Reasons to Visit
Discovering that the indigenous peoples did not take well to forced labour, the colonial Portuguese shipped thousands of Africans to Brazil to work. Upon their emancipation at the end of the 19th Century, Afro Brazilians became integrated into society, resulting in the beautifully diverse people we see today.
From the beautiful towns of Ouro Preto and Tiradentes in Minas Gerais state, Natal and Salvador in the northeast to the cobbled backstreets of Santa Teresa in Rio, there are numerous fine examples of colonial architecture in Brazil. For a different type of architecture the retro designs of Brasilia dating back from the 1950's divides opinion!
With almost 3,000 km of coastline, it isn’t surprising that Brazil has some of the best beaches in Latin America. There’s a beach for every taste, miles of deserted sand and palm trees, havens for surfers, beaches to spot whales and beaches to watch the locals parade themselves in the latest swimwear trends.
One of the world’s most famous celebrations, Brazil’s annual carnival takes place across the country preparing for the start of Lent. Most well-known for the celebrations in Rio, thousands of sequin and feather-clad dancers samba their way through the parade ground.
Football is in the veins of Brazil and seen at every turn. Brazil has given us such footballing greats as Pelé, Ronaldo and Kaka and the love and passion shown by the children passing balls in the street leave little doubt that more stars will follow.
The Amazon rainforest is a haven for wildlife and a must for both nature lovers and those who are simply curious. It covers a vast area of Brazil and can be explored from a number of simple lodges or boats, most of which are easily accessible from the tropical city of Manaus.
For wildlife viewing, there are few better places in the world than the Pantanal between April and September. The animals and birds found here are similar to those found in the nearby Amazon, but they are much easier to spot in the Pantanal. Animals seen here include capybara, caiman, anteater, armadillo, otter, marmoset and even jaguar and puma.
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Brazil’s oldest city and capital of the state of Bahia, Salvador is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the country - a place where Portugal, Africa and Brazil all collide in a cultural melting pot.
Brazil’s oldest city, the capital of the state of Bahia, is certainly one of the most beautiful and interesting in the country, as Portugal, Africa and Brazil all collide in a cultural melting pot.
The legacy of the Portuguese is present in the cobbled streets of the historical Pelourinho district that are lined with pastel-hued colonial buildings.
However, it is the influence of African culture that really makes a visit to Salvador unique. The culture, food and religion of the black slaves of the past still dominate the vibrant atmosphere of the present.
By day, you can enjoy the cultural heritage by strolling amongst ornate churches and candy-coloured mansions, past doorways piled high with folk art, local sculptures and musical instruments and through tranquil courtyards covered in flowers. Afterwards, as the sun sets, tuck into a delicious meal of one of the spicy specialities of Bahian cuisine, and then take in a theatre performance or simply place yourself in one of the bars and watch the vibrant nightlife unfold.
We can also organise day or overnight trips out of the city into the surrounding countryside to witness another side of Bahia.
Travelling into the Recôncavo, or hinterland, to the old towns of Santo Amaro, featured in many of the novels of Jorge Amado, and Cachoeira gives a real taste of traditional Bahian life and its former orientation around the sugar industry.
In Salvador itself we offer the opportunity to try your hand at traditional Afro Brazilian drumming, the graceful art of capoeira - the part-dance, part-martial art which was once the slaves’ form of rebellion, or to experience the pulsing music, dance and colourful costumes of the candomblé religion - a fusion of Catholicism and Africa-origin beliefs.
For those with a penchant for cuisine, a trip to the local market followed by a lesson in preparing a traditional Bahian moqueca is a real treat.
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Further reading:Tours in BrazilWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout BrazilCountry Guides
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