Great weather, fabulous food, amazing beaches and friendly people, Brazil has a lot to offer any visitor. Here’s five reasons why you should visit South America’s most populous nation:
A mixture of African, Italian, Portuguese, Arab and Indigenous cuisine, Brazilian food is amazing. From Feijoada (A rich pork stew with black beans which was traditionally served to slaves) to Churrasco (Brazilian barbecue – a mouth-watering variety of meats: beef, boar, chicken etc, served on a skewer), to Vatapa (a delicious African influences Seafood dish made up of prawns, coconut milk, tomatoes, Dendê oil, red pepper and nuts made into a scrummy yellow paste), Brazilian food will tickle your tastebuds.
For those with a sweet tooth, desserts such as Mousse de Maracuja (‘A kind of Passion Fruit’ mousse with condensed milk and double cream), Pamonha (boiled corn paste made from sweet corn and milk or coconut milk, wrapped in a corn husk during the boiling process and turned into a dumpling. Ground coconut pulp can be added and it can be served savoury as well) and finally ‘Pavê de Cupuaçu’ (Cupuaçu: an indigenous fruit from Northern Brazil, condensed milk and double cream mixed together in a blender and poured over some biscuits in a dish and left overnight in the fridge), will make you come back for seconds!
2. The people:
Warm, friendly and hospitable, you’ll love the locals. With their fantastic sense of humour, gregariousness and helpful nature, you’ll quickly make new friends. They’ll ask you what you think of Brazil and will happily tell you how to get to where you are going and will often take you there personally. Going that extra mile to help someone is a part of the Brazilian psyche.
This openness and friendliness is reflected in the ever increasing number of refugees living in Brazil: 7,700 people from 81 nations (Syria, Colombia, Angola, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, and Iraq making up some of these countries). As part of a tolerant and humane policy towards refugees, many of these refugees will be granted asylum, and be able to start a new life here.
3. Tourist spots:
From beautiful colonial architecture to jaw-dropping waterfalls, stunning beaches to excellent museums, Brazil offers something for all. Take in the iconic ‘Christ the reedemer’-the statute of Christ which hangs over Guanabara bay, offering spectacular views of Rio or the magnificent Iguaçu Falls – one of the seven wonders of the world.
Or enjoy an exhibition of Capoeira:a martial art disguised as a dance, created by African slaves. To the background of haunting beats, two competitors shadow each other using various muscle crunching positions to avoid their foe (make sure you have a good stretch before you try!).
Europeans, Africans, Indigenous, Asians and Arabs, Brazil is truly an amazing melting pot of cultures. Brazilians’ family trees make fascinating reading: white people with African and indigenous roots, black people with European and Asian roots. It makes my family tree look truly boring!
From the German colonies of Southern Brazil (who still celebrate traditional festivals) to the Italians and Japanese of São Paulo, to the Africans and Arabs of Northern Brazil, Brazil is chock a block full of different cultures and histories. Visit events such as ‘Festa da Uva’ (Grape Festival: a biennial festival which celebrates Italian culture. Visitors taste cheese, grapes and various Brazilian wines) in Caxias Do Sul in the Southern state of Rio Grande de Sul or if beer is your thing ‘Oktoberfest’ in the city of Blumenau, in Santa Catarina.
Take part in the fascinating ‘Bumba-Meu-Boi’ (The Festival of the ‘Ox’) held in the northeastern city of São Luis in Maranhão state (but also throughout the whole of the northeast) from late June to the second week of August. Rooted in African, Portuguese and Indigenous influences, the event is based on the story of the Ox’s death and resurrection. To much heckling, various street performers, many dressed up as Oxen and other mythological characters, tell the story through dance, song, theatre and capoeira.
Blessed with a variety of climates, weather-wise Brazil has something for everyone. If you want hot weather go to the North (where the Amazon is located) where temperatures can reach up to 33 degrees celsius! (91.4 F) and which enjoys annual average temperatures of between 24 to 26 degrees (75.2 to 78.8 Fahrenheit) and the North-East, where annual temperatures are between 20 and 28 degrees celsius (68 and 82.4 F) in coastal areas (Recife, Salvador, Fortaleza) with a maximum of around 30 degrees (90F), with inland areas often hitting 38 degrees celsius (100F) during the dry season (between May and November).
While if cool is your thing, visit the South during winter (June to August) where temperatures vary from 10 to 15 degrees celsius (50 and 59F) in most parts of the region.
The best time to visit some of Brazil’s most popular destinations are- Rio De Janeiro (All year round), Manaus-capital of the Amazon region (Jun-Nov), Salvador (All year round), and the Pantanal (May-Sep).
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and ‘vem'(come)!