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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!

Rio
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Rio
Rio

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.

Copacabana
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Copacabana
Copacabana

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.

Carnival
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Carnival
Carnival

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.

Favelas
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Favelas
Favelas

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.

Amazon Rainforest
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Amazon Rainforest
Amazon Rainforest

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.

Sao Paulo
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Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo

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.

Brasilia
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Brasilia
Brasilia

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.

Soccer
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Soccer
Soccer

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!

Rio de Janeiro
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Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

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.

Caipirinha
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Caipirinha
Caipirinha

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!

Volleyball
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Volleyball
Volleyball

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!

Diamantina National ParkDiamantina National Park
Diamantina National Park

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.

Iguacu Falls
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Iguacu Falls
Iguacu Falls

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.

Bahia
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Bahia
Bahia

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.

Escadaria Selaron
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Escadaria Selaron
Escadaria Selaron

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.

Churrascuria
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Churrascuria
Churrascuria

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

Churrascuria