There are so many brilliant things to do in Brazil. From exploring the Amazon rainforest, admiring the powerful Iguazu Falls and donning an infamous Brazilian bikini for the beautiful beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Brazil truly has something for every visitor. Not to mention the vibrant cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the latter being the host to the world’s most famous and flamboyant carnival each year. Then there’s the food… hello Churrascaria! Here is what we consider to be the top things to do in Brazil, certainly worthy of a place on your South America Bucket List that’s for sure.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Brazil
One of the most beautiful attractions in Rio de Janeiro and one of the most famous in Brazil. Sugarloaf Mountain is a rounded rock peak sitting 394 meters above sea level. The tip of this rock is where travelers head to when they arrive for an incredible bird’s eye view of Rio de Janeiro from the mouth of Guanabara Bay. Sugarloaf Mountain is open year-round, but whenever you plan to visit, expect some lines as it’s one of the most popular spots in Rio. If you want to avoid the heat of the day, head up either early in the morning (first car leaves at 8 am) or after 4 pm.
All over the world people talk about Copacabana; or sing songs about it. Copacabana is considered one of the world’s most famous beaches and runs for 3 miles along the densely populated residential area of Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of travelers flock to this beautiful golden sand beach every year to sunbathe and play volleyball. Bring your Brazilian bikini and kiss your tan lines good bye!
Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. They consist of approximately 257 individual falls over 2.7 km. Together, they make up the largest waterfall in the world (even larger than Niagara). The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. With awe-inspiring water cascades as far as you can see, Iguazu Falls is well worth the trip. When the late US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw Iguazu Falls her response was “Poor Niagara”, even she was blown away by the beauty of the Iguazu Falls.
Visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and undoubtedly the most iconic site in Brazil. With a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the Cristo Redentor Statue (Christ the Redeemer ) sits 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city on top of the Corcovado (meaning ‘hunchback’) Mountain in the Parque Nacional da Tijuca.
The Amazon Rainforest is synonymous with Brazil, and there is a great selection of Amazon tours here. Brazil controls roughly 60% of the Amazon making it an ideal destination to explore the largest tropical rainforest in the world. Famous for its unparalleled biodiversity, the Amazon Rainforest is home to the most extensive array of plants and animals in the world, not to mention the 2.5 million insects.
Pernambuco state in northeastern Brazil, is near the eastern tip of the South American coastline’s bulge into the Atlantic Ocean. The capital, Recife, has a port, old town and the popular beach area of Boa Viagem. Experience the paradisiac beaches of Pernambuco, famous for having some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil with palm trees, white sand and crystal clear, warm water. Some of the best beaches to visit in Pernambuco are; Itamaracá, Carneiros, Maracaípe and Baía do Sancho.
Rio de Janeiro’s Escadaria Selarón is one of the famous landmarks of the city. Escadaria Selaron (also called the ‘Selaron Steps’) is a set of world-famous steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Designed by the Chilean artist Jorge Selaron who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”. Jorge started by fixing the steps opposite his own house, but kept on going for about 23 years. Currently, the steps have nearly 2000 pieces of tile, ceramics and mirrors gathered from across the globe.
Admire the icons of Brasília and Brazilian modernism. At 1,000 meters above sea level, the horizontal landscape of Brasilia is a showcase for sculptural architecture. In 1883 the Italian saint Dom Bosco dreamed of a utopian city of the future, this dream became a reality and influenced the construction of Brasília, now the capital of Brazil in the 50’s and 60’s. Projected and developed by urbanist Lúcio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Rio de Janeiro while in Brazil. Known as “The Heart of Rio de Janeiro”, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, also called ‘Lagoa’, is a natural lake in the south zone of the city, well known for its natural beauty. Visitors to Lagoa can ride bikes on the cycle trails, go rowing, play sports and relax in the peace and tranquility.
Museum of Tomorrow
The Museum of Tomorrow is a science museum in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The ambitious museum looks at where humankind is headed and asks how they’ll live in a post-climate-change world. It was designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava, and built by the waterfront at Pier Maua. There are five main exhibits here; Tomorrow, Now, Cosmos, Anthropocene, and Earth. In each section, science and innovative design are combined, creating an experience that combines learning with fun. Make sure you check out the Tomorrow laboratory which focuses on robotics, 3D printing, and Artificial Intelligence.
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There is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome things to do in Brazil.
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