The world's largest country in the tropics
Backpacking in Brazil
For the more intrepid explorer, there are backpacking options aplenty in Brazil. Plan your trip for the summer (December to February) if you want to experience the festival season, but be prepared for higher prices throughout the country. The time just after Carnival, around mid-March through May, could offer the same weather as the summer months without the crowds and escalated prices. It is possible to backpack through Brazil at any time of the year, but remember that summers tend to be muggy and winters can be rainy.
Spend at least 10 days travelling the country. However, most people believe that you can only experience a country and its people by spending at least a month visiting the different regions and cities. Take precautions against disease and infection. Get vaccinated against yellow fever before heading to Brazil. This is a requirement for visiting the Amazon, northern Brazil or the central-west portion of the country. It is also a good idea to get immunised against hepatitis and typhoid. Consider taking malaria tablets with you if plan to backpack to Amazonia or areas of low-lying forest.
Choose accommodations based on location, style and price. Overnight accommodations are readily available in family hotels known as Pousadas. Albeurges, which are youth hostels, offer less expensive overnight facilities and usually provide breakfast. Cheaper Albeurges and Pousadas may not provide hot showers, but you can plan to stay in more deluxe facilities every few days to get cleaned up. Of course, luxury hotels are available in the cities. These typically offer beach views and luxurious pools. If you are planning your trip during Carnival, book the accommodations well in advance. Pack light. Remember you have to carry what you pack. Use clothes that are easy to layer and wear multiple times. Shorts or cropped pants in light colours with comfortable walking shoes are important pieces of clothing. If you go during the colder months, take a jacket and long pants. A good mosquito repellent is also a good idea of you plan to backpack through the forested areas.
Plan to spend about $40 to $50 each day of the trip if you will be visiting some big cities. Northern Brazil is less expensive, but you must know some Portuguese to manoeuvre through the area effectively. Make sure you have everything needed to ensure your entry to Brazil. A passport is required and it should be valid for at least 6 more months. You must also have a return ticket and be able to show evidence that you can support yourself during your stay. Use buses for transportation within the country. There are economy and deluxe bus services available. The buses are reasonably priced and fairly comfortable. However, you should be prepared for long, bumpy rides. Brazil is a massive country, requiring a large amount of travel time to see everything. The roads are also filled with potholes. This is especially true inland and in the northern part of the country. Regional bus companies can be a great choice for those backpacking through Brazil. Overall, few countries can compete with the length and breadth of everything Brazil has to offer, anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable backpacking break.
Beach in Brazil
Beaches and Brazil go hand in hand: holidaymakers are spoilt for choice when it comes to beach holiday breaks anywhere along the sun-drenched coast. If you are visiting Brazil with the intention of visiting some of Brazil's pristine beaches, keep in mind that Brazil's beaches are on the Atlantic coast and so you should try to avoid travelling during the months of June to August, when the sea can be notoriously rough and cold. Also bear in mind that a number of tourists to Brazil's beaches each year drown in the coastal waters of Brazil as they haven't taken into consideration the local reefs, currents and under-tones. Rio de Janeiro may be famous for its urban beaches, and deservedly so for its see-and-be-seen scene. However, with 8,000 km of coastline, Brazil has no shortage of enticing beaches to choose among. The southern coastlines of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina are wild and unspoiled with small hidden coves backed by native Atlantic forest and many islands. For endless strips of deserted white sand, warm turquoise waters and palm trees galore, head to the northeastern states of Bahia, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara.
Some of the country's top beaches include Porto de Galinhas (Pernambuco), Jericoacoara (Ceara), Praia de Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte), Praia da Gunga (Alagoas), Espelho and Curuipe (Bahia), Bombinhas (Santa Catarina) and the beaches of Ilha Grande (Rio de Janeiro).
Particularly pristine and unspoiled are Baia do Sancho, Baia dos Porcos and Praia do Leao - all on Fernando de Noronha Island, an ecological paradise off the coast of Pernambuco. Clearly, paucity of beaches is not a problem in Brazil; and neither quality. Holidaymakers on a beach break to Brazil can rest easy: wherever you go, you can't miss.
Camping in Brazil
Camping is uncommon in Brazil, though some tour operators offer organised group trips in the Amazon and in the Pantanal regions. Since many parts of Brazil are wild, or semi-explored, it is wise to drive on main roads, to camp with organised groups under supervision and with official permits, or otherwise to stay in recognised hotels.
