Brazil is a country of contrast, from the busy streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the unique, fragile beauty of the Amazon Rainforest.
Our top picks on where to go on your trip across Brazil include:
Ilha Grande: If you're looking for escapism then Ilha Grande should be top of your list. This tropical island has no cars or ATMs so don't expect 21st Century convenience, but what it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in pristine beaches and untouched rainforests. The island’s Lopes Mendes beach, a secluded cove of turquoise waters, has deservedly won a place on many a ‘world’s best beaches’ poll. Miles of jungle trails snake around Ilha Grande promising the opportunity for hours of exploration if your legs are up to the challenge. The island’s chequered history is also worth investigating; visit the Museu do Carcere at the site of the former penal reform centre to discover the Ilha Grande’s not so tourist friendly past!
Bahia: Sitting in the centre of Brazil’s east coast, Salvador da Bahia was Brazil’s capital city from 1549 to 1763 and is now the capital of the Bahia region. Salvador’s historic centre has been given Unesco world heritage status and remains a well preserved colonial jewel, with pastel painted buildings and renaissance churches lining its stone streets. The African heritage of many of the city’s residents is well preserved through religion, food, music and dance (the city is a hotspot for the dance and martial arts hybrid Capoeira). Porto da Barra, a long stretch of sandy beach lined by historic fortresses, is a popular meeting point for locals on the edge of the city. Outside of Salvador, the beautiful beaches in the wider Bahia region are worth a visit for secluded sunbathing. It is well worth venturing further in land to visit the Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, a showcase of breath-taking vistas over the Sincora mountain range.
The Amazon: Over half of the colossal amazon rainforest is located in Brazil. Housing a population of over 5000 different animal species, the Amazon is one of the world’s most diverse eco systems as well as being one of the most beautiful. The easiest way to explore the rainforest is via boat, with the city of Manaus – the gateway to the Amazon River – the best place to find a river boat tour into the heart of the jungle for any budget or timescale. Most tour operators will give the option to sleep on the riverboat itself or, if you are feeling adventurous, leave the boat behind and make a jungle lodge your home for a few nights. Follow your tour guide into the vegetation to hike amongst the native animals; alternatively, canoe down the river alongside pink river dolphins to view the wildlife from the water.
Iguaçu Falls: Another of Brazil’s world heritage sites, Iguaçu Falls is a must visit for anyone in search of natural spectacle. Marking the line between Brazil and neighbouring Argentina, Iguaçu is an ever-popular tourist spot for those on both sides of the border. The falls consist of 275 individual drops, which throw large clouds of spray onto the surrounding forests. This spray creates a humid microclimate, the perfect home for a range of rare and endangered plant species. Take a full day to explore the falls and the extensive Iguaçu National Park, where you can follow one of the many hiking trails to search for capuchin monkeys, giant otters and soaring vultures. For added adrenalin, take a helicopter ride over the falls and experience a true bird’s eye view of the remarkable gorge.
Remember that before you set off to Brazil, get your travel insurance policy to cover you for any unforeseen problems that you may encounter during your trip.
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