Best things to see and do
Due to the huge size and the extreme diversity of this beautiful country it's nearly impossible to be called an expert on Brazil. Without doubt the main attractions are the endless tropical coastline with amazing islands and beaches, the world famous cities, the world's biggest tropical rainforest, the exotic wildlife and, of course, its history and culture. In the following I will list some places I can definitely recommend.
• Rio de Janeiro: With its incredibly beautiful setting Rio de Janeiro is one of my favourite cities in the world. For detailed information check out my insider tips below.
• Northeast Coast: There are many beautiful places along the Brazilian coast (for example the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia or Florianopolis in the state of Santa Catarina). However as a result of personal experience I recommend visiting the coastal stretch between the cities of Sao Luis and Fortaleza on the northeast coast. Sao Luis is reachable by domestic flights from many cities in Brazil and offers a nice combination of colonial heritage and Afro-Brazilian culture. From here you can take a public bus to the town of Barreirinhas - a gateway to the stunning Lencois Maranhenses National Park. It’s a picturesque piece of land covered with sand dunes and freshwater lagoons. From here I hired a private 4wd ride to the remote backpacker village of Jericoacoara as there is no paved road linking these two places directly. Jericoacoara offers party, surfing, a chilled atmosphere, great sunsets and buggy tours to the incredibly beautiful Lagoa Azul and Lagoa do Paraiso which I highly recommend! Check out the photos and video for some impressions. Fortaleza is best known for its nightlife and beach scene.
• Iguazú Falls: These spectacular waterfalls at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay are an unforgettable experience. There are 275 individual falls, some up to 80m high and covering an area more than three km wide - it's wider than the Victoria Falls, higher than the Niagara Falls and, many people say, more beautiful than both. You can easily get there by domestic flights.
• The Amazon: About three million km2 of rainforest are covering the northwest of Brazil where the mighty Amazon River winds its way from the Andes all the way eastwards to the Atlantic Ocean. This region contains by far the largest untouched tropical rainforest in the world and is well worth a visit. All sorts of tours and trips – from one day to a few weeks, from budget to luxury – can be arranged in Manaus; with its population of two million, Amazon's largest city and easily accessible by domestic flights. Tip: To avoid black marketers selling you miserable tours, check out websites like TripAdvisor or recommendations given in guidebooks to find a professional and responsibly acting operator.
• The Pantanal: This region bordering with Bolivia and Paraguay is Brazil's top destination for wildlife viewing. This huge wetland area has a much less dense vegetation than the Amazon rainforest which makes wildlife sightings much easier. With a bit of luck you can expect to see jaguars, caimans, capybaras, tapirs, anacondas, giant river otters and many more. Tours can easily be arranged in the nearby cities of Cuiaba (to the north) and Campo Grande (to the south).
10.02.2017 - Chris
Insider Tips for
Rio de Janeiro
10.02.2017 - Chris
The Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is surrounded by forest-covered mountains and beautiful golden beaches. At latest since the FIFA World Cup in 2014 or the Olympic Games in 2016 you can imagine what I am talking about. If you get the time (especially during the drier months between March and November) you should definitely visit this place and forget about your busy everyday life. If you want to see the world famous Carnival you need to go there at the end of February. But please note that the history of Rio with its 7 million inhabitants has also led to a city characterized by striking social segregation. There are many poor people living in favelas, informal settlements, all over the city. In the past many favelas became known for gang warfare and drug-related crime. During the last years, not least because of the big sports events, the police has a permanent presence in most of the favelas in the city center and close to the tourist areas. As a result many favelas are now “pacified” and not dangerous anymore to visit during daytime. The people I met in the favelas were all friendly and welcoming. Nevertheless, avoid to walk around alone at night and always watch your personal belongings because criminals from other parts of the city might roam your area.
Here is a list of my personal Rio de Janeiro highlights: