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The icons of Brazil – 8 of the best

Why the World Cup isn’t the only thing on our mind this summer


With the World Cup in full swing it’s all eyes on Brazil this summer. But whilst the rest of the world is watching the beautiful game and the even more beautiful footballers, we’re obsessing over the beaches, landmarks, jungles, waterfalls, food, and everything else travel related! These are our icons of Brazil (Ronaldo not included)…

1 – Arpoador Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Sandwiched between the tourist havens of Ipanema and Copacabana lies a little slice of golden sand heaven called Arpoador beach. Known as the birthplace of surfing in Brazil, Arpoador is the beach the locals favour for swimming, surfing and body boarding. It’s also an incredible look out spot – the beach ends with a tall rocky headline, which after an easy 60m climb offers stunning views of Ipanema, Leblon and the famous Dois Irmãos mountain. It’s also one of the few beaches lit up at night which can only mean one thing – night time swimming!

2 – Iguaçu Falls, Paraná

There are waterfalls and then there are waterfalls, and then, there’s Iguaçu Falls. A spectacle of nature at work quite unlike any other, Iguaçu Falls is the largest series of waterfalls on the planet, totalling 275 cascading beauties in total. For some high octane excitement, jump on an inflatable speed boat and speed through the iconic Devil’s Throat, an incredible 90 metre high waterfall. If you prefer a bird’s eye view, grab a helicopter ride and take some of the best Instagram shots of your life. Nature lovers, keep an eye out for the colourful toucans, macaws and parrots.

3 – The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha

Consisting of 21 utterly pristine islands, the Noronha archipelago is formed from peaks of the Southern Atlantic ridge and is located 172 off the coast of mainland Brazil. Boasting Brazil’s best dive spots, the waters are literally teeming with sharks, turtles, dolphins and other marine mammals. Only the main island is inhabited, and covered in the history of days gone by – the island was one a prison, then later a military base during the Second World War, and the crumbling remains of forts are sprinkled along its cliff tops.

4 – Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

One of the most iconic landmarks of Brazil, if not the world, Christ the Redeemer looms over Rio in all its 38 metre high, 28 metre wide glory. Considered the largest art deco statue in the world until 2010, it is located at the peak of the 700 metre Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. The statue depicts Christ with his arms open wide, embracing all that come to him.

5 – The Amazon Region

Would you believe us if we said the Amazon covered an incredible 2.1 million square miles and was home to approximately 10 million species of animals, plants and insects? Amazing as it seems, these far-fetched figures are actually true, which leads to the next question, where do you even start to explore such a beast?! Our 3 Amazon recommendation are:

- Take a night trek – spot bearded pigs, owl monkeys, electric eels and poison dart frogs.

- Go fishing for Piranhas, just keep fingers firmly out of reach.

- Skim the tree tops – zip lining 100 feet above the canopy, superman capes included.

6 - Vila Canoas and Rocinha Favelas, Rio de Janeiro

The favela is the very epicentre of Brazil’s heart and spirit, so what better way to truly understand this colourful culture than with a favela tour. Vila Canoas and Rocinha and two of the biggest favelas in all of Rio, and a tour here will allow you to discover the complex architecture, developing commerce and friendly faces are in contrast to the horror stories portrayed by the media. Try local delicacies, stop by a samba school or just enjoy watching the local children practicing passinho – the latest dance craze to come from the favelas.

7 – All Brazilian Food

Our top Brazilian food choices are the stuff of heart surgeons nightmares - the more doughy, fried, dripping in cheese or covered in sugar and cinnamon, the better. Our absolute calorific favourites include coxinhas (balls of fried good ness filled with chicken and creamy cheese), Pão de Queijo (rolls of bread with baked cheese), Bolinho de Chuva (yet more balls of glorious doughy goodness sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar) and the absolute ultimate, Beijinho de Coco (coconut truffle balls, obviously).

8 – The Pantanal Wetlands

With a total of almost 195,000 square kilometres, the Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world, spreading into bordering Paraguay and Bolivia. It’s also THE place to spot wildlife in Brazil, with species including Marsh Deer, Jaguar, Bush Dog, South American Tapir and the Giant Anteater. Activities are a plenty here; choose from horse riding, exploring the wetlands by canoe or boat, or bird watching.

For more information of Brazil, the World Cup and everything in between, check out Lonely Planet’s Brazil Mini Guide including a free downloadable World Cup special edition guide. See it here.

Comments (1)

  • mitch


    about 1 month ago

    It can be done much for the one as well to take something could ever had to let it happen. -

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