Brazilians exhibit a passion for life and exuberanceof spirit that can only be a result of living in a country where itis always sunny, natural scenery abounds, and the party neverstops. The long-lasting impression with which most visitors leaveBrazil is of carefree, colourful people dancing and celebrating inthe 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 bustlingnightlife. Visitors to Brazil can live the high life without havingto confront the hundreds of shantytowns () where the poorest of the poor eke out a living inthe shadows of the skyscrapers. However, favela tours, meals, andovernight stays are becoming increasingly popular as tourists havebegun to explore safer neighbourhoods for an authentic Brazilianexperience.
With booming mining, agricultural, and manufacturingsectors, Brazil has the highest GDP in Latin America and isexpected to be one of the world's dominant economies by the middleof the century. Brazil also caters well for business tourism and isa favoured destination for conventions, congresses and expos,particularly the city of Sao Paulo, which is the country's largestcity and the business capital of Brazil.
Being so vast, larger than the continental UnitedStates, Brazil is home to a variety of cultures and topographies.From the Amazon and Pantanal rainforests, to the urban jungle ofSao Paulo. From the wide open spaces of the central plateau aroundBrasilia and world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, to thesecluded mountain towns of Minas Gerais; every experience combinedresults in an exotic and exciting Latin American holidaydestination where the common denominators are samba, sunshine,sultry smiles, and soccer.
Brazil's attractions are equally divided between the urban andthe natural; with the cultural delights of cities like Rio deJaneiro and Sao Paulo, and the natural wonders of the Amazon andPantanal rainforests, there's something to see and do in Brazil forjust about anybody.
Every year, thousands flock to the world-famous Carnival in Rio,when the entire city is awash in parties, parades, music anddancing. Rio also features the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue,which is one of the seven marvels of the modern world, and thearchitectural wonder Samba City. The mild climate of the majorcities makes them an attractive destination all year round, withthe coastal areas being even warmer and suited to year-roundsunbathing. Brazil's major cities are known for their wildnightlife, with enough bars, clubs, dance halls, and parties tosatisfy even the most hedonistic visitor.
Brazil's beaches are just as famous, with several (Ipanema andCopacabana) immortalised in song. There are several well-known nudebeaches, including one in the relaxed town of Pinho. The southernbeaches, including Praia Do Rosa, offer big waves that attract topsurfers from all over the world between April and November. Thereare also many popular scuba diving spots that boast beautiful coralreefs, volcanic islands, caves, and shipwrecks.
Brazil is a huge country, with an area larger than thecontinental United States, and over half of that is rainforest. TheAmazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest, covers sevenmillion square kilometres and is a wildlife and bird watchingparadise, home to countless species of plants and animals you won'tfind in any other country. The pink dolphin, for example, is onlyfound in the Amazon and its tributaries. You might also findjaguars, howler monkeys, sloths, toucans and anacondas, among manyother creatures.
Brazil's oceans are also teeming with amazing animals. Dolphinand whale watching are popular activities in places like Fernandode Noronha, and snorkelling in Bonito, which fittingly means'beautiful', is a delight. Praia do Forte and other beaches arealso good places to witness the hatching of sea turtles.
The distinctive statue of Christ the Redeemer, arms spread towelcome the world, is the symbol of Rio de Janeiro and one of theseven New Wonders of the Modern World. It rests on top of Rio deJaneiro's Corcovado Mountain, 2,330 feet (710m) above the beachesbelow, and is accessed via a miniature train that runs from theCosme Vehlo District through the Atlantic rainforest to the foot ofthe statue. The train ride offers stunning vistas of Rio, and theview from the summit is breathtaking.
Spread out beneath the statue is the Tijuca Forest, resplendentwith attractions to enchant visitors beneath the cooling canopyamong natural pools and waterfalls. There is, for example, theMayrink chapel, which features murals painted by Candido Portinari,one of Brazil's most well-known modern artists, and the Museu doAcude, housing colonial furniture and a collection of china fromthe East India Company.
