By Aline Siekierski
Brazil is where I call home and I’m always eager to get my foreign friends to visit my lovely country. Being the fifth largest country in the world and occupying nearly half of South America, you can have anything from an exciting beach getaway to a unique urban experience, all while surrounded by nature and welcoming locals.
Starting with my home city, the amazing Sao Paulo is Brazil’s largest city and the capital of finance and commerce. Home to many skyscrapers and a rich cosmopolitan culture, Sao Paulo may not be your typical tourist destination, but it never fails to offer an unforgettable experience for any visitors.
To Do List
Dinner at the top of Edificio Italia: Enjoy a delicious dinner on one of Sao Paulo’s tallest skyscrapers. Exquisite food and an amazing view.
Shopping at 25 de Março: Rua 25 de Março is the ultimate bargain hunter’s paradise, where you can find a host of products, from wristbands to plasma TVs. It’s a great place to buy small gifts and souvenirs in bulk, but beware of pickpockets.
￼￼￼Visit the home of Brazilian independence: At Museu do Ipiranga you can learn about Brazil’s rich history and enjoy the majestic structure and gardens that resemble the French Palace of Versailles.
Dance the night away: From nightclubs to live music, you will most definitely find a place that suits your style.
Rio de Janeiro
A seasoned tourist’s ultimate holiday destination, Rio de Janeiro is famous for its natural beauty and Carnival.
To Do List
Carnival: You can watch the parades at the Samdobromo, where the samba schools compete in their colourful costumes and music. The streets are no less fun; music, colours and celebration embody this festival, which welcomes people of all ages and cultures.
The Christ Redeemer: A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, this statue is one of Rio’s main postcard pictures. Pick a day with no clouds to visit the Christ, as any clouds will majorly affect your view.
Beach babes: See for yourself the mystique behind the location that inspired the classic movie ‘Girl From Ipanema’, or enjoy a fresh coconut water at the beach that entitles the ‘70s Barry Manilow hit, Copacabana.
One to avoid: The favela tours offer an inside view of Rio’s slums. These tours treat the residents and their tragic reality as a tourist attraction. Many of these favelas are home to high crime and drug trafficking putting the tourist in great danger. Avoid at all costs!
For nature fans that are looking to experience Brazil’s unique wildlife, the Amazon is the place to go. Tourism in the Amazon has increased dramatically over the years. Whereas ten years ago you would have struggled to find English speaking guides and proper hotels, you can now enjoy a relaxing holiday in one of the world’s largest rainforest. More than 98% of its 1.5 million square kilometer territory remains as untouched as when Brazil was first discovered.
To Do List
Sleep tight: Stay at the largest treetop hotel in the world and fully immerse yourself in nature.
Go on safari: Enjoy hikes and tours of the jungle with experienced guides, or even a nocturnal excursion by canoe.
Be at one with nature: Watch the natural phenomenon caused by the meeting of the dark waters from Rio Negro and clay waters from Rio Solimoes.
Visit the beautiful capital, Manaus: The Amazon Opera house and Municipal market are must see landmarks in Manaus.
For tourists looking for constant hot weather and beautiful beaches, the North East is where you should go. If you choose to explore the inland you will see the barren areas, “sertao”, that are almost desert like and only get rain for a short time of the year. With a range of hotels and restaurants, you may choose to travel inexpensively or go all the way and stay at a luxurious five star resort.
To Do List
Dune buggies: Ride dune buggies by the sea or, for the adventurous ones amongst you, ride them on the sand dunes.
Get arty: Bring some of the culture back home with you by visiting the arts and crafts fairs. Expect everything from bracelets and paintings, to typical Brazillian clothing garments.
Sand surfing: That’s right, grab a board and ‘surf’ down a sandy hill. Beware of sand burns!
Culture shock: Immerse yourself in the local culture, dance to some ‘forro’ and eat delicious spicy cuisine.
Top Tips For A Successful Trip
-Not many Brazilians speak English so buy a Portuguese book prior to your trip to at least learn some of the basics. Trust me, you will find it very useful.
-Leave your expensive jewellery and designer pieces at home. Sadly Brazil has a high crime rate, so anything that won’t make you stand out from the crowd will work in your favour.
– Tweet me @alinesieks if you have any questions or want more information on a specific area or attraction!