Brazil Holidays & Vacations
As a country to visit, Brazil is so spectacular, it is off the scale. It seems to have two of everything – if not more. It has the Amazon rainforest, one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet, but it also has the lesser known but no less incredible Pantanal, one of the world’s largest wetlands, some 210,000 square kilometres that hold the greatest concentration of fauna in the Western Hemisphere. You may have heard – how could you not – that Brazil had the World Cup in 2014. But if that wasn’t enough, the breathtaking city of Rio de Janeiro also had the Olympics in 2016. Brazil has Brasília, the modernist capital city designed in the mid-20th century by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.
But it also has traditional Ouro Preto, a beautiful baroque former colonial mining town and UNESCO World Heritage site, marvellous Rio de Janeiro, cutting edge Sao Paulo, and many more. There is Ipanema beach… but Brazil also has Copacabana and in this category we would really have to list Guarujá, Tijuca, Angra dos Reis, Buzios, Prainha do Canto Verde, and a few thousand other beaches along its long Atlantic coast. Of course, it has a magnificent, riotous Carnaval and samba, but here too the list of other music and dance traditions is somewhat long: Brazil has capoeira, it has bossa nova, MPB, sertanejo, Brazilian rock, it has local rap, it has choró, maracatú, frevo, forró, axé, and… should we go on? And let’s not even start listing footballers and racing car drivers.
Because of its size and amazing biodiversity, Brazil is an ideal destination for ecotourism. Not all is idyllic of course, and there is a big struggle under way as local communities seek to protect their environment and their livelihoods, against a backdrop of rapid industrial and urban development and strong global demand for Brazilian raw materials. Taking Brazil tours with tour local partner gives you a chance to see the breathtaking beauty of the country’s natural environment, but also to understand some of the environmental and social issues at stake. There is so much to see in this gigantic country.
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Learn more about Sao Paulo, the Megalopolis
Sao Paulo is the industrial and urban heartland of modern Brazil, doing for the country what Chicago did for the US in the twentieth century, or what Shanghai is now doing for China in the twenty-first. It is a hub city, attracting poor immigrants, aspiring middle classes, and wealthy industrialists alike. It is a place of pulsating activity, bright lights, and all sorts of contrasts. It is one of the ten largest cities in the world (nearly 20 million people live here, if you take the wider metropolitan area into account). It boasts one of the largest Japanese communities in the world outside of Japan, and has the sushi to prove it. Its traffic jams can be truly spectacular.
Sao Paulo has amazing art galleries and first world shopping centres, not too far from sprawling shanty towns. Paulistanos, as the local inhabitants are called, are warm, friendly, and usually in a hurry. They are also fun-loving and proud of their history and traditions, including local heroes such as the late Ayrton Senna, the world champion racing driver. You will get a chance to sample both the opulence and the harshness of city life – and be shown fascinating community-based projects implemented to solve some of the problems that local neighbourhoods face.