Tourism in Brazil
Your travel to Brazil may be pricy and tiring. It
will be worthwhile to combine your academic journey with some nice tourism in
Brazil. We provide some suggestions and links to travel offices that may help
you to benefit the most from your trip.
Another page of this web site suggests some tourism packages provided by commercial agencies.
The more you learn about Brazil and São Paulo
before your trip, the more you will be prepared to enjoy your stay in this
country. The same rule applies to any other country, of course, as all
We strongly suggest the acquisition of a travel
guide of Brazil, such as: Fodor's Brazil; Lonely Planet Brazil; National
Geographic Traveler: Brazil; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Brazil; and many
others. Those are just a few suggestions, in English. There are also excellent
guides published in other languages.
You may download a free Brazilian tourist guide at this link.
If you browse the Wikipedia pages about Brazil you
will also obtain a lot of useful information.
is completly impossible to present here a detailed view of the
Brazilian touristic and cultural diversity. A huge site would be needed
to describe the pecular music, dance, literature, theatre, folklore,
crafts, foods, buildings, fauna, flora, and other features of the
thousands of cities and micro-regions in Brazil. This page presents
just an overview of the best known Brazilian natural touristic
São Paulo City
In São Paulo city there are many interesting places
to visit. Some of them are described in a set of pages of this web site, called
Enjoy São Paulo.
São Paulo State
São Paulo State has about 248,000 km² with a
population of nearly 44 million people. Its size is slightly larger than the
United Kingdom and 8% smaller than New Zealand.
São Paulo State, in red
Except skiing and snowboarding, São Paulo state
pretty much has it all. Without leaving its borders, you can practice your
favorite outdoor activity: canoeing, canyoning, horseback riding, caving, rock
climbing, scuba diving, mountain biking, rafting, rappel, trekking,
hang-gliding, paragliding, photography safaris, surfing, bird watching,
cross-country bicycling, rowing, golf, swimming and fishing.
Rafting in Brotas, São Paulo State
The coast of São Paulo has 622 km of beaches of all
kinds and sizes. Favorite beaches along the northern coast include Bertioga,
Caraguatatuba, Maresias, São Sebastião, and Ubatuba; also popular are islands
like Ilha Bela, considered a paradise by sailing buffs. Some of São Paulo’s most popular dance
clubs have opened beachside affiliates that operate during the vacation months.
A bit further north, just across the border in Rio de Janeiro state, is Paraty
– a coastal colonial town overlooking a calm bay dotted with islands.
Ilha Bela beaches, São Paulo State
Skirting the coast is a mountain range. Its rough
terrain has helped preserve a chunk of the Atlantic Rainforest. Once covering
an area as large as the Amazon, the tropical forest has been reduced to about
7% of what existed when the Portuguese first landed over 500 years ago. Dotting
the region are lodges that cater to ecotourists. Farther from the big city, the
southern coast features nature preserves like the Juréia-Itatins Ecological
Station, Ilha do Cardoso, and the Lagunar Estuary Complex.
Dragon Cave (Caverna do Dragão), PETAR, São Paulo State
In the countryside, it is possible to find resorts,
rural tourism, eco-municipalities with a European like climate, waterfalls,
caves, rivers, mountains, spas, parks, historical buildings from the 16th, 17th
and 18th centuries, archaeological sites such as the Alto Ribeira State and
Tourist Park (PETAR). Those looking for intense entertainment can browse the
Hopi Hari, a major theme park in Brazil, in the Metropolitan Region of Campinas.
As regards ecotourism, Sprout Juquitiba has a fine infrastructure. In winter,
the city of Campos do Jordão emerges as the main tourist reference state, with
the Winter Festival and several other attractions in an environment where the
temperature can drop down below 0 Celsius.
Ranch Hotel Pitangueiras, São Paulo State
To the north and west, the interior offers a
smattering of cities known for their thermal spas (like Águas de Lindóia),
ranch-hotels (São Pedro) and colonial architecture (like Itu). Brotas boasts
some of Brazil’s best white water rafting and other outdoor activities. Other
cities offer a glimpse into the pioneer and immigrant experiences. Old coffee
plantations have been converted into “ranch hotels.” Hot springs attract
visitors to a half-dozen rural towns. Some 67 municipalities have received
designation as “estâncias” in recognition of their special leisure attractions.
Outside São Paulo State
Brazilians often say they live in a continent
rather than a country. It’s an excusable exaggeration. The landmass is bigger
than the United States if you exclude Alaska; the journey from Recife in the
east to the western border with Peru is longer than that from London to Moscow,
and the distance between the northern and southern borders is about the same as
that between New York and Los Angeles.
