Top Ten Brazilian Attractions

    Top Ten Brazilian Attractions

       Brazil is the largest country in South America and the world’s 5th largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people. It is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas and the largest lusophone country in the world. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, the French overseas region of French Guiana, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile. Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to the rank of kingdom and the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was formed. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese colonial empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the formation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The country became a presidential republic in 1889, when a military coup d’état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to the ratification of the first constitution in 1824. Its current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities. The Brazilian economy is the world’s 7th largest by nominal GDP and the 8th largest by purchasing power parity. Brazil is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition. Brazil is also one of the 17 Megadiverse countries, home to diverse wildlife and natural environments, with extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.

  1. Rio de Janeiro

           Rio de Janeiro is the 2nd largest city of Brazil, and the 3rd largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas and 26th in the world. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation. Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or “Marvelous City.” Rio de Janeiro represents the 2nd largest GDP in the country (and 30th largest in the world in 2008), estimated at about R$ 343 billion (IBGE/2008) (nearly US$ 201 billion), and is the headquarters of two major Brazilian companies, Petrobras and Vale, and major oil companies and telephony in Brazil, besides the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the 2nd largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production according to 2005 data. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American city hosts the event. Rio’s Maracanã Stadium will also host the final match for 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro will also host World Youth Day in 2013.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Carnival Celebrations, Beaches, Top Ten South American Beaches, Top Ten Theaters, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums,,
  2. São Paulo

           São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world’s 7th largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the 2nd most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among the five-largest metropolitan areas on the planet. São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, which is the most populous Brazilian state, and exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo maintains strong international influence and is considered an Alpha World City. The name of the city honors Saint Paul. The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, São Paulo Museum of Art and the Ibirapuera Park. The Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, like the São Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Fashion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the São Paulo Indy 300. It is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges (the 2nd largest stock exchange in the World, in market value). São Paulo has been home to several of the tallest buildings in Brazil, including the building Mirante do Vale, Italia, Altino Arantes, North Tower of the UNSCOM (United Nations Center Enterprise) and many others. The city’s Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non dvcor, dvco, which translates as “I am not led, I lead.” The city, which is also colloquially known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion and multitude of skyscrapers.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Top Ten Art Museums, Top Ten South American Museums, Top Ten Brazilian Museums, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Bridges,,
  3. Brasília

           Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,562,963 (3,716,996 in the metropolitan area) as of 2008, making it the 4th largest city in Brazil. Brasília hosts 124 foreign embassies. As the national capital, Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government. The city also hosts the headquarters of many Brazilian companies. Planning policies such as the location of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, as well as building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, have sparked a debate and reflection on life in big cities in the 20th century. The city’s design divides it into numbered blocks as well as sectors for specified activities, such as the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector or the Embassy Sector. The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. On April 22, 1960, it formally became Brazil’s national capital. Viewed from above, the main portion of the city resembles an airplane or a butterfly. Residents of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos (the latter referring to those not born in the city, but migrated there when the city was established). In local usage, the word “Brasília” usually refers only to the First Administrative Region within the Distrito Federal (Federal District), where the most important government buildings are located. Brasília has a unique status in Brazil, as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality like nearly all cities in Brazil.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Top Ten Cathedrals, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Stadiums, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums,,
  4. Amazon Rainforest

           The Amazon Rainforest is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7 million square km (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square km (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombian Amazon with 10%, and with minor amounts in, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France (French Guiana). States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Forests, Top Ten Rainforests, Top 100 Birds, Top Ten Rivers, Top Ten Waterfalls, Top Ten Frogs/Toads,,
  5. Salvador

           Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil’s capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brazil, the city is one of the oldest in the Americas. For a long time, it was simply known as Bahia, and appears under that name (or as Salvador da Bahia, Salvador of Bahia so as to differentiate it from other Brazilian cities of the same name) on many maps and books from before the mid-20th century. Salvador is the 3rd most populous Brazilian city, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, and its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil’s Northeast. The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. This reflects a situation in which African-associated cultural practices are celebrated. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Salvador is located on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates Todos os Santos Bay from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay, which gets its name from having been discovered on All Saints’ Day forms a natural harbor. Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia. A particularly notable feature is the escarpment that divides Salvador into the Cidade Alta (“Upper Town”) and the Cidade Baixa (“Lower Town,” northwest region of the city), the former some 85 m (279 ft.) above the latter, with the city’s cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. An elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades.
    Links: Churches, Top Ten South American Churches, Top 100 Beaches, Top Ten South American Beaches, Top Ten Forts,,_Bahia,
  6. The Atlantic Forest

