Think Brazil and colorful carnival costumes, revelers swaying to the samba, stunning white sand beaches and endless stretches of Amazon rainforest come to mind.
Brazil is South America’s largest country and the world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and population. To the east, Brazil enjoys over 4500 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline. The rest of Brazil is bordered by every other South American country with the exceptions of Chile and Ecuador.
In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Brazil and claimed the region as a colony of the Kingdom of Portugal. Prior to 1500, the region was made up of a variety of indigenous tribes. For the next 300 years, Brazil remained a colony of Portugal. In 1808, Rio de Janeiro actually became the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal when the king decided to that he preferred living in the colony to living in Europe. After this point, times changed quickly for Brazil. In 1822, the country gained independence and over the next two hundred years, transitioned from a constitutional monarchy to a federal republic.
Today, Brazil is a major world power and a major tourist destination. In 2014, the country held the Football World Cup and in 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympics. Between the Amazon, the Atlantic Coast and colorful cities, Brazil has plenty to offer to international tourists.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and as such, features an amazing variety of topside attractions. Visitors can get lost among fascinating creatures in the Amazon, hike to Rio’s well-known Christ the Redeemer statue or gape at the massive Iguaçu Falls in the south.
Of course, with over 4500 miles of coast, there are some wonderful beaches as well. Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are as famous as they are enormous. To rinse off after all the saltwater, a freediving expedition up the mighty Amazon River could even yield an encounter with elusive pink dolphins or giant otters.
If you have the chance, don’t miss the raucous Carnival festival with its colorful floats and vibrant costumes. It’s held every year around the end of February or beginning of March.
International flights from almost every continent fly into Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG) in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (CGH) in São Paulo.
Buses, taxis, bicycles and private cars are available for moving around the country.
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