Brazil: Introduction

The world's largest country in the tropics

Brazil Introduction Brazil Introduction

The jewel in South America's colourful crown, Brazil is a sparkling nation of dazzling coastline, sun-drenched beaches, exotic island retreats and perfectly-preserved colonial towns. Its verdant rainforests boast an awesome range of lush wildlife, while its wild and vibrant cities are home to a multitude of ethnic groups set amidst a thriving nightlife and festival calendar.

A rising economic and tourist concern on the international stage, Brazil stands as the world’s fifth-largest country in both size and population, and its thriving economy has made it Latin America's powerhouse, enjoying record growth in the last five years (Brazil currently ranks among the ten largest economies in the world). Culturally, the offering are as equally abundant: This is a country revered for its football prowess and rich musical traditions; which include samba, bossa nova, tropicalismo, forró and numerous other distinctive styles that are sure to thrill even the most lumpen-footed dance enthusiast. Although Brazilians are a diverse bunch, joy and happiness is a characteristic shared by most of the country's 192 million citizens, creating a relaxed and carefree atmosphere that comes alive during Carnival season. Carnival is the best-known manifestation of this joyous spirit and is widely celebrated throughout Brazil. Partiers looking to get in on the fun should head for Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, the best places to join in and experience the mayhem at its height, when samba-filled parties flood the streets and revellers dance for days on end.

Brazil's landscape is as diverse as the people who inhabit it. Few tourists venture far from Brazil's spectacular coastline (which spans 7400km), but a trip into the interior reveals a different but equally captivating Brazil. As well as the world's biggest rainforest in the Amazon, Brazil boasts many wilderness areas including the wildlife-rich wetlands of the Pantanal, the canyons and caves of the Chapada Diamantina and the colourful old gold-mining towns in the mountains of Minas Gerais. The population of Brazil is a melting pot of races, including indigenous people, descendants of slaves from Africa and the offspring of European immigrants. This variety is reflected in the food, architecture, music and culture of Brazil. It is this assortment of places, people and traditions that makes Brazil such an unforgettable place to visit.