Brazil is one of the most attractive tourist destinations on the South American continent. Luxury beaches with the purest golden sand and clear ocean water, the impenetrable wilds of the mysterious Amazon, the roar of waterfalls, the world-famous Brazilian Carnival – this set of wonders can hardly boast any other country. And if you add to this list the delicate aroma of local coffee and imagine a passionate Brazilian woman singing samba, it becomes clear why millions of visitors from all over the world seek to visit these wonderful places every year.
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Brazil is the largest state in South America. The republic occupies about 5.7% of the entire land surface of the planet, and in terms of population it is in the top five in the world. The capital is the city of Brasilia. And although many people associate this country exclusively with the national entertainment – a grand carnival, preceding the Great Lent, the flow of travelers does not dry up all year round.
Brazilian carnival “Let me go, old man”. Fishing in the Amazon Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Amazon Tributaries
Nature lovers in Brazil have the opportunity to see the rain forests of the Amazon, Iguazu Falls, the Pantanal marshland and the dunes in the Northeast region. Fans of a relatively new trend, agritourism, tend to visit plantations where coffee, sugar cane, tobacco and citrus fruits are grown. Both will have a great time on the beaches of Santa Catarina and will be able to visit the “crystal dream of childhood” of the great swindler Ostap Bender – crowded and unique Rio de Janeiro. You will not leave indifferent the original culture and colorful national cuisine, which were formed under the influence of Indian traditions and peculiarities, brought to the new homeland by the natives of Europe and Africa.
Located in the center of South America, Brazil shares borders with all countries of the continent, except Ecuador and Chile. Interesting is the fact that the length of the territory both from north to south and from west to east is almost the same – 4320 km against 4328 km. The length of the coastline is almost 7.5 thousand kilometers. In addition to continental lands, Brazil owns several archipelagos in the South Atlantic.
Coffee plantation from the top Colonial style is present in the architecture of many Brazilian cities The Atlantic coast A street in Sao Paulo
Organized on a federal principle, the state includes 26 states plus the metropolitan area. Each of Brazil’s administrative units has extensive powers in both the legislative and executive spheres. In addition, there is a division into larger territorial units – regions, of which there are five.
Brazilians are a very patriotic nation
190 million Brazilians today speak 175 languages. Yes, yes, that’s the correct figure, and a few centuries ago there were a good hundred more, just imagine! How do the descendants of immigrants and natives communicate with each other? Brazil, for historical reasons, is the only state in both Americas where Portuguese has become the official language: it is spoken in schools, institutions, radio and television. The country’s titular religion is Catholicism. In July 2013, it even hosted a Christian gathering from around the world, and in honor of World Youth Day there was a visit from Pope Francis (incidentally, he himself is from neighboring Argentina).
The national character of the Brazilian can be characterized as follows: sentimentality, warmth of heart, poetry, delicacy. But if you don’t show due respect and attention to your new friend, for example, refuse to sit with him in a restaurant for the only reason that you have an important business meeting, you will lose his friendship. The law on the unconditional abolition of slavery in Brazil was adopted only slightly more than 100 years ago, in 1888. To this day, Brazilians are always ready to be reminded, “This is not a colony!” – demanding to be treated with respect.
The navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discovered these territories in 1500, originally called them the Land of the True Cross, after some time the name was transformed into the Land of the Holy Cross. Much later the modern name Terra do Brasil (Brazil) appeared. Of course, the passage of time makes it impossible to find out exactly what caused the name change, but historians have a hypothesis. On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean were found vast areas of special forests, which began to be actively exported to the metropolis. The material was very similar to the famous redwood, which was brought to the local markets by Arab traders. It was called pau-brasil in Portugal. This wood was used to produce expensive furniture, musical instruments and even paints.
Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral sailing to the shores of Brazil in 1500
The colonizers thought they had succeeded in finding exactly where the merchants were taking such valuable goods. Although the conclusion was erroneous (the brazil actually grows in Southeast Asia), the word became firmly established. Other scholars are inclined to link the emergence of the modern name with the “island of the blessed” Brasil, which is mentioned in Irish mythology and was even inscribed on geographical maps in the Early Middle Ages. This place, believed to be a sanctuary for monks and other men of divine grace, was hidden from prying eyes by a dense fog, but numerous mariners have attempted to discover the mysterious land.
