20 tips for your first trip to Brazil

20 tips for your first trip to Brazil - Tropical islands, lush rainforests and rhythm-filled cities set the stage for the great Brazilian adventure. Brazil is on the wish list of many, but where to start visiting this huge and fascinating country

20 tips for your first trip to Brazil

20 tips for your first trip to Brazil - Tropical islands, lush rainforests and rhythm-filled cities set the stage for the great Brazilian adventure. Brazil is on the wish list of many, but where to start visiting this huge and fascinating country? Here are our tips on 20 places not to miss for your first time in Brazil.

20 tips for your first trip to Brazil




Tropical islands, lush rainforests and rhythm-filled cities set the stage for the great Brazilian adventure. Brazil is on the wish list of many, but where to start visiting this huge and fascinating country? Here are our tips on 20 places not to miss for your first time in Brazil.



 1 Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro

There are those who suggest reaching this singularly shaped peak at sunset to enjoy the best view. In reality, the hour does not matter; after having been there, you will probably see Rio (and perhaps also your hometown, which risks not keeping up with the comparison) with different eyes. 

From here opens a landscape of rolling green hills and golden beaches lapped by the blue sea, with rows of skyscrapers along the coast. Getting to the top with the cable car, in the all-glass cabins, is a blast. The more adventurous can also tackle the climbing climb. 


2 Cataratas do Iguaçu 

No matter how many waterfalls you have already seen in your life, or how many times you have thought you no longer need to see more: the Cataratas do Iguaçu  will revolutionize your idea of ​​a waterfall from the edge of a cliff. The impetuous roar of 275 waterfalls that spill over the border between Brazil and Argentina leaves even the most impassive traveler amazed. Deafening, infuriated, unstoppable and incredibly beautiful, the Cataratas do Iguaçu are a manifestation of Mother Nature's sheer power that will leave you speechless. 



3 Salvador 

The Afro-Brazilian capital of the country, Salvador is famous for capoeira , candomblé, Olodum, Portuguese colonial architecture, African street food and one of the oldest lighthouses in the Americas. With a difficult past, marked by turbulent Portuguese vicissitudes and the tragic history of the slave trade, the vibrant capital of the state of Bahia today offers a unique fusion of two vibrant cultures. The party atmosphere and nightlife culminate in February with one of the craziest Carnival celebrations in the country. 



4 Ilha Grande 

In an isolated position, Ilha Grande has been used for decades as a prison and leper colony. Having escaped building development thanks to its unusual history, the island, with jungle-cloaked mountains and dozens of beaches, is one of the most pristine places in all of Brazil. Here the days pass between excursions in the lush Atlantic rainforest, snorkelling in crystal clear waters and diving among foaming waterfalls. Free of motor vehicles, it is a green and clean island, a true paradise for nature lovers. It is also an easy destination for a day trip from Rio. 




5 Ouro Preto 

The eighteenth-century streets of Ouro Preto are a dizzying succession of Baroque masterpieces. Admire the beautiful sculptures of Aleijadinho, learn the story of Chico-Rei, the 18th century African king who became a folk hero, and visit the sumptuous churches with rich gold decorations. The elaborate Semana Santa processions are among the most spectacular in the country. From a city linked to the gold trade to a state capital, from a revolutionary hotbed to a World Heritage site, Ouro Preto has been a nerve center for over 300 years.


6 Blumenau beers 

Lagers like Brahma and Skol, spread throughout the country, are good for quenching your thirst, but Brazil's best beers come from the Blumenau area . In the 19th century, German immigrants imported the Reinheitsgebot, a decree on the purity of beer, which the German-Brazilians jealously guard. In addition to the well-known Cervejaria Eisenbahn, excellent craft beers that can only be tasted in Blumenau are those of Schornstein Kneipe, Bierland and Das Bier. To quench your thirst, venture into the Vale Europeu of Santa Catarina. 



7 The Pantanal 

Few other places in the world can offer a nature experience like the one that awaits you in the Pantanal, an isolated wetland in the heart of Mato Grosso . From graceful capybaras to elegant storks, there are many animals that you can easily spot in these wide swampy expanses. There are a million reasons not to give up on such a naturalistic experience, not least the fact that this is the best place in South America to see the shy jaguar.


8 Fernando de Noronha 

This archipelago in the Atlantic, consisting of a 10 km long island and 20 smaller islands, 350 km from Natal, is a tropical paradise: breathtaking land and sea landscapes, beautiful beaches, some of the best sites for diving and snorkelling of the country, waves for surfing, unforgettable excursions, lots of animals to see, good accommodations and restaurants. And there is no rush: the number of visitors is determined by the limited number of seats available on the plane each day. Visiting Noronha is expensive but, if your budget allows it, it's worth every penny. 



9 Hikes in the jungle

It goes without saying that the main reason to visit the Amazon is jungle hikes: walking winding waterways in a canoe, walking along paths in the thick of the vegetation and observing monkeys, sloths and other animals. The largest and most famous rainforest in the world offers possibilities for all kinds and for all kinds of travelers: easy nature trails, trees 50 meters high to climb, luxury lodges and makeshift lodges in the forest. Regardless of your interests, experiences, skills or budget, the Amazon will blow your mind. 