The Camping Clube do Brasil has around 48 sites in 14 states. Those with an ‘international camper's card' pay only half the rate of a non-member. For those on a low budget, service stations can be used as campsites. These are equipped with shower facilities and can supply food. Brazil undoubtedly has an amazing selection of awesome areas boasting some unrivalled natural beauty, but camping options are nevertheless somewhat limited.
City Breaks in Brazil
If you are after a unique city break bathed in glorious sunshine, Brazil has a host of excellent options. The city is capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, which encompasses most of Brazil's major tourist attractions. Rio is a never-ending story made up of 150 districts each characterised by unique features, like Santa Teresa, which is reached by taking an old tram across an ancient aqueduct called Arcos da Lapa. In the central city area Rio boasts historic monuments and public buildings like the Municipal Theatre, the National Museum of Fine Art, the Itamaraty Palace, the National History Museum and the National Library. There are also beautiful examples of religious architecture such as the Sao Bento Monastery. No matter how long you spend exploring the city, it will always deliver new surprises. To the north of the city is the Lakes region, which has more than 100km of beaches and sea-water lagoons and is the site of the main tourist resorts of Búzios, Cabo Frio, Arrial do Cabo, Rio das Ostras, Maricá and Saquarema.
Originally a mission station set up in 1554 by Jesuit priests on the banks of the Rio Tiete, the city of Sao Paulo is today an awesome megalopolis, the industrial and commercial powerhouse of Brazil. The city grew wealthy on coffee cultivation in the mid-19th century, thanks to the rich soil of the region, and the plantation owners took up residence in the bustling regional centre. Gradually the coffee barons diversified their interests and invested some of their wealth in local industry, resulting in a demand for labour and a resultant surge in immigrant population. Today 16-million proud 'Paulistanos' live in the congested, chaotic and cosmopolitan city centre and its sprawling surrounds. Lacking in natural attractions, the city's leisure pursuits are mainly cultural, and there are some impressive public buildings to delight sightseers.
Salvador de Bahia is Bahia state's capital city (locals generally abbreviate its name to Salvador or simply Bahia). Salvador was founded in 1549 and quickly became the premier city in Brazil, and the second most important city in the Portuguese Empire after Lisbon. Salvador prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries; it was the country's major port and a significant portion of the sugar from the northeast and gold and diamonds from the mines in the southeast passed through the city. Today the wealth of impressive colonial architecture is evidence of the city's rich history. Between the modern tower blocks, well-restored enclaves of the old city remain with cobblestone streets, colourful mansions and dozens of ornate Baroque churches. The spicy atmosphere of this delightfully decadent city is best soaked up on foot, within the narrow streets and in the markets, the best of which is the Mercado Modelo arts and crafts market. Most churches are open to the public and many have been turned into museums. One of the city's more unusual experiences is to ride the Elevador Lacerda, an Art Deco structure housing old electric elevators that carry passengers between the port and the old historic part of the town, on the hill. Salvador is Brazil's most Africanised state, a result of the thousands of slaves that were brought here 400 years ago to work in the sugarcane plantations, and there is even a museum, the Museu Afro-Brasileira, which is dedicated to Black culture. The fusion of African and Latin cultures had given Salvador a unique brand of magic that is particularly evident at city's many festivals, most notably the massive 'Carnival' in mid-November which attracts two million revellers from all over the world and is said to rival the famous Rio Carnival. Whenever you visit and whatever you do, Brazil has a host of amazing locations for an excellent city break.
Cruises in Brazil
A Brazil cruise can be an extraordinary way to experience the many fascinating sights and sounds of one of the most captivating South American countries. The choices in cruises to Brazil are enormous, allowing visitors to choose destinations they find most intriguing. Brazil Amazon cruises are some of the most popular choices as are Brazil cruises around ports like Belem and Florianopolis. Cruises to Brazil can be found in many varieties, from a few days to a week or longer, depending on your preferences and budget.
