Ultimate Guide to Brazil

So here it finally is. This guide is a special one, because who doesn’t want to get informed about Brazil. Brazil is home to waves, warm-hearted people and Moqueca – a tasty fish dish found throughout Brazil. I spent some time finding these amazing bloggers you’ll about to meet. You’ll get a nice taster of Brazil from real travellers, the people that write for a living and travel endlessly to discover the best opportunities for you. So go on and enjoy the eye candy we have for you below.

Ipanema

by Stephanie Craig – History Fangirl  \  Insta  \  Pinterest 

When you think of Rio de Janeiro, one’s mind automatically drifts to Rio’s stunning beaches and the soft bossa nova music that reveres them. There’s nothing quite as lovely as playing on Ipanema, soaking in the sun and playing in the waves. Rio is such a beautiful and naturally stunning city that its landscape is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the title “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea.”  Sitting on Ipanema, you can take in this natural beauty, as you can see as far as the mountains behind Leblon.

Since the city lies right on the water, there are a number of beautiful beaches that one should visit. While Leblon is considered more luxurious and Copacabana fills with tourists from hotels, what makes Ipanema special is its reputation as the home for Rio’s surfers and youth culture.

Sao Paulo

by Noel Morata – Travel Photo Discovery  \  Facebook  \  Pinterest

There are so many amazing museums to visit in Sao Paulo and if you wait to visit on free days, then you get to see even more of these wonderful institutions. But don’t let that stop you since most of these places are very inexpensive or even free to visit. These museums cover the gamut from art, cultural attractions, repurposed mansions to rotating shows and even banks that offer regular events or shows that focus on regional or international artists and performers. If you’re visiting Sao Paulo, check out my post of museums and free things to do in Sao Paulo for more inspiration of what to see and do in the city.

Salvador

by Daniel Grocock – Layer Culture  \  Facebook  \  Twitter 

If you’re travelling to Brazil then remember to head over to Salvador. You’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Pelourinho. Arriving by ship? No problem! You can easily walk to the Pelourinho district, which is the historical center. Popular with many tourists, and well noted for its African culture, history, arts and music. You fall in love with the lush colours of the colonial buildings surrounding the site. While you’re there, look out for some of the popular bars and restaurants. The evening is a hot spot for music, which offers a groovy upbeat carnival type ambience for all passers-by.
Pelourinho has become a wonderful place to discover African heritage in Brazil. You can learn about unique people and look closer into local artefacts. You can’t miss the memorable street life scenes which makes this visit even so much more rewarding. If you’re lucky to be in Pelourinho for the Tuesday night experience, you’ll never forget it. The cobblestone streets get lively again with drums and live music.

Lencois Maranhenses

by Michael Gerber – M S C Gerber  \  Facebook  \  Insta
I never even heard of Lencois Maranhenses before I planned my trip to Brazil. Yet, a good friend of mine that lives in Sao Luis, Maranhao – which is just a 5-hour drive from the Lencois Maranhenses National Park – showed me some pictures of the place, and said: “Michael, you have to get there”. And guess what? Two months later we were sitting on a bus together and the direction? Lencois Maranhenses. It’s still hard to explain my experience there with words, but it was just unbelievable. The national park basically consists of huge sand dunes – some up to 40m high – that are filled with rainwater. You hike around the area whilst enjoying the incredible pristine rainwater lakes.
As I just stayed there for one day (don’t do it!) I could have stayed way longer as there are so many other
options like doing an ATV tour, flying over the area with a small plane (which must look insane) or joining a river tour in an area nearby the famous sand dunes. To me, Lencois Maranhenses was one of the highlights of my Brazilian journey.
If you’d like to know more about it you can also check out my complete Lencois Maranhenses guide.
Reflections in a pond at Inhotim: tropical vegetation, and the colourful walls of the “Magic Square” by Hélio Oiticica in the background.

Inhotim Park of Contemporary Art 

by Juergen Klein – Dare 2 Go  \  Facebook  \  Pinterest
Inhotim is a very unique fusion of botanical garden, applaudable conservation efforts, and an outstanding collection of world-class contemporary art. We have never experienced anything like this during our extensive travels.
Inhotim [in-yo-tcheem] was founded by a local entrepreneur, Bernardo Paz. He transformed an open-cut mine into a mix of tropical jungle and formal gardens, interspersed with outdoor and indoor galleries, showing modern art by world-renowned artists. There are currently 23 gallery buildings spread throughout the gardens. You will find this treasure in the province of Minas Gerais, to the north-west of Rio de Janeiro. It’s about 60 kilometers from the provincial capital of Belo Horizonte, close to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ouro Preto and the “Santuário do Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos”.
We would recommend planning at least a full day to explore the vast 140-hectare park – if you plan for 2 days, you can see all the attractions at leisure. Best time to visit is during southern “winter”, between May and September, when it’s mostly sunny and clear, but not too hot. Admission to Inhotim is free on Wednesdays. For more information visit the English language section of the official website

You can check out the rich history of Minas Gerais here.

Pão de Açúcar

by Michael Meraner – 197 Travel Stamps  \  Facebook  \  Pinterest
The Sugar Loaf Mountain or Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese is one of the most famous landmarks of Rio de Janeiro.
It is great for two reasons. It first offers the most amazing views over Rio from its top. Catch the cable car up the Sugar Loaf Mountain just before sunset, and gape down on views from the top, they are incredibly beautiful.

