Brazil is a mix of white-sand beaches, tropical rainforests, and wild metropolises. With the Amazon Rainforest covering almost 40% of the country, its diverse and mysterious ecosystems house the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth. From soccer games and Carnival to red rock canyons and thundering waterfalls, there’s something to get your heart pounding in this captivating country. A Visa is required for travel to Brazil; be sure to start the process at least two months in advance of your departure date.
Rio de Janeiro
Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City)! Rio's beaches became the focal point of the country in the 1940s, when celebrities would fly in for the weekend, namely Copacabana Beach. Today, the spotlight is on Ipanema Beach, famed for its beauty. The beaches are free and open to all, offering endless enjoyment in the form of football, volleyball, surfing, drinking or simply relaxing in the sun. Inland from the beaches lies the city. Rio’s nightlife is well-known; you’ll hear samba, a rapid-fire style of music with African influence, all over town, with people dancing well into the morning. Mountain tops frame the city, offering opportunities for hiking in the Tijuca rainforest, rock climbing, or hang gliding. From football matches and boat parties on the bay to golden beaches and lush mountains, Rio is a magical city just waiting for you. Stay: Belmond Copacabana Palace, JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro
The Brazilian city of São Paulo is home to 12 million residents, making them the third largest city in the world. There are more than 100 museums, 120 theaters, and 6,000 pizza places, making it the Brazilian pizza capital. It’s a foodies dream, and not just because of the pizza; there are multiple gourmet restaurants with fine regional dishes signed by world-renowned Brazilian chefs. After filling up, spend the afternoon exploring exquisite art galleries at The São Paulo Art Museum, or take a relaxing bike ride through Ibirapuera Park.
Salvador is the capital of the Bahia state, and was once Brazil’s capital. Founded in 1549, the city center, known locally as the Pelourinho, is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site was the first slave market in the New World, and there’s no other place in the world where descendants of African slaves have preserved their heritage as well as in Salvador – from music and religion to food, dance, and martial-arts traditions. The area is easily walkable and filled with history, restaurants, shops, and pastel-hued buildings. On the coast, 30 miles of beach provide just about any type of water activity you can think of.
Taking the medal for “Largest Falls in the World” is Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil). The falls are on the border of Brazil and Argentina, and both countries offer a different yet breathtaking view of each side. From the Brazilian side, you’ll be further away but get the best panoramic view of the falls. From the Argentinian side, you’ll be up close and personal with the rushing water. The falls are so big that it’s difficult to visit both sides in one day, so we recommend spending a night at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, the only hotel located inside the Iguaçu National Park on the Brazilian side. If you’re visiting on the Argentinian side, stay at the Iguazú Grand Hotel, Spa, & Casino or the Panoramic Grand.