Brazil is a large country, culturally rich and full of natural wonders. There’s so much to see there; it’s hard to decide where to start from. If you’re lucky enough to be planning your trip to Brazil right now, here’s a list of 12 best places to go in Brazil.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Dance samba all night long, rest on the golden beaches, see the spectacular mountains, watch exciting football matches in Rio de Janeiro. Rio is called the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) – not without reason. It’s full of wonders indeed. Rio lies scenically on the South Atlantic coast, and it has a huge harbor surrounded by impressive mountains. The city attracts visitors all year long, yet most of them come here for the famous carnival, two weeks of non-stop parties and parades.

Luckily for those who visit the Marvelous City before or after the carnival, the party in Rio never stops. You can always find a place filled with rhythms of choro, samba or bossa nova and dance till the morning comes. If you get tired, gorgeous beaches are there for you to rest and sunbathe. Besides, Rio de Janeiro is full of nature and historic sites. Its landmark is Christ the Redeemer, a large statue located on the top of Corcovado hill.

2. Salvador

Salvador is among the best places to go in Brazil if you want to discover the country’s history and culture. As one of the oldest cities in both Americas, Salvador offers a variety of historic sites. Beautiful buildings dating back to 16th and 17th century, little plazas and lovely churches make its Old Town a charming spot. There’s an artistic, bohemian feeling to Salvador. Festivals are being frequently held, dancers and capoeira practitioners can be seen on the plazas, music is being played on the streets. Due to Salvador’s history, there’s a significant African population in the city, wonderfully preserving its heritage. Hence African spirit can be felt in the air. Mystical celebrations, cuisine, and music of Africa mix with the Brazilian culture making Salvador a magically unique place.

Salvador

3. Iguazu Falls

If you go to the waterfalls, you’ll surely never forget neither the views nor the sounds you’ll be surrounded with. The loud noise made by cascades of water, thick forest with exotic fauna and flora, breathtaking beauty of numerous waterfalls (there are hundreds of them) and the forceful Iguazu River, all of that can be seen and heard in the area. There’s a romantic and tragic story explaining how they came into existence. According to the legend, a deity was planning to marry a beautiful woman, yet she had already had a human lover and therefore escaped with him in a canoe. The angry god sliced the river and created the waterfalls so that the lovers were condemned to an endless fall.

Iguazu Falls

 4. Jalapao State Park

The park lies in the cerrado, a tropical Savannah Ecoregion and attracts mostly adventurous travelers and nature-lovers. It covers an area of 34,000 square kilometers in the eastern Tocantins. The landscape consists of waterfalls, crystalline rivers, springs, particularly-shaped rocks, hills, and caves. Swimming in bathing spots with stunningly fresh water, observing the wildlife and enjoying the untouched beauty of nature are the things to do in the Jalapao State Park and reasons why it’s one of the best places to go in Brazil.

Jalapao State Park

5. Manaus

Manaus, as the capital of the state of Amazonas, is located in the midst of a jungle. Since it’s one of Brazil’s biggest cities and a gateway to the rainforest, Manaus is often visited by tourists. There are some great sites worth visiting, such as the Rio Negro Palace, the Natural Science Museum or the Amazonas Opera House. On your way to the Amazon Rainforest, make sure to stop for a little while in Manaus and look around this bustling city.

Manaus

6. Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest simply can’t be missing on your list of best places to go in Brazil. One of the most important natural sites in the whole world and thus one of the most famous, the Amazon Rainforest is a dream destination for many people. More than a half of remaining world’s rainforest is there. All the air that the jungle provides the Earth with makes it a true gem. Besides, due to the unbelievable variety of wildlife, you can’t compare this forest with any other place. Spectacular landscapes in Amazonia are countless, and so are the reasons to visit. The jungle offers numerous activities, such as bird watching, canoeing, trekking and animal spotting. You can spend hours on the riverboats and days in the lovely jungle lodges.

Amazon Rainforest

7. The Blue Lake Grotto

The blueness of water in the Gruta do Lago Azul (the Blue Lake Grotto) is so unbelievably vivid that no wonder it inspired those who named the cave. The lake is indeed blue; it’s also gorgeous and so clear it’s hard to believe it’s 90 meters deep. The Gruta do Lago Azul was discovered in 1924 by an Indian from the Terena Tribe. It’s said that nobody had been inside of the cave before. With its waters beautifully illuminated by the sunlight that gets to the cave through a hole in its ceilings, with the variously shaped stalactites and stalagmites, the Blue Lake Grotto is one of the most magical places to go in Brazil.

gruta do lago azul

8. Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago consisting of 21 islands and islets. If you search for stunning beaches, that’s where you should go. You can start from the Praia do Leão, and Baía do Sancho, considered to be some of a marvelous beaches in Brazil. When you plan the trip, do your best to spend at least a few days in the Fernando de Noronha.

Fernando de Noronha

There’s plenty to do there: swimming, snorkeling, diving (the marine life is vibrant). You can also go surfing, or, when you eventually want to get back on the land, horse-riding, hiking or sunbathing. Thanks to the crystal-clear waters and exotic landscapes even simply being in the Fernando de Noronha and looking around is an excellent thing to do.

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