There are few countries as beautiful and vibrant as Brazil with nature so exuberant and people so welcoming. Thousands of miles of pristine and usually deserted beaches line the coast, some pounded by superb surf, others lapped by a gentle sea. They are backed by dunes the size of deserts, or forests of swaying coconut palms. Offshore, jewel-like islands offer some of the best diving and snorkelling in the South Atlantic.
The table-top mountains of the Brazilian interior are drained by mineral-rich rivers that tumble through gorges and rush over spectacular tiered waterfalls. In the Amazon, virgin forest stretches unbroken for more than 2500 km in every direction and the earth is a tapestry of green broken by a filigree of rivers. There are islands here too, the largest bigger than Denmark, and wilder and more forested than Borneo. The Pantanal, the world’s biggest wetland, offers the best wildlife watching in the western hemisphere.
The tiny gold-mining towns of Goiás and Minas Gerais contrast with the busy metropolises of São Paulo, Salvador and Recife, which offer the most exciting and surprising urban culture in Latin America. And then there’s Rio, the jewel in the country’s urban crown, with its islands, mountains and beautiful beaches.
But best of all there are the Brazilians, in all their joyful diversity. The peoples of Portugal, Africa and indigenous America mingled here with Spanish, Italians, Japanese, Jews, Germans and Arabs. Kibe and sushi, bierfests and rodeos are as much a part of the culture as samba and football.