There’s a lot of fuss about Brazil at the moment for some reason… but once you’ve got over your Football World Cup excitement there are a lot of other sights in Brazil that are not to be missed!
The combo of startlingly white sand and deep blue, clear water makes the landscape of the Lençóis Maranheses National Park in north-east Brazil a striking view. This is Brazil’s desert, but because Brazil doesn’t have a desert climate the dips between the vast sloping dunes fill up with water during the wet season.
Strange fact: despite the fact that the waters in Lençóis dry up completely during the dry season the water pools are full of fish, enough to support a small community of fishermen! Its thought that birds must transport fish eggs to the desert pools.
Image © gary yim
Acclaimed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer left many examples of his work around Brazil (and the rest of the world). But it’s in Brazil’s capital city Brasilia you can see his and town planner Lúcio Costa’s vision of a modernist utopia. Everything is planned in Brasilia. From above the city looks like a giant bird. Most of the important buildings are located along the central body or Monumental Axis. Here’s where you’ll find the circular Cathedral of Brasila pictured above and the eye-catching government buildings that line the Square of Three Powers.
Travel Tip: Brasilia is the centre of Brazil’s government and judicial system, but many residents and visitors alike check out at weekends to head to the coast – This means that weekends are the cheapest time to book a hotel in Brasilia.
For some reason Iguazu doesn’t have the same world reputation as other famous waterfalls. Which we think is unfair. Iguazu has the world’s second largest annual flow rate after Niagara – but Iguazu is up to 32 metres taller! The falls are also wider than Victoria Falls, and have many spectacular view points from where you can stop and admire the pounding water, the swelling mists and the air full of rainbows.
Fact: Iguazu is located on the border of Argentina and Brazil. About 80% of the falls are in Argentina and it’s easy to cross the border to get in amongst the waters, but you’ll get some fabulous wider views of the scale of the falls from the Brazilian side.
Vale da Lua
Translation help: Vale da Lua means valley of the moon – and one glance at the pic above should give you an idea why it’s named that. The glimmering rock landscape also has two large natural pools, suitable for a dip! The water does rather give it away that you’re not on the moon though. This strange alien landscape is located in the Chapada dos Veadeiros, a national park and region of natural beauty in the centre of Brazil.
Strange fact: The Chapada dos Veadeiros area lies on a quartz crystal bed, which many alternative minded people think gives the region a special energy. Supposedly it is the earth’s brightest point and a beacon for UFOs – there have been many reported sightings in the area.
There are so many incredible sights to see in the Amazon. But that should come as no surprise from the river that accounts for one-fifth of the world’s total river flow. During the wet season the Amazon can be up to 48 kilometres across – more a sea than a river. On both sides the river is lined by thick rainforest, just as impressive. Take a trip into the heart of the Amazon basin where two rivers meet and form the Amazon – you can actually see them flow together side by side for several kilometres at the Meeting of the Waters. You can visit Theatro Amazonas, an ornate pink monument of culture set in Manaus city. And you can venture into the rainforest to do incredible things like fish for piranahs, spot sloths and swim in the same waters as crocodiles and river dolphins.
Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio
Rio de Janeiro is known as the Cidade Maravilhosa, and for the most marvellous view of it you need to take the cable car to the top of one of its icons: Sugarloaf Mountain. Rainforest-carpeted hills rise out of the bustling city and long curved beaches, teeming with relaxing Cariocas (Rio dwellers) stretch out in both directions.
Whilst you’re in Rio you should probably scale Corcovado mountain to see the famous Cristo Redentor embracing the South American continent too.
Fernando de Noronha
In a land of incredible and celebrated beaches those of the small archipelago of Fernando de Noronha stand apart. This is an eco-paradise holiday destination of unspoilt beaches, the clearest water in Brazil and welcoming boutique hotels. The islands’ wildlife is another draw, with tropical seabirds, green turtles and large schools of playful dolphins making Fernando de Noronha their home. Supposedly even the sharks are friendly here.
Fact: Access to Fernando de Noronha is tightly controlled in order to preserve the unique ecosystems. Less than 500 visitors are allowed on the islands at any time, so be sure to book in advance.