Colourful, bright, eclectic … just a few adjectives that sprung to mind when I thought of Brazil. Yet, despite the carnival fever of Rio, Brazil has so much more to offer.
This huge South American powerhouse boasts sparkling beaches, nature like no other, the Amazon, cities and enough diversity to leave you mind-blown.
Of course the downside of this is long-haul flying, but fear not! I have a plan. I can’t do much about the length of time you’re going to have to sit on a plane, but I can suggest a few ways to make it easier. This is where airport extras come in. Whenever I’m flying long-haul, I find an airport hotel prior to travelling is a godsend, with the chance to grab a few extra hours’sleep before boarding. Another fantastic service is airport parking, with great rates available. Check out Leeds Bradford Airport Parking and see what deals you can find. Also Belfast International Airport Parking gives you the added peace of mind that your car is looked after, and eliminates the need for expensive airport taxis. Win, win all round!
You’ll probably fly into Rio, or possibly Salvador, and both are huge cities with enough to keep you occupied in themselves. Rio is of course the carnival capital. Home to one of the Wonders, Christ the Redeemer, this is a city I would seriously recommend you spend a few days. Corcovado Mountain is home to the Wonder, and the views are something to remember for a lifetime. Definitely head there early.
Copacabana is the world famous beach –another must visit, as well the hippy market nearby.
As an alternative, Salvador is a little more traditional and historical, and certainly worth a visit with it’s beautiful architecture and cobbled streets. Salvador has a troubled history as the slave capital, so there are many nods to this around the city.
Getting around the country involves large distances, so although there is a good coach system, I’d recommend you consider flying internally. It may cost slightly more, but you’ll get more time in various destinations. I think it would be a crime to miss out on some of the sights that Brazil is home to.
I love nature, and there is none more awe-inspiring than the huge and imposing Amazon Rainforest. Brazil is home to the largest portion of this mighty expanse, with its colourful wildlife residents. A trip into this endangered and beautiful land is highly recommended, and a chance I certainly wouldn’t miss. There are many guided tours that are great value and give back to the local community, with local guides showing you the way.
Another must-see is Iguazu Falls, on the Argentine border. If you can manage it, jump on a helicopter ride over this thundering mass of water and be gob-smacked at the view.
Of course, all this nature and diversity will leave you hungry, and where nightlife and food is concerned, Brazil caters for everyone! International menus are available, along with traditional Brazilian and South American food.
When your dinner has digested, head to the bright lights of the city for the best of the action, with Rio and Salvador leading the way. You’ll find something to occupy you, no matter what mood you’re in.
The samba beat is calling!