10 São Paulo nightlife 

Comparable to New York for its frenetic pace, Tokyo for modern style and Moscow for prices, but with a more varied offer, São Paulo welcomes 20 million gourmets, cocktail connoisseurs and club goers to its nearly 30,000 restaurants. bars and night clubs. From the temples of contemporary gastronomy of Itaim Bibi and Jardins to the innovative proposals of Baixo Augusta, to the alternative bars of Vila Madalena, the city is a succession of bolinhos (appetizers) and rivers of alcohol, and the revelry lasts until dawn and over most days. Saúde ! 



11 The architecture of Brasília

In support of its reputation as the 'dawn of a new era' for Brazil, this city of the future needed an architect who could design buildings that worthily represented its role: the right person for this job was Oscar Niemeyer. The 'crown of thorns', or the Catedral Metropolitana, is a masterpiece of sacred art and the interplanetary design of the Teatro Nacional is divine! Brasília is a treasure trove of architectural jewels, designed by a genius who was inspired by the idea of ​​a better future. 


12 Bonito

Live one of the many adventures on the water in the breathtaking landscape of the Serra da Bodoquena and get ready for a unique experience. Whether you try snorkelling for the first time in Rio da Prata or venture into the center of the earth in Abismo Anhumas, Bonito will give you unrepeatable moments, which you will cherish among the most precious memories of your trip to Brazil.


13 Rio Carnival

Try to get enough sleep before boarding the plane, because once you land it will be a continuous party until Ash Wednesday, which (more or less) puts an end to the partying. With nearly 500 street parties around the city, you'll be spoiled for choice. To get to the heart of the festivities, join a samba school and parade to the rhythm of percussion among smoke-breathing dragons in front of thousands of cheering people in the Sambódromo, or get yourself a costume and take part in one of the many masked balls. Preparations begin weeks in advance. 

Santo Antonio church in the colonial town of Tiradentes © Michael Heffernan / Lonely Planet



14 Tiradentes 

The colonial town of Tiradentes is so well preserved, and the landscape around it so enchanting, that you might feel like you are on a movie set. The cobbled alleys, the flower-covered walls and the splendid colonial buildings hide a surprise at every step, which will be all the more welcome if you like to walk. Numerous hiking trails wind through the surrounding mountains, Tiradentes's lively gastronomic landscape offers delicious dishes, both modern and traditional, and to recharge your batteries there is no shortage of relaxing and charming guesthouses. 

15 Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina 

A wonderland made up of rushing waterfalls, crystal clear pools, rugged paths and natural water slides, Chapada Diamantina is a delightfully unspoiled national park off the beaten path and one of the few inland attractions of the state of Bahia. best known for its beaches. Those who explore it, with a day trip from Lençóis or by taking the Grand Circuit with a local guide, often count it among the most fascinating natural destinations in Brazil. 


16 Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses 

Of all the natural wonders of Brazil, the most unexpected surprise is the Lençóis Maranhenses in Maranhão, a 70km long and 25km wide expanse of high dunes that look like lençóis (sheets) lying on the landscape. From about March to September (and especially in July and August), the dunes are interspersed with thousands of clear rainwater lagoons. Explore it with an off-road tour, a boat trip along the jungle-lined Rio Preguiças or, if you love adventure, a three or four day trek. 


17 Recife and Olinda 

While sharing the culture and many pages of history, these two cities of the Northeast have very different characters. Recife is large, with skyscrapers and a lot of traffic, but also with a charming old town that the modernization works, new museums, restaurants and cultural centers make even more pleasant. Olinda has quiet winding streets, colonial churches and art galleries, perfect for photographing. The rich shared cultural heritage is evident at Carnival, when the two cities host the wildest street parties in Brazil, enlivened by unique music and dance forms such as frevo and maracatu . 





18 Alter do Chão 

Alter do Chão has it all: a beach in the heart of the rainforest. This Amazonian location, best known for its picturesque island surrounded by a beach of fine white sand lapped by tea-colored waters, is also the gateway to one of the largest forests in the country, where towering samaúma trees grow and is It is possible to stay with a family of rubber tree carvers. With so many things to do, inviting hotels, and a laid-back vibe, everyone would love to stay here for a while, and indeed many do. 


19 Beaches of Santa Catarina 

Santa Caterina is synonymous with the good life and this has a lot to do with its sun-kissed coast. Whether you stop in Florianópolis (easy access to a paradise of 42 idyllic beaches just an hour's drive away), or head south of the capital to Guarda do Embaú (one of Brazil's best surfing sites ), or to Praia do Rosa (the most elegant seaside resort in the state), you can't help but be amazed as you sink your feet into the pristine sand of Santa Catarina. 


20 Paraty 

No other place in Brazil offers such an enchanting blend of colonial architecture and natural beauty as Paraty . On the picturesque Costa Verde, a few hours southwest of Rio, it has long been the favorite destination of many Cariocas, thanks to the stunning beaches, extraordinary mountains and the charm of the cobbled alleys of the colorful eighteenth-century old town. If you are tired of sunbathing and sightseeing, sip a Caipirinha, splash down the nearby natural water slide or try your hand at Brazilian gastronomy at a cooking school.