           The Atlantic Forest is a region of tropical and subtropical moist forest, tropical dry forest, tropical savanna, semi deciduous forest and mangrove forests which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to Rio Grande do Sul state in the south, and inland as far as Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina. The Atlantic Forest is characterized by a high species diversity and endemism. It was the first environment that the Portuguese conquerors encountered over 500 years ago when it was thought to have an area of 1 to 1.5 million square km and stretching an unknown distance inland. Currently, the Atlantic Forest spans over 4000 square km along the coast of Brazil and in a small part of Paraguay and Argentina. The Atlantic Forest region includes forests of several variations: Restinga is a forest type that grows on stabilized coastal dunes. Restinga Forests are generally closed canopy short forests with tree density. Open Restinga is an open, savanna-like formation with scattered clumps of small trees and shrubs and an extensive layer of herbs, grasses, andsedges. Tropical moist forests are forests that receive more than 2,000 mm of rain a year. This includes Lowland Tropical Moist Forests, Submontane Tropical Moist Forest, and Montane Tropical Moist Forest. Tabuleiro forests are found over very moist clay soils and Tabuleiro Savannas occur over faster-draining sand soils. These are humid areas that rely on water vapor from the ocean. Further inland are the Atlantic dry or seasonal forests, which form a transition between the arid Caatinga to the northeast and the Cerradosza savannas to the east. These forests are lower in stature; more open, with high abundance of deciduous trees and lower diversity when compared to tropical moist forests. These forests have between 700-1,600 mm of precipitation annually with a distinct dry season. This includes Deciduous and Semideciduous Seasonal Forest each with their own lowland and montane regions. Montane moist forests are higher altitude wet forests across mountains and plateaus of southern Brazil. Shrubby montane savannas occur at the highest elevations, also called Campo rupestre. The Atlantic Forest is unusual in that it extends as a true tropical rainforest to latitudes as high as 24°S. This is because the trade winds produce precipitation throughout the southern winter. In fact, the northern Zona da Mata of northeastern Brazil receives much more rainfall between May and August than during the southern summer. The Atlantic Forest is now designated a World Biosphere Reserve, which contains a large number of highly endangered species. The enormous biodiversity of the Atlantic Forest results in part from the wide range of latitude it covers, its variations in altitude, its diverse climatic regimes as well as the geological and climatic history of the whole region. The Atlantic Forest is isolated from is neighboring large South American forests: The Amazon Region and the Andean Forest. The open vegetation of the Caatinga and the Cerado separate it from the Amazon, and the dry vegetation of the central depressions of the Chaco separate it from the Andean Forest. This isolation has resulted in an evolution of numerous endemic species, such as lion tamarins, woolly spider monkey, and marmosets. During glacial periods in the Pleistocene, the Atlantic Forest is known to have shrunk to extremely small fragmented refugias in highly sheltered gullies, being separated by areas of dry forest or semi-deserts known as caatingas. Some maps even suggest the forest actually survived in moist pockets well away from the coastline, where its endemic rainforest species mixed with much cooler-climate species. Unlike refugia for equatorial rainforests, the refuges for the Atlantic Forest have never been the product of detailed identification.
    Links: Top Ten Forests, Top 100 Flowers, Animals, Top Ten Frogs/Toads,
  7. Iguaçu National Park