An iconic fixture of the Rio skyline, the Sugarloaf Mountain isknown worldwide for its sweeping views of the city below. Thesummit of the 1,299 foot high (396m) belvedere, named Sugar Loafbecause of its resemblance to the loaves of sugar used by thePortuguese colonists, can be reached by a two-stage cable car ride.The first stage takes visitors up 722 feet (220m) to the Morro daUrca, where there is a restaurant, amphitheatre, heliport andspectacular view of the Yacht Club and Botafogo Bay. The secondstage ascends to the summit for a panoramic view of the city, andthe whole of Copacabana beach. The Sugar Loaf cable car is a majoricon of Rio's tourism and a trip up the Sugar Loaf is a must forvisitors to the city.
Immortalised in a popular song, 'The girl from Ipanema', thisneighbourhood of Rio offers not only a legendary beach, butnumerous excellent hotels, a bustling nightlife, sophisticatedshopping opportunities, and quality restaurants, all within walkingdistance of each other. Ipanema, the name, incongruously, means'bad water', is famous for setting fashion trends, particularly inthe line of skimpy swimwear. Fashion followers should look out forthe famous bikini boutiques like Salinas, Blue Man, and Bum-Bum.Tourists should make sure to explore the Rua Garcia D'Avila to shopfor designer fashion, jewellery, and furniture. The nearbyAmsterdam Sauer Museum of Gems makes for an interesting tour aroundthe workshop. There are numerous other streets in and aroundIpanema to explore, including the eclectic commercial streetVisconde de Piraja, lined with speciality shops, bars, restaurants,and some of Rio's best boutiques. Visit the bohemian fair atGeneral Osorio Square on Sundays for wooden sculptures, handcrafts,exotic musical instruments, and artworks.
This famous Rio beach neighbourhood was just a smallfishing village until a new highway built in the early 1900sbrought crowds of visitors to these golden shores. The CopacabanaPalace Hotel first opened its doors in 1923, and since then thearea mushroomed with Neoclassical and Art Nouveau skyscrapers,penthouses, and apartments. Visitors still flock, as they havealways done, to the glamorous Palace Hotel, which is the place tobe seen, especially to have tea or a meal at the famed Ciprianirestaurant.
The beach itself white sand and calm water and isfestooned with kiosks. It is a popular spot for beach sports likesoccer and volleyball, and a good place to sunbathe. Copacabanabeach is particularly popular on New Year's Day. According totradition, visitors dress in white and congregate here to celebratein droves, with more than 2 million people crowding the beach.
Where the dark waters of the Rio Negro join the lighter, muddywaters of the Rio Solimoes, an incredible natural phenomenonresults. The separate shades of water run side by side for a lengthof more than four miles (6km) without mixing. The separation iscaused by the difference in temperature, density, and flow of thewaters from each river: Rio Negro travels at about a mile (2km) perhour with a temperature of 72ºF (22ºC), while Rio Solimoes flows atbetween two and four miles (4-6km) per hour with a temperature of82ºF (28ºC). This phenomenon has become a major tourist attractionin Brazil, best accessed by taking an hour's journey by boat fromthe floating docks in Manaus to see the dramatically dividedwaters.
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, andflooded forest (igapos). Day package trips are available fromManaus, including lunch in a typical regional restaurant and avisit to the area's other main attraction, The Meeting of theWaters, as well as a canoe trip exploring the park's lakes andstreams. Visitors can also spot the symbol of the Amazon at LakeJanauari Park; the famous Amazon Victoria-Nympheaceae water lily,measuring up to seven feet (two metres) in diameter, is ubiquitousatop the still shallow waters. The beautiful flowers only bloom forthree days, changing colour from white to dark red beforedying.
