Tropical Watercolor: 27 Ultimate Must-Dos In Brazil

Tropical Watercolor: 27 Ultimate Must-Dos In Brazil
| 9 min read

Brazil, a Latin American country known for its beaches, wildlife, and friendly culture is a country that deserves to be on the wish list of everybody. When Vengaboys sang ‘To Brazil’, the fun and frolics in the song were characteristic of the place they were referring to. A land of coffee and monkeys, it is a fantastic holiday destination for individuals and families alike, with plenty of activities for all. A Portuguese colony in times gone by, the name Brazil was also given to the country by the Portuguese as the brazilwood tree is called 'pau-brasil’ in their language.

Here are the top interesting places to visit in Brazil and some fantastic activities that you can do there:

Rio de Janeiro

Carnaval 2014 - Rio de Janeiro (12974016393)
Source: Photo by user Nicolas de Camaret used under CC BY 2.0

This seaside city of Brazil is the second-most populous city and an interesting tourist destination. There is so much that you can do in this city with its sprawling towns, huge beaches, and many attractions to visit. The music in the whole of Brazil is a pleasure, and when in Rio, you can enjoy the samba and the bossa nova tunes. Here are some interesting spots to visit in Rio:

1. Christ The Redeemer

Cristo Redentor - Rio
Source: Photo by user Sean Vivek Crasto used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The 120-foot-tall (36.6-meter-tall) statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor) is the second-largest statue of Christ in the world. The idea for the statue started in 1850s at the request of a local Catholic priest, but building began only in 1922 once the church and State were separated. Designed by Heitor de Silva and sculpted by Paul Landowski, it is made from concrete and soapstone. It overlooks the entire city and is very majestic!

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2. Sugarloaf Mountain

Source: Photo by user Gfonsecabr used under CC BY-SA 3.0

With such an attractive name, the mountain has to be attractive too. At the mouth of the Guanabara Lake and at 1,299 feet (396 meters) tall, this mountain can be reached by cable car, allowing you to enjoy the picturesque views from the top.

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3. Rio Carnival

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
Source: Photo by user Sergio Luiz used under CC BY 2.0

The Rio Carnival happens every year 40 days before Easter, during Lent. It is an age-old tradition of the country. Did you know the first festivals of Rio go right back to 1723. With a heritage so rich, this carnival is definitely worth a visit.

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4. Tijuca Forest

Rio de Janeiro Tijuca Forest Cascatinha Taunay (4)
Source: Photo by user Pierre André used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Called the lungs of Rio, you can breathe in the purest air possible in the city here. The forest constitutes 7 percent of the whole of city area, and it is known for the various species of monkeys and the exotic fauna found here. As part of a tour program, this place can take up half of your day purely due to the size of the expansive forest.

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5. Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

tropical watercolor: 27 ultimate must-dos in brazil | theatro municipal do rio de janeiro
Source: Photo by user

A theater that is known for its beautiful facade, this place will absolutely leave you in awe. Built in the early twentieth century, it is an important monument right in the heart of the city.

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6. Escadaria Selaron

Escadaria Selarón 01
Source: Photo by user Adelano Lázaro used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Many people would be amazed to know that a flight of steps could be a tourist attraction. But, this is the case in Brazil! The steps of Escadaria Selaron run on simple streets, and they are the work of a Chilean artist called Jorge Selaron. Colorfully done in mosaic tiles, these are steps that are well worth a climb!.

Tip from Content Creator

Escadaria Selaron
When you visit Escadaria Selaron, don't climb up too far as you might encounter thieves.
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7. Imperial Museum of Brazil

Fachada do Museu Imperial 02
Source: Photo by user Naty Castro used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A museum is often a place that gives you a slice of local history. The Imperial Museum of Brazil is no different, letting visitors learn more about the city’s history, heritage, and culture. Located in the historic centre of Petropolis, the interesting museum is within a historical building that was once the palace of Brazil’s first emperor. The magnificent building dates back to 1845.

