The fifth largest country in the world, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to Brazil. But don’t let that put you off from visiting! What with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics both calling Brazil home, there’s never been a better time than now to visit South America’s biggest jewel.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find when you get there, as defined by Brazil’s five official regions.
North Brazil | Amazonian kingdom
The northern reaches of Brazil form some of the country’s most mysterious and unexplored areas. It’s here that you’ll find giant swathes of the infamous Amazon rainforest, sprawling majestically for thousands of miles across the land.
Be sure to take a trip to the colonial city of Manaus, the last vestige of civilisation before the gateway to the Amazon basin – and of course, no visit to Brazil can be complete without setting foot inside the world’s most famous eco-style metropolis that you’ll discover there. Image source
North East Brazil | Colonial delight
Boasting the country’s most beautiful coastline and its sunniest weather, you’d be forgiven for wondering why the north east of Brazil isn’t more popular with the outside world. Still managing to be the country’s best kept secret, it’s here that the first European settlements sprung up all those centuries ago. The ensuing slave trade means that this is a region rich in African influence and colonial architecture, with vibrant cities such as Salvador still going strong.
The north east is where you’ll find native Brazilians enjoying their summer holidays away from the tourist crowds, although it should be noted that this is still one of the country’s poorest areas. Image source
Central West Brazil | Tropical wonder
The central west region of Brazil is the country’s only landlocked area. Inside, you’ll find the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands that are home to vast areas of sublime floodlands and swarms of aquatic life. Also calling the central west its home, the Cerrado is Brazil’s tropical savannah, a hilly eco region that acts as an impressive rival to the Amazon.
Just as Canberra lives in the shadow of the ever-glamorous Sydney, central west Brazil is home to the country’s little known capital city of Brasilia. Built from scratch in 1956, it holds little interest for tourists but is an important transport and financial hub for the country. Image source
South East Brazil | Cosmopolitan soiree
Undeniably the cosmopolitan heart of Brazil, the south east is home to three of it’s four biggest cities: the infamous Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Today, the south east is the capital of Brazil’s economy thanks to the area’s supremely prosperous gold and diamond mining of the 18th century.
Although São Paulo is Brazil’s biggest and richest city, it’s Rio de Janeiro that’s home to the majority of Brazil’s bucket list essentials. The statue of Christ the Redeemer? Sugarloaf mountain? Ipanema beach? They’re all here. Top off your afternoon by enjoying a caipirinha cocktail on Copacabana beach and you’ll be all set. Image source
South Brazil | European heritage
The south of Brazil boasts one major draw, bringing tourists in from all over the world: the Iguazu falls. One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the entire world, Iguazu spreads across both Brazil and Argentina and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in both countries. In Brazil, the falls are the treasure of the state of Paraná and are accessible from the town of Foz do Iguaçu.
The rest of the southern region of Brazil has an undeniably European influence, as a result of the large Italian and German (and of course, Portuguese) ancestry. In fact – believe it or not – the city of Blumenau is home to one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the world. Image source
Are you ready to discover the delights of Brazil?