Places to Visit
Need more information about the travel options within Brazil? Click on the below links to find out more about the major destinations to consider when planning your trip to Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro holds some of the country s best-known and iconic tourist attractions, including Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer Statue.
Rio de Janeiro
For many travellers, the first port of entry in Brazil will be Rio de Janeiro. Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa , or Marvellous City, Rio never fails to amaze with its sandy beaches, carefree lifestyle and unparalleled natural beauty. As the capital of Brazil until 1960, Rio is today one of the most culturally and economically prominent cities in the country, and receives more tourists than any other part of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro holds some of the country s best-known and iconic tourist attractions, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer Statue and the world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Rio is a lively, vibrant city, and its inhabitants (known as Cariocas ) are full of energy and always ready for a good time. This is no more obvious than during Carnaval, when the city comes alive with the beats of Samba for a 5 day non-stop party.
Buzios, Ilha Grande and Paraty – Rio State
For those looking for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the big city, the nearby fishing village of Buzios is a short 3 hour drive to the North, while to the South the pristine Ilha Grande island and colonial town of Paraty offer quieter but no less idyllic alternatives.
When to Visit Rio and Rio State
Rio is warm year-round and rain can occur at any time of year, but it tends to rain a lot more in the summer (Dec March) meaning that days can get very hot and humid at this time of year. If you have the choice it s preferable to travel outside this time, as the days will be more pleasant with more chance of sun and less chance of rain between April and November.
Considered Brazil s most culturally enriched cities, Salvador has a lively art scene and it colourful streets are filled with dance and music all year round.
Over 1600km to the North-East of Rio lies Salvador, capital of Bahia State and long considered the birthplace of Brazilian culture. The oldest city in Brazil and its first capital, Salvador was a major post for the slave trade and is now a thriving centre of Afro-Brazilian life. The local cuisine, music, dance and vibrant visual arts are all testaments to this pervasive African influence. Considered Brazil s most culturally enriched cities, Salvador has a lively art scene and its colourful streets are filled with dance and music all year round.
As one of Brazil s greatest historical destinations, the city is filled with colonial churches, houses and forts that reflect stunning Portuguese architecture from the Baroque period. The historical centre of Pelourinho was declared a World Cultural Centre by UNESCO in 1985. Hundreds of old buildings were restored. It s a real must-do : a compulsory addition to every Brazilian travel itinerary!
Praia do Forte and Morro de Sao Paulo Bahia State
Outside the city of Salvador lie some of North-Eastern Brazil s most pristine beaches, including the renowned Praia do Forte and Costa do Sau pe.
Just a short catamaran ride away from Salvador lies the idyllic tropical island of Morro de Sao Paulo, where the only thing you ll have to think about will be which beach to visit during the day and which fruit cocktail to order at night
When to visit Salvador and Bahia State
With its situation being very close to the equator, the year-round temperature varies very little in Bahia. You re pretty much guaranteed of warm days and lots of sun all year round! The only thing that varies in Bahia is rain-fall. Most of Bahia s rainfall occurs during the winter months of July and August. However it s rare that it would rain non-stop during these months. In fact, it s quite likely that you will experience a week of sun during this time, so don t let this affect your travel plans. Any time of year is a great time in Bahia.
For those who wish to see some South American wildlife and get close to nature, a trip to Brazil would not be complete without a stay in the Pantanal.
For those who wish to see some South American wildlife and get close to nature, a trip to Brazil would not be complete without a stay in the Pantanal. As the largest tropical wetland area in the world, the Pantanal is sprawled over an area of nearly 200,000 square kilometres, and extends into neighbouring Paraguay and Bolivia. During the wet season, around 80% of the floodplains become submerged, attracting a biologically diverse range of plant and animal species.
The Pantanal is actually considered to be the world s densest flora and fauna ecosystem. The delta s wide open wetland spaces make animal spotting a lot easier than in the neighbouring Amazon, offering great photographic opportunities. Additionally, the Pantanal is thought to be home to up to 1000 bird species, creating a paradise for bird watchers.
When to Visit the Pantanal
The Pantanal can be visited year-round, however seasonal variations are extreme. The wet season generally runs from November until March, with monsoonal rainfall causing extensive flooding. This can cause some roads to be impassable, however most Pantanal lodges stay option year-round despite this. These lodges provide suitable transfer vehicles that can deal with the terrain.
February is the height of the rainy season. The best time for spotting wildlife is during the dry season (Apr-Oct), with bird watching at its best between July and September, and chances of spotting a jaguar highest in September-October.
Approximately 60% of the Amazon rainforest is contained within Brazil, guaranteeing accessibility for even the least adventurous of travellers.
Representing more than half of the world s remaining rainforest, the Amazon is home to the most species-rich wildlife tract of tropical rainforest on the planet, and at its heart is the Amazon River, extending over 6000km and carrying the greatest volume of water of any river on earth.
Approximately 60% of the Amazon rainforest is contained within Brazil, guaranteeing accessibility for even the least adventurous of travellers. The capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Manaus, offers the easiest gateway to the Amazon, with regular flights from major Brazilian cities. A number of jungle lodges are located within close proximity to Manaus, and offer a range of activities such as spotting caimans and pink freshwater dolphins; piranha fishing, nature hikes and wildlife watching.
Manaus is also the starting point for the highly popular Amazon River cruises, giving passengers the opportunity to discover the Amazon rainforest in comfort and style. The majority of cruises and jungle lodge packages also include a day trip to the Meeting of the Waters, a remarkable phenomenon where the dark, tea-coloured waters of the Rio Negro merge with the lighter, muddier waters of the Amazon mainstream.
When to Visit the Amazon
Like the Pantanal to the South, the Amazon can be visited all year round. The tropical climate is consistently warm regardless of the time of year, with both the wet and dry seasons providing different options for travellers. The dry season (June-November), with limited rainfall and low water levels, is generally better for land-based activities such as hiking and spotting wildlife by the river. The wet season (December-May) brings flooding to the areas around the rivers, making it possible to enter otherwise impenetrable jungle by boat in search of wildlife.
Igua u Falls, located in the southern State of Parana, is one of the most famous attractions in all of South America.
Igua u Falls, located in the southern State of Parana, is one of the most famous attractions in all of South America. Named as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2007, the number of separate waterfalls range from 150 to 300 depending on the water level, with nearly half the Iguacu river s water falling from 82m high into a 150m wide chasm called the Devil s Throat.
The waterfalls are divided between Argentina and Brazil and provide vastly different views and experiences depending on which side they are viewed from. 80% of the falls are situated on the Argentinean side, so this is the side for getting right up close to them, where as Brazil is the side for getting that incredible overall view that will leave you awe-struck.
In addition to the falls, the surrounding city of Foz do Igua u makes a great base to discover the numerous other attractions in the region. Visitors can revel in the splendour of the natural forests, rivers and lakes, as well as the world s largest hydroelectric power plant, the Itaipu Dam. Travellers also have the opportunity to take advantage of the Tres Fronteras (three borders) and experience the attractions of Puerto Iguazu (on the Argentinean side) and Ciudad del Este (in Paraguay).
When to Visit Igua u Falls
Whilst accessible all year round, the best times for viewing the falls are generally spring and autumn. Summer (December-March) tends to be very hot and humid, while the water level can drop significantly in the winter (June-August).