It is not wrong to say that Brazil is not a country, it is a continent. Not just because of its size, but especially because of the several 'Brazils' inside itself, a mixing culture that makes this country incredible. Connecting 26 States, plus the Federal District, and totalling more than 5 thousand municipalities, Brazil is the fifth-largest nation in the world. Seriously, for you to understand how big Brazil is, imagine that almost 50% of South American territory is Brazil. Pretty amazing, right? Some say that Brazil is the world’s most captivating country.
But what makes Brazil be Brazil is not just its vast land, in fact, it is its people. More than 210 million Brasilians live there and abroad, like this humble traveler who writes to you. By the way, Brazil is the only country in both American continents where the official language is Portuguese (not Spanish, as some people wrongly believe). This is explained because Brazil was actually conquered by Portugal on April 22, 1500, being a colony until the independence on September 7, 1822.
Brazil is a spectacular destination if you are looking for a good adventure. It is a country with amazing touristic potential because you can find everything in Brazil, from arid deserts to paradisical beaches, or even from amazing modern architecture to old fortifications. In order to drive you through this big confusing mess, I will divide this article into the country's five regions: North, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and South.
The North of Brazil is well known because it hosts the biggest rainforest in the world, the Amazon Forest. But if you think Amazon is just the forest, water, and savage animals, you are wrong. It is way more than that, as for example the city of Manaus, the capital of the biggest state in Brazil in terms of land area, the State of Amazonas. Crusted in the heart of the rainforest, the city holds four million inhabitants and a strong economy, but also amazing and well preserved natural beauties.
Manaus is a city that deals well with nature and history, and this you can notice already in the touristic destinations there. One of the main touristic attractions that can be found there is the Amazonas Theater, built during the Belle Époque, as you can see clearly on its architectural aspects. The theater is an incredible remaining the Era of the Rubber, an expression that relates to the main economic activity in Manaus during its occupation process and the rubber extraction from the 'seringueira tree' - back then, rubber was called' white gold' due to the profit on its production. In the same city, you can also see a natural wonder at the Amazonas River (the biggest river in the world) - the 'meeting of waters'. It is where the rivers Negro and Solimões meet, forming a line dividing dense black and brown waters. Definitely, this experience is one of the biggest amazes you will have in your life.
One thing I know for sure is that you have already heard about the Brazilian Carnival. It is the most expected holiday of the year for almost all Brazilians, but it is a bit more special in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco - and my hometown. This is because Recife is where the biggest carnival parade in the world occurs, according to Guinness Book. The "Galo de Madrugada" (in English, Dawn's Rooster) is located at the Duarte Coelho Bridge, at Recife's city center. Every year, this attraction puts together more than a million people in the center of the city in a party that goes on for more than 12 hours. Yes, it is crazy and Brazilians love it - and I am sure you will too. By the way, talking about bridges, Recife is well-known for the number of rivers cutting the city. That is why the city is dearly known as the “Brazilian Venice”.
But if your business is not a carnival, you can also enjoy the beaches in the northeast, considered the bests in Brazil. For example, the Beach of Porto de Galinhas, located in the south region of Pernambuco, has been elected more than ten times the best beach in Brazil. Porto de Galinhas is the most popular touristic destination in all the state. Ah, by the way, if you wish to be more comfortable, or even nude, try to go to Tambaba nudist beach, at the State of Paraíba. But if your thing is some adventure through an exotic place, you should go more to the north of the region, to the State of Maranhão. There you can discover the amazing lagoons of Lençóis Maranhenses, formed by the accumulation of rainwater in the middle of a big desert. As I said, you can find everything in Brazil.
Now we are getting to the most famous region of Brazil, the Southeast, which holds the two most populous states of the whole country: Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Of course, São Paulo is bigger in the number of people and the area. Just the city of São Paulo, the capital of the state (yes, they have the same name), has 12 million residents, being the number 11th among the most populated cities in the world. For you to understand this in perspective, this means that just the city of São Paulo is bigger than the whole country of Portugal or even Sweden.
As I said before, one of the strongest attributes in Brazil is the fact that the country is the result of several different nationalities. Within this cultural mix, it is the distinctive Japanese immigration, that mostly converged to São Paulo city. They arrived in Brazil at the beginning of the 1900s to work in the coffee fields and ended up concentrating in the “Liberdade” area (Liberdade, by the way, means freedom in Portuguese). Another interesting fact of São Paulo is that the city has several parks that offer different choices for outdoor activities. The best of them, in my opinion, is the Ibirapuera Park, a truly green oasis at the heart of the concrete jungle that São Paulo is.
Also, in this region, you can find the famous State of Rio de Janeiro. And, of course, the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Rio is the statue of Christ the Redeemer. One of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the statue welcomes you to Rio and embraces everyone and everything. By the way, that is why I have chosen this image to be the cover picture of this article, as this is the most emblematic image of Brazil worldwide.
Rio is also very well known for the Cable Car that connects Praia Vermelha (or Red Beach) with the Pão de Açucar hill. Going all the way up the hill on the cable car is fun, exciting, and in the end, provides you with one of the most beautiful views of the wonderful city, as Rio is particularly known.
I could be keeping writing lines and lines about Rio. The views, beaches, culture, architecture, and carnival - are all considered some of the bests in the world. Rio is a splendid place that you truly have to visit once. It was the capital of Brazil, and for that, it is the most important city, the hearth of Brazil.
This region has two singular characteristics. First, it is where the big plantations and animal farms of Brazil are located - and when I say big, I meant it, as they are among the biggest in the world. Also, the region is where the capital of Brazil takes place, the federal district, called Brasilia. Built from the ground, the whole city is very new, and it was inaugurated on April 21, 1960, by President Juscelino Kubitschek. Brasilia formally became the third capital of Brazil, after Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. A fun fact about the city is that when viewed from above, the city is often shaped like an airplane.
The south of Brazil's biggest characteristic is its well-known similarity with Germany. Just for you to understand this more, let me tell you that in the little city of Blumenau (the state of Santa Catarina) every year happens the biggest Oktoberfest party outside Germany. Amazing, right? Blumenau is a fantastic destination if you expect to see German architecture, countless breweries, and of course, a beautiful landscape.
Also, in the South region, if you have time and want to see one of the Brazilian wonders, go far east of the State of Paraná, already near to the border with Paraguay and Argentina, where you can explore an amazing place called Iguaçu Falls. The park covers approximately 185 thousand hectares on the Brazilian side, holding the falls that are formed by the Iguaçu River. And by the way, the place is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In this article, I have covered a bit of each region that makes this immense country. But Brazil goes much further than that, it is a country with many faces, landscapes, different cultures. Brazil is incredible and perhaps the most captivating country in the world. I am sure that if you visit Brazil, you will not want to go back.
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