Prince Pedro in São Paulo after the news of Brazil’s independence on September 7, 1822 Brazil in the seventeenth century Rio de Janeiro in 1885
In any case, from the time of its discovery in the Old World until 1822, Brazil was a colony of Portugal, which faithfully supplied the metropolis with valuable timber, coffee, sugar cane and gold. African slaves, whose descendants make up a large part of the population today, were brought here from the outside. Slavery in the then independent republic was abolished only in 1888. At about the same time, a flood of immigrants from Europe poured onto the shores of South America in search of an opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their children on land across the ocean. Significantly, the new arrivals from a particular country tended to settle compactly in one area, and these communities are still quite distinct from one another to this day.
Relief and climate in Brazil
The topography is heterogeneous. Lowlands in the basin of the largest and most full-flowing river on the planet – the Amazon – occupy a large part of northern Brazil. Incidentally, this territory has the status of the largest lowlands in the world and at the same time is considered the least inhabited and developed land by man. South and east of the country are highlands: the vast Brazilian plateau and the Guiana plateau, separated from the main massif by the Amazon channel. The narrow Atlantic Plain, at the junction with the ocean, forms beaches, lagoons and natural harbors.
Amazon jungle The toucan, a bird that is one of South America’s symbols The beach in northern Brazil The hilly terrain in the west
The climate of Brazil can be safely classified as hot. It varies significantly in different regions, since the territory of the state covers several zones: equatorial, semi-arid, subtropical and tropical. Within the latter, there are additionally distinguished tropical, tropical Atlantic and tropical high belt. From January to May temperatures are moderately high (up to 18-20ºС at night and 27-30ºС during the day) and precipitation is frequent (up to 17 rainy days per month). From June till December it becomes hotter (up to +32-34ºC during the day) and the weather is arid. Of course, in the mountainous areas the figures are much lower, frosts are possible closer to the tops, but in general Brazil is favorable to travel at any time of year.
“Carnival is the most Brazilian thing in all of Brazil,” wrote V. Bobrov in his book 1001 Days in Rio de Janeiro. And indeed – crazy fun, riot of colors, extraordinary people, their spectacular clothes, songs and dances enthrall.
Every year at the end of February, the whole of Brazil, captured by the continuous thunder of drums, beating the rhythm of incendiary samba, plunges into the noisiest, brightest and funniest holiday, the grandiose show on the planet – Carnival. Its origins lie in the ritual dances of Black Africa, the pulsating rhythms of which, matching the beats of the heart, were brought to Brazil along with millions of black slaves and slave girls. And now samba enters the bloodstream of all carnival participants and guests for five days, for five days Brazil becomes an African country.
At the epicenter of the Brazilian carnival, Rio de Janeiro and El Salvador, planes carry thousands of tourists from the United States, Argentina and European countries every day. El Salvador usually hosts 600,000-700,000 foreigners; Rio hosts about a million. The hotels are overcrowded, in spite of the sky-high prices – places have to be booked in advance.
The colors of the Brazilian carnival Olinda – the starting point of the Brazilian carnival
The carnival usually begins far from Rio de Janeiro, in the town of Olinde, where the oldest dancing school of “virgins” is paraded. These are 250 men dressed in women’s clothing. Their performance goes on non-stop for 10 hours. And yet the main event of the carnival is the Rio samba school parade. “Hike your bean prices, but let me dance samba freely!” the carnival song sings. Shoes with rectangular noses and silver buckles, white stockings, overstuffed trousers, brocade jackets, hats with plumes; ladies in fife skirts, décolleté to the extreme–the royal courts of Europe go to the samba rhythm. And beneath the brocaded gold suits – swarthy bodies, curly dark hair – Africa.
At the same time hundreds of thousands of spectators gather in Manaus and Recife – ritual Indian dances, in Olinda – the traditional parade of huge wax moults, in Ouru-Pretu – “medieval” student festivals. Everywhere there are a huge number of beauty contests, masquerade balls, and costume contests. And it’s all a Brazilian carnival. Five days in which only surgeons and their patients, babies and women in labor remain unaffected by the frenzy of the holiday.