           Iguaçu National Park is a national park in Paraná State, Brazil,. The park comprises 185,262.5 hectares and a length of about 420 km, 300km of which are natural borders by bodies of water and the Brazilian and Argentinean sides together comprise around 225,000 hectares. The Iguaçú National Park owes its name to the fact it includes an important area of the Iguaçú river, approximately 50 km of the length of the river and the world famous Iguaçú Falls. It is the most important park of the Prata Basin and, since it is a haven to a significant genetic asset of animal and vegetal species, it was the first park in Brazil to receive a Management Plan. The Iguaçú National Park is spectacular as well as pioneering. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to “future generations,” just as “it had been created by God” and endowed with “all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome” and “an unmatched flora” located in the “magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls.” These were the words used by Andre Rebouças, an engineer, in his book “Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia,” which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçú Falls way back in 1876, when Yellowstone, the first national park on the planet, was four years old. In Brazil the Park has boundaries with the following municipalities: Foz do Iguaçu, Medianeira, Matelândia, Céu Azul, São Miguel do Iguaçu, Santa Terezinha de Itaipu, Santa Tereza do Oeste, Capitão Leônidas Marque, Capanema and Serranópolis. As foreseen by Rebouças, the park’s basic goal is the preservation of the highly relevant ecologically and scenic natural ecosystems, thus enabling scientific research and the development of environmental education and interpretation activities, recreation in natural surroundings and the ecological tourism. The Park is located in the westernmost region of the state of Paraná, in the Iguaçú river basin, 17 km from downtown Foz do Iguaçú. It borders Argentina, where the Iguazu National Park, which was implemented in 1934, is located. The border between the two countries and their national parks is made by the Iguaçú river, whose source is near the Serra (mountain range) do Mar near Curitiba and runs for 18 km throughout the state of Paraná. The river estuary is located 18 km downriver from the Falls, where it flows into the Paraná river. This meeting of rivers forms the triple Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay border. The area of the park open for visitation and where the concession areas of Cataratas do Iguaçú S/A are located, accounts for approximately 0.3% of the total area of the park. The most spectacular sightseeing of the park is the Iguaçú Falls, which form a 2,700 m wide semicircle, while the waterfalls filled visitors with awe as they watch the water foam that plunges down from a height of 72 m. The number of waterfalls ranges from 150 and 300 depending on the Iguaçú river flow. Besides the exuberant waterfalls, there are other attractions such as rich fauna, the Poço Preto (the Black Well), the Macuco Waterfall, the Visitors Center, the Santos Dumont Statue, a homage paid by VASP (an airline company) to the “Father of Aviation,” who lent all his prestige and efforts in turning the falls area into a National Park.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, Top Ten Waterfalls, Top 100 Birds, Top Ten Spiders, Top Ten Butterflies, Top Ten Transparent Animals,,
  8. Fortaleza

           Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.3 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. It has an area of 313 square km (121 square mi) and one of the highest demographic densities in the country (8,001 per km²). To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the municipalities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the municipality of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the municipality of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses. The current mayor is Luizianne Lins a former academic at the local Federal University of Ceará and well known feminist. The city will be one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation. The statue of Iracema refers to the legend of the indigenous woman depicted in a 19th century novel by José de Alencar, a famous Brazilian author born in Messejana (nowadays a district of Fortaleza). Mucuripe Beach holds the Lighthouse Museum. Opened in 1846, the old lighthouse was active for 111 years, until it was closed in 1957, and replaced by a newer one. Dragão do Mar Center of Art and Culture holds the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Contemporary Art Museum and Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, as well as movies and theaters. Besides this, many old warehouses were refurbished and became bars and restaurants surrounding the central area of town.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures,,
  9. Fernando de Noronha

           Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, 354 km (220 mi) offshore from the Brazilian coast. The main island has an area of 18.4 square km (7.1 square mi) and has a population of 3,012 (2010). The area is a special municipality (distrito estadual) of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco (despite being closer to the state of Rio Grande do Norte). The local population and travelers can get to Noronha by plane or cruise from Recife (545 km) or by plane from Natal (360 km). A small environmental preservation fee is charged from tourists upon arrival by Ibama (Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).
    Links: Top Ten Islands, Top Ten South American Islands, Top 100 Maps,,
  10. Cerrado

           The Cerrado, (Portuguese/Spanish for “closed”) is a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil, particularly in the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais. The 2nd largest of Brazil’s major habitat types, after The Amazonia, the cerrado accounts for 21% of the country’s land area (extending marginally into Paraguay and Bolivia). The first detailed account of the Brazilian cerrados was provided by Danish botanist Eugene Warming (1892) in the book Lagoa Santa, in which he describes the main features of the cerrado vegetation in the state of Minas Gerais. Since then vast amounts of research have proved that the Cerrado is one of the richest of all tropical savanna regions and has high levels of endemism. Characterized by enormous ranges of plant and animal biodiversity, World Wide Fund for Nature named it the biologically richest savanna in the world, with about 10,000 plant species and 10 endemic bird species. There are nearly 200 species of mammal in the Cerrado, though only 14 are endemic.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks,,
  11. Serra do Mar

