Attractions from Brazil

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Jungle journey (Amazonas)
As a tourist it's difficult to walk around the constituent state capital Manaus without being held up by people who want to sell a journey into the jungle. There are plenty of colourful brochures with pictures of plants and animals, but they seldom keep their promise. Instead you should examine in details what the journey contains. Insist on meeting the guide before you pay. A one-day trip is not enough if you want to see the jungle, you'll spend too much time on transport and won't get far enough for it to get interesting. Four days is a recommended minimum for a journey. It's not cheap to visit the Amazon jungle. There's no guarantee that you'll see wildlife but on one of the longer journeys it's almost certain. A cheaper way to see the jungle is to hire a guide from Associacao dos Canoeiros (Association of canoe guides). These trips are primitive in comparison to those, which the tour companies offer, but a lot of people prefer them because they are more authentic.
River barge trips (Amazonas)
The impassable terrain in the jungle makes the river the most efficient way of transport. The ramshackle barges, which sail the complex network of rivers, is the only way to get to the local population, but to tourists it's an attraction in itself to sprawl in a hammock while the barge happily chugs through the jungle. From the boat you can watch life on the banks while you are close to the locals. Boat trips are usually with food and drink included. The most expensive trips are by tourist boat, while it's far cheaper to board a cargo boat and arrange your hammock. If you walk around the harbour in Manaus, you'll find a boat, which will take you towards Colombia or Peru.
Market for art and handicraft (Feira de Arte e Artesano) (Belo Horizonte)
Every Sunday morning a wonderful market is held on Avenida Afonso Pena. Here you can buy high quality handicrafts and taste the local food and drink. Even though you don't intend to buy anything, you should visit this place, as the atmosphere is very friendly and there is enough to see.
Sabará (Belo Horizonte)
Just 25 kilometres south-east of Belo Horizonte lies the city Sabará, which was one of the wealthiest cities in the world during the gold rush. Even though the city doesn't come even close to what it once was, it still reflects the past days of glory in its houses, churches, statues and fountains. Sabrá is an image of the transitoriness of the crazy gold rush and an interesting one-day trip from Belo Horizonte. The city also has a very interesting gold museum (museu do ouro) with relics from the days of the gold rush.
The parks in Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte)
The park is a huge green and quiet area in the middle of the city. This is where the inhabitants of Belo Horizonte take a break from the vibrant city. Palacio da Artes, the scene of different cultural events, is no doubt the park's greatest attraction.
Estância de Agua de Itiquira Nature Reserve (Brasília)
Estância de Agua de Itiquira is a lovely natural area about 110 kilometres from Brasilia. From a 170-metre peak you have a view of a forested valley, nature's own crystal clear swimming pools and a couple of bars and restaurants. The place is perfect if you have had too much of the metallic and sterile capital.
Metropolitana Cathedral (Brasília)
Caredal Metropolitana is not like any other church, but definitely worth a visit. The cathedral sits on Eixo Monumental and is decorated with aluminium angels. The basic frame of the church is 16 curved pillars and inside there are some amazing glass paintings.
TV Tower (Brasília)
In order to get an overview of the city's unique design the TV tower is open all week to those who dare to go up the 75 metres. From here you sense that the city has been designed and that it hasn't developed naturally. If you take a good look, you'll see how Brasilia is shaped like a bow and arrow.
Aparados da Serra National park (Brazil)
This national park lies in the southernmost part of Brazil and is accessible from Porto Alegere in the constituent state Rio Grande do Sul. The main attraction in the park is Canyon do Itaimbézinho, a deep gorge with steep rock walls as well as two waterfalls which rush down this giant gorge in Mother Earth. Also Canyon da Fortaleza can take the breath away from anybody. This almost one-kilometre deep gorge stretches more than 30 kilometres through the park's magnificent landscape. If you raise your eyes from the vertiginous abyss, you'll have an unforgettable view over the sea.
