5 Landmarks You Must See While in Brazil

Brazil is full of natural wonder and impressive architecture. It can be a little overwhelming deciding what to see or do next, simply because there is so much worth experiencing! We have narrowed it down to 5 landmarks, that if you don’t make it to anything else, at least make it to these!

Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, and covers about half of the world’s entire space dedicated to rainforests. Full of wonder, mystery, and some of the most exotic creatures and stunning views you’ll ever see – this is an absolute MUST.

Christ the Redeemer

This is probably Brazil’s most famous and iconic landmark. Standing at 120 feet tall and weighing 635 tons, this statue is now part of the Seven Wonders of the World. The statue was built in 1921, and appears to be embracing the entire city of Rio where it sits with its arms wide open atop Corcovado Mountain.

Iguazu Falls

Straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina is Iguazu Falls. Over 275 falls make up Iguazu, with some of the falls going as high as 269 feet. Some say that at least 10 days need to be dedicate to this area to truly appreciate the falls, but even if you make it for just a day the absolute beauty of this natural wonder will always stay with you. Plus, they make for great photo ops!

Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art

Asides from its unusual architecture, the museum houses one of the finest and largest collections of European art – actually considered the largest in Latin America. There are also massive amounts of Brazilian art, prints, and drawings. This is a great place to gather more Brazilian culture and gain a deeper perspective into the country.

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas

Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the entire world, and with this being said, it’s important to journey to a place of worship during your stay in order to gain the full Brazilian experience. The reason we have picked this sanctuary as our favorite is because of its simple yet beautiful construction, and its full attainment of the union of nature, man, and Brazilian culture.

Environment Agency Launching Four Year Long Amazon Tree Census

The Brazilian government is launching four-year long tree census in the Amazon dedicating to understanding and remedying the deforestation,climate change and conservation issues it has been experiencing. This study will be the most detailed conducted in this area in over 40 years, and [quote] “will allow us to have a broad panorama of the quality and the conditions in the forest cover” (Brazil’s environment ministry).

During the study, the value of the biodiversity underneath the rainforest canopy and the enlargement of human settlements will be assessed. The area is home to many expanding cities and some of the world’s only remaining un-contacted tribes.

There have been improvements in recent years with the use of satellite monitoring technology. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, Nasa released figures showing that a massive area twice the size of California is suffering from a mega-drought. The drought began 8 years ago. Nasa thinks this is the first sign that the Amazon region is suffering climate change consequences. The Brazilian government also uses a sophisticated satellite system to coordinate actions against illegal deforestation.The environment industry reports that it has effectively slowed deforestation, putting it at the halfway mark of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36% by 2020.

However there are limits as to what one can do with satellite imagery alone. “We are going to come to know the rainforest from within,” said forestry minister, Antonio Carlos Hummel.

Results are expected to be released next year so the Brazilian government can take appropriate action to improve the economy underneath the canopy.

Colin Firth’s Fight to Save the Awa Tribe of Brazil


Actor Colin Firth, star of The Kings Speech and other movies, has launched a fight to save the Awa tribe of Brazil. Illegal loggers have been killing members of the tribe upon sight. Firth’s campaign is to prevent the tribe from being “wiped out” as he stated. “One man can stop this Brazil’s Minister of Justice. He can send in the federal police to catch the loggers, and keep them out for good. But we need enough people to message him. This is our chance, right now, to actually do something. And if enough people show they care, it will work,” stated Firth.

The Awa are a peaceful hunting and gathering tribe located in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that consists of about 360 peoples, and as of right now they are the most endangered tribe on this Earth. Their forest is currently being wiped out much quicker than an other Amazon tribe’s land. This situation is so dire, that Brazilian experts have been throwing around the words “genocide” and “extinction”.

Firth’s campaign is being run by Survival International, which is an organization who campaigns for tribal rights internationally. The director of Survival International was quoted as saying, “The Awá are threatened by the armed loggers, but also by our own apathy. Yet these campaigns have been repeatedly shown to be successful. If enough people, in Brazil and around the world, show they care, Awá children will be able to grow up in peace on their own land. That’s been proved over and over again.”

If you would like to find out how you can help, please visit www.survivalinternational.org. You can also view the YouTube video they produced with Colin Firth by clicking the link below. At the end, you’ll have an option to send a message to Brazil’s minister of justice asking him to stop the loggers wiping out the forests and this tribe.

http://www.survivalinternational.org/awa

 

Amazonas Opera Festival

You may have been to an opera festival before, but have you ever been to one in the heart of the Amazon? Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas state in Brazil, hosts an opera festival every year between April and May and has been doing so for 16 years this year.

The Amazon Theater is host of most of the festivals main events, but there are several other surrounding vendors that host events as well. The theater is a stunning piece of Brazil’s history, and seeing it during the festival is the best way to experience the phenomenal sights and sounds it has to offer. Living up to Manaus’ vision of it standing out as a jewel in the heart of the rainforest, the theater is dotted with Italian columns and statues, beautiful French interior furniture, 198 Italian chandeliers, and an enchanting “meeting of the waters” curtain.

The official orchestra of the festival is the Amazonas Philharmonic, which is a relatively new orchestra formed in 1997 and features lead conductor Luiz Fernando Malheiro. The orchestra performs concerts of classical arias, recitals, and provides the music for full length operas held during the festival. You can catch a preview of the orchestra below.

