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Brazil travel guide

Steaming jungle, beautiful beaches, the wet wonderland of the Pantanal and booty-shaking beats of Carnaval – Brazil's a big, bold blend of attractions

Brazil seems to have its own rhythm – and that rhythm is samba. Music and dancing are important parts of the Brazilian lifestyle, and even form the basis of the capoeira martial arts routines. Pulsating cities, epitomised by Rio de Janeiro, love their sea and sunshine, but head towards the jungle to get a feel of the real Brazil.

The Amazon region is still best explored by boat – spot caiman, jaguars and anacondas, among countless other species.

Carnaval is big in Brazil, especially in Salvador, São Paulo, Recife and Rio, but to get away from the crowds to more personal celebrations, opt to join the fun in Olinda with its eleven days of spontaneous parties all over the historic town.

Many national parks, like Chapada dos Veadeiros with its cave systems and waterfalls, offer hiking trails and activities galore.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Join a capoeira class or watch it at one of the many schools, especially in Salvador – the rhythm of the dance-fight blend is infectious
  2. Get wet in the spray of Iguassu Falls
  3. Spot jaguar in the Pantanal, one of the world’s great wetlands
  4. Escape Rio de Janeiro’s big Carnival crowds and join the impromptu celebrations in historic and arty Olinda just north of Recife
  5. Hike the trails of Parque Nacional da Tijuca
  6. Stroll among the cobbled streets and Portuguese colonial architecture of the historic trading city of Paraty

Wanderlust tips

Travel up the Amazon by boat from Belém to Manaus, then sling your hammock on one of the smaller boats plying the river’s many tributaries. The meeting of the waters – where the yellow Rio Solimões and the black Rio Negro form the Amazon – is worth a day trip.

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