Brazilians exhibit a passion for life and exuberance of spirit that can only be a result of living in a country where it is always sunny, natural scenery abounds, and the party never stops. The long-lasting impression with which most visitors leave Brazil is of carefree, colourful people dancing and celebrating in the street parades at Carnival.
Tourists descending on the country's exciting cities, such as hedonistic Rio de Janeiro, can enjoy five-star hotels, shopping malls, pristine beaches, sunny skies, and bustling nightlife. Visitors to Brazil can live the high life without having to confront the hundreds of shantytowns ( ) where the poorest of the poor eke out a living in the shadows of the skyscrapers. However, favela tours, meals, and overnight stays are becoming increasingly popular as tourists have begun to explore safer neighbourhoods for an authentic Brazilian experience.
With booming mining, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors, Brazil has the highest GDP in Latin America and is expected to be one of the world's dominant economies by the middle of the century. Brazil also caters well for business tourism and is a favoured destination for conventions, congresses and expos, particularly the city of Sao Paulo, which is the country's largest city and the business capital of Brazil.
Being so vast, larger than the continental United States, Brazil is home to a variety of cultures and topographies. From the Amazon and Pantanal rainforests, to the urban jungle of Sao Paulo. From the wide open spaces of the central plateau around Brasilia and world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, to the secluded mountain towns of Minas Gerais; every experience combined results in an exotic and exciting Latin American holiday destination where the common denominators are samba, sunshine, sultry smiles, and soccer.
Brazil's attractions are equally divided between the urban and the natural; with the cultural delights of cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and the natural wonders of the Amazon and Pantanal rainforests, there's something to see and do in Brazil for just about anybody.
Every year, thousands flock to the world-famous Carnival in Rio, when the entire city is awash in parties, parades, music and dancing. Rio also features the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which is one of the seven marvels of the modern world, and the architectural wonder Samba City. The mild climate of the major cities makes them an attractive destination all year round, with the coastal areas being even warmer and suited to year-round sunbathing. Brazil's major cities are known for their wild nightlife, with enough bars, clubs, dance halls, and parties to satisfy even the most hedonistic visitor.
Brazil's beaches are just as famous, with several (Ipanema and Copacabana) immortalised in song. There are several well-known nude beaches, including one in the relaxed town of Pinho. The southern beaches, including Praia Do Rosa, offer big waves that attract top surfers from all over the world between April and November. There are also many popular scuba diving spots that boast beautiful coral reefs, volcanic islands, caves, and shipwrecks.
Brazil is a huge country, with an area larger than the continental United States, and over half of that is rainforest. The Amazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest, covers seven million square kilometres and is a wildlife and bird watching paradise, home to countless species of plants and animals you won't find in any other country. The pink dolphin, for example, is only found in the Amazon and its tributaries. You might also find jaguars, howler monkeys, sloths, toucans and anacondas, among many other creatures.
Brazil's oceans are also teeming with amazing animals. Dolphin and whale watching are popular activities in places like Fernando de Noronha, and snorkelling in Bonito, which fittingly means 'beautiful', is a delight. Praia do Forte and other beaches are also good places to witness the hatching of sea turtles.
The distinctive statue of Christ the Redeemer, arms spread to welcome the world, is the symbol of Rio de Janeiro and one of the seven New Wonders of the Modern World. It rests on top of Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado Mountain, 2,330 feet (710m) above the beaches below, and is accessed via a miniature train that runs from the Cosme Vehlo District through the Atlantic rainforest to the foot of the statue. The train ride offers stunning vistas of Rio, and the view from the summit is breathtaking.
Spread out beneath the statue is the Tijuca Forest, resplendent with attractions to enchant visitors beneath the cooling canopy among natural pools and waterfalls. There is, for example, the Mayrink chapel, which features murals painted by Candido Portinari, one of Brazil's most well-known modern artists, and the Museu do Acude, housing colonial furniture and a collection of china from the East India Company.
