Brazil, the largest country in South America, is also one of its most colourful, from the stunning costumes of the carnival dancers in Rio de Janeiro to the rainbow feathers of a scarlet macaw in the Amazon rainforest. Due to its size, it offers a whole host of unforgettable experiences, which are made even more special by the friendly people, interesting mix of cultures and traditions, excellent food, and the ever-present rhythms of samba.

Vast, vibrant and magnetic, Brazil is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, rituals and religions – a product of its patchwork past of local traditions, colonial rule and influx of immigrants. It is South America’s largest country, with a landmass comparable to that of the United States, and a mosaic of ecosystems that supports the largest array of flora and fauna on the planet. The Brazilian people are typically warm and friendly, while the country’s natural diversity lends itself to myriad travel experiences, from idyllic coastal holidays and riotous Carnaval celebrations, to stopovers in the dynamic cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and adventure-filled forays into the Amazon jungle.

What’s on offer in Brazil?

The Amazon

The Amazon

The Amazon Jungle is famous worldwide as a biodiversity hotspot and a dream destination for intrepid travellers, known for its wealth of exotic wildlife and flora. Although it extends across seven different South American nations, approximately 60% of the Amazon falls into Brazilian territory, taking up an area roughly the same size as Western Europe. Visitors who venture here will have the privilege of entering a world apart – a lush wilderness teeming with plant and animal life, dotted with indigenous villages, and offering the experience of a lifetime.

Brazil - The Amazon

The Amazon Basin

Occupying roughly seven million square kilometres of surface area, the Amazon Basin is a lush wilderness that encompasses the planet’s largest rainforest and the world’s second longest river. Extending across sections of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, it is a region of thriving biodiversity and striking beauty. The basin features a staggering array of plant and animal life, and the intrepid travellers who visit here have the chance of encountering such exotic creature as anacondas, piranhas, sloths, capybaras, and – if you’re lucky – even elusive jaguars, pumas and ocelots.

Mato Grosso - Bridal Veil Falls - Brazil

Mato Grosso Plateau

Mato Grosso is the country’s third-largest state, situated largely on a vast plateau in the Brazilian highlands and taking in three distinct ecosystems – lush Amazonian rainforests, the rich wetlands of the Pantanal Reserve, and the savannah lands of Cerrado. The region’s highlight attractions include the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, a spectacular wilderness encompassing caves, grottos, waterfalls and exquisite trekking trails; wildlife-viewing in the Pantanal – home to over 1000 animal species and a dazzling array of terrestrial and aquatic birds; and the town of Bonito, with its dramatic limestone formations, crystal clear rivers, and underwater caves offering superb diving and snorkelling opportunities.

Pantanal - Jaguar attacks Cayman - Brazil

The Pantanal

The world’s biggest inland wetland system, the Pantanal Reserve is a biodiversity hot spot and one of Brazil’s premier tourism destinations. Encompassing rivers, lakes, marshes, floodplains and both perennial and non-perennial streams, it is home to myriad exotic wildlife species, including jaguars, hyacinth macaws, giant anteaters, capybara and caiman. While you’re here, don’t miss a visit to the Parque Nacional do Pantanal Matogrossense – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and a four-day boat trip into the Puerto Jofre region, where visitors have an excellent chance of spotting a jaguar.

Sao Paulo - Brazil

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s largest and most populous urban centre, home to roughly 20 million people in the metropolitan area alone. The capital of Sao Paulo state and the country’s unofficial business capital, the city is also known for its effervescent culture, with myriad entertainment options and a colourful nightlife. Highlight attractions of the city include the Avenida Paulista – its commercial epicentre presenting a wide array of shops, restaurants, book stores and art exhibitions; Bixiga, a ‘little Italy’ known for its theatre scene and vibrant nightlife; the Chinatown district of Liberdade; and Ibirapuera Park, popular for its walking and jogging trails, three museums, free concerts and gorgeous Japanese garden.

Rio De Janeiro - Ipanema Beach - Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s second-largest city and one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, Rio de Janeiro is renowned for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain and the massive, majestic statue of Christ atop the Corcavado peak. The highlight of Rio’s social calendar is Carnaval, in the weeks leading up to Lent, when the city becomes a riot of colour, music and festivities, with thousands of costumed revellers parading through the street in what the locals call the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.

Salvador - Barra Beach


One of the oldest cities in Brazil, Salvador is known for its rich culture, hospitable locals and laid-back atmosphere. Set against a backdrop of impressive architecture, this attractive coastal destination is a place where entertainment, music and fine cuisine abound, earning it the nickname the ‘capital of happiness’. Highlights of the area include its lovely beaches and ocean views, 17th century fort, São Joaquim craft market and array of fascinating museums. The best time to visit Salvador is during the annual Carnaval, when the streets come alive with colours, costumes, dancing and festivities.

Fast Facts

BEST TIME TO VISIT: In Rio, average winter temperatures of 20-25°C into the high 30°C range in summer (Nov-Mar). The Amazon is the wettest region year-round, and the northeast of the country is the hottest. In the south, the weather can be very similar to northern Europe.

TIME DIFFERENCE: -3 hours (Brasilia & coast).

VISAS: A visa is not required by UK citizens for tourist stays of up to three months.

LANGUAGE: The official language is Portuguese. English is spoken in the larger hotels/tourist areas.

CURRENCY: Brazilian Real.

FLIGHT INFORMATION: British Airways and TAM Airlines fly non-stop to Sao Paulo and Rio. Major carriers such as Iberia, Air France, KLM, TAP Portugal and Lufthansa offer flights via their European hubs as do most American carriers via the USA.

FLYING TIME FROM UK: Approx. 12 hours to Rio de Janeiro.

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