More than 40% of Brazil is covered by the Amazon region maintaining some of the most intriguing aspects of the country’s geographical makeup. Brazil Amazon cruises most often depart from Manaus, the heart of the Amazon region. A large assortment of Brazil Amazon tours leave from Manaus for further exploration of the revered and spellbinding area. Some of the smaller boats used for Brazil Amazon cruises are designed especially for jungle adventures with many onboard amenities. They range from traditional hammock boats to modern vessels with shorter trip lengths of three to five days.
Houseboats are other popular types of vessels used for Brazil Amazon cruises allowing for a smaller group and a more in-depth experience with a professional Brazil travel guide. These trips explore the Rio Negro River and surrounding areas. During these adventure trips attention is focused on the rainforests and rivers around areas like the Anavilhanas Archipelago. Rainforest walks, exciting jungle treks, and river canoeing are all possible activities for those who wish to fully immerse themselves in all the Amazon has to offer. Wildlife highlights during Amazon cruises to Brazil include limber herons, agile dolphins, thousands of beautiful, exotic birds and alligators soaking up the hot sun along the riverbanks. Sport fishing is on many agendas during a Brazil cruise as well as visiting local Amazonian tribes for a genuine look at life along the rivers. Expeditions stop at numerous points of interest throughout the Amazon jungle, exploring dense, jungle vegetation, towering trees, exotic plant species and clandestine villages.
Brazil luxury cruises are also possible throughout the Amazon and many other Brazilian coastal areas. The port of Belem is a popular starting point for many Brazil luxury cruises. Other ports of call cruises to Brazil stop at include the energetic and famous city of Rio de Janeiro. Passengers are afforded various time lines in each port of call to explore streets and avenues, spend time at some of the beautiful Brazil beaches, explore local attractions and enjoy local shopping and dining in the area.
Brazil luxury cruises also make stops in Fortaleza, Salvador da Bahia, Florianopolis and Sao Paulo. Aboard the luxury liners the best amenities, dining, activities and even shopping are all offered to entertain passengers. Most Brazil luxury cruises afford excellent Brazil holiday packages, many offering all-inclusive excursions for great value. It’s common for cruises to Brazil to feature onboard spa packages, numerous onboard restaurants and extremely luxurious cabins allowing passengers to enjoy their vacation in ultimate style and comfort.
Popular cruise lines include Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival and Princess Cruises. Cruises to Brazil can be found both on the internet, where many of the best deals are advertised, or through an experienced travel agent. A Brazil cruise could also include stops at ports in surrounding countries like Argentina, Uruguay, French Guiana and Chile. Cruises to Brazil are extremely appealing to those who prefer not to deal with potential overland transportation hassles or arrangements at Brazil hotels and resorts. Instead this type of traveller seeks the comfort and careful detail cruise ships offer for a completely worry-free vacation.
Disabled Needs in Brazil
There should be no reservations for disabled people considering a holiday in Brazil. Most, if not all, of the visitor attractions, hotels and transport on offer in Rio and Sao Paolo are wheelchair friendly with additional facilities for the hard of hearing and visually impaired.
Similarly, with a few exceptions in some of the older areas, most buildings are equipped with automatic entrances, wide aisle, ramps and disabled toilets. Every effort is made to ensure that holidays for disabled people in Brazil are safe and enjoyable. Wheelchair hire as well as sightseeing and shopping tours for disabled holidaymakers are numerous and easy to arrange. Within the main cities, Brazil is a safe, welcoming and helpful holiday destination for disabled people. In the more remote areas of the region, there is markedly less help readily available, but most tours and guides of the Amazon do have facilities on hand for disabled holidaymakers.
Family Holiday in Brazil
Travelling with children can be stressful, but with enough preparation you can ensure a relatively tears-free trip. There are plenty of activities to keep children busy in Brazil. Local Brazilians take their children everywhere and you'll feel comfortable doing the same. If you're planning a family trip, the Amazon Rainforest is a must-see. The range of family-friendly lodges and tours will ensure children have a safe and educational experience. If you are heading to São Paulo, you can keep the little ones occupied with theme parks, a science museum, zoo and Butantã (a snake study centre). The city also has a range of sporting arenas, shows and public parks. Siqueira Campos Park offers a good break from the bustle of the city with its several small play areas featuring swings and slides.