Carnival in Brazil: (Brazil)
If you have once experienced a carnival in Brazil, you will be marked for life by the crazy boost of power, which this mayhem causes. Everything explodes in dance and music and a whole nation stands still and enters another dimension for a while. The carnival in Rio is the most famous and without doubts the most beautiful and flamboyant. In Bahia the carnival is something, which involves everybody, also the ones who have just come to watch. Olinda near Recife also has a marvellous carnival and several of the islands off the coast also turn into carnival-oases in the Atlantic. The historical cities in Minas Gerais also celebrate carnival, not quite as madly wild as the cities on the coast, however.
Chapada Diamantina National Park (Brazil)
The park is situated in the constituent state Bahia west of the city Salvador. The park has a lot to offer - both to the experienced trekkers and to those who are more into a one-day minibus trip. The lush mountain landscape hides natural swimming pools, mysterious grottos and a rich wildlife. The area was originally used for mining and the miners have made many small winding footpaths, which makes it easy to explore the impressive and altogether magnificent landscape.
Emílio Goeldi Museum (Brazil)
The museum is situated in the city Belem in the constituent state of Pará. It's one of the best of its kind in Brazil and it provides an excellent view of life in the Amazon jungle. The museum has good exhibitions on wildlife and plants, but also on those Indian tribes, which live in the jungle. In addition, the museum also has a freshwater aquarium and the best zoo in South America with e.g. monkeys, jaguars and giant river otters.
Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (Brazil)
Off the more than 8000-kilometre Atlantic coast in Brazil lies the archipelago Fernando de Noronha. The 21 islands are engulfed by crystal clear water with an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, which makes the area a brilliant place to dive and snorkel. There are chartered tours to the island from the cities Recife and Natal in north-eastern Brazil.
Iguacu Falls (Brazil)
The giant waterfalls on the border between Argentina and Brazil are situated a little away from the usual gringo route, which runs along the coast, but is nevertheless an amazing experience. The waterfalls are situated in the lush tropical rainforest and the waters come down in all angles and continually create little bright rainbows. The falls can be explored both from the Brazilian and from the Argentinean side and the national park, which surrounds them, is home to a countless number of gaily-coloured butterflies. The gateway to the waterfalls is the town Foz do Iguacu, where it's also possible to go on a daytrip to Paraguay. It's best to visit Iguacu between August and November. Between May and July the waters are so massive that it may be difficult to get close to the falls.
Ilha Grande Island (Brazil)
The South American Hawaii is one of the pet names for the small island near Rio de Janeiro. 102 tropical sandy beaches and dense Atlantic rainforest are what you'll find on the island. One of the beaches is Praia Lopes Mendes, which many people claim to be the most beautiful beach in Brazil. You can take boat trips round the island or stride through to the paradisiacal beaches via the countless small paths, which winds in and out of the forest. Take a bus from Rio to Angra dos Reis. From here there are ferries to the perhaps most beautiful island in South America.
Meeting of the Waters (Encontro das aguas)½ (Brazil)
It's a special sight to see the place where the yellow-brownish Rio Solimoes meet the dark brown Rio Negro in the Amozon jungle. The two rivers are tributary of the Amazon River and even though the rivers run right next to each other, in a mysterious way the two colours don't mix. Most boats, which go on small trips from Manaus, pass this place and if you go to the harbour it's easy to get out there.
Ouro Preto (Brazil)
The town alone is one of Brazil's great attractions. The winding streets lined by beautiful churches and houses from the colony period turn back time a few hundred years. The artist, Aleijandinho, who was Brazil's greatest artist ever, decorates many of the buildings. A cripple with no hands, who created some of the most beautiful lines and curves in the baroque art with hammer and chisel strapped to his wrists. All buildings are actually worth seeing, but be sure not to miss the churches Igreja de Santa Efigênia dos Prêtos and Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis. People also flock to Ouro Preto during the carnival, and the city becomes very lively.
Sugar Loaf (Brazil)
Sugar Loaf (Pao de acucar) is a must in Brazil. The curved mountain is pictured on millions of post cards and the view from the summit is no less than wonderful. A cable way lifts the visitors up to the summit, from where Rio is no doubt the most beautiful city in the world. Sugar Loaf can be visited all day, but to see the day turn into night is a memorable experience. Avoid going there between 10 and 11 am and between 2 and 3 pm in the afternoon. This is when most tourist coaches arrive and this usually makes it overcrowded.