An iconic fixture of the Rio skyline, the Sugarloaf Mountain is known worldwide for its sweeping views of the city below. The summit of the 1,299 foot high (396m) belvedere, named Sugar Loaf because of its resemblance to the loaves of sugar used by the Portuguese colonists, can be reached by a two-stage cable car ride. The first stage takes visitors up 722 feet (220m) to the Morro da Urca, where there is a restaurant, amphitheatre, heliport and spectacular view of the Yacht Club and Botafogo Bay. The second stage ascends to the summit for a panoramic view of the city, and the whole of Copacabana beach. The Sugar Loaf cable car is a major icon of Rio's tourism and a trip up the Sugar Loaf is a must for visitors to the city.
Immortalised in a popular song, 'The girl from Ipanema', this neighbourhood of Rio offers not only a legendary beach, but numerous excellent hotels, a bustling nightlife, sophisticated shopping opportunities, and quality restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Ipanema, the name, incongruously, means 'bad water', is famous for setting fashion trends, particularly in the line of skimpy swimwear. Fashion followers should look out for the famous bikini boutiques like Salinas, Blue Man, and Bum-Bum. Tourists should make sure to explore the Rua Garcia D'Avila to shop for designer fashion, jewellery, and furniture. The nearby Amsterdam Sauer Museum of Gems makes for an interesting tour around the workshop. There are numerous other streets in and around Ipanema to explore, including the eclectic commercial street Visconde de Piraja, lined with speciality shops, bars, restaurants, and some of Rio's best boutiques. Visit the bohemian fair at General Osorio Square on Sundays for wooden sculptures, handcrafts, exotic musical instruments, and artworks.
This famous Rio beach neighbourhood was just a small fishing village until a new highway built in the early 1900s brought crowds of visitors to these golden shores. The Copacabana Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1923, and since then the area mushroomed with Neoclassical and Art Nouveau skyscrapers, penthouses, and apartments. Visitors still flock, as they have always done, to the glamorous Palace Hotel, which is the place to be seen, especially to have tea or a meal at the famed Cipriani restaurant.
The beach itself white sand and calm water and is festooned with kiosks. It is a popular spot for beach sports like soccer and volleyball, and a good place to sunbathe. Copacabana beach is particularly popular on New Year's Day. According to tradition, visitors dress in white and congregate here to celebrate in droves, with more than 2 million people crowding the beach.
Where the dark waters of the Rio Negro join the lighter, muddy waters of the Rio Solimoes, an incredible natural phenomenon results. The separate shades of water run side by side for a length of more than four miles (6km) without mixing. The separation is caused by the difference in temperature, density, and flow of the waters from each river: Rio Negro travels at about a mile (2km) per hour with a temperature of 72ºF (22ºC), while Rio Solimoes flows at between two and four miles (4-6km) per hour with a temperature of 82ºF (28ºC). This phenomenon has become a major tourist attraction in Brazil, best accessed by taking an hour's journey by boat from the floating docks in Manaus to see the dramatically divided waters.
This park, an hour by boat from Manaus on the Rio Negro, provides visitors with a taste of the Amazon experience, encompassing 22,240 acres (9,000 hectares) of forest, lowlands, and flooded forest (igapos). Day package trips are available from Manaus, including lunch in a typical regional restaurant and a visit to the area's other main attraction, The Meeting of the Waters, as well as a canoe trip exploring the park's lakes and streams. Visitors can also spot the symbol of the Amazon at Lake Janauari Park; the famous Amazon Victoria-Nympheaceae water lily, measuring up to seven feet (two metres) in diameter, is ubiquitous atop the still shallow waters. The beautiful flowers only bloom for three days, changing colour from white to dark red before dying.
This vast forest reserve, covering more than 39 square miles (100 sq km) to the east of Manaus, provides tourists with the opportunity to discover what lies beneath the dense Amazon rainforest canopy. The park building complex contains plant nurseries and an exhibition of the woods of Amazonas, as well as a library and an eatery. A network of trails has been created in the forest, and local youths are trained and employed as guides to direct visitors along the paths (although not all of them speak English). It can be difficult to get into the Amazon for a genuine experience of the rainforest and this vast botanical garden offers a convient oppertunity for close look at the unspoilt forest world.
