Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, covering nearly six per cent of the world’s surface and about half of the South American continent.
For each of us on our luxury holiday adventure of our lifetime, Brazil had something exciting and different to offer. Here’s our pick of the best places to visit in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro
Brenda is a city girl. Her ideal vacation involves great restaurants, excellent shopping and historic museums and art galleries. For Brenda, we started off in magical Rio de Janeiro. From the imposing heights of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue to the incredible shops in the Centro district, to the beautiful beaches of Copacabana, Rio was alive with colour and joy. For the best day in Rio, start out with an espresso and some yummy cheese bread in the Zona Sul, and then head to Ipanema to hang out with Rio’s rich and famous, and ultra-gorgeous.
Do your indoor sight-seeing in the afternoon, when it’s hot. Head to the art galleries in the Santa Teresa district. One night, Claudia talked us into an evening at a samba club in Lapa, which was both hilarious and somewhat embarrassing.
I’m a beach bum, so I secured a promise of a few days of sun, surf and sand. For the best beach vacation in Brazil, you have to head to Buzios. Just over 100 miles from Rio, Buzios is the St. Tropez of Brazil, as the locals say, known for being a playground to the country’s rich and famous.
With nearly two dozen beaches to choose from, we went to a different beach every day we were here. My favourite beach was Praia de Azeda, where we spent an incredible afternoon snorkelling in water as clear as glass.
Claudia loves the unusual and the exciting. She wanted to experience something different on a massive scale, so for Ruth, we travelled to the Amazon. It was a four hour flight from Rio to Manaus, where we travelled up the world’s greatest river, and stayed at a luxury lodge right in the jungle.
One morning, we did a sunrise tour on the river before breakfast, and got to hear and see the Amazon wake up to a new day. Spectacular! One tip for rainforest travel, bring a waterproof jacket and good waterproof walking shoes. It will rain at least a little every day.
Karen is the animal lover of our group, so for her, our next stop was inland, to the Panatal wetland. This is the largest wetland in the world, with the largest concentration of animals in the world. The wetlands themselves are about the same size as France, so we were happy to take an organized tour to show us the sights. Our hilarious guide took us around on horseback.
The horses made Karen so happy, and kept Brenda a decent distance from any snakes, so there was something for everyone. This was truly a gorgeous part of the world and I’m so glad I packed my binoculars.
The world famous Iguassu Falls was for all of us. Who doesn’t want to see one of the world’s most famous waterfalls roaring over the rocks? We stayed at the stunning Das Cataratas Hotel, which is the right inside the Iguassu National Park.
The boat trip we took underneath the waterfalls was the trip of a lifetime, even though we did get more than a little wet.
The Emerald Coast
Finally we flew up to Florianopolis, where drove about 25 miles to spend our last days staying at the Ponta dos Ganchos Resort, in gorgeous bungalow with our own private infinity pool.
The breakfasts in the morning were almost as spectacular as our afternoon beachside massages, and the sunsets here on the Emerald Coast will stay with us forever.