This vast forest reserve, covering more than 39 square miles(100 sq km) to the east of Manaus, provides tourists with theopportunity to discover what lies beneath the dense Amazonrainforest canopy. The park building complex contains plantnurseries and an exhibition of the woods of Amazonas, as well as alibrary and an eatery. A network of trails has been created in theforest, and local youths are trained and employed as guides todirect visitors along the paths (although not all of them speakEnglish). It can be difficult to get into the Amazon for a genuineexperience of the rainforest and this vast botanical garden offersa convient oppertunity for close look at the unspoilt forestworld.
Proudly hosting the opening and closing matches of the 2014Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games ceremonies, and still thelargest soccer stadium on the continent, Rio's Maracana has seenmany records set.
The stadium currently hosts local soccer league games, and isthe home of the Brazilian soccer team. But with a capacity of morethan 78,000, the Maracana is more than able to host internationalacts visiting Brazil as a performance venue, with Madonna and SirPaul McCartney among the big names who have played here. Inside thegrounds is a Hall of Fame honouring soccer greats such as Pele,Roberto Dinamite, Romário, Valdo, and Bebeto, all of whom have beenhonoured by having their footprints cast in the sidewalk. A guidedtour takes visitors through the hall, where they can enjoy adisplay of historical photographs and a great panoramic view of thecity, among other things.
The Parque do Ibirapuera is a large park near the centre of SaoPaulo with many interesting features, including a planetarium, aJapanese pavilion, a gymnasium, the Obelisk of Sao Paulo (a symbolof the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932), and the CicilloMatarazzo Pavilion, which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art andis typically the venue for large events like the São Paulo ArtBiennial and São Paulo Fashion Week. The park is home to many othermuseums, including the Air Force Museum and Folklore Museum. Italso has jogging and walking trails and a picturesque lake.Generally the park is a good spot to explore for those wanting abit of holiday exercise or some fresh air in the heart of thissprawling city.
Having had their fill of the beach, tourists seeking the 'realRio de Janeiro' should make a beeline for one of its most iconicneighbourhoods, Santa Teresa. Located at the top of Santa TeresaHill, the neighbourhood is famous for its winding, narrow streets,its 19th century architecture, and its amazing array ofrestaurants, bars, art galleries, and eclectic shops. A populararea for local artists and tourists alike, Santa Teresa is bestreached using its historic tram service, which runs up the hillfrom the centro (departing from Largo da Carioca square). The tramline, the only one of its kind in Rio, runs right through SantaTeresa's picturesque streets, offering magnificent views of thecity below. By all accounts, no visit to Rio de Janeiro would becomplete without spending at least a few hours in Santa Teresa.
Even though Rio de Janeiro is one of the world'sforemost holiday destinations, with great beaches, vibrantnight-life, and significant tourist attractions, the hard fact isthat it remains a city of gross economic inequality, as typified byits sprawling urban slums (favelas), the largest of which, Rocinha,is home to nearly a quarter of a million people. For touristslooking to get to grips with this social reality, a local namedZezinho runs widely-celebrated tours of Rocinha, the favela inwhich he grew up.
Those worrying that it will be a typical,voyeuristic, seen-from-the-back-of-a-Jeep experience can lay thosefears to rest: the great strength of Zezinho's tours is that theyare conducted out of love for Rocinha, and a desire to share itsculture with foreigners. As Zezinho says, 'It is easy to seepoverty or poorly built houses, but what I love about Rocinha isthe spirit of the people'. All who take part in his tour of Rocinhaagree that it's a valuable, moving and humanising touristicexperience. There are also other guides and companies offering goodtours of the various favelas. It is important to book inadvance.
Even for non-football fans, Sao Paulo's Museu doFutebol (Football Museum) is a must-see tourist attraction. TheBrazilian team has been unquestionably the most delightful andsuccessful national team in football's history, and the sport issupported with religious fervour throughout the country. The beautyof Sao Paulo's Football Museum, housed within the Pacaembu Stadium,itself an icon of the city, is that is takes a modern, interactiveapproach toward its exhibitions, with holographic displays,touch-screen information panels, and various other multimediainstallations.