Proudly hosting the opening and closing matches of the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games ceremonies, and still the largest soccer stadium on the continent, Rio's Maracana has seen many records set.
The stadium currently hosts local soccer league games, and is the home of the Brazilian soccer team. But with a capacity of more than 78,000, the Maracana is more than able to host international acts visiting Brazil as a performance venue, with Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney among the big names who have played here. Inside the grounds is a Hall of Fame honouring soccer greats such as Pele, Roberto Dinamite, Romário, Valdo, and Bebeto, all of whom have been honoured by having their footprints cast in the sidewalk. A guided tour takes visitors through the hall, where they can enjoy a display of historical photographs and a great panoramic view of the city, among other things.
The Parque do Ibirapuera is a large park near the centre of Sao Paulo with many interesting features, including a planetarium, a Japanese pavilion, a gymnasium, the Obelisk of Sao Paulo (a symbol of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932), and the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion, which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art and is typically the venue for large events like the São Paulo Art Biennial and São Paulo Fashion Week. The park is home to many other museums, including the Air Force Museum and Folklore Museum. It also has jogging and walking trails and a picturesque lake. Generally the park is a good spot to explore for those wanting a bit of holiday exercise or some fresh air in the heart of this sprawling city.
Having had their fill of the beach, tourists seeking the 'real Rio de Janeiro' should make a beeline for one of its most iconic neighbourhoods, Santa Teresa. Located at the top of Santa Teresa Hill, the neighbourhood is famous for its winding, narrow streets, its 19th century architecture, and its amazing array of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and eclectic shops. A popular area for local artists and tourists alike, Santa Teresa is best reached using its historic tram service, which runs up the hill from the centro (departing from Largo da Carioca square). The tram line, the only one of its kind in Rio, runs right through Santa Teresa's picturesque streets, offering magnificent views of the city below. By all accounts, no visit to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without spending at least a few hours in Santa Teresa.
Even though Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's foremost holiday destinations, with great beaches, vibrant night-life, and significant tourist attractions, the hard fact is that it remains a city of gross economic inequality, as typified by its sprawling urban slums (favelas), the largest of which, Rocinha, is home to nearly a quarter of a million people. For tourists looking to get to grips with this social reality, a local named Zezinho runs widely-celebrated tours of Rocinha, the favela in which he grew up.
Those worrying that it will be a typical, voyeuristic, seen-from-the-back-of-a-Jeep experience can lay those fears to rest: the great strength of Zezinho's tours is that they are conducted out of love for Rocinha, and a desire to share its culture with foreigners. As Zezinho says, 'It is easy to see poverty or poorly built houses, but what I love about Rocinha is the spirit of the people'. All who take part in his tour of Rocinha agree that it's a valuable, moving and humanising touristic experience. There are also other guides and companies offering good tours of the various favelas. It is important to book in advance.
Even for non-football fans, Sao Paulo's Museu do Futebol (Football Museum) is a must-see tourist attraction. The Brazilian team has been unquestionably the most delightful and successful national team in football's history, and the sport is supported with religious fervour throughout the country. The beauty of Sao Paulo's Football Museum, housed within the Pacaembu Stadium, itself an icon of the city, is that is takes a modern, interactive approach toward its exhibitions, with holographic displays, touch-screen information panels, and various other multimedia installations.
Highlights of the museum include the 'History of the World Cup' section, and a display introducing Brazil's 25 greatest-ever players (the Anjos Barrocos, or 'Baroque Angels'). An appreciation of what football means to the country is vital to getting to grips with Brazilian culture, and Sao Paulo's Football Museum is a wonderful introduction in this respect. Be sure to budget at least two or three hours for the museum, as there's a lot to see.
This cultural centre and concert venue is located in what was once the Julio Prestes Train Station, an imposing and meticulously restored building. The highlight of the centre is the Sala Sao Paulo, a concert venue which seats nearly 1,500 people and is home to the renowned Sao Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra (OSESP). Specifically designed as a venue for symphonic and chamber music, the Sala has world-class acoustics and is the best place for classical music lovers to catch a concert in the city. Other events are also hosted at the cultural centre, including a vast variety of musical concerts, with pop and rock featuring alongside the traditional, classical offerings.
