With the 2014 World Cup under its belt and the 2016 Summer Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Brazil. With its colorful mix of lively cities, sandy beaches and lush landscapes, it’s no surprise that Brazil has been chosen to play host to these international events. Read on to learn more about South America’s largest country.
See the sights in seaside cities
The vibrant cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador burst with energy and history.
Population: 6.3 million
City highlights: You can’t miss the massive Christ the Redeemer statue standing high atop Corcovado Mountain or a visit to the lively Copacabana neighborhood known for its breathtaking crescent-shaped beach.
Know before you go: Tourists and cariocas (residents of Rio) take to the streets each year for the wild, colorful carnival celebration, which brings the Catholic tradition together with African-influenced samba dance and music.
Population: 2.7 million
City highlights: Be sure to visit Pelourinho, the UNESCO-protected historic and cultural center of this Bahian capital city, along with the Sao Francis Church, which features an interior that’s lavishly decorated in gold leaf.
Know before you go: Afro-Brazilian culture runs deep in Salvador and can be seen in capoeira street performances, continued observance of candomblé religious traditions and celebrated local cuisine.
Set out for adventure
With its diverse ecosystem and natural beauty, Brazil’s vast landscape is ripe for exploration.
As the world’s largest continuous wetland, the Pantanal is home to thousands of different animal species.
Over 275 cascades rush and churn in this subtropical paradise, spread over just one mile of land.
This vast rainforest spans over half of Brazil and is a prime location for spotting wildlife from the land or water.
Savor the lively, local flavors
Brazilian cuisine is influenced by both European and African cultures and varies from region to region. Try out these simple recipes for two tasty treats: a Caipirinha, the national cocktail, and pão de queijo, bite-sized cheesy rolls that are a popular snack food.
1 lime, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ounces cachaça (a Brazilian brandy distilled from sugar cane)
Crushed or cubed ice
(makes 1 drink)
1. Place your sliced limes in a glass with sugar.
2. Use a muddler or spoon to crush the lime and sugar mixture.
3. Add cachaça.
4. Top with ice cubes, stir and take a sip!
(Recipe modified from foodnetwork.com)
Pão de queijo
1/2 cup olive oil or butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
(makes 6 buns)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Pour olive oil, water, milk and salt into a large saucepan and place over high heat. Remove from heat once it boils.
3. Stir in tapioca flour and garlic until smooth, then set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture and stir until crumbly.
5. Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Enjoy!
(Recipe modified from allrecipes.com)
Is a tour to Brazil on your travel wish list? Let us know why you’d like to go there in the comments!