About 5 million foreigners visit Brazil each year. The
country offers an ample gamut of options, with natural areas being its most
popular tourism product, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and
recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as historic and
cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon
Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the
Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural and historic
tourism in Minas Gerais… and business trips to São Paulo city.
Brazilian Southeast Region includes the
following states: São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Espírito
region contains several of the most visited touristic attractions of
Brazil. Air tickets from São Paulo to those States are cheap.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is widely known because of its
beaches and Carnival. It also has strong cultural tourism. Rio, which really is
as beautiful as it seems in pictures, is one essential destination. Some of its
main attractions are the statue of "Cristo Redentor" (Christ the Redeemer)
on Corcovado Mountain, riding the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain ("Pão
de Açúcar") mountain with its famous cable car, the beaches of Copacabana,
Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca, and the Tijuca forest.
The state of Rio de Janeiro, surrounding the city,
is fairly small by Brazilian standards. It is both beautiful and accessible,
with easy trips either northeast along the Costa do Sol or southwest along the
Costa Verde, taking in unspoilt beaches, washed by a relatively unpolluted
ocean. Inland routes make a welcome change from the sands, especially the trip
to Petrópolis, a nineteenth-century mountain retreat where the Brazilian
emperor, Dom Pedro II, used to spend the summer season.
Espírito Santo mountains
Espírito Santo is also known for its beaches (Vitória, Vila Velha,
Guarapari, Marataízes, Itaúnas). This state also has
small cities founded by Italian and German immigrants, in the mountains. The
best way to view the region is to make the round of the towns that began as
German and Italian colonies: Santa Teresa, Santa Leopoldina, Santa Maria,
Domingos Martins and Venda Nova – the last near the remarkable sheer granite
face of Pedra Azul, one of the least-known but most spectacular sights in the
Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais State
Minas Gerais has some of the most important
Brazilian cities of the colonial period, such as Tiradentes, São João del-Rei,
Diamantina, and Ouro Preto. Minas Gerais’ “historic cities” represent some of
the finest examples of Portuguese colonial architecture, and are repositories
of a great flowering of eighteenth-century Baroque religious art; it was the
finest work of its time in the Americas, with a special role played by the
mulatto leper sculptor, Aleijadinho, whose magnificent work is scattered
throughout the state’s wonderfully preserved historic cities. In the southwest
of the state, in fine mountainous scenery near the border with São Paulo, are a
number of spa towns built around mineral-water springs including the small and
quiet resorts of São Lourenço and Caxambu.
The Brazilian South Region includes the following
states: Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.
Praia de Bombinhas, Santa Catarina State
The coast has a subtropical climate that in the
summer months (November to March) draws people who want to avoid the oppressive
heat of the northern resorts, and a vegetation and atmosphere that feel more
Mediterranean than Brazilian. Much of the Paraná’s coast is still unspoilt by
the ravages of mass tourism, and building development is essentially forbidden
on the beautiful islands of Paranaguá Bay. By way of contrast, tourists have
encroached along Santa Catarina’s coast, but only a few places, such as
Balneário Camburiú, have been allowed to develop into a concrete jungle.
Otherwise, resorts such as most of those on the Ilha de Santa Catarina around
Florianópolis remain fairly small and do not seriously detract from the
region’s natural beauty.
Frozen waterfall, Santa Catarina State
The interior is less frequently visited. Much of it
is mountainous, the home of people whose way of life seems to have altered little
since the arrival of the European pioneers in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. Cities in the interior that were founded by Germans (such
as Blumenau in Santa Catarina), Italians (Bento Gonçalves in Rio Grande do Sul)
and Ukrainians (Prudentópolis in Paraná) have lost much of their former ethnic
character, but only short distances from them are villages and hamlets where
time appears to have stood still. Santa Catarina boasts the coldest city in
Brazil: São Joaquim (with an altitude of 1360 meters), where there is snowfall
Iguaçu Waterfalls, Paraná State
The highland areas between Lages and Vacaria, and
the grasslands of southern and western Rio Grande do Sul, are largely given
over to vast cattle ranches, where the modern gaúchos keep many of the skills
of their forebears alive. The region also boasts some spectacular natural
features, the best known being the Iguaçu Waterfalls on the Brazilian–Argentine
frontier and the incredible canyons of the Aparados da Serra. The spectacular
Iguaçu Falls, in Paraná state, is one of the great natural wonders of South
São Miguel das Missões, Rio Grande do Sul State
Travelling around the South is generally easy, and
there’s a fine road network. Most north–south buses stick to the road running
near the coast, but it’s easy to devise routes passing through the interior,
perhaps taking in the Jesuit ruins of São Miguel das Missões.