Meanwhile, Rio's main family attraction is the beach. Leblon in particular offers a free play area with toys for toddlers. Jardim Zoológico is the city zoo, and always popular with the little ones. For an educational experience, try Museu do Indio in Botafogo where children can play with stamps and body paints to create native designs. There are models of native Indian houses that can be played in as well. Parque do Catete offers a ‘toy library' where you can hire toys by the hour. If you get too hot, take the kids to Wet 'N Wild Rio, a massive water park open daily September through until May. Overall, Brazil makes for a great family holiday destination, especially considering the sun-drenched setting and range of family-friendly accommodation and attractions.
Gay and Lesbian in Brazil
Brazil is becoming ever tolerant of homosexuality and flourishing gay scenes exists in most of the main cities. In 2005 Sao Paulo hosted the Wolds biggest gay pride event with an estimated 2 million marchers! The gay scene is centred in Rio and Sao Paulo where you will find many western style bars, clubs and saunas. There is a great gay section on Ipanema beach in Rio. Cosmopolitan Cariocas are friendly with gays, lesbians and trans-people, making you feel welcome almost everywhere. Language should not be a barrier. Most people you actually have to deal with understand basic English or Spanish. Others will try hard. And body language is universally understood, of course.
The beach is the perfect setting to make new friends, and find out what is going on. Go to Farme Gay in Ipanema, a little to the east of cross-street Farme de Amoedo. This spot attracts local TV stars, gays and lesbians, international celebrities but, most of all, this is Barbie land (Barbie is a term used by locals to describe muscular and well-off gay men who live on the South Side). Don't miss the gay dodge-ball and volleyball matches on Sundays. You will find more ideas of things to do and see at Rio Gay by Day.
Even smaller cities like Salvador have lots going on. There is also a strong culture of transvestism which is an accepted part of Brazilian life. Each year during the Rio Carnival there is the Scala Gay Ball which is a national televised event. Brazil is a fabulous destination for gay tourists to be strongly recommended.
Honeymoon in Brazil
Slotted neatly into the world's most beautiful setting - between ocean and escarpment stands beautiful Rio De Janerio. Honeymooners can spend long days people watching on Ipanema, or sunbathing on Copocabana, with the afternoon sightseeing at Sugar Loaf and The Statue of Christ or Corcavado. Evenings are exciting with a truly mind boggling range of restaurants and food outlets to suit all tastes and budgets. The year round carnival atmosphere makes Rio a unique and special destination to spend a honeymoon. Please note due to high demand we recommend that you book stays over the Carnival or New Year period well in advance as the demand always outstrips supply. Honeymoon can be described as a traditional holiday which is generally celebrated by the newly wed couple to discover their marital status in intimacy and seclusion. In order to attain a lifetime experience couples prefer some exotic or romantic locations. And Brazil is one of the countries that provide a one-of-a-kind experience to couple who are having desire of a perfect honeymoon package which could provide them an ideal time together. Being a huge and diverse location Brazil is famed for its stunning beaches and its abundant wildlife. Most of all plenty of hidden away spots, boutique hotels and secluded beach resorts are making the country a perfect honeymoon location.
Brazil is a huge and diverse location famed for its stunning beaches, abundant wildlife and the easy going nature of its denizens. There are plenty of hidden away spots and romantic boutique hotels making it an ideal location for those looking for an exotic honeymoon.
The range and scope of a country larger than mainland USA can make the idea of planning a trip to Brazil a little daunting. However, by thinking about what you really want from the trip (and what is available) you should be able to plan an unforgettable honeymoon with a little care and attention.
First off, after a hectic wedding build up the first thing you're likely to want to do is get straight to the beach. But which type of beach? with over 4,000 miles of coastline Brazil has a huge range of different beach locations, so you should think about which suits you best. If you want to spend a laid back beach village life, there's no place better than the Nannai beach resort at Porto De Galinhas. It is located in a small beachside village of fishermen. There's plenty of restaurants, bars and shops in the village (though all low key luxury, very much in keeping with the natural style of the place) and great beaches nearby. It does get busy (and very expensive) during New Year's Eve and Carnival. If you want to stay in a beach town nearby Rio then Casas Brancas at Buzios and Vila D'este at Buzios can't be beaten as you don't have to jump on a plane to get there from your international flight. Buzios is famous for its beaches and crystal-clear water contrast with the exuberantly sculptured landscape and exotic vegetation, which a prodigal "Mother Nature" has privileged with a wonderful year-round summer. Naturally some of the exclusivity can be lost, but choosing the correct hotel will make the difference. This beach town has more options for bars and nightlife, also if you want to spend your time more relaxing than you can go further down the coast in Paraty or Picinguaba. If you have a passion for Cuisine, music, water sports and like swimming and diving and want to enjoy Brazil's largest Carnaval celebrations then Salvador is the right place to visit. Salvador is well-known for its cuisine, music and architecture.
