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Brazil

Brazil is a land of contrasts. Here you will find great wealth and grinding poverty, beautiful beaches and filthy waterways fouled by industrial pollution, honest, open people and some of the most crooked politicians in Latin America. In a country where many of the national heroes are of African heritage – entertainers such as Gilberto Gil or soccer players such as Péle or Ronaldinho – racism is still a huge social problem. The favelas, or slums, of Rio and São Paulo are among the most dangerous in the world. It is as rich in natural resources as any country in the world, yet it cannot seem to escape its status as an underdeveloped nation. “Brazil is the country of tomorrow,” an Argentine friend of mine once told me. “And it always will be.”

Brazil’s struggles should not prevent you from visiting and seeing its natural wonders. Best of all, perhaps, are the Brazilians themselves, who are nearly always friendly, cheerful and eager to share their country, which they all love dearly, with foreign visitors.

Its landmass is vast, similar to that of the entire United States if you don’t include Alaska, making it the fifth-largest country in the world. However, over two-thirds of its 181 million people live in the cities along the coast, including Sao Paulo, now the world’s second most populous city. Brazil is one of Latin America’s biggest tourist draws. The attraction is easy to understand: Brazil has everything... literally.


History? Brazil has a long colonial history, was attacked by pirates, and was even the seat of the Portuguese royal court for fifteen years.

Beaches? Copacabana and Ipanema are two of the world’s most famous, and there are thousands more that are less well-known but just as beautiful.

Nightlife? Brazil’s carnival has become synonymous with fun and dancing, and even though it is only one week per year, the carnival spirit is a constant: every city in Brazil has fun clubs and bars.

Nature? The waterfall at IguazĂş is one of the largest in the world. Most of the Amazon River is within the country of Brazil, and the Pantanal region is host to hundreds of species of birds and animals.

Chances are, if you like to travel, for whatever reason – bird watching, eating, beaches, partying, fishing, photography – Brazil has something to offer.

Brazilians generally think of their country as being divided up into five regions, each of which has its own character, history, cuisine and nature.

The Northeast region is known for having the earliest Portuguese settlements at Olinda and Salvador. Salvador was a center of the slave trade during the colonial era, and today is home to many Afro-Brazilians, which gives the region a unique, lively flavor.

The Northern Region consists of the Amazon River states: each of the seven large states in this region contains part of the Amazon River system. It is known for adventure travel and bird watching.

The Central-Western Region is home to the capital city of Brasilia, itself a UNESCO World heritage site due to its avant-garde architecture. It is also where you will find the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland and home to hundreds of species of wildlife including crocodiles and anacondas.

The Southeastern Region is more urban. Settled as much by Italians and Japanese as by the Portuguese, the huge cities of Rio de Janeiro and SĂŁo Paulo are modern, cosmopolitan cities that have much more to offer than just parties during carnival and nice beaches.

The Southern Region, which was also populated by diverse European and Eastern cultures, is home to the Iguazu waterfalls, one of the largest in the world. It is also where you will find the city of Blumenau, where they have the best Oktoberfest outside of Germany.

Of course, Brazil is most famous for carnival. Every year, Brazilians lose all semblance of sanity and take to the streets. Rio’s carnival is the most famous, but it is not the only one worthy of a visit in Brazil.

SCUBA Divers will not want to miss diving in Salvador.
The Bay of All Saints is home to more than 100 shipwrecks and numerous marine species.







By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
22 Jun 2011

The Top Things to See and Do in Brazil

Calle La Ronda

116012Parting from Calle Benalcázar, the downhill walk along Calle La Ronda is a short journey through a very significant representation of colonial life in Quito. The term ronda refers to a small ...
Cultural Tour
Centro HistĂłrico, Quito, Ecuador

Museo de Arte Latino de Buenos Aires (MALBA)

117010 Established in 1995 with the mission to collect, conserve, study and present the art of the region, MALBA has become one of Buenos Aires' most popular and important museums. This is a great ...
Museum
Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Inca Trail

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Hiking, Major Attraction, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Evita Museum

129260Eva “Evita” Duarte Perón, one of the most important women in Argentina’s history and forever immortalized on stage and in film, has her own museum in Buenos Aires—Museo Evita. Built by the ...
Museum
Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cerro San Cristobal Funicular

126183On a clear day, the view from the top of Cerro San CristĂłbal is spectacular, providing the best view in the city of the stunning contrast between Santiago and its surrounding mountains. The hill is ...
City Park
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Trekking in Torres del Paine

