Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. It is divided into five regions, which are mainly oriented towards state borders, but also more or less follow natural, economic and cultural boundaries.
- North (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins).
The Amazon, the rainforest and border life, with a notable Indian influence. Note that the state of Mato Grosso, in the Centre-West region (below), is also largely in the Amazon basin.
- Northeast (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe).
Mainly Hick culture (Caipira), with a black culture in Bahia, mixed with early Iberian folklore and indigenous traditions. This region is often considered the most beautiful coast of the country and has the sunniest and warmest climate; but it is also the driest and poorest region of the country. Capital of the “Forró” musical style.
- Centre-West (Distrito Federal (Federal District), Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul).
The wetlands of the Pantanal, the large farms, the young cities, the Cerrado and the Federal District with its otherworldly modernist architecture. Birthplace of the “Sertanejo” musical style.
- Southeast (Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo).
The cosmopolitan heart of the country. São Paulo and Rio are the country’s largest cities and its economic and industrial centre; there are also some centuries-old colonial towns, especially in Minas Gerais.
- South (Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina).
It is a country of valleys and pampas, where a strong gaucho culture (shared with Uruguay and Argentina) meets European influences. It has several medium-sized cities and rural settlements. Important German, Italian, Polish and Ukrainian movements took place in the region during the 19th century.
Brazil has many exciting cities to offer, from pretty colonial towns and coastal hideaways to bustling, bustling metropolises; here are some of the most important destinations:
- Brasília – the capital of Brazil, and an architectural spectacle. Notable buildings include the basket-shaped cathedral, the beautiful Arches Palace (seat of the Ministry of Justice) and others.
- Florianópolis – The city is located on an island in the Atlantic Ocean in the southern state of Santa Catarina, with lakes, lagoons, amazing nature and over 40 clean, beautiful and natural beaches. Important tourist destination for Argentines during the summer months.
- Fortaleza – Brazil’s fourth largest city with beautiful beaches. This is where the Iracema Beach street market is held. A good base for exploring the beaches of the north-east coast, including Jericoacoara. Famous for its forró music and comedians.
- Manaus – located in the heart of the Amazon, is the capital of the state of Amazonas and also the largest city in the Amazon. In Manaus, the Negro and Solimões rivers converge to form the Amazon River. It is the best place to visit the Amazon forest. It is a gateway to the Anavilhanas and Jaú National Parks.
- Porto Alegre – a large city located between Argentina and São Paulo and the gateway to Brazil’s fabulous Green Canyons.
- Recife – A large city in the northeast region, originally settled by the Dutch. Known as the “Brazilian Venice”, it is built on several islands connected by numerous bridges. Rich in history, art and folklore. Don’t miss the neighbouring towns of Olinda and Porto de Galinhas. The city is also a gateway to the amazing archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.
- Rio de Janeiro – A beautiful and world-famous city that greets its visitors with the large statue of an open-armed Jesus on Corcovado Hill.
- Salvador – Brazil’s first capital is home to a unique blend of indigenous, African and European cultures. Its carnival is famous, and the influence of African culture and religion is remarkable.
- São Paulo – Brazil’s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city, with strong ethnic influences including Italians, Koreans, Japanese, Germans, Russians, Caribbeans and Arabs.
- Amazon – jungle tours, wildlife, driftwood, the secrets of the Amazon
- Chapada Diamantina National Park
- Chapada dos Veadeiros – Cerrado (tropical savannah), wild animals and breathtaking waterfalls.
- Fernando de Noronha – a tropical paradise island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, protected as a marine national park and world cultural heritage site since 1997.
- Ilha Grande
- Iguaçu Falls – world famous waterfalls
- Ilha do Marajó
- Lençóis Maranhenses
- Pantanal – the world’s largest wetland hosts a lot of ecotourism and enormous biodiversity, including caiman, jaguar, anaconda, giant anteater, primates, giant otter and piranha.