located in southeastern Brazil, Sao Paulo is known for its skyscrapers, gastronomy and robust culture scene. It is home to many ethnic groups from all over the globe including the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.
Brasilia: Brasilia’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 creative 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.
Fortaleza: Nice beaches, dynamic shopping and lively culture all make Fortaleza one of Brazil’s popular places to visit. The most popular beach is Praia do Futuro, but other favorites are Iracema, Mucuripe and Meireles. Fortaleza also serves as the jumping-off point for many visitors to truly spectacular beaches, rolling dunes and idyllic fishing villages up and down the Ceará coast.
Paraty: A paradise of tropical forests, waterfalls, emerald sea and coastal mountains, Paraty is a popular tourist attraction located along Brazil’s Green Coast in the Rio de Janeiro state. The heart of Paraty is its historic center with cobbled streets and multicolored colonial houses, many of which now serve as bed-and-breakfast accommodations called pousadas. One of the most popular attractions are the colonial defense forts that still boast original walls and cannons.
Manaus: The capital of the Amazonas state in northwestern Brazil, Manaus is an important tourist destination because it serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest. As a result of the region’s flourishing rubber industry during the early 20th century, Manaus today is one of Brazil’s largest cities, featuring distinguished landmarks like the Amazonas Opera House, and the Rio Negro Palace. Another significant sight is the Meeting of the Waters, which is a natural phenomenon where the two rivers of Negro and Solimões run side by side for more than three miles without fully mixing.
Foz do Iguacu: One of the world’s most stunning natural wonders, Iguazu Falls is a series of magnificent waterfalls located on the Iguazu River, straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina. The falls in and of themselves are a breathtaking spectacle, but their beauty is all the more enhanced by the surrounding lush forest teeming in exotic wildlife.
Rio de Janeiro: There is no destination on earth more animated and exciting than Rio de Janeiro. It is the most visited city of South America due to its famous mountains, landmarks, beaches and Carnival festival. Rio de Janeiro is situated on one of the world’s largest harbors surrounded by natural attractions that include the Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountains and famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema. The city’s iconic landmark is the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain. Carnival celebrations here are among the largest in the world, with vibrant parades, costumes, dancing, music, fireworks and street parties.
Try Brazil’s best cuisine
Aside from the thousands of miles of coastline and epic countryside, the hearty cuisine will have you in raptures. Here are some essential Brazilian dishes you should sample on your visit.
Brigadeiros: Brazil’s answer to the chocolate truffle, the sweet balls are made by simmering condensed milk with cocoa powder, then whisking in butter and shaping the mix into balls before rolling in chocolate sprinkles. Guaranteed to give an instant sugar high, they are cloyingly sweet for some palates.
Pão de queijo: This moreish snack is enjoyed as much at breakfast as it is at any time of the day or night. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, the gluten-free breads are made with tapioca flour, eggs and grated queijo Minas (a cow’s milk cheese from the state of Minas Gerais), rolled into small balls. For a naughty twist, you sometimes find pão de queijo in fist-sized rolls – or even the size of a cake – stuffed with anything from yet more cheese or cream cheese to various meaty fillings.
Acarajé: One of the most calorie-laden street snacks you will have the good fortune to try, acarajé is a deep-fried patty of crushed black-eyed peas, palm oil and pureed onions, deep fried in yet more palm oil and then sliced open and stuffed with dried shrimp and vatapá – a rich and spicy puree of prawns, bread, cashew nuts and other ingredients. Originating in Bahia, in Brazil’s North-East, where the flavors have strong roots in African cooking, acarajé is at its best when made on the spot, served piping hot from the vat of oil, with a liberal dash of chilli sauce.
Quindim: A glossy yellow sweet made with nothing more than eggs, sugar and coconut (with butter a common addition). Baked in cupcake-sized moulds, the bottom is toasted and golden, dense with grated coconut, while the top is a smooth, firm custard that sticks pleasingly to the roof of the mouth. The recipe itself was inspired by the Portuguese love affair with egg yolks in sweets and pastries.