The beaches in north-eastern Brazil (Brazil)
Copacabana and Ipanema may be the most famous beaches in the world. But the states of Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte and Maranhao hide mile-long Uninhabited beaches, which can make even the most decided city-dweller to forget civilisation for a while. The beaches are picturesquely decorated with little fishing villages, minutely built fishing boats and sand dunes in different nuances. Jericoacoara and Canoa Quebrada are good places to start if you want to explore the never-ending stretches of untouched sand. And on Praia da Pipa near Natal you'll get to swim with a school of playful dolphins with 99 per cent certainty.
The town Caxambu and the Water Park. (Brazil)
Caxambu in the southern part of Minas Gerais is a wonderland to those who swears by recreative areas. Also people who are normally not that interested in such things will definitely like the place. The town in itself is very pleasant, but the main reason for people to flock to this spot is the park with the natural spa-pools, Parque das Aguas. The neighbouring town, Sao Lourenco also has a park with spa baths, while the small village Sao Tomé das Letras is for those who engage in the mystical and superstition.
The town Sao Joao del Rei (Brazil)
Sao Joao del Rei is one of the original 'gold towns' in Minas Gerais. The town has excellent pieces of art and incredibly beautiful churches, e.g Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis, which many people consider the most beautiful church in Brazil. From Sao Joao it is possible to go to the town, Tiradentes with the Maria Fumaca train, which runs through a picturesque scenery, or visit the former gold mine, Mina de Ouro-Tancredo de Neves. There's almost always some festival going on in Sao Joao del Rei. And the town is always lively. The carnival is also celebrated with a vengeance.
Ver-o-peso Market (Brazil)
Everywhere in Brazil it's a quite special experience to visit a market and watch the shouting and fiercely gesticulating Brazilians trade. The Ver-o-peso market is the most exciting, however. It's situated at the waterfront in Belèm on the Brazilian north coast and everything is available from more or less freshly caught fish from the muddy Amazon River to religious talismans and other tools for people from the mystic Macumba sect. It bubbles and buzzes of life among the colourful market stalls and you itch to take a picture. You have to be careful, however, as seedy characters lurk about at the harbour both day and night. In general, you should avoid bringing your camera, then it will be easier to enjoy the incredible atmosphere.
Mindu National Park (Manaus)
The small national park is a piece of rainforest within the city limits of Manaus. The park is home to flowers and animals and it can be explored via an elaborate network of footpaths. The orchid garden, in particular, is really beautiful. Sometimes there is also entertainment in the park's fine amphi-theatre.
The market in Manaus (Manaus)
The giant market with its heavy iron constructions is an incredibly exciting and lively place to stroll while you watch people and the mixed offers. Here you'll find curious fruits and vegetables, equipment for jungle expeditions and strange herbs and spices. It's really a great opportunity to find an original souvenir.
The Opera House (Manaus)
Manaus' big opera house is the symbol of the wealth, which Amazons experienced during the gum rush. It was built in the late 1800 and both the materials and the artists who performed were imported from Europe. The theatre shows signs of ageing, but the flamboyant style is still very impressive. The theatre also houses operas and ballets.
Fishing (Pantanal)
Pantanal also attracts anglers. If you come to fish for piranha, dourado, bagre or other fish, then you're on in April and May. From November till January it is prohibited. Fishing permits is available in Cuiabá at the organisation IBAMA, and then you just have to get out there on the rivers and pull the amazing giant fish to shore. If you don't bring your own gear, you can rent or buy in Cuiabá. But here it's unreasonably expensive and often the quality isn't good.
Pantanal Area (Pantanal)
Pantanal has one attraction and only one reason for tourists to flock to this area. The amazing wildlife. Tour companies and independent guides arrange tours into the wild. Prices vary a lot, but all trips include food, guide and transport. Some places the groups stay overnight at farms, others at hotels and yet other groups camp in the open air. One thing is certain; you will see lots of wildlife. There are two main cities in Pantanal. Cuiabá and Corumbá. From here most expeditions are arranged. Two days in the field is a minimum if you want to experience the wildlife, but most people can spend several weeks in the open air.
