When you think of Brazil, you may think of entertainment, nightlife, wild festivals, sunny beaches, rainforests, and lots of religious statues! You’re not far off, but don’t just get caught up in the major tourist attractions, when you can get off the beaten track to so many other places in this amazing country!
Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and the currency is the ‘Real’. Food, accommodation and drink prices range from cheap to expensive, but you have the freedom to decide which way you want to do it when you travel through Brazil.
Watch out for the hawkers and the hard-sells when you’re trying to relax and enjoy yourself in these places, be respectful of the locals, who can get kind of annoyed with stupid tourists, and get streetwise with keeping yourself and your cash safe, make sure you’ve got places to stay and trusted people around you, and you’ll have one of the best times of your life!
Places to see and things to do in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
Visit Ipanema, the beachside town made famous in a song. Beautiful surf and sand, and beautiful people, can be found along the main strip, especially on weekends when the place is lively and bustling with crowds. There’s also Copacabana, another famous beach made more famous in a song. You’ve got to check out the spectacular ‘Christ the Redeemer’ monument at Corcavado, sitting high on the top of the mountain, looking out over the city. Of course there’s the Carnaval each year when the whole city breaks out into a month-long party.You can’t go past Lapa, an inner neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, for some of the tastiest food and best Brazilian music around. This place has become a really popular dig for locals and tourists alike over the past few years, with an artsy and intellectual crowd hanging out at cafes by day, as well as some great architecture, history and scenery, and it’s where all the action is at night, with some great restaurants, bars and clubs.
Salvador da Bahia
This city was the historical capital of Brazil once upon a time, and is one of the oldest and largest cities in Brazil. Salvador da Bahia has its own ‘Carnaval’ which is the biggest street party in the world, bigger than Rio de Janeiro’s! You’ll need to book a long time ahead, and save your cash hard, otherwise you’ll rock up there only to find you’re out of a place to stay, food to eat and soothing adult beverages to quench your thirst!
The famous South American Capoeira dance has its roots here in the African culture, and this city is a hot-spot for some of the best music, dance and art in the world. You’ll find night clubs burning it up on the dance floor any night of the week with Latino moves and the funkiest music!
If you’re into your history and architecture, this city boasts many UNESCO heritage-listed buildings and monuments, with colonial and modern architecture alongside each other, making for an interesting cruise down the local streets. You’ll discover some beautiful beaches here which are less populated than in Rio de Janeiro.
This place has got to be the Brazilian mecca for surfing beaches, and boasts some of the best breaks in the world, but there are also calmer beaches with warmer waters and soft sand to get your feet into and lay your body in, with sunny spots for lazing around like lizards in all day long. When darkness hits, the nightlife wakes up, with beachside parties, clubs, restaurants and bars kicking on into the wee hours of the morning.
You’ll find lots of like-minded travellers in these parts, so you’ll be in good company and up for a good time! Recover during the day by taking a boat ride across to one of the islands, go on a fishing trip, visit the Florianopolis local markets for a fantastic bargain shopping experience, or have some fun at the Agua Show Amusement Park.
This is the largest South American city and the third largest in the world. It has so many different cultures in the melting pot that you will find endless varieties of local and international cuisine, so this is the place to go for all you foodies! This is also the place to go to for city sight-seeing, shopping, busy beaches, museums and shows, if you like love the cosmopolitan lifestyle!
This is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, bigger than Niagara, with canyons rivalling the Grand, and the most incredible flora and fauna living in this ecological wonder. It attracts lots of tourists each year and there are many tour operators willing to guide you around to some other lesser-known landmarks at a reasonable cost which you can sometimes haggle for. There are places to stay and places to eat and drink after an active day out, but it’s all about the falls!
This is where you visit to begin your ride along the Amazon River into one of the most mysterious and ancient forests in the world. When you hit Manaus, it feels like you’ve reached an oasis town in the middle of the jungle, and it’s kind of bizarre. You’ll find real natives of the country here, still steeped in old culture and language, and it’s bizarre, but fascinating! Make sure you jump on a tour from here to experience the Amazon. Don’t attempt it by yourself, and stock up in town before you leave.