The Brazilian Central-West Region includes the
following states: Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, and the Federal
District (with Brasília, the capital of Brazil).
The Brazilian Congress, in Brasília, Federal District
Central Brazil is dominated by an enormous plateau
of savanna and rock escarpments, the Planalto Central. In the middle stands
Brasília, the country’s space-age capital, built from scratch in the late 1950s
and still developing today. It has a peculiar architecture, authored by Oscar
Pantanal, Mato Grosso State
The capital is the gateway to a vast interior, Mato
Grosso, only fully charted and settled over the last fifty years; it includes
the Pantanal, the largest wetlands in the world and the richest wildlife
reserve anywhere in the Americas. Mato Grosso also holds the Chapada dos
Guimarães National Park, a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a
plateau, containing beautiful waterfalls.
Chapada dos Veadeiros, Goiás State
Goiás is famous for its natural attractions, such
as the National Park of "Chapada dos Veadeiros". This UNESCO-listed,
breathtakingly scenic national park is located in the centre of Brazil in the
state of Goiás. The dramatic plateaux on which it sits is one of the oldest
rock formations in the world; about 1.8 billion years. It has an extraordinarily
rich biodiversity: over half of the world’s species of flora and fauna lives
here. It has many waterfalls, and famous crystals. Thermal waters are found
especially in Caldas Novas.
Bonito cave, Mato Grosso do Sul State
Mato Grosso do Sul state is also famous for its
natural beauty, and is a major destination for domestic and international
tourism. The Pantanal lowlands cover 12 municipalities and present an enormous
variety of flora and fauna, with forests, natural sand banks, savannahs, open
pasture, fields and bushes. The city Bonito, in the mountain of Bodoquena, has
prehistoric caves, rivers, waterfalls, natural swimming pools and the Blue Lake
cave. The great concentration of lime in the soil around the area where Bonito
is located is responsible for the transparency of the waters and for the
existence of a wide variety of geological formations.
Caiman (jacaré) at Pantanal, Mato Grosso State
The Pantanal is an ecological paradise right in the
heart of Brazil. It is the largest flooded lowland on the planet and the third
largest environmental reserve in the world. Its ecological importance is
immense, since it is home to one of the richest ecosystems ever found to date,
with periodically flooded seasonal forests. It displays the largest
concentration of neo-tropical fauna, including several endangered species –
mammals, reptiles and fish – and it also serves as habitat for an enormous
variety of native birds, as well as those migrating from other areas in the
Americas. The Pantanal is one of the best places in Brazil for flora and fauna
observation and for fishing – permitted only between March and October – due to
its abundance of animals.
The Brazilian Northeast Region includes the
following states: Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do
Norte, Ceará, Piauí and Maranhão. Travel from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro to the Northeast Region may be expensive.
Olinda, Pernambuco State
Northeast is the part of the country that curves out into the Atlantic Ocean. It
is chiefly known as Nordeste ("Northeast") by Brazilians. The region
was the first part of Brazil to be discovered and colonized by the Portuguese
and other European peoples, playing a crucial role in the the country's
history. Colonial remains are thicker on the ground here than anywhere else in
the country – notably in the cities of Salvador and São Luís and the lovely
town of Olinda.
Historic center, São Luís, Maranhão State
Nordeste's dialects and rich culture, including its
folklore, cuisines, music and literature, became the most easily
distinguishable across the country. To this day, Nordeste is widely recognized
for its history and culture, as well as for its nature beauties and hot weather.
Afro-Brazilian religious cult, Bahia State
It is a region of dramatic contrasts: a lush
tropical coastline with the best beaches in Brazil quickly gives way to the
sertão, a semi-arid interior plagued by drought and grinding poverty. All the
major cities of the Northeast are on the coast; the two largest are sprawling
Recife and Salvador, Brazil’s most heavily Afro-Brazilian city and a
fascinating place to visit.
Porto Seguro, Bahia State
Besides the capitals, most coastal cities of the
Northeast Region have many natural beauties, such as the Abrolhos Marine
National Park, Itacaré, Comandatuba Island, Costa do Sauípe, Canasvieiras and
Porto Seguro, in the State of Bahia; the Marine National Park of Fernando de
Noronha, Porto de Galinhas beach in the State of Pernambuco; tropical
paradises, such as Canoa Quebrada and Jericoacoara, on the coast of Ceará, as
well as the places to practice free flight, as Quixadá and Sobral; and Lençóis
Maranhenses, embellishing the coast of Maranhão State, among many others. In
the interior area, National Parks of Serra da Capivara and Sete Cidades, both
in the State of Piauí; Chapada Diamantina, in the State of Bahia; and many
Fernando de Noronha islands, Rio Grande do Norte State
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands
and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, 354 km (220 mi) offshore from the Brazilian
coast, close to Rio Grande do Norte and Pernambuco. The islands of this
archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains. It
consists of 21 islands, islets and rocks of volcanic origin. In 2001 UNESCO
designated it as a World Heritage Site because of the importance of its
environment. The life above and below sea is the main attraction of the island.