Brazilian Portuguese Phrase Book
|por favor||please||por fah vor|
|o meu nome �||my name is||oh meo nomay ay|
|onde est�||where is||onjee eshta|
|voc� fala Ingl�s||do you speak english||vosay fala eenglaysh|
|n�o compreendo||I don't understand||no compreendo|
|eu preciso de um medico||I need a doctor||eu preseeso jee um mejeeko|
|um, dois, tr�s, quatro, cinco||one, two, three, four, five||oom, dohs, tres, quatro, sinko|
Brazil's weather is quite diverse as there are five different climatic regions: equatorial, tropical, semi-arid, highland tropical, and subtropical. Cities such as Sao Paulo and Brasilia, on the plateau, have a mild climate with temperatures averaging 66°F (19°C). Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Natal, and Salvador on the coast have warmer climates balanced by the Trade Winds. Rio, for example, has an average temperature of around 80°F (26°C), which will climb to over 100°F (38°C) during the summer months, between December and February.
In the southern Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba, the subtropical climate is similar to parts of the US and Europe, with frosts occurring in the winter months, between July and August, when temperatures can fall below freezing. Summers are hot, however. Despite the popular image of the Amazon as a region of blistering heat, temperatures rarely rise above 90°F (32°C), and days are generally warm, wet, and humid. The region has two seasons: a rainy season (November to May) and a not-so-rainy season (June to October).
The Copacabana Palace Hotel houses three of Rio de Janeiro's most elegant restaurants. The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant serves excellent north Italian cuisine, while the poolside Pérgula Restaurant offers a buffet breakfast and delicious South American meals. Serving exotic pan-Asian cuisine, MEE is one of the first restaurants in South America to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star. Cipriani is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, while MEE is open daily from 7pm, and Pérgula is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday with a buffet lunch on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. Reservations required.
Not only does Fellini offer a variety of international cuisine, with everything from Japanese to Mexican food available, but it's all sold 'by the pound' allowing diners a choice of exactly how big their portions should be. Fellini has a funky, laid-back atmosphere and look to match. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, reservations recommended.
The Confeitaria Colombo acts as an homage to an age long passed. Established in the late 1800s, this Victorian style hall-turned-restaurant hasn't changed much in over 100 years, so they must be doing something right. This is considered to be a perfect lunch spot for executives doing business in the city. Tea service is complemented by breads and condiments, while the meals are filling and appetising.
Revel in merriment with the locals at this affordable eatery, where authentic Brazilian cuisine is served in generous portions. Sardine sandwiches are a good bet for your taste buds. Have a plate or platter depending on how hungry you are, the price difference is negligible. The Paladino is always popular and beer flows steadily from the taps. Open Monday to Friday from 7am to 8.30pm. Reservations and credit cards are not accepted.
With its rustic, eco-friendly décor (couches, wooden tables, and lots of palm trees) and its candlelit dining area, Palaphita Kitch has a romantic atmosphere, backed by excellent views of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The menu offers a selection of exotic Amazonian cuisine, with its carpaccio being a favourite. Open every night for dinner, reservations recommended.
Originally from France, celebrity chef Claude Troisgros and his son Thomas blend French cuisine with Brazilian ingredients at one of Rio's top restaurants. Intimate and sophisticated, Olympe offers guests seasonal tasting menus and creative à la carte dishes such as scallops with tucupi and caviar, water yam, and coconut purée, or açai crusted lamb loin, yucca gnocchi, and sumac butter solids. Open Friday for lunch, and Monday to Saturday for dinner. Reservations essential.
Near the beach, this small and comfortable restaurant has an idyllic, rural atmospherem decorated with handmade arts and crafts. The menu offers authentic, homemade Brazilian cuisine such as a plate of rice, beans, (toasted manioc flour), steak and French fries, or the traditional soup, with beans and bacon. Reservations recommended.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL). The US Dollar is also welcome in most tourist establishments. In the main cities, foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks or cambios. There is an extensive network of ATMs in the country and most major international credit cards are accepted.