Saimiri, or Squirrel Monkey.
What’s worth seeing in Brazil
Aunt Charlie from the Soviet movie “Hello, I’m Your Aunt!” was clearly sly, remembering Brazil only as a country with lots and lots of wild monkeys. The luxurious nature and the richness of national, cultural and sporting traditions made these places extremely interesting for tourists.
The most popular destinations among visitors include the following:
A cruise on this legendary river will leave a lot of unforgettable impressions. You can get acquainted with the unique flora and fauna of the region, fish a bloodthirsty piranha on bait of raw meat, see the heroine of many chilling horror movies – anaconda, to observe the behavior of bloodthirsty caimans, and night walks with a guide in a canoe will not leave indifferent fans of extreme relaxation. Come to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, and feel like a pioneer pioneer, observing the life and peculiarities of aboriginal life. The virginity of the jungle at the confluence of the Black River (Rio Negro) into the Amazon will remain long in your memory. In Manaus, visit the Palacio Negro, the Indian and Numismatic Museums and the San Sebastian Church. Only here, just a few kilometers from the city, you can observe a unique phenomenon – the confluence of the rivers Rio Negro and Solimoes, whose waters due to differences in density do not mix and for miles flow side by side in two multicolored streams.
Canoeing in the Amazon by Manaus The confluence of the Rio Negro and Solimoes Rivers
Nature lovers simply must visit the Pantanal in Brazil. The tectonic depression, which as a result of constant flooding has turned into a swamp of almost 150 thousand square kilometers, is now a unique natural protected area, the largest area of its kind in the world. Tropical butterflies of incredible size and coloring, rare plant species, unique fauna, and magnificent scenery – all this is the Pantanal.
In late spring, which for Brazil is November, the rainy season arrives, and the entire valley turns into a huge swamp with numerous green islands of solid earth. This peculiarity is the reason for the continued biological activity of the animals that live here. In six months, by about May, the number of fish in the water becomes so considerable that they can be caught with their bare hands. This abundance of food gives impetus to the growth of populations of other animals – anacondas, caimans, jaguars, giant otters feel just fine in this paradise. If you love nature, want to enjoy the silence and take unique photos – be sure to go to the Pantanal. Tourists who come with an exploratory purpose, usually spend in this area about one or two days and stay overnight at one of the hotels in Cuiaba. For a longer stay it is better to arrange accommodation in one of the many huts, the owners of which can also help hire an experienced guide. With his help, you will feel safer traveling through the reserve.
Alligator Catch Fish. View of the Pantanal from the Piranha plane
Lençois is an amazing place right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In Portuguese, the full name of this national park, Lensois Maranensis, translates to “sheets of Maranensis”. Imagine an area of about a thousand square meters, made up entirely of white sand hills up to 40 meters high. The uniqueness of the landscape is complemented by lakes of various shades – from blue to green to turquoise. The unusual combination of sand and water is explained quite simply. Despite the fact that the number of dunes the area can be considered a desert, it regularly rains in these parts. Moisture gradually accumulates between the hills and forms the very picturesque lakes, in which you can even swim. The best time to visit this wonder is in the middle of winter and early spring. For Brazil, this period lasts from July to the end of September. To get to Lençois, you must first drive to San Luis, the administrative center of the state of Maranhão. From there, the trip can be continued by one of the buses that make regular runs from the city bus station. Entrance to Lençois National Park is free, but you have to pay to use sandboards or bicycles. To see the park’s main beauties – the oasis of Kemada dos Brutos and Lake Lagoa Azul – be sure to use a guide. Without a guide, you risk wasting a lot of time and energy, and whether you’ll eventually reach the sights is not certain.