117438Featuring spectacular milky lakes and breathtaking mountaintop views, Torres del Paine National Park is Chile's and possibly South America's most famous park. Since it was declared an official ...
Other Activity
Chile

TelefériQo

102675Quito’s best-known tourist attraction offers some of the most spectacular and most easily accessible views of the city. There are 18 gondolas that soar up the side of Quito\'s western mountain ...
Hiking, City Park
Northern Quito, Quito, Ecuador

Otavalo's Markets

101624The Otavaleños have been long renowned for their weaving skills, and over the last few decades have become the most successful indigenous group on the continent, thanks to the popularity of their ...
Market, Info.
Otavalo, Ecuador

Perito Moreno Glacier

103787The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in the southwestern part of Santa Cruz province, Argentina. When it snows high in the Patagonian Andes, the snow and ice does not ...
Boating, Trekking, Hiking, National Park
El Calafate, Argentina

Museo Oro del PerĂş / Gold Museum

The Museo Oro del Perú, considered one of Lima’s premier attractions, houses the private collection of Miguel Mujica Gallo, who spent years amassing it, often by purchasing relics from grave ...
Museum
Lima, Peru

Museo Nacional de ArqueologĂ­a / National Archaeology Museum

The Museo Nacional de ArqueologĂ­a, AntropologĂ­a e Historia del PerĂş is a must-see for history buffs. Like the Museo de la NaciĂłn, it provides an overview of the history of the region, mostly ...
Museum
Pueblo Libre, Lima, Peru

Check Out Brazil's Top Rated Hotels

Miramelindo

121932Walking through the doors of Miramelindo is like walking into the colorful otherworldly scene of a Gonzalo Endara Crow painting. The hotel itself is a life-size work of art. It\'s truly a surprise to ...
Hotel
Around Baños, Baños, Ecuador

Hacienda Pinsaqui

Located between the market towns of Otavalo, Cotacachi and San Antonio de Ibarra, Pinsaqui is the perfect place to come to to visit the markets while enjoying the comfort of one of the most beautiful ...
Hotel
Around Otavalo, Otavalo, Ecuador

HosterĂ­a Izhcayluma

HosterĂ­a Izhcayluma is situated on a hill approximately two kilometers (1.2 mi) outside of Vilcabamba, and enjoys spectacular vistas of the village and surrounding countryside. Guests are housed in ...
Hotel
Vilcabamba, Ecuador

El Monte Sustainable Lodge

The most ecologically friendly hotel in this incredibly environmentally conscious town, El Monte is a comfortable, full-service lodge with spectacular views. It\'s set on a 44-hectare (109-ac) ...
Hotel
Mindo, Ecuador

Hotel Libertador

The Libertador hotel chain is one of Peru\'s most prestigious and luxurious, and the Hotel Libertador Puno is no exception. The hotel is located on Lake Titicaca, on Estéves Island, not far from ...
Hotel
Puno, Peru

Hostal Santa MarĂ­a

108535Located a half block from the Catedral on the Plaza de Armas, amongst churches and Inca walls, Hostal Santa Maria is in a privileged location. Particularly pleasant is the second floor dining room ...
Hotel
Cusco, Peru

Casa de Felipe

Literally built by hand, Casa de Felipe is a work of many years of love. Felipe has created a most spectacularly comfortable space for the budget traveler with the amenities we need, including ...
Hostel
Taganga, Colombia

Finca El Maco

René has created the wonderful ecological Finca El Maco for those budget travelers who want to stay in fresh country air, eat excellent pizza and relax while checking out all that San Agustín has ...
Hostel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Posada de San Antonio

Located in a beautifully restored colonial mansion in the antique barrio of San Antonio, this posada’s familiar style and relaxed ambiance have made it a favorite with those wishing to stay in an ...
Hostel
Cali, Colombia

La Casa Amarilla

Way overdue, there is finally a budget option for travelers in MompĂłs. La Casa Amarilla is a large, renovated colonial mansion with views over the Magdalena River. The kioscos are in a great place, ...
Hostel
MompĂłs, Colombia

Macondo Guesthouse

Macondo Guesthouse has become the place to stay in San Gil. Australian-born Shaun opens his doors of this colonial house just a few blocks from Parque La Libertad to backpackers and other travelers. ...
Guesthouse
San Gil, Colombia
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