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Beautiful Brazil

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OFTEN DESCRIBED as Portugal’s beautiful but wayward cousin, Brazil is a huge place. It is the fifth largest country in the world and around the same size as the United States.

Many visitors come to Brazil for the stupendous beaches. Copacabana and Ipanema are the most famous, although there are thousands more that are just as beautiful.

However, away from the seashore, Brazil also offers many other holiday options including the amazing Amazon River, the wild wetlands of the Pantanal, stunning cities and exotic eco-resorts to name a few.

If you are planning a trip to Brazil, it is useful to view the country as being divided into five regions, each with its own unique character.

Up in the northeast region, you will find seaside resort cities such as Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, where holidays cost at a

‘Fortaleza’s fabulous city beaches are lined with gleaming luxury hotels’
‘Fortaleza’s fabulous city beaches are lined with gleaming luxury hotels’

fraction of comparable destinations in the Caribbean.

To the north are the seven Amazon River states, each contains part of the Amazon River system and the area is known for adventure, travel and

‘Away from the seashore, Brazil also offers many other holiday options including the amazing Amazon River’
‘Away from the seashore, Brazil also offers many other holiday options including the amazing Amazon River’

bird watching holidays.

The central western region is home to the capital city of Brasilia, a UNESCO World heritage site due to its architecture. It is also where you will find the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland which is home to huge numbers of crocodiles and anacondas.

The southern region has the world famous Iguazu waterfalls and the resorts of Santa Catarina and Florianopolis, which are just coming into fashion as holiday destinations. If you are in search of a holiday with a difference, why not consider one of the new eco-resorts based in more isolated areas with their own private beaches, such as the Lagoa Eco Resort in Tibau.

Finally, the southeast is where you will find the established resort cities of São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

Here are some of the best parts of Brazil.

Fabulous Fortaleza

Once a Portuguese stronghold (hence the name), today Fortaleza’s fabulous city beaches are lined with gleaming luxury hotels and the centre has undergone major renovation so that the city now has something of the same atmosphere as Rio de Janeiro, especially when it comes to the good things in life.

Riotous Rio

Thanks to Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival, the cidade maravilhosa (marvellous city) is known for its year round revelry. The locals, known as Cariocas, take pride in their reputation as world-class party people. They live for dance, drink, sport, sun and, of course, the beach.

While Copacabana offers endless sand and crashing waves, Rio de Janeiro’s beautiful people tend to prefer Ipanema. Further out of town, Joatinga beach offers peace and tranquillity and surfers generally head for Prainha.

No trip to Rio de Janeiro is complete without music. Currently the most fashionable music to party to is choro, which has a lively and easy to dance vibe. You will find choro bars all over town, so why not do what the Cariocas do and dance to choro and toss down caipirinhas until the sun comes up!

Relax in Florianopolis

Down south, the town of Florianopolis, or Desterro as it was originally called, was founded in 1700 and settled 50 years later by immigrants from the Azores.

Since then, it has gradually developed from a sleepy provincial backwater into a state capital. With the construction of the bridges linking the island with the mainland, Florianopolis now thrives as a relaxed tourist centre, providing a total contrast to the excitement of São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.

When to go

There is always a good time to visit Brazil! The northeast is sunny and dry all year round, which makes it ideal for a lazy beach holiday at any time. Down in Rio de Janeiro, the weather never really dips below 20°C, even in winter, although it can be rainy especially in summer.

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