Brazil is an intoxicating mix of pristine palm fringed beaches, tropical islands and lush mountains with cosmopolitan culture, world class art and steamy samba and cachaça rum fuelled nights ... Brazil’s vibe is infectious and the longer you spend there the more you enjoy it!
Brazil exceeded our expectations on every front … whether it was the blisteringly fast Internet speeds in Foz do Iguaçu (the only time in 7 months travelling that I was ever in ‘Dropbox Nirvana’ with my photo backups!) or the pristine beaches of the palm fringed tropical islands … we were constantly surprised by Brazil.
Regardless of the fact we only saw the southern half of Brazil (we visited the Amazon in Peru), from what we did see, we’ll attempt to give you a run down of our Top Travel Experiences for Brazil …
1. cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio
The epic cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain leaves you in no doubt why Rio is called the Ciudad Maravillosa (Marvelous City). When standing atop Sugarloaf Mountain, you are rewarded with spectacular views stretching from downtown Rio and the harbour through to Copacabana Beach, overlooked by the Christ the Redeemer statue and a series of favelas in the distance. The cable car ride is the best way to wrap your head around the layout of crazy Rio and is for sure our Top Travel Experience of Brazil!
2. Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio
Cristo Redentor is the iconic Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ that stands looking out from the 710m peak of Corcovado Mountain, opening His arms over Rio as a symbol of peace. The views over Rio from Christ the Redeemer statue are unmmissible!
3. Feel the Power of Iguazu Falls
The incredible scale and force that is the largest waterfall system in the world has to be seen to be believed! It’s not often that you get to stand so close to such a powerful force of nature - the thunderous sound was deafening!
An extensive network of walkways take you to various platforms with views over the falls including one that takes you across the swift flowing water to the lower base of the Devil's Throat. Water spray fills the air creating beautiful rainbows in the brilliant sunshine.
4. Live out your tropical beach Fantasies
This long, palm fringed stretch of fine white sand and turquoise waves is called Lopes Mendes Beach was one of our favourite finds in all of Brazil. Tucked away in a remote corner of Ilha Grande off the Costa Verde, we had to take 2 boats and a short hike through jungle to get there, but it was worth the effort!
If you walk 200m up the beach you can have an entire stretch of paradise to yourself ... to just lie back under the palms, sip Caipirinha’s and live out all your tropical beach fantasies!
5. Discover the colonial charms of Paraty
The colourful colonial gem of Paraty is nestled in the lush foothills of Brazil’s Costa Verde, where thick tropical jungle plunges into the idyllic island studded bay of Ilha Grande. The town is filled with Portuguese style white-washed buildings adorned with colourful borders, doors and lattice windows. Its cobblestoned streets are closed to motor vehicles, making it the perfect place to stroll about, enjoy a long lunch or explore the streets by horse and cart.
6. Go snorkelling in Paraty Bay
The best way to explore the idyllic islands and pristine beaches of Paraty Bay is by hiring one of the colourful fishing boats that line the harbour. Climb aboard with your lunch and drinks, pull up a pillow on the top deck and the captain will take you cruising around the beautiful bay, stopping at a variety of beaches and snorkelling spots along the way … it’s the perfect way to spend a day sightseeing!
We were blown away by the crystal clear turquoise water of Paraty Bay! This particular spot was a snorkeller's paradise, as the water was teeming with large schools of colourful tropical fish.
7. São Paulo Street Art
São Paulo is home to over 20 million people, making it one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures and is internationally renowned for being a centre for food, arts and entertainment. Like all great South American cities, its walls showcase the talents of some of the best street artists in the world especially in the area surrounding Batman’s Alley.
The unique style of São Paulo street artist Eduardo Kobra is one of the most recognisable in all the world. He uses the technique of photorealism overlaid with a kaleidoscope of colour in repeating squares and triangles to bring to life portraits of notable people throughout history.
The buildings and walls of São Paulo are Kobra’s canvas and his amazing images bring so much vibrant colour to the city streets.
8. Soak up the sun and surf in Florianópolis
Florianópolis (or Floripa to locals) is the capital of Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil. It is an island connected to the mainland by a bridge and has more than 60 stunning beaches to enjoy with some of the best surf in Brazil. If you’ve been on the road for an extended time, it’s the perfect place to take a beach break, soak up the sun and catch a few waves.
As Australians we always have high expectations for a beach and are often left disappointed by what we find … but not in Brazil!! The beaches were just as good (if not better) than those at home … with wide stretches of fine white sand, natural dunes and pumping waves. Many of the beaches in Floripa are lined with casual cafes, where you can sit under the shade of an umbrella, feast on fresh seafood and wash it down with a cold beer or refreshing Caipirinha ... beach bliss!
Hope you enjoyed our Top Travel Experiences for Brazil! Do you have a favourite travel destination in Brazil? Let me know in the comments below.
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