14 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Brazil
A true South American rainforest, Brazil is also one of the world's most enchanting natural destinations. The colorful culture is a delight for the senses, and Brazil's landscape is its most alluring attraction.
The tourism industry in Brazil is a rapidly developing sector of the economy. A staggering 9 million tourists visited the country in 2016. Of these, more than 5 million people visited Rio de Janeiro.
The major city is as alive with culture as it is with tourists, and Brazilians are some of the friendliest people in the world. This is one of the best travel destinations in South America. Explore the top attractions and things to do in Brazil with our top attractions in Brazil guide.
Rio de Janeiro
Highlights of a visit to Rio de Janeiro include the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Largo de Fora Hill, the city's most famous landmark and one of its best-preserved buildings. Nearby is the Tijuca National Park, which contains Rio's largest forest and offers an array of activities from camping and hiking to rock climbing and scuba diving. Bethlehem beach, near the Brazilian financial district, is known for its surf, while other famous beaches include Copacabana, Ipanema, and Flamengo. There are a number of modern touristy attractions in the city such as the Super Shopping Carioca and the Museu do Amanha. One of the city's main sights is the Maracanã Stadium, the most famous of Rio's sports venues, a massive structure designed to host the 1960 Olympic Games but now used for major football matches and major concerts. The Rio flight network is one of the best in the country, while reliable transportation throughout the city is provided by local public transportation and buses, which can be booked in advance at travel agencies. The underground metrô (tram) has quick service and the daytime sky-train line (Metrô Carioca) runs from Santa Teresa and the Lapa district.
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Ilha Grande, located in the Paraíba do Sul river basin, is the largest of the Atlantic coast archipelagos of Brazil. Also known as Pedra do Leão (Lion Rock), it has over 40 beaches and hundreds of islets and islets. These natural surroundings form the site of an important environmental park, the Ilha Grande Environmental Reserve, on which a great deal of wildlife, including jaguars, tapirs, manatees, and penguins, can be found. The islets and the rivers that form the basin are covered by the Atlantic rainforest and there is even a river that is home to the vampire bat. Other highlights include the Caminho das Pedras (The Path of the Rocks), a popular trekking and biking route. A beautiful day trip from the center of João Pessoa is the visit to the Paraíba Azul, a shallow lake with water so blue that it is considered an exception to Brazil's color law. The path is one of the most important cultural routes in Brazil and there is the Quilombo da Pedra Branca, a historical Quilombo. Access to Ilha Grande is from João Pessoa.
Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba
Museu Oscar Niemeyer is a museum of architecture designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Set on an expansive plot of green land in the center of Curitiba, the museum showcases the work of Niemeyer, one of the most important architects in the 20th century. Some features of the museum include the viewing deck, the external view of the museum, and the 3D surface view of the building. Another feature is the outdoor area where the site is located.
Museu do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo
São Paulo state-sponsored museum in the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) is a building of tremendous significance and importance. The building, designed by Spanish architects César Pelli and Bernard Tschumi, is an outstanding addition to the landmark collection of the São Paulo Museum of Art and is already a popular meeting point for the city. The 864,000-square-meter building will house temporary exhibitions as well as archaeological artifacts, paintings, works by Latin American artists, and decorative arts, with which the museum will present its permanent collection, including 700,000 objects. It will include a bookstore, restaurants, and auditoriums. The museum was inaugurated in April 2005 with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the state of São Paulo, the city, and the state-owned bank BNB. During the International Museum Day on October 20, 2005, it became the third most visited museum in Brazil with 1.5 million visitors. MASP will host the 1st edition of the New Digital Cultures Festival (NewDC) - Digital Forum with its third, through the exhibition, publication, and reflection, taking into account the creative and cultural challenges brought about by new technologies on the arts, especially by museums and galleries.
Iguaçu National Park
Ecotourism destination Iguaçu has been ranked by TripAdvisor as the best waterfall in the world. The 72-km-long Iguaçu Falls is home to 28 waterfalls; there are many views of the falls from the road, boat rides, visits to the Iguaçu Funicular and many different cable car rides. With over 11,000 plants, 270 birds, and 60 species of monkeys, Iguaçu is also an interesting destination for nature lovers. There are many hiking paths that cross the park and most of the trails will take you to viewpoints where the waterfalls can be seen.
Santa Teresa Beach
Santa Teresa Beach, just south of Canguapu, is one of the best known, most beautiful, and most visited beaches of southern Brazil. The beaches, while not as pristine as many others in Brazil, are picture perfect. There are fine white sand beaches, light green rainforests, and fine turquoise water for swimming and snorkeling. Scuba diving and sport fishing are also excellent. Santa Teresa Beach also has one of the country's best hotels, the upscale Pousada do Amor Tropical.
With thousands of rainforest beaches, the southeastern coast of Brazil has some of the most beautiful in the world. The beaches of the small town of Andorinha are a 40-minute bus ride from Maragogi, a coastal city that has grown quickly since oil was discovered in the area during the 1990s. Although this makes many of the beaches accessible, tourism has not yet developed, so the beaches here remain pristine. Beaches along the bay are separated by shallow, white sand dunes that are perfect for walking. The beaches are also home to manatees, which are often found swimming offshore. If you want to get an up-close view, head to the interactive museum of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation.
Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Neighboring Carioca Island's development has been fairly rapid with heavy pollution effects, pollution though not something specifically associated with Barra. The island has changed hands several times since the 16th century, and currently belongs to the city of Rio de Janeiro. Its soil is a light and dark clay with a black metallic coating which gives it the particular reddish color. It has a smaller percentage of sandy material and gravel, along with sand and clay. Located on the coastline and many people find its houses attractive because they form various pleasant groups. Barra Da Tijuca is situated at 8 km from the mainland and is accessible by car or by the -only- sea-shore road by car or bicycle. Its waters are very safe, without any sign of pollution. The waters and beaches around the island, are very popular in the area for holidays and recreation.
Fortaleza and Maceio Beaches
The beaches in the south of Brazil, particularly the ones known as "cidade aventura", are virtually without parallel in the world. A glorious stretch of beaches for up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) have turquoise waters, white-sand islands and beaches as far as the eye can see. Both Fortaleza and Maceió are popular tourist centers and there is a lot to do on both islands. Fortaleza is a fast-growing city of 1.5 million people and its beaches boast surf and sand dunes, day-trippers, day-trippers and rock-climbers, water sports, coral reefs, sailboats, cruise ships, beachside clubs, water slides and ferries to the islands of Ilhabela. Surfers and divers explore Ilhabela, a mountainous, 450-kilometer-long island, a real tropical landscape of rivers, mountains and forests, as well as the occasional dolphins and manatees.
The remote city of Macapá on the east coast of the Amazon rainforest is famous for its wide array of cultural festivities. Throughout the year, the main celebrations are the religious celebrations of the São Sebastião and the São Pedro fiestas. On the second Sunday in June there is a Nossa Senhora de Macapá (Our Lady of Macapá) procession that is one of the most famous Catholic processions in Brazil and covers 25 kilometers. Visitors to the area should visit one of the best textile and handicrafts fairs in the country, the Feira de Santo Antônio in November. It's easy to get to Macapá from Manaus and the airport has a daily flight from Porto Velho, Peru's biggest city. Flights from Guayaquil and Quito are also possible. Macapá is also the base of an interesting boat ride, known as the Amazon Sky Ride, which takes passengers on a spectacular journey past wildlife, rivers, lakes and lush tropical vegetation.
Recife, a beautiful and very lively coastal city, has great shopping and dining options. Beautiful beaches and a bustling port area lie along the Atlantic coast. Visit the Turitama reservoir for a change of scenery. In the Peri-Peri district you can visit the Candelaria Church, a Roman Catholic church from the 17th century that has one of the best views in Recife. Beaches, restaurants, museums and shops are all within walking distance of this unique part of Recife. The main beach of Recife is one of the most impressive in the world, with blue and white cliffs surrounded by waves crashing into a natural harbor. This beach has some interesting boutiques, restaurants and activities. You can enjoy water sports, including windsurfing, and even scuba diving. Other attractions worth visiting include the Forte de Santo Antonio, in the Pinao neighborhood, and the lively cultural area in the Ilha de Itamaraca.
Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro
Though many Brazilian museums can't be trusted to be any more than well-done tourist traps, this particular museum is anything but. Nestled inside Rio's Cultural Center, this impressive museum is located in a converted 19th-century palace built by Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro II. In a private home since the middle of the 19th century, the original rooms contain eclectic collections of paintings, porcelain, silverware, furniture, and colonial art. There is even an ancient medicine cabinet. And if you're looking for something to eat, stop by the museum cafe, which has one of the most delicious espresso coffees in the city.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo
Museu de Arte de São Paulo is one of the finest art museums in South America. Located in the Sao Paulo's city center, in the Brazilian National Museum of Fine Arts, the museum contains some of the most significant collections of art in Latin America, and is a must-see for any traveler to Brazil. While visiting, be sure to catch a special view of the museum, located in an elegant building designed by the famed architect Oscar Niemeyer, whose best known work is the famous concrete structure known as the Pentapolitano in Brasilia. While in the area, don't miss the chance to visit the City of São Paulo, with its gargantuan buildings, impressive freeways and neon lights, and even a replica of the iconic Londres do Frevo (London's Big Ben) to mark the city's own claim as the second largest city in the country.
Goiânia, or the Goiania City of the Common people, is the largest city in the state of Goiás in Brazil. Located in the north-eastern part of the country, it is the capital of Goiás. Goiânia is home to some 12.000 favelas, an estimated 60% of the urban population of Goiânia. When visiting Goiânia favelas, keep in mind that there is a reasonable police presence. This is only a question of knowing the right spots to avoid. There are two types of Goiânia favelas, the Bela Vista and the Maré de Santa Marta. Both are under control of the Rio Family and are, generally speaking, not so good. However, if you know what to look for and where not to go, you can easily have a pleasant visit. Bela Vista favela is the most famous and if you want to go there, it is better to go with one of the local tours.