Sea turtles, dolphins, albatrosses and many other species are frequently
observed. The beaches of Fernando de Noronha are promoted for tourism and
recreational diving. The visibility underwater can reach up to 50 meters.
Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão State
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located in
Maranhão state. It is an area of low,
flat, occasionally flooded land, overlaid with large, discrete sand dunes. It
encompasses roughly 1,500 km² (580 sq mi), and despite abundant rain, supports
almost no vegetation. Composed of large, white, sweeping dunes, at first glance
Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert, but in fact it is not an
actual desert. Lying just outside the Amazon Basin, the region is subject to a
regular rain season during the beginning of the year. The rains cause a
peculiar phenomenon: fresh water collects in the valleys between sand dunes and
is prevented from percolating down by a layer of impermeable rock which lies
underneath the sand. The resulting blue, green and black "lagoons"
are surrounded by the desert-like sand, and reach their fullest between July
and September. The lagoons have large numbers of fish that arrive when the
lagoons are at their fullest after July, when they are interconnected to rivers
such as the Rio Negro.
Cachoeira da Fumaça, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia State
The Chapada Diamantina National Park is a 1,520 km²
natural reserve in the State of Bahia. Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a
region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau. Diamantina refers to
the diamonds found there in the mid-19th century. The breathtaking landscape,
its huge canyons with rivers of brownish waters, the high altitude grasslands,
innumerous waterfalls and a great extent of trails, once used by miners in
their search for diamonds, makes it one of the best destinations in the country
for the practice of outdoor activities. Many cave systems (up to 85 km long)
were formed by the rivers that run through the region. Several of these rivers
run red due to tannin in the water. One of the attractions of the Park is
Cachoeira da Fumaça, one of the world's highest waterfalls (340 m). The flora
and fauna are highly varied. Although there are few large mammals, there is a
wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and small mammals. The
flora mainly consists of small scrubland bushes, orchids and cactus.
The Brazilian North Region includes the following
states: Tocantins, Pará, Amapá, Amazonas, Roraima, Acre and Rondônia. Notice that travel from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro to the North Region is expensive.
Amazonian rainforest region, with the Amazon river at its centre
Amazon is the world’s largest river basin and a
mosaic of jungle, rivers, savanna and marshland that also contains two major
cities – Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon itself, and Manaus, some 1600 km
upstream. The tributaries of the Amazon, rivers like the Tapajós, the Xingú,
the Negro, the Araguaia or the Tocantins, are virtually unknown outside Brazil,
but each is a huge river system in its own right.
The North Region of Brazil is the largest Region of
Brazil, corresponding to 45.27% of the national territory. It is the least
inhabited of the country. Its demographic density is the lowest in Brazil, with
only 3.8 inhabitants per km². Most of the population is centered in urban
areas. The two largest states in the North Region are Amazonas and Pará; their
capital cities (Manaus and Belém) have international airports.
Some Amazon rainforest animals
The Amazon (also known in English as Amazonia or
the Amazon Jungle) represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests
and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in
the world. A perpetually warm, wet climate promotes more explosive plant growth
than in any other environment on Earth. Wet tropical forests are the most
species-rich biome, and tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more
species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia.
As the largest tract of
tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have
unparalleled biodiversity. More than 1/3 of all species in the world live in
the Amazon Rainforest. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species,
40,000 plants species, 3,000 fishes, 1,300 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians
and 378 reptile species. One in five of all the birds in the world live in the
rainforests of the Amazon. A square kilometer may be home to more than 1,000 tree
species and 90,000 tones of living plants.
A tree here may grow over 75 feet in height in just
5 years. From above, the forest appears as an unending sea of green, broken
only by occasional, taller "emergent" trees. These towering emergent
trees are the realm of hornbills, macaws, toucans, and the harpy eagle. The canopy is
home to many of the forest's animals, including apes and monkeys. Below the
canopy, a lower understory hosts to snakes and big cats. The forest floor,
relatively clear of undergrowth due to the thick canopy above, is prowled by