Watch our video to see why our specialists love Brazil...
A First Timer’s Guide to Brazil
Our Latin America specialist Grant tells us why his heart lies in Brazil, a country defined by its natural beauty, exotic wildlife, spectacular landscapes and legendary beach hot spots. Brazil is simply made for travel and has something to offer even the most discerning traveller.
Brazil has long attracted tourists from all around the globe. It is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, friendly people and infamous carnival. The World Cup and Olympic Games have helped maintain a worldwide focus on Brazil, and its warmer climate makes it a fantastic year-round travel destination.
My first experience of Brazil was arriving on a long overnight bus into the bustling and humid city of Manaus, gateway to the Amazon rainforest.
Nicknamed the ‘Paris of the Tropics’, Manaus received a lot of wealthy European immigrants during the rubber boom of the 1800s. An afternoon walking around the open food markets piled high with spices, fruit and fish and making my way down the crowded piers along the Negro River provided the culture shock I desired. Over the next week I slept in hammocks under the rainforest canopy, hiked through the dense green jungle, and fished with the local tribespeople. My long journey continued by riverboat down the Amazon River to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Brazilians are known for being upbeat and optimistic by nature, and despite being in a remote region and with a language I did not understand, I felt very welcome and at ease.
The sheer size of the country makes it virtually impossible to limit yourself to one visit. Whether your interests lie in history and colonial architecture, hiking in spectacular scenery, wildlife spotting, or relaxing on palm-fringed beaches, Brazil has it all. An added bonus is that a trip to Brazil can be easily combined with visiting its neighbouring countries – Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Personally, one of my favourite parts of the country is Salvador, the capital of Bahia state. It is a city famous for its colonial Portuguese architecture and Afro-Brazilian culture. The historic neighbourhood of Pelourinho is full of vibrant colourful buildings, baroque churches, intriguing cobblestone alleys and lively plazas. Strolling around here, you can’t fail to stumble across impromptu Capoeira martial art performances and musical troupes of drummers. With a long tropical coastline and the stunning Chapada Diamantina National Park a short flight inland, Bahia is somewhere not to be missed.