Transpantaneira highway (Pantanal)
Transpantaneira highway is the name of the only road, which bores its way through Pantanal. It's a dirt road. If you don't feel like or can't afford to throw yourself into the wild bush, you just need to travel on Transpantaneira. It's simply impossible not to see birds, capivars, hundreds of crocodiles and lots of other more or less recognizable animals. The road goes from Cuiabá in the constituent state of Mato Grosso and heads south into Pantanal. There are plenty of car rental companies in Cuiabá and they are willing to negociate the price.
Corcovado Mountain (Rio de Janeiro, all airports)
On the hunchbacked Corcovado mountain stands the 30-metre high statue of Christ viewing Rio. The statue has become one of Rio's trademarks and is an awe-inspiring sight as it stands on the 710-metre high mountain. The summit can be reached by car, but the greatest experience is to take the small rattling train, which crosses Tijuca National Park. The amazing view is best when you are seated on the right side of the car. The train leaves every half hour from Rua Cosme Velho.
Folclorico Edson Carneiro Museum (Rio de Janeiro, all airports)
Even though this museum is not big and sumptuous it is still among the best in the city. Here you'll find an incredible collection of Brazilian handicrafts from different periods. The handicraft is one of the country's proudest artistic traditions and the museum is definitely worth a visit. Here you'll also find a small shop where you can buy really fine handicrafts.
The Shanty Towns (Favelas) (Rio de Janeiro, all airports)
Favela is the Brazilian word for the shantytowns, which are scattered over many of the hillsides in Rio (and in all other major Brazilian cities). A great part of the Brazilian population lives in these favelas and a tour in such a completely different world is a great experience. But don't go there alone on any account. Different guides arrange tours in Rio's favelas. Marcelo Armstrong speaks English and is no doubt the most experienced in this area. Phone: 322-2727 or 989-0074.
Museum of Afro-Brazilian Culture and History (Salvador)
The museum gives you a really good picture of how deeply rooted Salvador's inhabitants are in African culture. A visit is a splendid supplement to the marvellous and different atmosphere, which pervades the city.
Pelourinho District (Salvador)
The district houses Salvador's oldest and best-preserved buildings from the colony period. Largo do Pelourinho Square was a slave market in the old days and you don't need much imagination to go back several hundred years, when you stroll along the beautiful buildings. It's also in Pelourinho that many cultural events take place.
Sao Francisco Church (Salvador)
Apart from its magnificent construction, this church is also interesting because the slaves were forced to build it. It was forbidden for the slaves to practise their own religion, and in spite and resentment they gave the figures in the ornamentation bizarre expressions and body shapes. The faces of the angels are distorted and some are pregnant or have big sexual organs.
Butanta Snake farm (Sao Paulo)
The snake farm in the University Park has become very popular with tourists during the last few years. The Butanta Institute has more than 1000 snakes in all colours and shapes. At the institute they extract their poison, which is often used for antidotes and other pharmaceuticals. Besides watching the reptiles you can also enjoy the beautiful park, where the snake farm is situated, or visit one of the two reptile museums in the park.
Liberdade district (Sao Paulo)
The district Liberdade is home to Sao Paulo's Asian emigrants. Sao Paulo is actually the city outside Japan, which has the highest number of inhabitants with Japanese background. The subway stops right in the heart of Liberdade and it is easy to spend a day or two in this place. It's like entering another world and suddenly you stand in the middle of an all-oriental district. Here you'll also find good and cheap Japanese, Chinese and Korean restaurants. Sundays there is a market with food and handicrafts at Praca Liberdade.
Museum of Modern Art (Sao Paulo)
Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo does not only have a collection, which gives an overview of modern Brazilian art. The museum also offers an important collection of international artists. The exhibition is displayed in the Bienal, which has some huge exhibition rooms. Every second year the Bienal houses one of the world's greatest recurring art exhibitions. Don't miss it, if you should be so lucky to be in Sao Paulo at exactly this time of year.

Area and city attractions

Area: 
• Amazonas
• Pantanal
City: 
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