Discovering Brazil beyond Rio
With the close of the 2016 Olympic games, we take the spotlight off the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro and explore the destinations that lie beyond. Brazil specialist Rachel shared her recent experiences in the country and helped us compile our top suggestions for discovering the best of Brazil.by Brazil specialist Rachel
Once a popular picturesque fishing village, the small peninsula of Buzios didn't become a popular tourist attraction until French actress Brigitte Bardot visited in 1964. Today, Buzios is frequented as a summer getaway for those looking to escape the chaos of the city.
The town is known for it's great nightlife and unspoiled, untouched beaches. There are some locations in the town only accessible by water taxi, and this off the beaten path and relaxed atmosphere is what draws international visitors every year. Two or three nights spend in Buzios is typically sufficient to experience everything the area has to offer.
One of the many beaches in Buzios
A beach in Buzios
As the largest waterfall system in the world, the magnificent Iguazu Falls is worth a visit on any trip to South America. The Falls tumble over the cliffs of both Argentina and Brazil, and it’s worth spending two nights at Iguazu in order to experience the scenery from both countries. From the Brazilian side, you’ll get the famous panoramic view of the falls, while the experience from the Argentinian side is much more intense, allowing you to really feel the mighty power of the falls.
Iguazu Falls is worth visiting during both the high and low seasons. During high season the falls will be much fuller, while during low season there will be no mist from the water, allowing for a clearer view. Regardless of when you visit, Iguazu Falls is far more stunning in real life than any photograph.
A rainbow forms over Iguazu Falls
If you're interested in culture, this is the perfect stop. As the first capital of Brazil, Salvador is full of colonial history. Here, Portugal, Africa and Brazil all meet in a cultural melting pot. A stroll through the city offers views of old churches and colorful mansions, as well as a taste of the local music and folk art. The local cuisine is delicious and unique, and there are many cooking classes offered where you can learn to cook the popular dishes yourself. Complete with vibrant nightlife and a positive energy all-around, Salvador is a must-see for anyone spending time in Brazil.
The vibrant streets of Salvador
Picturesque harbour in Salvador
The Pantanal is a perfect stop for animal and nature lovers. The flooded wetlands is full of large mammals and birds, and you can even spot jaguar roaming about. While many of the animals present in the Pantanal are similar to those that you'll see in the nearby Amazon, the animals in the Pantanal are much easier to spot because of the lack of dense jungle.
Most animals can be seen by day on a walking safari, though there are options to take a jeep on a night safari to see those mammals that only come out after sunset. Particularly abundant in the area are capybara, anteaters, armadillos, wild pigs and many varieties of birds.
Canoeing in the Pantanal at sunset
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon offers unrivaled flora and fauna as far as the eye can see. The farther into the Amazon you venture, the more wildlife you'll see. A trip to the Amazon is the ultimate way to get away from the chaos of everyday life. You'll leave everything behind and be left with nothing but yourself, the boat and your guide. In the evenings the only sounds you'll hear are those of other boats passing by and the animals in the wild. You are completely removed from civilization, and it's an unforgettable experience. If the weather is just right, you'll even be able to see the stars reflecting on the water at night as you paddle through the night.
The dense forest of the Amazon Rainforest