Brazil has an extensive range of activities and sights available to visitors. Football-crazy, it is famous for its beaches, nightlife and the incredible bio-diversity of the Amazon River and rainforest that covers one-half of this enormous country.

Rio de Janeiro, with its beautiful setting, is home to the elaborate Rio Carnival, the iconic Copacabana Beach and Ipanema, relaxing parks and gardens, galleries and museums. It can seem that Brazilians exist only to party, dance, drink and play football.

Corcovado Mountain, with Christ the Redeemer statue at its peak, towers over Rio and its famous beaches. Other major draws include Sugar Loaf Mountain and Tijuca National Park, which rests on the Serra da Carioca.

South America’s biggest city – Sao Paulo – is located west of Rio. With its diverse population, congested traffic and unbeatable nightlife, Sao Paulo is energetic, vibrant and exciting. Popular attractions in the city are: Patío do Colégio, dating to the 16th century; Teatro Municipal, a pretty Baroque theatre; and the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo.

Brasilia, the UNESCO protected Brazilian capital, boasts wide boulevards and high-rises which some consider to be characterless. To escape the stifling afternoon heat, Brasília National Park rests in the northern realms of the city and is a nature reserve with good swimming. The Atlantic facing Salvador da Bahia is a cultural highlight bursting with heritage buildings.

For trips to the Amazn, Manaus is the gateway town and lies close to the Rio Negro. Opera lovers will not want to miss the Renaissance style Teatro Amazonas, an ornate opera house that ranks as one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Brazil is best reached by air from Europe and the Americas via the main airport, Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport. Trains come in from Bolivia. Travel within is by overland bus, plane or boat on the Amazon.

Brazil has quality accommodation ranging from five-star to backpacker as well as rough jungle camping. Prices peak around Carnaval and Holy Week, peak times for coastal cities.