The spoken language in Brazil is Portuguese, however Spanish and English are also used in the cities.
Brazil has a variety of electrical voltages, sometimes within the same city. The better hotels offer 220 volts, 60Hz. If not, transformers are available in electrical stores. Two-pin plugs with a grounding pin are standard.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departure date. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
A valid passport is required. UK passport holders do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departure date. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departure date. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
A valid passport is needed, but no visa is required by South African nationals for up to 90 days.
Irish nationals need a valid passport, but do not require a tourist or business visa for stays of up to 90 days.
New Zealanders need a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
All visitors require passports that are valid for at least the period of intended stay in Brazil but we strongly recommend that passports be valid for six months after intended date of travel. Border control may well deny entry to holders of passports valid for the period of intended stay. Sufficient funds to cover their stay in Brazil, as well as a return or onward ticket and documentation required for further travel, are necessary for all travellers. Visa requirements vary from country to country.
Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended for all travellers. Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in Brazil, so insect repellent and protective clothing is essential. Malaria exists below 2,953 feet (900m) in most rural areas, and outbreaks of dengue fever occur frequently.
Visitors travelling from infected areas outside the country require a yellow fever certificate, and vaccination is recommended for those travelling to rural areas, as outbreaks have occurred in recent years. Tap water is heavily treated resulting in a strong chemical taste; however bottled water is freely available for drinking purposes. Typhoid vaccinations are recommended if travellers intend to spend a lot of time outside of major cities. Milk in rural areas is not pasteurised. Hospitals in the major cities are fairly good, but most doctors will want cash payment, even for travellers with insurance.
Nearly all hotels add a service charge to the bill, usually 10 percent. Most restaurants also add 10 percent or more to the total of the bill, but must make it clear that they have done so; waiters appreciate another five percent if their service has been good. Otherwise, a 10 to 15 percent tip is customary. Brazilians don't normally tip taxi drivers, except if they handle bags, although they may round up the total. Hotel staff expect small tips and most other service personnel, including barbers, shoe shiners, and petrol station attendants, are usually rewarded with a 10 to 15 percent tip. Parking attendants earn no wages and expect a tip of around two real.
Brazil is politically stable and seldom a target for terrorist activities. In metropolitan areas, however, crime is a fact of life. Rio in particular is regarded as one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world and, although violent crime is generally limited to the slum areas, foreigners are advised to take precautions. Visitors should not attempt to visit slum areas (favelas) even on a guided tour. Violent crime is on the increase due to the establishment of drug and criminal gangs around Rio and Sao Paulo.
Muggings, often involving firearms, are frequent and visitors should dress down, conceal cameras, and avoid wearing jewellery and expensive watches. If threatened, hand over your valuables without resistance. Bank and credit card fraud is common, including card cloning from ATMs. Keep sight of your card at all times and do not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious. Valuables should be deposited in hotel safes. Leave your passport and other valuables in a safe place but carry a copy and another form of photo ID, if you have one, with you at all times. Thefts are common on public beaches and visitors should avoid taking valuables to the beach. The threat of personal attack is lower outside the main urban centres, but incidents do occur, and women should be aware that sexual assaults have been reported in coastal holiday destinations. Beware of unofficial taxis and those with blacked-out windows and be particularly careful on public transport in Rio, Recife, and Salvador.
Brazil is a diverse cultural and ethnic melting pot, but most social customs will be familiar to visitors. As a result of three centuries of colonization by the Portuguese, the Brazilian culture is actually recognisably European in many ways. Physical appearance is considered important by most Brazilians and care is taken to dress well, although not generally formally.
Business practices vary quite substantially from city to city in Brazil: very formal in Sao Paulo, but more relaxed in Rio de Janeiro and other centres. Multi-national companies have similar business etiquette to those in Europe or the US, while local businesses require a few more considerations, particularly preferring face-to-face meetings over phone calls or written communication. Brazilians place a very high value on personal relationships within business environments and will generally only conduct business through personal connections or with those whom they have already established a personal relationship. Nepotism is considered not only acceptable but actually desirable, because it is seen as ensuring trust and good relationships in business.