Highlights of the museum include the 'History of theWorld Cup' section, and a display introducing Brazil's 25greatest-ever players (the Anjos Barrocos, or 'Baroque Angels'). Anappreciation of what football means to the country is vital togetting to grips with Brazilian culture, and Sao Paulo's FootballMuseum is a wonderful introduction in this respect. Be sure tobudget at least two or three hours for the museum, as there's a lotto see.
This cultural centre and concert venue is located in what wasonce the Julio Prestes Train Station, an imposing and meticulouslyrestored building. The highlight of the centre is the Sala SaoPaulo, a concert venue which seats nearly 1,500 people and is hometo 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 forclassical music lovers to catch a concert in the city. Other eventsare also hosted at the cultural centre, including a vast variety ofmusical concerts, with pop and rock featuring alongside thetraditional, 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 differentclimatic regions: equatorial, tropical, semi-arid, highlandtropical, and subtropical. Cities such as Sao Paulo and Brasilia,on the plateau, have a mild climate with temperatures averaging66°F (19°C). Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Natal, and Salvador on thecoast have warmer climates balanced by the Trade Winds. Rio, forexample, has an average temperature of around 80°F (26°C), whichwill climb to over 100°F (38°C) during the summer months, betweenDecember 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 andAugust, when temperatures can fall below freezing. Summers are hot,however. Despite the popular image of the Amazon as a region ofblistering heat, temperatures rarely rise above 90°F (32°C), anddays are generally warm, wet, and humid. The region has twoseasons: 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'smost elegant restaurants. The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant servesexcellent north Italian cuisine, while the poolside PérgulaRestaurant offers a buffet breakfast and delicious South Americanmeals. Serving exotic pan-Asian cuisine, MEE is one of the firstrestaurants in South America to be awarded a prestigious Michelinstar. Cipriani is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner,while MEE is open daily from 7pm, and Pérgula is open forbreakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday with a buffet lunchon 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'sall sold 'by the pound' allowing diners a choice of exactly how bigtheir portions should be. Fellini has a funky, laid-back atmosphereand 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 stylehall-turned-restaurant hasn't changed much in over 100 years, sothey must be doing something right. This is considered to be aperfect lunch spot for executives doing business in the city. Teaservice is complemented by breads and condiments, while the mealsare 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 plateor platter depending on how hungry you are, the price difference isnegligible. The Paladino is always popular and beer flows steadilyfrom 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, andlots of palm trees) and its candlelit dining area, Palaphita Kitchhas a romantic atmosphere, backed by excellent views of LagoaRodrigo de Freitas. The menu offers a selection of exotic Amazoniancuisine, with its carpaccio being a favourite. Open every night fordinner, reservations recommended.
Originally from France, celebrity chef Claude Troisgros and hisson Thomas blend French cuisine with Brazilian ingredients at oneof Rio's top restaurants. Intimate and sophisticated, Olympe offersguests seasonal tasting menus and creative à la carte dishes suchas 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 anidyllic, rural atmospherem decorated with handmade arts and crafts.The menu offers authentic, homemade Brazilian cuisine such as aplate of rice, beans, (toasted manioc flour), steak and French fries, or thetraditional soup, with beans and bacon. Reservationsrecommended.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL). The US Dollar is alsowelcome in most tourist establishments. In the main cities, foreigncurrencies can be exchanged at banks or cambios. There is anextensive network of ATMs in the country and most majorinternational credit cards are accepted.
The spoken language in Brazil is Portuguese, howeverSpanish and English are also used in the cities.
Brazil has a variety of electrical voltages, sometimeswithin the same city. The better hotels offer 220 volts, 60Hz. Ifnot, transformers are available in electrical stores. Two-pin plugswith a grounding pin are standard.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departuredate. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90days.
