Brazil is an enormous country, and you could easily spend a year there and not even scratch the surface of everything there is to do. But most of us don’t have that kind of time. Here’s five things to do in Brazil that are worth every minute.
Brazil’s number-one attraction is shared with Argentina, but some argue that the Brazilian side of this enormous set of waterfalls is the most impressive. Plan to spend a full day in the complex, as there are plenty of things to do — catch the train from near the entrance to the start of the walkway which will take you out over the largest stretch of falls, then follow some of the many walkways which wind under and around the smaller cascades. There’s a boat trip that will take you close to the action, and several nature paths head into the forest, where you’ll encounter some of Brazil’s native wildlife.
Drink caipirinhas in Ilha Grande
Catch a ferry from Angra dos Reis in Rio de Janiero state and spend a couple of days on this vehicle-less island. There are plenty of beaches to relax on and forest paths to follow, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy Brazil’s national drink, caipirinha. This mix of cachaça, lime, and sugar is best enjoyed outdoors, so pick a beach bar to spend the evening in, or make your own.
Colonial Paraty is a picturesque place to spend a few days, and it’s conveniently located a public-bus ride away from Angra dos Reis. Wander the cobblestone streets of the historic district, and admire the Portuguese Colonial architecture. No motorised vehicles are allowed in this area of town, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for passing horses and carts.
You might just fall in love with the musical cadence of the Portuguese language while you’re in Brazil, and learning a little will certainly make your trip run more smoothly — although you’ll get by with English in hotels and at popular attractions, it’s certainly not commonly spoken when you’re off the tourist trail. Choose a school in one of the larger cities or get a private tutor.
Go crazy at carnaval in Rio
Quite possibly the world’s biggest party, carnaval in Rio is Mecca for nightlife lovers. You’ll celebrate all night and into the day, and there are plenty of other events to attend throughout the city if you want a break from partying. Make sure to book accommodation well in advance.