If you want to spend the time at a beachside cosmopolitan which is yet enchanting and rustic at the same time then Ponta Dos Ganchos at Florianopolis is the right place for you. Florianopolis is an exceptional tourist destinations in the world where the new and the old coexists harmoniously. Blessed with tremendous natural beauty, the city also offers agitated beaches and tourism infrastructure, excellent cuisine, untouched pristine nature preserves, sand dunes, large lagoons and charming little fishing villages. If you love green and what to stay in a ecological paradise then Angra dos Reis is the right place for you. With lots of islands just off the coast and spectacular beaches along with few interesting historical sights, it is a dream spot for the honeymoon couples. Apart from above mentioned places there are still a lot of places which might be ideal for your honeymoon destination. With more then thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, vast wildlife and friendly locals it's no wonder that more and more couples are choosing Brazil for their dream honeymoon destination.
Naturism in Brazil
Nude beaches in Brazil are not numerous, but they're certainly beautiful. Nudism is practiced unofficially in several Brazilian beaches, but on many of them, there are breaches of the naturist's code of ethics and nudists may face the risk of harassment or worse.
Also remember that according to Brazilian laws, nudism outside designated areas is considered a misdemeanour. The best resource for information about nude beaches, clubs and communities in Brazil is the Brazilian Federation of Naturism (FBrN), to which official nude beaches are affiliated. One of the finest beaches is Massarandupió, located about 50 miles from Salvador on the magnificent Coconut Tree Coast of Bahia (Costa dos Coqueiros), near other paradisiacal beaches such as Costa do Sauípe and Praia do Forte. During most of the year, naturists can expect balmy breezes, gently swishing coconut groves, a sweet-salty smell and water so ideally warm, you feel like you're one with the ocean.
Another good options is Barra Seca, on an island off the coast of Espírito Santo, a southeastern Brazilian state. The main city near Barra Seca is Linhares, about 38 miles away on a dirt road. The Naturist Association of Minas Gerais, one of the most active of its kind in Brazil, organizes trips to Barra Seca.
Meanwhile, Praia do Abricó is the only official nude beach in Rio de Janeiro. The beach is enclosed by the lush Grumari Area of Environmental Preservation, in the west of Rio de Janeiro, past Barra da Tijuca and Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Naturists in Brazil, like all beachgoers, must be aware of preventive measures against dengue fever year long, particularly during the rainy season, which is the summer (December-February) in Rio de Janeiro . Certain areas in the west zone were affected by the early 2008 dengue fever outbreak in Rio. Elsewhere, Olho de Boi (Bull's Eye Beach) is one of the beaches in Búzios, in Rio de Janeiro State, and the most popular official nude beach in Brazil for gays.
Further afield, Praia da Galheta, in Florianópolis, is a clothing-optional beach that has just about everything - it's an ecological reservation; it's good for surfing; it has archaeological sites dating back to 4,500 years ago.
Praia do Pinho is one of the first official nude beaches in Brazil and one of the most popular. By July, prices for the New Year, the summer, and Carnival are already up on the Praia do Pinho inn and campground website. Tambaba, in Paraíba - one of Brazil's northeastern states - became the first official nude beach in Brazil in 1991. Sonata, the Tambaba Naturist Society, is hosting the 31st World Naturist Congress on September 9-12, 2008. Tambaba is divided into two areas - one in which nudism is not allowed, and the nude-only area. Acess between them is controlled. Overall, naturist can relax and let it all hang out in Brazil: there are a wealth of options that naturists will find right up their street.
Golf Activity Holiday in Brazil
Brazil is a magnificent country; somewhere you should include high on your list of places to visit during your lifetime and not just for Football, Carnival or Copacabana Beach. It is country that possesses some stunningly beautiful regions, pulsating cities, the breath taking Iguaçu River Waterfalls, some magnificent beaches and a modern and historic cultural heritage all of which makes Brazil a truly great place for a holiday.
