Brazil (officially known as the Federative Republic of Brazil) is an eastern country in South America named after the brazilwood tree. The capital of Brazil is Brasilia, but Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, and Salvador are all major cities of interest for tourists. It is the rich integration of history and culture that defines the importance of this South American country.
Indigenous groups inhabited the area since the nomadic period. They thrived in farming, agricultural, and fishing industries because of the abundant resources in the area. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to occupy the land which speaks to their strong cultural influence in the region today. On April 22, 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral claimed sovereignty for Portugal which led to in-fighting with Spain who had declared it in 1492. Gold was discovered in 1693, and with the addition of coffee and tea exports, it changed the economic outlook considerably. In 1759, the Portuguese expelled the Jesuits in line with European Catholics which later led to social and political changes.
In 1776, Buenos Aires was chosen as the new capital after changes to the political system took shape. However, the political and social ideology differences led to political rebellions from people like Tiradentes, in 1788, that would last until his death in 1792. Brazil claimed its independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822, and it was later officially recognized in 1825. Today, agriculture, fishing, and tourism gain recognition for Brazil as having one of the largest industries in the world, but it is the culture and the natural land resources that beckons tourists worldwide.
With a land mass of 3.288 million square miles, Brazil is the most abundant country in South America. The coastline along the eastern seaboard stretches 4655 miles that bear some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Six distinct ecosystems exist in this area.
- Amazon Basin (a rainforest)
- The Pantanal (a tropical rainforest)
- The Cerrado (a tropical savanna)
- The Caatinga (a tropical savanna)
- The Pampas (fertile lands)
- The Atlantic Forest (coastal forests) that extends the entire coastal area.
As these ecosystems are essential to the local socio-ecological conditions, it faces threats economically from the logging and mining industries as they move to claim the natural resources in Brazil.
Because more than 60% of the Amazon Rain forest is in Brazil, the climate is mild and tropical. The jungle and rain forests provide enjoyable year-round attractions which makes this area prime for tourism.
Brazil is the most-visited country in South America. The official language is Portuguese, and the official currency is the Brazilian real. As the 5th-largest country in the world, the Amazon River, the second largest river, runs directly through it. With such a vibrant climate, it makes a perfect home for a large variety of birds, fish, and land animals like pumas and jaguars.
Locals prefer foods like Pastel de queijo, Brazilian chicken coxinha, Pão de queijo (cheese bread), and Brazilian Feijoada, pasta dishes, and a variety of vegetables.
Soccer (football) is the preferred sport of the country, and the people place great importance on this game as a past time. Simply put, a long history of cultural and historical significance have provided the people the opportunity to live off the land because of the bountiful natural resources in Brazil.
Popular Tourists Destinations
- Located in Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain is a 396-meter-peak in Guanabara Bay that extends into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Christ the Redeemer is a 98-foot-statue on Mount Corcovado that overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro.
- Rio Carnival, held in Sambódromo Marquês de Sapucaí in Rio de Janeiro, is a yearly festival that beckons tourists from all around the world.
- Porto las Dunas, in Aquiraz, is a 40-acre zoo in Foz do Iguaçu. It is near the Iguaçu Falls with more than 140 different species of birds, butterflies, and reptiles known to inhabit the area.
- Escadaria Selarón, in Rio de Janeiro, was designed by Jorge Selarón as a tribute to the Brazilian people. The world-famous steps are on the Manuel Carneiro Street in the Santa Teresa and Lapa neighborhoods.
- São Francisco Church and Convent, located in Salvador, Bahia, are respected historical sites to the people in Brazil.
National Parks and Waterways
- Parque Nacional Tijuca is a natural park and rainforest that is known for waterfalls, bird-watching, and hiking trails.
- Chapada Diamantina National Park, located in eastern Brazil, is a nature reserve known for waterfalls like Fumaça, dark water pools, and the Lapão Cave.
- Ilha Grande is an island in Rio de Janeiro that has hiking trails hidden within thick a thick forest. The Lopes Mendes Beach is known for its vigorous surf, but the Lagoa Azul and the village of Abraão compliment the area as both a cultural and historic site.
- Amazon Jungle and river basin cover more than 60% of Brazil.
- Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, in northeastern Brazil, is known for its stunning sand dunes, mangroves, and aquatic lagoons like Lagoa Bonita and Lagoa Azul. Santo Amaro do Maranhão and Barreirinhas are local cities that provide access to the area.
- Porto de Galinhas is a beach in Ipojuca, Pernambuco. The natural pools and glistening azure waters make it a popular tourist attraction.
- Iguaçu National Park is in Southern Brazil’s border with Argentina where the famous Iguaçu Falls are found.
- Bay of All Saints, in Baía de Todos os Santos, is a bay in eastern Brazil. With coral reefs, natural vegetation, and beaches, this is a favorite tourist spot as well as an ideal area for boaters.
- Beto Carrero World is a family-friendly themed amusement park in Penha.
- Beach Park is a 35,000-square-foot resort and waterpark on the Porto las Dunas in Aquiraz.
- Copacabana is a beach in Rio de Janeiro. The 2.5-mile White-sanded beach transcends into the cerulean waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Ipanema beach is on the Pedra do Arpoador peninsula. The area beckons surfers and beachgoers alike because of the high-end shops and trendy nightlife.
- Pipa Beach, located in Tibau do Sul, is one of the most visited beaches in Brazil.
- Canoa Quebrada is an internationally known beach resort on the eastern coast of Ceará, Brazil.
14 UNESCO Cultural Sites in South America
1980: Town of Ouro Preto
1982: Town of Olinda
1983-84: Jesuit Mission of the Guaranis in Argentina and Brazil
1985: Santuary of Bon Jesus de Congonhas
1985: Salvador de Bahia
1991: Serra da Capivara National Park
1997: São Luís
1999: Town of Diamantina
2001: Town of Goiás
2010: São Francisco Square
2012: Carioca landscapes in Rio de Janeiro
2016: Pampulha Modern Ensemble
2017: Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site
7 UNESCO Natural Sites in South America
1986: Iguaçu National Park
1999: Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves
1999: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves
2000: Pantanal Conservation Area
2001: Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Park
2001: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves in Brazil
2000-03: Central Amazon Conservation Complex
In this travel series, we will discover more about each country in South America. To learn about the next tourist destination in this series, Venezuela, or any other Country click here