A valid passport is required. UK passport holders do not requirea visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departuredate. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90days.
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departuredate. Tourists can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90days.
A valid passport is needed, but no visa is required by SouthAfrican nationals for up to 90 days.
Irish nationals need a valid passport, but do not require atourist or business visa for stays of up to 90 days.
New Zealanders need a valid passport, but no visa is requiredfor a stay of up to 90 days.
All visitors require passports that are valid for at least theperiod of intended stay in Brazil but we strongly recommend thatpassports be valid for six months after intended date of travel.Border control may well deny entry to holders of passports validfor the period of intended stay. Sufficient funds to cover theirstay in Brazil, as well as a return or onward ticket anddocumentation required for further travel, are necessary for alltravellers. Visa requirements vary from country to country.
Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended for alltravellers. Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malariaare prevalent in Brazil, so insect repellent and protectiveclothing is essential. Malaria exists below 2,953 feet (900m) inmost rural areas, and outbreaks of dengue fever occurfrequently.
Visitors travelling from infected areas outside the countryrequire a yellow fever certificate, and vaccination is recommendedfor those travelling to rural areas, as outbreaks have occurred inrecent years. Tap water is heavily treated resulting in a strongchemical taste; however bottled water is freely available fordrinking purposes. Typhoid vaccinations are recommended iftravellers intend to spend a lot of time outside of major cities.Milk in rural areas is not pasteurised. Hospitals in the majorcities 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 10percent. Most restaurants also add 10 percent or more to the totalof the bill, but must make it clear that they have done so; waitersappreciate another five percent if their service has been good.Otherwise, a 10 to 15 percent tip is customary. Brazilians don'tnormally tip taxi drivers, except if they handle bags, althoughthey may round up the total. Hotel staff expect small tips and mostother service personnel, including barbers, shoe shiners, andpetrol station attendants, are usually rewarded with a 10 to 15percent tip. Parking attendants earn no wages and expect a tip ofaround two real.
Brazil is politically stable and seldom a target for terroristactivities. In metropolitan areas, however, crime is a fact oflife. Rio in particular is regarded as one of the most crime-riddencities in the world and, although violent crime is generallylimited to the slum areas, foreigners are advised to takeprecautions. Visitors should not attempt to visit slum areas(favelas) even on a guided tour. Violent crime is on the increasedue to the establishment of drug and criminal gangs around Rio andSao Paulo.
Muggings, often involving firearms, are frequent and visitorsshould dress down, conceal cameras, and avoid wearing jewellery andexpensive watches. If threatened, hand over your valuables withoutresistance. Bank and credit card fraud is common, including cardcloning from ATMs. Keep sight of your card at all times and do notuse an ATM if you notice anything suspicious. Valuables should bedeposited in hotel safes. Leave your passport and other valuablesin a safe place but carry a copy and another form of photo ID, ifyou have one, with you at all times. Thefts are common on publicbeaches and visitors should avoid taking valuables to the beach.The threat of personal attack is lower outside the main urbancentres, but incidents do occur, and women should be aware thatsexual assaults have been reported in coastal holiday destinations.Beware of unofficial taxis and those with blacked-out windows andbe particularly careful on public transport in Rio, Recife, andSalvador.
Brazil is a diverse cultural and ethnic melting pot, but mostsocial customs will be familiar to visitors. As a result of threecenturies of colonization by the Portuguese, the Brazilian cultureis actually recognisably European in many ways. Physical appearanceis considered important by most Brazilians and care is taken todress well, although not generally formally.
Business practices vary quite substantially from city to city inBrazil: very formal in Sao Paulo, but more relaxed in Rio deJaneiro and other centres. Multi-national companies have similarbusiness etiquette to those in Europe or the US, while localbusinesses require a few more considerations, particularlypreferring face-to-face meetings over phone calls or writtencommunication. Brazilians place a very high value on personalrelationships within business environments and will generally onlyconduct business through personal connections or with those whomthey have already established a personal relationship. Nepotism isconsidered not only acceptable but actually desirable, because itis seen as ensuring trust and good relationships in business.
