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Simply put, Brazil is one of those destinations that all travelers should see in their lifetime. This is a place know for the Amazon Rainforest, relaxing beaches, soccer games, vibrant cities, and beautiful people. The culture here is unlike anywhere else, with festivals, music, events, and food that stand out in Latin America.
Brazil is a tourist-friendly country that’s full of history and accessible from many parts of the world. So as you plan your trip to this South American destination, keep these local experiences in mind for your itinerary!
Take in the Capital City of Rio
Many people start their Brazilian journey in Rio, and there’s plenty to see and do here to start your trip. Ipanema Beach is the local sunbathing spot here, and you can’t miss the Christ the Redeemer statue. While you’re in town, make sure to check out the historic public squares, cathedrals, and monasteries, and maybe even take a cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Corcovado is accessible via railway trail and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Lounge on the Beach at Copacabana
If you only visit one beach in Brazil, make it Copacabana. Here you’ll find kiosks selling bathing suits, games of volleyball and soccer being played, and a long line of restaurants and hotels. It’s marked by white sand and calm waves, and a very popular spot to sunbathe and people-watch. Another excellent beach area to visit is in Ipanema.
Visit during Carnival for the Biggest Party of the Year
Nearly everyone has heard of Carnival, even without stepping foot in Brazil. That’s because it’s the largest part of the year, and totally worth seeing for yourself if you’re up for a wild and crazy atmosphere. This is the ultimate time for traditional music, rowdy behavior, dancing, drinking, and scantily-clad costumes.
Volunteer in the Favelas
Favelas are known as the local slums and shantytowns, and they’re in stark contrast to the high-rise buildings and luxury hotels you’ll find in Brazil’s cities. If you want to see this area for yourself, it is recommended to take a tour from a respectable guide company. Some travelers feel uncomfortable simply viewing these types of environments, so why not get truly involved and volunteer a few hours of your time? Voluntourism guide companies can set you up with a rewarding day of helping out a local daycare centers and park projects.
5, Experience the Amazon Rainforest
Nature enthusiasts flock to the Amazon by the thousands, and the world’s largest rainforest holds a special place in our global ecosystem. One of the most unforgettable ways to experience the Amazon is by kayaking through it. Definitely hire a guide for your paddle and plan out stops and meals along the way. Some animals to keep an eye out for include toucans, pink dolphins, capybaras, and anteaters.
Go Clubbing in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo is the place to be for amazing nightlife options in Brazil, and there are entirely too many bars and clubs here to choose from. Club-worthy neighborhoods include Jardins, Itaim Bibi, and Vila Olimpia, and Vila Madalena has some great local bars with live music.
See the Architecture in Brasilia
Brasilia was planned out as Brazil’s new capital in the 1950s and built up in just a few short years. This is an interesting place to see modern buildings and a must for all architecture lovers.
Catch a Soccer Game
Soccer is a huge part of Brazilian culture, so why not catch a game if one’s playing during your visit? Maracanã Stadium is a great place to catch a game, especially since the 2014 World Cup was held here. It’s a huge stadium that holds tens of thousands of fans, so get ready for an intense experience!
Take a Samba Dance Class
Samba is the traditional dance of Brazil and plays a big part in the local culture. To learn the basics and really appreciate this form of dance, sign up for a Samba class and get your feet moving! One of the best places to find Samba schools is in the hip Lapa neighborhood of Rio.
Sip Caipirinha Cocktails
Caipirinha is the most famous cocktail in Brazil, and no trip to the country would be complete without trying one. It consists of Leblon cachaca, lime, and pure sugar cane syrup, and it is incredibly refreshing during the hot summer months. Just keep in mind that these drinks are surprisingly strong, so sip responsibly!
Join a Game of Beach Volleyball
Brazilians love their beach volleyball, and with so many great beaches, it isn’t hard to find a friendly game to join. Just keep in mind that volleyball is pretty competitive here so be prepared to pull out your best skills…especially at Copacabana Beach!
Hike though Diamantina National Park
Diamantina National Park is an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts, with lots of hiking and caving opportunities throughout. This beautiful landscape has a little bit of everything to explore – mountains, forests, caves, and lakes.
Take a Boat Trip to Iguacu Falls
One of the best ways to see the Iguacu Falls on the edge of the jungle up-close and personal is on a boat tour. These waterfalls are nothing short of breathtaking and make for some amazing nature photography. They’re on the borer of Argentina and Brazil and considered to be part one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. Make sure to get out of the boat and go for a hike in the area if you can, or go rappelling for an even more intense adventure.
Watch a Traditional Capoeira Dance
There’s a traditional dance in Brazil known as the Capoeira, which dates back to times of slavery. This is a must-see when you’re visiting Rio, in particular. The movements of this dance resemble a fight between two men, but it’s incredibly beautiful and unique to Brazilian culture. It mixes martial arts with dance moves and is set to music with instruments and drums. The Terreiro de Jesus Square in Salvador is a great place to watch these dancers.
See Local Art at Escadaria Selaron
Lapa is the bohemian and artistic neighborhood in Rio, and you’ll need to climb a couple hundred steps to Santa Teresa to see some great local art. On the staircase you’ll find colorful tiles that are dedicated to musical greats and local figures. This is in the middle of the Samba district, which is worth checking out.
Chow Down at a Churrascuria
Brazilians are known for their meat, and if you’re a meat-eater, then dinner at a churrascuria is a must. The prices of these steakhouses are often high, so come hungry and get your fill. The standard practice at these establishments is to flip your car from red to green when you’re ready for more meat and waiters will come by with different cuts to choose from