Lensoires-Maranhãenzis National Park
This national park is located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, where the Paraná and Iguazu rivers meet each other. The height of the falling water is more than 70 meters and the width of the descending cascades is about 3 km. A typical tour includes a walk from the entrance to the park to the narrow gauge railroad, which after a quarter of an hour of travel, tourists find themselves in close proximity to the raging elements. Then about a kilometer walk along special suspended bridges and you are at Devil’s Throat to witness the majesty and power of the waterfall. Then the train back to the main camp, where guests are transferred to jeeps and taken through the jungle to a small pier. A small boat takes you on a mind-blowing descent down a fast river to the very foot of the falls, where the introduction to Iguazu concludes. Don’t take rain gear or any other means of protection against splashing, as you won’t be able to get away from it. It’s better to wear a swimsuit or swimming trunks, and outer clothing can be folded in waterproof bags, which the guide will definitely offer you. If you wish to linger in this wonderful place, you can rest in one of the many hotel rooms with beautiful views of the surrounding waterfall.
Beaches of Brazil
It is not surprising that the country, which has such a long coastline and a favorable climate, has a well-developed tourist infrastructure associated specifically with recreation on the coast. Among the most famous beaches in Brazil are Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. They are all located in the tourist center of the country – Rio de Janeiro.
The unique climatic conditions, the warm Atlantic currents passing near the coast and the proximity of the equator have made these places a real gem of marine tourism. One of the longest beaches in the world – Copacabana, which golden sands stretch for six kilometers, luxurious Ipanema or elite Leblon will give any, even the most demanding tourist an unforgettable vacation and leave the warmest memories. Collectors of interesting facts will be curious to know that it was on Copacabana first appeared separate bikini swimwear, which to this day is considered the hallmark of this place. Next to one of the most prestigious areas of the city is Ipanema beach. It is a favorite vacation spot for visitors to Rio de Janeiro as well as locals. On weekends, the road along the beach is closed to motorized vehicles and given over to the many fans of rollerblading, biking and skateboarding. Volleyball, soccer in the sand, and other outdoor activities are also popular here.
The beach for successful businessmen and the so-called “golden” youth is Leblon, which belongs to the city district of the same name.
Attractions of Brazil
The grandiose and huge Brazil does not put any obstacles for Russian tourists to visit. There is a lot to see in the Brazilian state, but as a rule, one trip is not enough to get acquainted with all the historical and natural monuments of the country. We have prepared for you the top 23 attractions of Brazil to make your excursions into an exciting adventure.
The Legendary Amazon
Every schoolboy has heard about the Amazon River. Water wonder of the planet stretches in its course for 7 thousand kilometers ahead. The source of the giant river is located in Apachete. The Amazon, which flows into the Atlantic, boasts the largest delta of any river on Earth.
Francisco de Orellana named the Amazon after the brave women who lived with their tribes on the banks of the waterway. The river received its name in the 16th century.
You can see the Amazon and take a boat ride on it in many Brazilian cities. Tours to its waterfalls and creeks are often organized for tourists.
2. The Sculpture of Christ in Rio de Janeiro
Only the lazy would not call the statue of 38 meters a calling card of Rio. Although much more can be said about the statue of Christ. The monument stands on the peak of the Corcovado Cliff. It was decided to install the defender of the city in 1921. The imposing design was created in parts in France, then the parts were shipped to Rio by sea to be installed permanently. The observation deck at the statue is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is possible to get there by special train, shuttle, or car. The road goes through the Tizhuka Park.
3. botanical garden in Rio
In the neighborhood of the same name there is a large Botanical Garden of Rio. The secluded place includes alleys with benches, fountains and 6,500 plant species from around the world. At the foot of Corcovado Peak, the garden covers 140 hectares. On Mondays, the park opens at 12 noon. On the other days it is open from 8.00 to 17.00. The entrance ticket costs 15 reais. Another Lage garden with a chic mansion is a 10-minute walk away.
4. Sugar Head in Rio.
The Sugar Loaf Mountain with its strange and eye-catching name stretches 396 meters into the sky. This is the second observation deck of Rio where one can see the whole city as if in the palm of one’s hand. It was at the foot of this mountain that one of Brazil’s major cities once emerged. You can get to the top today by cable car. Cable car runs from 8.00 to 19.50. The fare is 210 reais. By the way, the mountain is quite developed tourist infrastructure. There are restaurants and cafes.
5. Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro
The beach in Rio has a length of 4 km. The party place is sometimes called the main beach of Brazil. In 1948, ladies lounging on the beach wore bikinis for the first time, making such swimsuits incredibly popular. The eternal holiday at Copacabana is ensured by expensive hotels, stores, cafes and a good beach infrastructure. This beach is always crowded. Brazilians surf here, celebrate the New Year by lighting homemade candle lights, and even go to concerts on the beach.
6. Lenções Maranhão State
The most beautiful national park in the country is called Lençois. More than a thousand square kilometers in the park are occupied by white sand dunes. Lagoons with turquoise water can be seen everywhere between the sand hills. The desert-like terrain is not. It rains regularly in the park, feeding the lagoons in which you can even swim. Experienced tourists recommend visiting Lençois from July to September. During this time, the dunes and the water between them are simply mesmerizing. From the city of San Luis there is a bus to the park. A bus ticket to the town of Barrerinhas costs R$470. There is a gate to the park in this place, the entrance is free.
7. Celarón Stairs in Rio
Artist Jorge Celaron laid out an ordinary staircase in Rio with colorful tiles and mosaics. In the ’90s, this staircase, now considered a landmark, was decorated by the artist because it was near his home. The eccentric decorator used the colors of the Brazilian flag in his work. Celaron worked so selflessly on his staircase that he even sold his favorite paintings to buy more material.
To date, the entire staircase and its spans are covered in 2,000 pieces that the artist ordered from around the world .
The artist finished his work shortly before his death. Now the staircase has become one of the main symbols of Rio. It is regularly featured in music videos and shows. You can find the wonderful landmark near Joaquim Silva Street.
8. Sao Bento Monastery in Rio
Sao Bento Monastery is named after the hill on which it is built. This magnificent example of colonial architecture was erected in 1590 by the Benedictines. There is also a Catholic college operating next to it. Inside, the cloister is decorated with gold leaf. The monastery is considered active even today. You can visit the sanctuary from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
9. Museum of Modern Art in Rio
In the Centro neighborhood, the Museum of Contemporary Art is located in one part of the Flamengo Park. The Art Nouveau landscaped gardens adjacent to the museum deserve as much attention as the exhibitions. The museum building houses an art center, a theater studio, and exhibit halls. A fire in 1978 severely reduced the center’s collection, so today its exhibitions can be viewed in an hour. On weekdays, the facility is open from noon to 6 p.m. On weekends, work begins at 11 a.m. An adult ticket to the museum costs 14 reals.
10. The Pantanal near Cuiaba
The huge Pantanal wetland is the most picturesque marsh in the world. The protected area with huge water lilies, rare aquatic plants and magnificent butterflies extends over 150 thousand square kilometers. You can fly to Cuiaba from São Paulo or Rio. The city sells tours to the Pantanal. The terrain is wild, so you should not go there alone.
11. Portugal’s Royal Library in Rio
The Royal Library in Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most beautiful in Brazil. For the first visitors the library was opened in 1900. The facade of the library building is decorated in Portuguese Renaissance stele. Inside, the dark wood shelving is all stocked with books from floor to ceiling. In a year the National Library is visited by approximately 100,000 people. The library collection holds 350,000 books written in Portuguese. The institution is located at Rua Luis de Camees. The library is open weekdays from 9:00 to 18:00.
12. St. Sebastian’s Cathedral in Rio
The modern Metropolis or St. Sebastian Cathedral looks like a skyscraper or CHP, but not a Catholic church. Nevertheless it is one of the main cathedrals of Rio. The new building was erected in 1979 on the site where churches had been built many times before. The height of the structure is 75 meters. During the service the cathedral is able to take a simultaneous 20,000 standing or 5,000 sitting parishioners. The peculiarity of the structure are the windows that stretch upward through the entire building. There is a museum in the cathedral. You can see the temple from 7.00 to 18.00. The temple of St. Sebastian is located at Av. Republica do Chile, 245.
13. Fort Copacabana Rio de Janeiro
On the beach of the same name, on a promontory, an artillery fort was built in the 20th century, which more than once bailed out the locals during another war. Nowadays the fort is used for recreational and peaceful purposes. Now the fort is organized in the Museum of the army and beach club. There is a metro station General next to the fort. The price of a ticket to the museum is 9 reals. It is possible to see the entire infrastructure of the fort from 10.00 to 20.00.
