Best bits of Brazil

Best bits of Brazil

1 . Paraty

Paraty is a gorgeous Portuguese colonial town set against a pristine backdrop of jungle and mountains topped with whippedcream clouds. Although it is flourishing as a tourist destination, it is not yet overcrowded.
You can mooch along, take in the sights and then zip off to Ilha Grande, a lush island that has no roads only walking paths through the jungle. A lot of tour operators do trips to Paraty, Ilha Grande and the surrounding islands its a great way to experience the Costa Verde, which is the spectacular velvety green stretch between Rio de Janeiro and S?o Paulo.

2 . Florian Polis

Isnt it pretty? Your toes will delight in digging into the sugary soft, white sand on the shore, which sits between the green mountains and an aquamarine sea. Most of the people who come here are urban Brazilians looking to escape winter (such as supermodel Gisele B?ndchen), so you can choose between sunbathing on the beautiful coastline during the day, and partying hard at night.

3 . Pantanal

Birdnerd paradise abounds in the Pantanal, one of the largest freshwater wetlands of its kind in the world.?Along with the riot of colour in the air, all sorts of aquatic and landbased beasties live in and around its waters. Jaguars and pumas roam around, as well as crocodiles, caimans and our personal favourite the crabeating fox. During the rainy season, about 80% of the plains are underwater, which allows all sorts of flora and fauna to flourish.

4 . Braslia

Most people assume that either Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil. In fact, it is the futuristiclooking Bras?lia. Oscar Niemeyer is responsible for a lot of the angular architecture and unusual silhouettes dotting the landscape the cathedral, pictured, is one such example. It has the honour of being the only city built in the 20th century that has Unesco world heritage site status.
People who dont like the mess and chaos associated with cities will love this place it really does resemble the clean, orderly scifi utopias were used to seeing in Hollywood films.

5 . Caves and rivers of Bonito

Scarily beautiful, luminescent waters can be found in the pools of Bonito, a city which is surrounded by natural conservation areas. What causes the startling colour? Bedrocks of calcium in the region result in the crystalclear water found in its waterfalls, springs and lagoons and caverns with deep blue lakes and rivers.

6 . Igua u Falls

One of the most soulquietening natural wonders of the world, Igua?u Falls is made up of 275 separate waterfalls with an average drop of 60 metres, and is best visited in the morning. Lots of people cluster around the Garganta do Diabo (the Devils Gorge), which has the highest drop.

7 . Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha is a small volcanic island, in an archipelago of the same name, 350km off the coast of Brazil, on the eastern edge of the midAtlantic ridge. Scuba divers and snorkellers will be rewarded with one of the best underwater views to be found anywhere. The surrounding waters are a veritable fish tank, offering visibility levels of up to 50 metres and being home to stingrays, sharks and moray eels, among others.
Thousands of tropical fish turn the water neonbright below your floating form. The area also provides important nesting grounds for turtles and marine birds both the island itself and the seas around it are a marine park.

8 . Christ the Redeemer

The silhouette of Christ the Redeemer perched on top of Corcovado mountain (the Portuguese word for hunchback) is such an iconic symbol of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, that taking the train up to the top is perfect bucketlist fodder. Especially since the great momument emerged, in 2010, from all the scaffolding that had kept it from sight while it was being spruced up.
At 40 metres, it is considered to be the fifth largest statue of Jesus in the world.

9 . Ipanema

Ipanema is considered enough of a big attraction to warrant its own separate mention partly thanks to The Girl From Ipanema song which has been covered endlessly over the decades and partly because it is one of the most expensive stretches in Rio de Janeiro. The latter fact doesnt mean it only draws an elite crowd, however. With the city skyline soaring in the background and mountains cradling the city beyond, it is a special spot for anyone to enjoy a beer or a caipirinha and watch the beautiful people go by.

10 . Carnival

Most of us know that Rios fiesta is the daddy of all carnivals around the world. It is a huge spectacle that takes place 46 days before Easter. Celebrations range from magnificent, slick affairs by samba schools to smaller street parties, and the number of people that attend can swell to five million.

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