Brazil - wild experiences in a wildly fat travel country is written by Martin Bøgild.
Samba, carnival, caipirinha and football - the colorful culture of the world's 5th largest country tells the story of partying, happy days and welcoming locals. And especially the latter you get to feel from the first move in Brazil - the country that like the song The Girl from Ipanema has a special ability to captivate and steal the hearts of visitors.
In addition to the culture and it hospitable population, you get green-clad mountain ranges, lush rainforests, chalk-white sandy beaches, paradise islands, stunning waterfalls and a rich wildlife. Flora and fauna are no more diverse than here.
We give you an overview of Brazil's opportunities here, so you can get the best out of your trip to the huge country.
Weather, climate and events - when to visit Brazil?
There are several things to consider when choosing a departure time for Brazil. The weather is one of them, of course, and due to the size of the country, it is not an entirely easy task. Most of the country is south of the equator, and therefore it is coldest to the south, but even though Brazilians sometimes complain, their response to winter is usually quite mild when coming from Scandinavia.
Along the coast, the weather is almost always good, and perhaps that is why the majority of Brazil's population lives here, where many of the country's most visited cities are also located. The equator runs through northern Brazil, and there will never be winter here. To the north, pay attention instead to the rainy season, which varies from area to area.
In addition to the weather and your own calendar, Brazil also hosts a number of events that you should consider when deciding on a departure time. Karneval is of course the most famous. The whole country is celebrating the event, which is an official holiday. Most tourists choose to experience the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but as it runs over 5 days, there is the opportunity to experience the different traditions from region to region.
New Year's Eve is also quite special in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, about two million white-clad people gather on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to celebrate the New Year. It is extremely festive with live concerts, samba dancers and magnificent fireworks.
Rio de Janeiro
There are many exciting million cities in Brazil, and therefore this overview only comes around a fraction. You can not get around the country's probably most famous city, Rio de Janeiro. The city has it all, and if it is to be described in one word, it must be contrasting. The diversity is striking. Here are green-clad mountains, skyscrapers and beach. Here are rich people who live in abundance, and poor people who live in huge slums. And here are party and happy days but unfortunately also war between drug gangs.
The city has some of the world's most famous sights: the large statue of Christ, the beaches Copacabana and Ipanema and the characteristic cliff called the Sugar Loaf with a view over the beautiful city. Here, too, there is no shortage of cultural experiences. In addition to carnival, there are small and large festivals all year round, and every day you can find samba concerts with local musicians.
Sao Paulo is the country's largest city and economic powerhouse. Compared to Rio de Janeiro, the city is visited primarily for business purposes, but here is also something for the tourists. There are no major famous sights here, but the metropolitan atmosphere is intense, which is why Sao Paulo is also called South America's New York. The atmosphere is best captured by strolling through the city, observing and meeting the locals, visiting the cultural centers, art galleries and going out and feeling the vibrant nightlife.
If you are historically interested, Salvador has a lot to offer. Here you will find the largest collection of architecture from colonial times in Latin America. It feels like a journey back in time when you walk between the picturesque, pastel-colored colonial buildings and on the cobbled squares where the slave trade took place. The town is also surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches, so the historic sightseeing can be combined with relaxing days on the beach.
Eastern Brazil has many scenic areas, which is worth a visit. Here you will find, among other things, the magnificent Iguazu Falls, which extends over 2,7 kilometers. The waterfalls are on the border of Argentina, and you should set aside two days so you can experience them from both the Brazilian and the Argentine side. The Brazilian side has the best panoramic views, while the Argentine is more dramatic and wild.
Further north you will find Campo Grande, from where you can take the bus to Bonito. Here are a number of great nature experiences on a manageable scale. For example, it is recommended to take a snorkeling trip Nascente Azul - the blue source.
A trip to Blue Lagoon Grotto can also be recommended. It is a large cave with an azure lake at the bottom. Again a trip to the north you will find the Pantanal, which is the place in Brazil where there is the greatest chance to see a wide selection of the country's exotic animals. Pantanal is a huge wetland the size of England and besides the animals, nature is also exceptionally fascinating.
Amazonas is by length the world's largest rainforest and river system. The area covers over half of Brazil, and is home to eight of the world's 20 longest rivers and a fifth of all fresh water. With its size and mythical status, here is a lot to pick up, for all those with an adventurer tucked in their stomach.
There are several ways to experience the Amazon, but most choose to either sail between the few towns located along the banks of the rivers, or spend the night in one of the set up camps, of which there are several. For the brave, it is also possible to go on a survival trip with a guide, where you camp and find, catch and prepare your food.
Most people start their Amazon adventure in Manaus, which is a million city in the middle of the rainforest. You can only get there by boat or plane, and it gives a very special feeling to be so cut off from the road network and the outside world. It is not necessary to book your trip in advance. There is money to be saved by booking in Manaus and the tourist offices are everywhere. The city itself is worth a visit as it has its very own culture and holds a remarkable diversity.
The islands and resorts of Brazil
Brazil's coastal cities all have one or more holiday towns and islands within reach and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that opportunity because there are many gems in between.
About 150 kilometers east of Rio de Janeiro is Buzios - a resort town where the affluent come and party during their weekends and holidays. The prices are expensive by Brazilian standards and the atmosphere is a bit fancy.
If you instead take 100 kilometers to the southwest, you will come to Ilha Grande - a paradise holiday island, where there is the opportunity to party, relax and explore the beautiful nature. The island is also just 200 kilometers from Sao Paulo and there are good bus links.
You can also choose to take in the mountainous area around Visconde de Maua 200 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro. Here the atmosphere is idyllic and reminiscent of an exotic variety of an Austrian mountain village, and here come many locals.
Off the coast of beautiful Salvador you will find the holiday island of Morro de Sao Paulo. The island has a beautiful, tropical nature and offers everything you associate with holidays: idyllic beaches, blue sea water, good food and festive bars. You can also go on a boat trip to see whales, and if you are lucky, you will experience one of the humpback whales, which is in transit.
The opportunities in Brazil are many - so you can experience both carnival and crocodiles on your journey.
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