All meetings are preceded by handshakes and small talk, andvisitors should avoid the temptation to rush things; even after themeeting is over, it is considered rude to rush off. Entertaining iscommon, either at a restaurant or someone's home, again with theemphasis on building personal relationships. Punctuality isflexible, except when meeting at a restaurant, when tardiness isconsidered impolite, and a small gift or flowers for the hostess iscommon 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 interpretermight be required. Business cards, as well as written documents,should be printed in both English and Portuguese. Business hoursare 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
The international access code for Brazil is +55. Hotels, cafesand restaurants offering free wifi are widely available in touristcentred 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 cigarettesor 25 cigars; 24 units of alcoholic beverages, with a maximum of 12units per type of beverage; and goods to the value of US$500,without incurring customs duty. Restricted items include freshproduce, meat and dairy products. Strict regulations apply totemporary import or export of firearms, antiquities, tropicalplants, medication and business equipment.
Brazilian Tourist Institute, Brasília: +61 429 7704 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brazilian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 2382700
Brazilian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 77474500
Brazilian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 1090.
Brazilian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 3665200.
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 4733516.
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 eachday of the year) is a holiday playground that contains 2,000beautiful beaches and a natural wonderland of mountains, forests,waterfalls, lakes, and secret coves. Visitors can take trips byschooner, yacht, or motor launch to explore the delights of thearea, particularly the main island, Ilha Grande. Fishing and scubadiving are the favoured activities for tourists amongst the variouswater sports, while on land there are hundreds of walking trailsgiving access to some of the less frequented beaches like Canto,Abraaozinho, Morcego, and Grande das Palmas. The beaches ofAventureiro and Lopes Mendes are also popular with surfers.
The islands can easily be reached from Rio by road injust over three hours, or accessed by bus with daily departuresevery hour from the Novo Rio Bus Station.
Once the preserve of pirates and slave traders, thepeninsula of Buzios, 109 miles (176km) northeast of Rio de Janeiro,is today the haunt of the rich and famous who flock to the city toenjoy the 24 beaches in the vicinity. The peninsula was popularisedby legendary movie star Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, whose statuestill graces the main street of Buzios, the Rua des Pedras. Thepeninsula is a sophisticated beach resort with a very activenightlife and fine restaurants. The west coast beaches offer calm,clear waters ideal for swimming, while the east coast beaches facethe open sea and are a little wilder, drawing surfers and watersports enthusiasts to its choppy waters. Among the most popularbeaches are Azeda Beach, Joao Fernandinho Beach (with several barsand known for its good seafood), Ferradura Beach, and Geriba beach,which is popular for surfing.
Buzios can be reached by road from Rio via theRio-Niteroi toll bridge, or by bus from the Novo Rio BusStation.
The Rio Iguaçu begins its journey in the coastalmountains of Paraná and Santa Catarina, snaking west for 370 miles(600km) before it widens majestically, plunging and crashingthrough the jungle in tiered falls at the border with Argentina andParaguay. The Foz do Iguaçu (Iguaçu Falls) are more than two miles(3km) wide and 262ft (80m) high (almost twice the height of NiagaraFalls), and their beauty is unmatched. Their name, fittingly, comesfrom the Guarani Indian word meaning 'great waters'. The deepflowing waters of the river tumble down 275 falls, the most famousof which is Devil's Throat on the Argentinian border, with a dropof 230ft (70m).
As well as taking in the stunning views, visitors canenjoy kayaking and other water sports in the river. The best timeof year to visit is August to November, when there is least risk offloodwaters hindering the approach to the boardwalks. The falls aresurrounded by the Iguaçu National Park, a huge sub-tropicalrainforest covering 135,000 acres that is home to thousands ofdifferent species of animals and birds including parrots andhummingbirds.