The world’s biggest festival takes place every year throughout the country and lasts for almost a week in February or early March. It is celebrated in a variety of ways, from the giant Boneco masks in Olinda and the Trios Elétricos in Salvador to the huge samba parades in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For a relatively calm atmosphere, check out the university-style street party in Ouro Preto or the sporty beach party in Ilha do Mel. Don’t forget to make your reservations well in advance!
Due to the high level of acceptance and tolerance, gay travel is becoming increasingly popular. Brazil was the location of the first gay ball in America in 1754! Today, the main destinations for lesbians and gays are Rio de Janeiro, twice voted the world’s sexiest destination, São Paulo, which holds the world’s largest gay pride parade, Florianópolis, which is the trendiest gay hangout, and Recife, which is attracting more and more lesbian and gay tourists in search of fun and sun.
Almost the entire coastline is lined with fabulous beaches, and the beach lifestyle is an integral part of Brazilian culture. Nowhere is this more true than in Rio de Janeiro, with its laid-back, flip-flop lifestyle and famous beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana. Beaches in other parts of the country may not have the same immediate notoriety, but they are no less impressive. The northeast has gems such as Jericoacoara, Praia do Futuro, Boa Vista, Porto de Galinhas and Morro de São Paulo, which attract many travellers, especially from Europe. The landlocked Mineiros mingle with the rich and famous in Guarapari or dance the forró in the sand in Itaunas, while the Paulistas head to Caraguá or Ubatuba. In the south, weekenders head to Ilha do Mel or Balneário Camboriú, while the 42 beaches of Santa Catarina Island attract thousands of Argentine tourists every year. There are also hundreds of other beaches ready to be explored. Don’t forget the nudist beaches of Rio and São Paulo!
- Football – Wherever you are in Brazil, football is the talk of the town, and the country is full of great teams and players. While Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracanã stadium is currently being renovated, you can still catch a game in other great stadiums like the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte or the Morumbi stadium in São Paulo.
- Volleyball – While football is the main sport in Brazil, volleyball is also very popular. In addition to the standard indoor sport known worldwide, there are several other variations that you can play or watch in Brazil:
- Beach volleyball – On beaches, you will often find places where you can play beach volleyball. However, this version of the sport has a different set of rules than indoor volleyball (for example, instead of six players, only two can be played per team).
- Footvolley – This challenging sport was developed in Brazil. It is essentially beach volleyball played with a ball and following the rules of football without hands.
- Biribol – Another Brazilian original, Biribol, named after the town of Birigüi where it was invented, is an aquatic version of volleyball played in a 1.3 metre deep pool with 4 players per team and a ball similar to water polo.