Amazonas Philharmonic

There are a number of packages that travel companies have designed to make your Opera Festival stay an easy and pleasant one. Our favorite and most inclusive that we’ve seen so far is:

  • VisionofBrazil.Com – A 3 day package is available with meals, hotel stay, concert performances, transportation, and flight all scheduled for you. If interested, the link to this package is:  http://www.visionofbrazil.com/Destination/Manaus/Package/Opera-Festival-of-the-Amazon.aspx

Official site of the Amazonas Opera Festival

 

Manaus: Perfect Combination of City Living and Outdoor Adventure

Located on the Rio Negro River on the northern branch of the Amazon, Manaus is a city with beautifully designed buildings and smatterings of trees lining the streets. The weather is hot, the residents are friendly, atmosphere is relaxed, and the food offers a true taste of Brazil. Manaus is the perfect Brazilian city to visit if you want something a little in between – a little bit of city life and a little bit of rainforest. A perfect combination.

Manaus is easily reached by plane from Sao Paolo and Rio de Jainero, and is also a major stopping point for boats traveling the Amazon River. Its presence on the Amazon River also makes it a departure point for tours on the river. Its position along the river also makes its port one of the most active and important ports in Brazil. If you travel a bit further down the river you can see something unique – the “Meeting of the Waters”, which is where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes rivers meet together.

While in the city, there are a number of attractions and local delights to experience. The Teatro Amazonas, which is a copy of the Grand Opera de Paris, is the home of the annual Festival Amazonas de Opera and the Amazonas. There’s also the Palacio Rio Negro, which is a must-see arts center in the heart of Manaus. Interestingly, the city founders actually designed Manaus to be the tropical version of Paris, and you’ll notice touches here and there that really represent this concept.

Outside of the city is where you can experience some true Brazilian outdoor adventure. For starters, taking a visit to Ponta Negra Beach is always a good choice as this is a clean and popular beach that lies west of the city and features a choice of bars and restaurants. Paricatuba Waterfall is also a tourist hotspot, located on the Negro River, and can only be reached by boat – but definitely worth the trip.

The National Park of Jau is a sightseeing adventure that should be a definite stop on your Manaus adventure as well. It is one of the largest national parks in Brazil and features a great number of trees and beautiful canopies. If you’re looking for some true rainforest adventure, Manaus is definitely the place as its forest has some of the most beautiful foliage in Brazil and also some of the most intricate canals. There are fewer animals in this are than you will find in other parts of the Brazilian rainforest, but scenery alone makes up for this.

To get a guided tour of the rainforest area of Manaus is really the best way to experience it. There are several companies in the area you can make reservations with, such as Amazon BackPackers tour, the Amazon Juma Tour, or even the Amazon Tree Climbing Tour – which actually gives you the best chance of observing some wildlife close up.

There’s no short selection of great food to consume while in Manaus. Enjoy some savory local Paella, delicious and fresh seafood, and traditional Brazilian dishes like none you’ve ever tasted. Peixaria Morongueta is a highly recommended open air local restaurant that not only features some of the best traditional Brazilian dishes in the area, but also boasts a mesmerizing view of the “meeting of the waters”.

 

 

Brazil Hotel Recommendations

While Brazil certainly doesn’t lack in things to do, like their beautiful sandy beaches, exciting nightlife, tropical rainforests, and delicious food, eventually you’ll need to put your feet up. Brazil has an abundance of luxury and affordable hotels to help you do just that! If you’ve never been to Brazil, though, finding the right hotel can be a daunting task. Here are some recommendations, sorted by city, that can help make it easier.

Rio de Janeiro

Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel (4 Star): This 117 room hotel is nestled right in the famous Copacabana district and is right on the waterfront. Kick your feet up and enjoy the hotel’s rooftop leisure facilities, private beach service, and abundant wining and dining options. The Porto Bay Rio is well known for its personalized service and high level security to ensure your safety. For the women, they even provide a special touch: fresh flowers, chocolates, bathrobes, and slippers.

Promenade Casa del Mar Hotel(3 Star): This hotel is perfect for those looking to spend less but not lose the comfort of a superb hotel. Located in the Barra da Tijuca district, this hotel overlooks the ocean. With its many amenities, such as a gym, sauna, pool, internet access, barbecue area, and coffee shop, you’re sure to enjoy your stay.

Sao Paulo

Maksoud Plaza Hotel (5 Star): Right in the heart of Sao Paulo, this business class hotel screams convenience and comfort. All guestrooms are equipped with satellite television and internet access and voicemail service. You’ll find they offer superb personal services, such as babysitting services, 24 hour room service, laundry and dry cleaning services, salon, and others. In need of some relaxation? Try their massage services, jacuzzi, spa, and indoor pool. The Maksoud Plaza hotel is perfect for business trips or vacations.

Brasilia

Naoum Plaza Hotel (5 Star):

The Naoum Plaza Hotel has certainly earned its 5 star rating. If you don’t fall in love with the beautiful guest rooms, you are sure to enjoy their world class services, such as massage, jacuzzi, laundry service, salon, hotel bar and restaurant, sauna, and hotel shops.

Amazon Rainforest

The Ariau Amazon Towers: If you’re looking to get out of the city and explore some of Brazil’s breathtaking Amazon rainforest, this hotel is sure to enhance your experience even more. The Ariau is the world’s largest tree top hotel and is simply stunning. Not only do you get to sleep in an incredibly unique hotel, but they offer one of a kind services: Canoe trips, piranha fishing, swimming with pink dolphins, helicopter rides, and much more! Plus, you can’t beat their fabulous Brazilian wining and dining!