Carnaval, the river Amazon, football, Copacabana, The Girl from Ipanema... Brazil is an iconic destination fizzing with energy and high spirits. But this vast country is so much more than its glorious, endless beaches and exuberant festivals - more even than the biggest rainforest in the world.
The sheer size of Brazil and the diversity of its landscape, culture and people defy a neat synopsis. Highlights must include the magnificent Iguassu falls; the steamy Amazon jungle with its incredible variety of tropical plants and animals; and the great coastal city of Rio de Janeiro, where the party never ends - reaching fever pitch during carnival week.
The Pantanal wetlands are superb for wildlife watching, home to such fabulous creatures as caimans, tapirs, anteaters, capybaras and hyacinth macaws. If you’re lucky, you might even see a jaguar. On the east coast the Atlantic rainforest protects marmosets, tamarins, and elusive ocelots, and ancient trade routes lead towards cobbled colonial towns and abandoned gold and diamond mines.
Bahia and the north-east is the place to discover Afro-Brazilian culture - from capoeira martial arts and candomblé religious ceremonies to the hip-swinging rhythms of the samba and bossa nova. Cities such as São Luis, Salvador and Belém have some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in South America, a reminder of the huge wealth amassed on the back of slave labour to satisfy the European obsession with sugar, tobacco and rubber.
Here are some of our Brazil highlights
The Iconic city
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's cultural capital and has one of the most beautiful settings in the world and an amazing vibe. With golden beaches, forested mountains and wide lagoons, Rio is an outdoor lover's paradise with an enviable nightlife to boot.
Higher than Niagara and wider than the Victoria Falls, majestic Iguassu is a breathtaking spectacle. The many trails allow for great and varied views, or an exhilarating boat ride allows one to feel the spray and experience the water's immense power.
Endless sand dunes
Stare across the endless dunes of Brazil's Lençois Maranhenses - 155,000 hectares of white sand, mangroves and blue, fresh-water lagoons. Trek, swim, sandboard or take a 4x4, the possibilities are as endless as the dunes themselves!
The Pantanal is one of the world's largest and most diverse freshwater wetland ecosystems. It is a paradise for wildlife lovers with more than 300 bird species. Other widlife includes capybaras, giant river otters, and if you are lucky, anteaters, tapirs and jaguars.
We would like to thank you so much for making our honeymoon the trip of a lifetime. You immediately understood the balance we were looking for between the luxuries we wanted on our honeymoon and our desire to explore South America. Even though I thought I knew what to expect (I kept it a surprise until we checked in at Heathrow) it was better than I could ever have imagined. Everything ran so smoothly, it was so nice to be met everywhere by friendly and informative reps who knew exactly what was happening, not just with their responsibilities but coordinating with each other so that the whole thing was seamless. I can be a bit of a control freak but quickly realized there was nothing to do but relax and let the holiday unfold..
Lake Titicaca was a fantastic introduction to Peru, the people, the landscape and that it’s the birthplace of the Incas. The train journey was great fun too. After the hustle and bustle of Cusco, exploring the Sacred Valley with Pepe from Amazonas was just what we wanted. We can’t give enough credit to him for opening our eyes to the history and the current issues while having a great time with us. He was the star of our trip. The mountain biking was awesome. Then there was the trek with Mountain Lodges. This was really a highlight. The fact that we barely passed any other groups en route meant that we nearly always had the mountains to ourselves. The lodges were beautiful and exceptionally friendly. Our guides were excellent. They did a great job of pacing the trek to the needs of everyone in the group while being able to talk expertly about the environment and history surrounding us. We enjoyed it so much we didn’t want to leave! In summary, I think what made the whole trip work so well is how it built to the crescendo that is Machu Picchu, not just in terms of adventure and awe but history and understanding. Coupled with the fact the only decisions we had to make were what to choose off the menu, the whole experience was truly a trip of a lifetime and exceeded all our expectations. - AT & AP