The second is that It just looks amazing. While you stand at the top of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, you will have the most amazing views over Rio, but one thing will be missing in your photographs and that’s the Sugar Loaf itself. For a perfect view and photo opportunity, head to favela Santa Marta just before sunset. This is the location where parts of the movie clip of Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” was shot. The favela is one of the
steepest in Rio and offers incredible views over Botafogo Beach and the Pão de Açúcar.

“Gramado Sightseeing” by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo (CC BY 2.0)

Gramado

by Charlotte Markham – Footloose Lemon Juice  \  Facebook  \  Insta 

Avoid jumping to the conclusion that Brazil is all coconuts and sandy beaches because tucked away in the Southern corner, are wintery secrets. Rio Grande do Sul, sits on the tip of the South American continent and when the winter months hit, Brazilians flock on mass to the German mountain town of Gramado.

Gramado was founded by German immigrants in the 1880s, but later received an injection of Italian influences, making it a pocket of Europe in the mountains of Brazil. By day, you can visit the lakes surrounded by pines grown from seeds taken from the Black Forest. Also visiting waterfalls or taking rides in the cable cars located in the sister village of Canela (cinnamon in Portuguese). Geared predominantly towards tourism, Gramado even hosts mini theme parks including Santa’s LandChocolate Land and Snow Land. What a selection!

Gramado is Brazil’s number one destination for homemade chocolate. Therefore, scattered along the German style streets are chocolate boutiques. Most offer samples, as well as impressive chocolate structures/models. If that’s not enough, you can also stuff your face on chocolate fondues in one of the many Gramado fondue houses. Though if you don’t have a sweet tooth they also offer cheese and meat fondues with a selection to make your eyes pop.

Whilst in the state of Rio Grande do Sul you should also take the opportunity to visit a typical Gaúcha BBQ house. Though churrasqueiras (BBQ Restaurants) are a national treasure, the southern plains of South America, which spread through Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are renown for the succulent beef. The cattle are free to roam enormous distances, with nearly no hills. As a consequence, the beef becomes particularly succulent, devoid of the majority of tough muscle.

View from the sea in Paraty, Green Coast, Brazil

Paraty

by Gabor – Surfing The Planet  \  Insta  \  Pinterest

Paraty, one of the most beautiful colonial towns in Brazil is situated on the Green Coast of Brazil. While you visit the most essential places to see in Brazil, you can easily access this beautiful town by bus from either Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. Paraty is a beautiful historical town on the seaside with a very special atmosphere. It’s a real joy to walk on its cobbled streets and contemplate the beautiful white buildings and baroque churches there. The most important churches include the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Chapel of Saint Rita, the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows and the First Church of Our Lady of the Remedies. The atmosphere is especially cosy around sunset when the paved streets are nicely illuminated. While you are in Paraty, it’s highly recommendable to go on a boat excursion to enjoy some of the nicest beaches in the area and do some snorkeling in some of the bays with crystal clear water. From Paraty you can also take a day trip to Trinidade with secluded beaches and natural ponds.

pedra do telegrafo brazil

Pedra do Telegrafo

by Owen Ter – My turn to Travel  \  FacebookPinterest

There’s a spot in Brazil that has recently gotten much attention and exploded in popularity – Pedra do Telegrafo. If that doesn’t ring a bell, this photo above surely should remind you of it.

Here’s the truth though. It isn’t really a cliffhanger. The ‘cliff’ that people seem to be hanging on with all sorts of crazily dangerous pose is probably only 2m high. The trick is to take a photo from the right angle.

Pedra do Telegrafo is atop the hill Morro de Guaratiba, about an hour drive west from the touristy part of Rio de Janeiro. Getting there by public transport is a hassle and takes way too long. It is best to get a private driver or rent a car. Queues start forming as early as 8 am and the wait time can be as long as 6 hours! The climb up the hill is an easy 30 mins hike and besides the Instagram worthy rock, you’ll also be rewarded with the views of the lush green forest, turquoise sea and magnificent mountains.

Ilha Grande

by Patrick Muntzinger – German Backpacker  /  Facebook  /  Insta

If you’re looking for a nice island getaway from Rio or Sao Paulo, you should head to Ilha Grande! This island is conveniently located between the two cities and therefore easily reachable by bus in a few hours, followed by a short boat ride. Some tour companies even offer the complete package including pick-up from your hotel/hostel, making the journey very convenient. Ilha Grande has beautiful nature to offer and is a great escape from the hectic and busy Brazilian cities. The beach is perfect to relax, and the island is covered by jungle which is perfect for hiking. There are enough accommodation options as well as restaurants for every budget along the main beach and harbour. During my time at Ilha Grande, I explored a big part of the island by foot and the multiple hiking trails through the jungle led me to some beautiful viewpoints as well as remote beaches. There’s also the opportunity for snorkelling, diving and boat trips to some nearby beaches in case you’re not a big fan of hiking. You certainly won’t get bored!

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One Comment

  1. Pedro do Telegrafo looks amazing. I never knew where it was, only that it was somewhere in Rio. Got to hate those 6 hours queues …
    Great article Alex!

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