17 Jun 2014

Stimulate your senses in Brazil

Being the largest country in South America, there is obviously a tremendous amount of things to do and see here, all while practising your Portuguese of course!

You may already know of some of the more famous sights to see in Brazil, but here is a brief selection of activities for you to be doing while visiting this great South American country, especially useful if you do not have much time there.


We all know that Brazil has a very diverse history, stretching from its Indigenous roots, through the colonial period up to the independent and modernised Brazil that we know today. Brazil's numerous landmarks reflect not only this but also their culture, and they truely are a sight to behold!

Obviously, the best known landmark is Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), which sits atop the Corcovado mountain and is now one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Another site not to be missed in Rio de Janeiro is the Escadaria Selarón, a set of 250 steps in the Lapa/Santa Teresa neighbourhoods of Rio. Among others, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas (UNESCO site), Olinda and Sugarloaf Mountain are definitely worth visiting.


For most people the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Brazil (and especially Rio) is, of course, Carnaval. This event takes place in February before Lent begins, although it usually runs for about a week, there are many that go on for a lot longer. The first Carnaval is said to have taken place in 1641 when John IV of Portugal was crowned. The name supposedly comes from the fact that people would give up meat/poultry for lent, hence Carnelevare - to remove meat.

Source: wikipedia.org
The main aspects of this event take Afro-Brazilian vibes, rhythmic sounds, over-the-top costumes and of course Samba. The Rio Carnaval is without a doubt the most famous of all the Carnavals. It includes performances from all of the big Samba schools in the Sambadrome and street carnaval bands, or Bandas. There are various different Samba styles at the Rio Carnaval, the Samba-enredo, Samba de bloco and Marchinha. It is for good reason that it has been called "The greatest show on Earth".



This sense would normally be a tricky one, however luckily for us Brazil is home to the Amazon. The Amazon river is one of the longest in the world, second only to the Nile, and the rainforest is the largest on the planet, covering 5,500,000 km², 60% of which is in Brazil. It is the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest, being home to around 16,000 species of tree alone.

Source: coverpassion.com
Being the largest country in South America, it has a massive ecosystem and very varied topography with locations such as Igauçu Falls, Fernando de Noronha and Pantanal. There is a general consensus that it has the highest number of terristrial vertibrates and invertibrates, it has the highest primate diversity, highest number of mammals and a very high number of endangered species.



Brazil ranks in the top 10 of the world's best restaurants, with São Paulo's restaurant D.O.M (Deo Optimus Maximus) coming in at number 7. The restaurant's creator tests different possible ingredients from the Amazon, bringing Indigenous foodstuffs across the boarder to the cosmipolitan cities. The cities do offer a wide range of cuisines from other countries, particularly sushi due to the large number of Japanese inhabitants.
D.O.M restaurant - Source: www.pedrokok.com.br

Brazil, home of the açaí, has the largest fruit selection in the world - unsurprisingly thanks to the Amazon. Some typical food includes Feijoada (stew of beans, beef and pork), coffee (the world's largest producer), Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane), rice & beans, Salgadinhos (similar to Tapas).


We couldn't make a list of what to do in Brazil without mentioning at least one beach, and what could be better than the feeling of warm sand in between your toes while strolling across one of Brazil's beautiful tropical beaches.

Ipanema beach - Source: travelfeatured.com
There are thousands of beaches to choose from, whether you prefer a quieter more secluded one or one of the more famous ones such as Copacabana or Ipanema (3rd on Travel Channel's list of best beaches), you will definitely find what you are looking for. Brazil has over 7,000 miles of coastline and offers year-round sunshine. While travelling the coast you will find pristine beaches, tropical forests, rocky coasts, lively beach towns and quiet fishing villages, there really is something for everyone.

Don't forget, our schools in Brazil would love to meet you, so don't hesitate to contact us for more information!

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