But let’s be honest, Brazil is not an established golf holiday destination. Having said this, it now has enough golf to keep the enthusiast more than interested and this reason should be enough to convince many to introduce themselves to Golf in Brazil. At the time of writing, there are over 100 golf courses in Brazil (10 years ago it was half this number). Admittedly this is a drop in the ocean compared to roughly 7,000 golf courses in Europe and a staggering 25,000 golf venues in the United States. Palm Springs alone, with 120, has more places to play golf than this huge nation does. We are led to believe the main reason for the relatively small number of golf courses in Brazil is that the country was colonised by the less golf enthusiastic Portuguese and British who put in the first golf courses when English and Scottish engineers came out in the early years of the twentieth century. In fact, we can find no Brazilian golf course that dates before 1929. However, the winds of golfing change are blowing here.
Sailing Activity Holiday in Brazil
Brazil has a fantastic coastline with a number of places to explore. The yachting activities are basically concentrated around four different areas: Salvador, Bahia; Angra dos Reís, Rio de Janeiro; Ilha Bela, Sao Paolo; Florianopolis, Santa Catarina. Of these places the most beautiful cruising grounds you will find in and around Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reís, also known as Costa Verde, The Green Coast. This is where the only bareboat yacht charter exists in Brazil. Skippered yacht charter is available in different places.
The Bay of Ilha Grande is a very well protected area with around 100 islands that offers turquoise waters, white and sandy beaches, secluded anchorages and best of all, sailing all year around. Sailing in Brazil is safe, there are no hurricanes, no tsunamis, and you are far away from the big cities. You will just find friendly and happy people wanting to give you a helping hand. If you want to participate on a wandering yacht, we suggest that you start in the area of Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro and go north towards Salvador and Fernando de Noronha. A sailing full of one of the best natural beauty the world has to offer, Brazil is a must for everyone who loves to relax on their sea legs.
Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Brazil
Scuba diving is a popular activity in Brazil and as such there are many excellent choices available to tempt holidaymakers. The best dive site is the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. It's the most untouched spot, and it's simply gorgeous on the surface, appealing to everyone. The difficulty ranges from beginner to advance. Best time of the year is from July to December for beginners, all year round for advanced divers. It's one of the most expensive dive sites to go. The second best is Abrolhos. It's an archipelago some four to six hours from land, where you can't go on shore, so either you make one-day trips or take a live-aboard on one of several boats. The dives are very, very calm, shallow and relaxed, and though the visibility is not as good as Noronha, but the richness of the corals and marine life is incredible. It's good for all levels of experience. Best time of the year is November to March, when it is also possible to watch whales.
The region between Recife/Olinda in the north and Maceio in the south is named the Golden Coast, and here are several excellent spots of scuba diving and the access is much easier than mentioned archipelagos. Around Recife & Olinda is considered excellent for advanced divers, rich of marine life like turtles and sharks, and many sunk ships, but the sea is usually very, very rough. To the south there are many dive friendly spots for snorkelling, scuba dive beginners and also advanced diving. In Porto de Galinhas for instance, is a very pleasant village with many nice sites for good diving and an excellent area for diving courses. In this region the diving is good during the whole year.
The best spots for scuba diving in the south of Brazil are between São Paulo & Rio de Janeiro. Of course they are not as good as mentioned sites in the northeast, but comparing world wide, this region is very good as well. To indicate some spots in the area should be Barra do Una, Ubatuba, Paraty, Ilha Grande and Arraial do Cabo. Last but not least, there are two islands near Santos / São Vicente where you can take a day trip for two dives - Laje de Santos and Queimada Grande. But it might be very tricky to reach the area: the boat trip usually takes 2 hours or maybe more, and is often rough. Many times the trips are cancelled due to bad weather, so it's always a lottery. From May to July, manta rays are common in Laje de Santos; possible to see ones with a "wingspan" of about 2 meters, and even some big ones, as they can grow up to 6m! Arraial do Cabo Marine Reserve is considered the best scuba diving on the southern coast of Brazil. Located 2 hours by car from Rio de Janeiro, Arraial do Cabo is part of the Costa do Sol (Sunny Coast), which also includes Búzios and Cabo Frio. Scuba diving enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy when diving noobie and relax in the stimulating and friendly beginner courses, which are readily available all over Brazil.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Brazil
For people going to Brazil on holiday or vacation and seeking something a bit different, hiking and climbing are two sports that offer some fantastic experiences. Brazil is much more than tanning on beaches. For people looking for a more adventurous holiday or vacation in Brazil the country has a lot to offer. Of the many sports that are available they can be divided into land sports and water sports.