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8. Copacabana

Calçadão de Copacabana
Source: Photo by user Mteixeira62 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The famous and happening beach of Rio spreads across 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) and is within easy reach of many malls and shopping centres. You’ll find the liveliest nightlife in Brazil along Copacabana Beach, and there is not a single day when the beach isn’t vibrant, frenzied, and fun!

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9. Ipanema

1 ipanema beach vidigal sunset
Source: Photo by user chensiyuan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ipanema is another of Rio’s stunning beaches, and it is often considered to be the Santa Monica of Brazil. It is in a rich and affluent area, situated between Leblon and Arpoador. Enjoy watersports on the beach, bask in the sunshine, laze on the soft sands, and soak in the beauty of the sexiest beach, as described by the Travel Channel.

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10. Santa Teresa

Bonde de Santa Teresa
Source: Photo by Flickr user Rodrigo Soldon used under CC BY-ND 2.0

This quaint location atop Saint Teresa Hill is a haven for artists. Raymond Ottoni de Castro Maia’s works are exhibited in this estate, which has now been turned into a museum. It has a collection of works of other artists too. As well as enjoying art, you can also take a ride on the famous Saint Teresa tram and relive the days gone by. The city has its own charm and takes you to a different world altogether.

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11. Corcovado

tropical watercolor: 27 ultimate must-dos in brazil | corcovado
Source: Photo by user

This mountain is famous for being topped by the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue, but the mountain itself is majestic with its granite peak and many view points. It is 710 metres (2,329 feet) high and it can be seen from various points in Rio, thereby adding to its majesty and legacy.

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12. Maracana Stadium

Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Source: Photo by user Arthur Boppré used under CC BY 2.0

If you are a soccer-lover, you have to visit Maracana Stadium. Built in 1950, it has hosted many famous, high-profile, and energy-fuelled matches in the past. A popular venue for FIFA, the stadium truly comes alive when Brazil is playing. Apart from visiting for the love of the game, the stadium is also an architectural delight that is well-worth seeing.

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Sao Paulo

Moving 412 kilometers (256 miles) south from Rio, you’ll reach the State of Sao Paulo. The financial centre of Brazil, it is the most populated destination in the country and has many delightful pieces of history for tourists. Here are some of the city’s highlights:

13. Sao Paulo Museum of Art

Source: Photo by user Fernando Dall'Acqua used under CC BY-SA 2.0

An unconventional museum, the Sao Paulo Museum of Art is made from concrete and glass, and it houses many pieces of European art. It is, however, more known for being an architectural marvel. The structure appears to be held together by two lateral beams, and it is definitely interesting to look at.

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14. Paulista Avenue

Avenida Paulista3
Source: Photo by user Heitor Carvalho J... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This 2.8-kilometer (1.7-mile) avenue consists of many financial institutions, cultural locations, and shopping areas. Originally constructed in 1891, the road has always been associated with higher members of society.

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15. Hike the Parque Estadual Serra do Mar

Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar - Ubatuba - Camburi Pedras 02 - 2009 mes01 dia 12
Source: Photo by user RobsonRodrigues used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A state park located in the heart of the mountain ranges, Parque Estadual Serra do Mar is covered with Atlantic forest and it has several delightful hiking routes. Perfect for beginners and professionals alike, this hike will take you straight into the lap of nature.

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16. Hopi Hari

Hopi Hari(1)
Source: Photo by user Charlesblack used under CC BY 2.5

For fun and amusement, especially if you are traveling with kids, Hopi Hari is the place to go. With an area of 0.76 square kilometers (0.29 square miles), this amusement park is the second-largest in Brazil and has many rides and attractions, like the characters from Looney Tunes and Justice League.

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Other excellent destinations in Brazil

Whilst Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo may be the first places many people think of when contemplating a trip to Brazil, the large country holds many, many more delights. From north, south, east, and west, here are some other top places to enjoy when visiting Brazil:

17. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha
Source: Photo by user Roberta monte used under CC BY-SA 3.0

After having covered the land masses in Brazil, you may want to fly off to the island archipelago called Fernando de Noronha. This is a UNESCO-protected site; once you visit and soak in the beauty of the pristine blue waters and admire the untouched flora and fauna of the sea, you will understand the reasons why! Spend a couple of days here as just one day will not be enough to fully appreciate the spectacular nature of the islands.

