Get Moving at Samba School
Music might be the one thing on par with Brazil’s passion for soccer. The country is infamous for celebrating sounds that move them, and locals don’t miss an opportunity to sing, dance and play instruments – often in the streets. Rio de Janeiro is home to several samba schools, which house groups who rehearse to perform in Carnival. Click here to learn more about the different schools, their histories and when they rehearse.
Hit the Beach(es) in Florianópolis
There are 42 beaches in the city of Florianópolis, making it the perfect destination for sand and surf. Each one has unique features that will appeal to you based on what you’re looking for – whether it’s seclusion and tranquility or simply a place to party in your bathing suit. The most popular spot is Praia Mole, which is surrounded by lush hills and rocky mountains, while Lagoinha do Leste is more secluded, bordered by a rocky coastline, sandbanks and dunes.
Catch a Sail at Regata da Jangadas
Brazil’s proximity to the sea is a huge part of its appeal, world-renowned for its white sands and warm waters. But there’s also plenty of adventures to be had on the ocean – amongst them the Regata da Jangadas sailing festival. Crowds gather along the Cove of Fortaleza for the annual event, which brings hundreds of sailboats to the shore. If you’re looking for an optimal view of the event, be sure to go for a ride on a jangada, a traditional Brazilian fishing boat.
Watch the Sunset in Arpoador
Arpoador is located in the Southern part of Rio de Janeiro, in a small peninsula between Ipanema and Copacabana. Known as a walker’s paradise and also a popular spot to go surfing, the view of summer sunsets is a huge draw. Crowds gather to cheer when the sun hits the horizon. The spectacle is a romantic must if you’re visiting on June 12th, which is Dia dos Namorados – Brazil’s version of Valentine’s Day.
Ride Up Sugarloaf Mountain
This is amongst Rio de Janeiro’s most famous sites, rising 396 metres straight from the water’s edge. The site is accessible by cable car, which was originally built in 1912 and then rebuilt in 2008 to give passengers a panorama view of the city. With 60 climbing trails, it’s a popular spot for mountain climbers. The monolithic mountain consists of granite stone and has little vegetation on its slopes.
Visit a Sacred Site
From there outside, Brasilia’s Santuário Dom Bosco isn’t much to look at but step inside and you’re bound to feel something holy. This design wonder is made of 80 concrete columns that support 7500 pieces of illuminated Murano glass. Twelve shades of blue shine over the pews, casting everything in a mystical glow. The namesake of the church was an Italian saint who is said to have dreamed of a Utopian city.
Feel the Mist at Iguazu Falls
Brazil’s version of Niagara Falls spans 2.6 kilometres wide, which makes it the widest falls in the world. While it shares the falls with Argentina, the Brazilian side gives you a better view of the enormity of this natural wonder. Its highest point rivals New York’s Flatiron Building, at 269 feet. The surrounding national park is also a sanctuary for exotic wildlife, like ocelots, jaguars and coatis.
Spend a Day With Cristo Redentor
Also known as Christ the Redeemer, this is probably the most iconic landmark in all of Brazil. The 28-meter statue is perched atop the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, which overlooks Rio. Just be sure to visit on a clear day. Because of the city’s tropical climate, it’s prone to lightning storms – and the statue gets hit on average two to four times yearly. Three million visitors are expected to make the trip to Cristo Redentor this year.
Strap in for a Hike
Brazil is a hiker’s dream with a range of distances to climb. If you’re up for a half-day hike, Corcovado, Pedro Bonita and Dois Irmãos in Rio are all manageable and accessible. For something more rigorous, try Theresopolis, which is located three hours from the city. Its trails through the mountain take two days to climb but the view from the top makes it worth your while.
Hear a Tale at the Folklore Festival
This cultural gathering takes place every two years in the city of Passo Fundo, nicknamed “A Terra de Gente Boa”, which is Portuguese for “The Land of Good Folks”. Running from August 15 to 23, its mission is to celebrate cultures from around the world through storytelling and, ultimately, to promote peace. While this festival is a great place to soak in a multitude of cultures, it’s also a space for learning and teaching, with students of all ages from around the world gathering to tell their tales.