           Serra do Mar is a 1,500 km long system of mountain ranges and escarpments in Southeastern Brazil, which runs in parallel to the Atlantic Ocean coast from the state of Espírito Santo to southern Santa Catarina, although some include Serra Geral in the Serra do Mar, in which case this range extends to northeastern Rio Grande do Sul. The main escarpment forms the boundary between the sea-level littoral and the inland plateau (planalto), which has a mean altitude of 500 to 1,300 m (1,600 to 4,300 ft.). The mountain ranges are discontinuous in several places and receive individual names such as Serra de Bocaina, Serra de Paranapiacaba, Serra Negra, Serra do Indaiá, etc. It also extends to some large islands near the coastline, such as Ilhabela and Ilha Anchieta. With an altitude of 2,255 m (7,398 ft.), Pico da Caledônia in Nova Friburgo and Cachoeiras de Macacu in Rio de Janeiro is among the higherst points in Serra do Mar. Geologically, the range belongs to the massive crystalline rock platform that forms Eastern South America and tectonically is very stable. Most of the elevations of Serra do Mar were formed about 60 million years ago. At the time of the European discovery of Brazil, Serra do Mar supported a rich and highly diversified ecosystem, composed mainly by a lush tropical rain forest, called Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica). Due to urbanization and deforestation, however, most of the forest cover was destroyed and it remains almost exclusively in the steep escarpments facing the sea. A chain of national and state parks, ecological stations and biological reserves now protect the Mata Atlântica and its biological heritage, but acid rain, pollution, poachers, clandestine loggers, forest fires and encroachment by urban areas and farms are still promoting active destruction, particularly around cities. Several large metropolises are near the Serra do Mar, including São Paulo and Curitiba. Reforestation and recuperation of biological diversity are notoriously difficult to bring about in destroyed rain forest habitats.
    Links: Top Ten Mountain Ranges, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten South American Mountains,,
  12. Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis

            The Guaraní are a group of culturally related indigenous peoples of South America. They are distinguished from the related Tupi by their use of the Guaraní language. The traditional range of the Guaraní people is in what is now Paraguay between the Uruguay River and lower Paraguay River, the Corrientes and Entre Ríos Provinces of Argentina, southern Brazil, and parts of Uruguay and Bolivia. Although their demographic dominance of the region has been reduced by European colonization and the commensurate rise of mestizos, there are contemporary Guaraní populations in these areas. Most notably, the Guaraní language, still widely spoken across traditional Guaraní homelands, is one of the two official languages in Paraguay, the other one being Spanish. The language was once looked down upon by the upper and middle classes, but it is now often regarded with pride and serves as a symbol of national distinctiveness. The Paraguayan population learns Guaraní both informally from social interaction and formally in public schools. In modern Spanish Guaraní is also applied to refer to any Paraguayan national in the same way that Mexicans are labeled Aztecs and French are called Gauls. The Jesuit missions in this area include; San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa María Mayor (Argentina), as well as the ruins of São Miguel das Missões.
    Links: Churches, Top Ten South American Churches,,
  13. Serra da Capivara National Park

           Serra da Capivara National Park is a national park in the north east of Brazil. It has many prehistoric paintings. The park was created to protect the prehistoric artifacts and paintings found there. Its head archaeologist is Niède Guidon. Its best known archaeological site is Pedra Furada. It falls within the municipal areas of São Raimundo Nonato, São João do Piauí, Coronel José Dias and Canto do Buriti. It has an area of 1,291 square km (319,000 acres). The area has the largest concentration of prehistoric small farms in the Americas (North, Central and South). Scientific studies confirm that the Capivara mountain range was densely populated in prehistoric periods.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, Top Ten Cave Paintings, Top Ten South American Cave Paintings,
  14. Caverna da Pedra Pintada

    Caverna da Pedra Pintada (Painted Rock Cave) is an archaeological site in Brazil, with evidence of human presence dating back ca. 11,200 years ago.
    Links: Cave Paintings, Top Ten South American Cave Paintings,,
  15. Links: Top Ten South American Attractions, Top Ten Brazilian Hotels, Top Ten Brazilian Restaurants,,

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