Are you planning a trip to South America? Let's go to Brazil, this enormous multicultural country offers much more to see than Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, or Floripa. Yes, we are talking about the fifth largest country in the world in extension (after Russia, Canada, China, and the United States) and since this blog is about languages and cultures but also about travel, we are going to discover incredible and original destinations from north to south of Brazil. Are you ready to plan your dream trip to the land of Carnival?
1) In the south of Brazil the Estrada da Graciosa, Paraná
If you are in the capital of the state of Paraná, Curitiba, you won't want to miss the Estrada da Graciosa. It's a magical road, a trip like no other, since the road passes through a dreamy path, in the middle of nature where you can breathe the fresh air of the tropical forest. Such road leads to Morretes, a village on the Atlantic coast, where you can taste the famous cachaça and eat barreado, a typical dish of the region. You can travel either by car, or by the local train (for the full experience), or, if you're a sports fan, by bike.
2) In the southeast of Brazil - Belo Horizonte
Photo: Qu4rto Studio/Acervo Belotur
Then we have the city of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the department of Minas Gerais, considered the coolest in Brazil. Here we find very nice people, lively parties (it's true, Brazilians know how to party), possibly the best cuisine in the country with pãos de queijo, frango com quiabo, several types of homemade pastries and especially cheese (the specialty here is called queijo minas). Furthermore, Minas Gerais has lots to do and see, especially regarding nature. There are several waterfalls, even around the capital, or historical sites of the Brazilian Baroque Era such as the village of Tiradentes or the one of São João del Rei. It is also one of the few states in Brazil that doesn't have a coast, but that does not mean that you'll be missing the fun. There's a local saying: "onde não tem mar, tem bar" (where there is no sea, there are bars) Belo Horizonte is one of the cities with the highest number of pubs, also known as butecos. Indeed, the culture of butecos takes a whole new level in Belo Horizonte.
3) Relaxation in Brazil: São Tomé das Letras, Minas Gerais
Well, I just said that the department of Minas Gerais gathers several waterfalls where you can swim. São Tomé das Letras is one of these places. This mythical village known as the "hippie paradise" of the country is 350km away from the capital, and has 6000 inhabitants and large green spaces all around, with waterfalls and natural pools in the middle of nature where you can camp, rock climb, and swim.
4) São Luis do Maranhão, a city with French influences in Brazil
Let's head north! We are in the department of Maranhão. Its capital, São Luís do Maranhão, was one of the first cities in Brazil and the only one created by the French - in 1612 -, then taken by the Dutch and finally colonized by the Portuguese. Its ancient center is considered by UNESCO as historical heritage of humanity. The city is located on an island in the South Atlantic with beautiful white-sand beaches. The indigenous populations and their traditions present in São Luís are also something worth discovering.
5) A paradise in Brazil, the Lençois Maranhenses
Crédit Photo : Shutterstock / Leonard Rodriguez
Have you heard of the Lençois Maranhenses National Park? An incredible place in Brazil, full of dunes and freshwater lakes. It is located around the town of Barreirinhas, 3 or 4 hours from Sao Luis by road. There are many local travel agencies that can organize this tour from the capital São Luis (the trip takes about 4 hours by van to the interior of the state of Maranhão. Some of the activities include quad bike tours and excursions through the dunes.
6) À l'extrême sud du Brésil, la Serra Gaúcha, au Rio Grande do Sul
The Serra Gaúcha, is the mountainous region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the extreme south of Brazil. The so-called Southern Region is composed of three states: Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná - strong influences of German and Italian immigrants can be seen especially in the architecture, gastronomy, and culture. This is the coldest region in Brazil and you can warm up with mate, typical of this region. The most famous cities are Gramado and Canela, only 9 km apart. The Rio Grande do Sul state also borders Argentina and Uruguay, so this is a great opportunity to discover these two countries as well!
7) Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, blue lagoons in Brazil
Photo: Bonitour voyages
Please, go search on Google "Bonito Brazil". This breathtaking place is located in Mato Grosso do Sul, a state in the center of the country. Its name Bonito means "beautiful" because there are literally no other adjectives to describe this place. It is simply a place of beauty in the middle of nature. Here you can see some options of attractions in Bonito as well as some good tips for visiting the area. It is not so far from the Pantanal, another great destination in the same department. Bonito is perfect for relaxing days in total immersion in nature.
8) Trindade, in Costa Verde - Not to be missed when travelling to Brazil
Trindade is the treasure of the Green Coast, the incredible Atlantic coast that goes from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro. Trindade is one of the villages, but 30km away there are other destinations full of beauty and history, such as Paraty and about 280km away from the Rio. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and is also surrounded by our Mata Atlantica rain forest. Whether it's surfing, hiking, swimming in the natural pools, visiting the waterfalls, or just sunbathing on one of the many beaches, Trindade at Costa Verde is surely worth a few days.
9)The most beautiful sunset in Brazil: Alter do Chão, Pará
Here are the most splendid sunsets to see in Brazil. Santarém is a city in Pará, the land of açaí fruit. The district of Alter do Chão is a magical place not to be missed, where the myths merge with the memories of the local people. If you want a quiet environment, in the heart of the most beautiful Amazonian nature, this place is for you. You will discover the local fauna and flora. Spoiler: They are breathtaking!
10) Inhotim, the largest open-air contemporary art museums in the world
To conclude this list, Inhotim is a stunning place in the state of Minas Gerais, only 60 km from Belo Horizonte. Near the city of Brumadinho, Inhotim is one of the largest and most original open-air contemporary art museums in the world. Brazilian and international artists exhibit there. It is located in a botanical garden, in a total area of 5000 acres. In 2008, the status of Inhotim was changed from a private museum to a public institute.
Official website of Inhotim: http://www.inhotim.org.br/en/
I hope this list will be useful for you to plan your trip to Brazil, this huge country where every corner hides amazing landscapes and people. Have a nice trip!
P.s. If you want to better prepare yourself for your trip to Brazil by learning Brazilian Portuguese, you can find language and culture courses here.