Of the water sports popular activities include rafting, surfing, and diving. Of the land sports canyoning, trekking, hiking and climbing are proving to be all the rage for tourists looking for some outdoor pursuits. Brazil's geography has some wonderful things to offer people looking for great views, exercise and fresh air. Hiking is Brazil is a sport enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Unless you enjoy walking in saunas then the best time to go on hiking vacations in the cooler months from April to October. Any other time is very difficult due to the heat and humidity.
Brazil has many places to go hiking, whether you want jungle or coastline. People looking for outstanding beauty can try the national parks of Chapada Diamantina (Bahia), Serra dos Orgaos and Itatiaia (Rio de Janeiro) and Veadeiros (Goias). There are also excellent national parks that offer good hiking such as Marumbi (Parana) and Serra de Sao Jose (Minas Gerais). Before deciding where to go hiking in Brazil try and contact local hiking groups for advice.
As with hiking the best time to go on climbing vacations in Brazil is during the cooler months of the year. Brazil has many fantastic rock climbing ranges both for beginners and for the more experienced rock climber. There are many cliff faces that have yet to be conquered so anyone looking for a challenge has lots to get their teeth into. Much of the more developed climbing is done in the are near Rio de Janeiro, which allows you the best of both worlds, i.e. beaches and climbing. Some of the best climbs include the national parks at Itatitaia (Rio de Janeiro) and Caparao (Minas Gerais).
As with climbing it is a good move to try and contact some local climbing groups for more information. Most will have some members that speak English to advice you on where to go and what to bring.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Brazil
In rural areas in Brazil the bicycle is a common means of transport. This does not mean that cyclists are usually respected by cars, trucks, or bus drivers. But you may find good roads with little traffic outside the cities. It is also easy to get a lift by a pickup or to have the bike transported by a bus. Cycling is not very stimulated in big cities. Two exceptions are Rio de Janeiro and Recife where there are cycle tracks along the beaches. There are a lot of bicyclers groups that have meeting sometimes on the week to walk on cities and make travels.
Shopping Holiday in Brazil
Brazilian fashion has really taken off in recent years. The best buys are shoes, leather goods, jewellery and clothing by vanguard Brazilian designers (mostly from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo), including Isabel Capeto, Reinaldo Lourenco, Ronaldo Fraga, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Gloria Coelho, Carlos Miele and Cris Barros. Brazilian swimwear—bikinis for women and sungas for men—is some of the funkiest you'll ever see and is copied all over the world. You'll find some of the best at Blue Man, Salinas, Bumbum and Rosa Cha, all of which have boutiques in major shopping centres across the country. Other types of beach and surfwear are also cutting edge. And of course, you can't go to Brazil without purchasing at least one pair of high-fashion flip-flops. Clothing aside, other great buys include coffee, traditional handicrafts (such as sculptures, ceramics and woven hammocks—particularly from the northeast), lace and embroidery, rosewood products, and semiprecious and precious stones (such as amethyst, opal, topaz, citrine, tourmaline, emerald). Artifacts from Brazil's many indigenous tribes include jewellery, baskets and pottery. Brazilian gold is generally 18K. Take care when buying live animals or native products such as headdresses made from bird feathers. The sale of these items is often prohibited, and you may have trouble at the airport if you try to transport them out of the country.
Brazilians love their "shoppings" (malls). Not only are they safe and air conditioned, but they combine all kinds of shopping and dining options with myriad services and cinemas. Many offer activities ranging from aerobics to skating rinks. Rio and Sao Paulo have some extremely chic "shoppings" with both national and international designer boutiques, as well as some fine restaurants. Among the largest and most centrally located are Shopping Leblon, Shopping Sao Conrado and Shopping Rio Sul (in Rio), and Shopping Frei Caneca, Shopping Iguatemi and Patio Higienopolis (in Sao Paulo).