All meetings are preceded by handshakes and small talk, and visitors should avoid the temptation to rush things; even after the meeting is over, it is considered rude to rush off. Entertaining is common, either at a restaurant or someone's home, again with the emphasis on building personal relationships. Punctuality is flexible, except when meeting at a restaurant, when tardiness is considered impolite, and a small gift or flowers for the hostess is common when invited to a home. Business suits are expected, especially for first meetings. Portuguese is the dominant language, and although English is widely spoken in business, an interpreter might be required. Business cards, as well as written documents, should be printed in both English and Portuguese. Business hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
The international access code for Brazil is +55. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available in tourist centred areas. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option.
Travellers to Brazil can enter the country with 400 cigarettes or 25 cigars; 24 units of alcoholic beverages, with a maximum of 12 units per type of beverage; and goods to the value of US$500, without incurring customs duty. Restricted items include fresh produce, meat and dairy products. Strict regulations apply to temporary import or export of firearms, antiquities, tropical plants, medication and business equipment.
Brazilian Tourist Institute, Brasília: +61 429 7704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brazilian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 238 2700
Brazilian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7747 4500
Brazilian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 1090.
Brazilian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 366 5200.
Brazilian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6273 2372.
Brazilian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 475 6000.
Brazilian Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 473 3516.
United States Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3312 7000.
British Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3329 2300.
Canadian Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3424 5400.
South African Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3312 9500.
Australian Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3226 3111.
Irish Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3248 8800.
New Zealand Embassy, Brasilia: +55 (61) 3248 9900.
This peninsula and group of 365 islands (one for each day of the year) is a holiday playground that contains 2,000 beautiful beaches and a natural wonderland of mountains, forests, waterfalls, lakes, and secret coves. Visitors can take trips by schooner, yacht, or motor launch to explore the delights of the area, particularly the main island, Ilha Grande. Fishing and scuba diving are the favoured activities for tourists amongst the various water sports, while on land there are hundreds of walking trails giving access to some of the less frequented beaches like Canto, Abraaozinho, Morcego, and Grande das Palmas. The beaches of Aventureiro and Lopes Mendes are also popular with surfers.
The islands can easily be reached from Rio by road in just over three hours, or accessed by bus with daily departures every hour from the Novo Rio Bus Station.
Once the preserve of pirates and slave traders, the peninsula of Buzios, 109 miles (176km) northeast of Rio de Janeiro, is today the haunt of the rich and famous who flock to the city to enjoy the 24 beaches in the vicinity. The peninsula was popularised by legendary movie star Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, whose statue still graces the main street of Buzios, the Rua des Pedras. The peninsula is a sophisticated beach resort with a very active nightlife and fine restaurants. The west coast beaches offer calm, clear waters ideal for swimming, while the east coast beaches face the open sea and are a little wilder, drawing surfers and water sports enthusiasts to its choppy waters. Among the most popular beaches are Azeda Beach, Joao Fernandinho Beach (with several bars and known for its good seafood), Ferradura Beach, and Geriba beach, which is popular for surfing.
Buzios can be reached by road from Rio via the Rio-Niteroi toll bridge, or by bus from the Novo Rio Bus Station.
The Rio Iguaçu begins its journey in the coastal mountains of Paraná and Santa Catarina, snaking west for 370 miles (600km) before it widens majestically, plunging and crashing through the jungle in tiered falls at the border with Argentina and Paraguay. The Foz do Iguaçu (Iguaçu Falls) are more than two miles (3km) wide and 262ft (80m) high (almost twice the height of Niagara Falls), and their beauty is unmatched. Their name, fittingly, comes from the Guarani Indian word meaning 'great waters'. The deep flowing waters of the river tumble down 275 falls, the most famous of which is Devil's Throat on the Argentinian border, with a drop of 230ft (70m).
As well as taking in the stunning views, visitors can enjoy kayaking and other water sports in the river. The best time of year to visit is August to November, when there is least risk of floodwaters hindering the approach to the boardwalks. The falls are surrounded by the Iguaçu National Park, a huge sub-tropical rainforest covering 135,000 acres that is home to thousands of different species of animals and birds including parrots and hummingbirds.