14. Art Museum of Rio
The Museum of Fine Arts in Rio was founded in 1937. Its exhibitions were created from the treasuries of the Portuguese court when King John the Sixth moved to Brazil with his entourage. The 19th-century paintings and sculptures on display are complemented by objects from the Middle Ages and modern works by masters from around the world. Travelers claim that this museum can quite compare to the Louvre in Paris. The museum complex is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A ticket to the museum costs only 8 reais. Look for the gallery on Avenida Rio Branco, 199.
15. Oru Pretu
The city of Oru Preto was founded in 1711. Next to the simple town, where all the buildings were built in the colonial style, there was a mine. As long as gold mining was active, the town prospered. In the 19th century, the gold in the mine dried up, so the town’s streets fell into some disrepair. Today the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Oru Preto is actually an open-air museum.
16. Iguazu Falls
On the border of Brazil and Argentina stretch numerous and majestic waterfalls of Iguazu. Some sites near the major waterfalls are equipped with walking paths and observation towers. People from all over the world come to see the inexpressible beauty. Brazil also has access to the waterfalls.
17. Serra da Capivara National Reserve
Brazil’s National Park is listed as a UNESCO protected area. “Serra” covers an area of 120 thousand hectares. The highlight of the park are considered primitive rock paintings, by which the main tourist routes pass. The drawings in the caves and on the rocks date back to the 14th century BC. The national park area is divided into 64 archaeological areas. There are 14 organized trails in the park, in addition to them there is minimal infrastructure for tourists at the entrance to the reserve.
18. The historic part of Olinda
Colonizers from Portugal founded Olinda in the 16th century. Dating back to the 18th century, the structures are the best and oldest examples of colonial architecture in Brazil. Olinda is located in the northeast of the country. The historic center of the settlement is listed by UNESCO. To see the city center in its entirety, you can use one of the observation decks on the hills near the historic part.
19. Karakol Waterfall
To combine business with pleasure and to see not only the popular waterfall Caracol, but also the forests of Amazonia you can go to the Brazilian town Canela. There is a wonderful waterfall near which there is an observation deck 7 kilometers away from the town. One can get there on foot or by a special elevator. There are also souvenir stores and cafes near Karakol.
20. Pedra Pintada state Roraima
The main archaeological site of the country is called Pedra Pintada. The rock, which is 35 meters high, has rock art. In these caves, archaeologists have found many objects of ancient people’s life.
The rock paintings in the cave date back to the 10th millennium BC, and have a pale pink hue .
Next to the caves and the rock is an Indian reservation. There is a fair on the reservation where locals sell their crafts. The attraction can be found two hours from the Atlas International Airport in Roraima.
21. Parque Ibirapuera São Paulo
The large-scale park was opened in 1954. The 158 hectares contain buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The landscaping of the park was done by Burle Marx. Palaces, lakes and forests, interspersed there with rockeries and huge flower gardens. Palm groves in the park area peacefully coexist with Japanese gardens. You can enter the park zone for free. The gates of the park open at 5 am, and close at midnight.
22. AquaRio Oceanarium
Barely opened, this oceanarium has earned the title of the largest aquarium in South America. In the port part of Rio now operates an oceanarium, where the pools are made “to grow”, and all the inhabitants of the aquarium are residents of Brazilian territorial waters. The star of the institution is considered a nurse shark, reaching a length of 2.5 meters. More than 2 thousand animals can be seen in the tunnels and tanks of the water park. Swimming with sharks, marine mammals’ performances and the science center organically complete the picture of the new institution. The aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. An admission ticket without benefits costs R$80.
23. Zoo in Rio
As is usual in many former colonies of European countries, zoos that grew out of the royal menagerie, the zoo in Rio also evolved from the former menagerie of the Portuguese king. The institution opened to the general public in 1954. The huge zoo on 14 hectares of land is home to almost all the “fauna” of Brazil. The zoo also has an aquarium, which recreates the underwater life of the Amazon. The zoo is open daily except Mondays from 9:00 to 16:30. The ticket costs 10 reais. Look for this place near the Maracana Stadium, which, by the way, is also a landmark of Rio.