Baia do Sancho, with its crystal clear water, is tucked away nicely, and it can only be visited by boat or by walking down a narrow staircase down the cliffs. The clear waters give you a glimpse of the corals underneath and is a diver’s delight. The beautiful flora and fauna are found in their natural form and habitat. If you are lucky, you will also see some turtles in the waters.

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18. Beaches at Fortaleza, Ceara

The long 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) coastline of Fortaleza has many beaches, each one distinct and offering different things. In northeastern Brazil, Fortaleza is the capital city of the state of Ceara. With different terrain from other states in Brazil, this city has red cliffs, palm trees, and lagoons, and it is known for its lovely beaches. Here’s an overview of Fortaleza’s best beaches:

Iracema is ideal for party-lovers. It is said that the party begins in the afternoon and continues till the wee hours of the morning!

Meireles is great for the whole family. Handicraft shops and food stalls make it a favorite destination for family outings.

Mucuripe serves as a base camp for fishing and boating. You can also catch the flavor of the local fish from the fish market, which is opened after the catch of the day comes in.

Praia de Futuro is a relaxed and low-key beach. Bathing, surfing, and music are the only activities that you will see on this beach.

19. Amazon Theatre, Manaus

Futuro Beach, Fortaleza, Brazil 6
Source: Photo by user Jorge Andrade used under CC BY 2.0

Located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, this is one of the oldest structures in Brazil. It opened to the public in 1896. It still holds performances with choirs, musical concerts, and theatrical plays. The aura that the place exudes is palpable, and you won’t forget seeing a show there.

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20. Architecture of Brasilia

Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer planned this city in 1956 so that the capital could be moved to a more central location. A well-planned city, it has blocks and sectors for different industries, such as the Banking Sector, the Hotel Sector, and the Shopping Sector. Due to the precision in planning and execution, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

21. Recife, Pernambuco

Teatro amazonas
Source: Photo by user user:Pontanegra used under CC BY-SA 2.5

This is the ‘City of Reefs’, and it is both modern and historical. Its geography includes islands, bridges, canals, and old houses, which is said to resemble Italy’s Venice. It has thus been given the nickname of the 'Venice of Brazil’. Along with the nearby town of Olinda, Recife offers a host of tourist attractions, like Igraga da Sé, the Convento São Francisco, Marco Zero, the Malakoff Tower, the Rua do Bom Jesus, and the Capela Dourada, to name a few.

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22. Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

Tucked in the Serra do Espinhaco Mountains, the mining town of Ouro Preto was founded at the end of the 17th century when the gold rush swarmed the country. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its Baroque architecture is not to be missed!

23. Iguacu Falls

Palacio do Planalto from Pixabay
Source: Photo by user skeeze used under CC0

This is one of the world’s largest waterfalls, extending to nearly 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) wide and in a unique semi-circular shape. Situated between the Brazilian and Argentinian border, the falls have 275 individual drops, including the 80-meter-tall (262-foot-tall) Devil’s Throat, and these drops form hundreds of eye-catching cascades. Excellent for both adventure sports and fabulous views, Iguacu Falls is sure to leave you awe struck.

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24. Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

A Roman Catholic basilica, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is the second-largest church in the world and houses the miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Aparecida. The statue is a celebrated 18th-century clay statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in its traditional form, and it was originally found by 3 fishermen who miraculously caught many fish after invoking the blessings of the Virgin Mary.

25. Oscar Niemeyer's Work In Belo Horizonte

Igreja São Francisco de Assis (Belo Horizonte) (8177743087)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Edgar Jiménez used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect, considered to be a pioneer in the development of modern architecture. His designs were greatly influenced by the architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries and through his designs he explored the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete. He was often lauded as well as criticized for being a “sculptor of monuments”.

Check out the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi and other buildings at Pampulha which are a delight to see.

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26. Botanical Garden of Curitiba, Parana

This is the main tourist attraction of the city, with its French-style gardens, fountains, and a sprawling area of 240,000 square meters (2,583,338.5 square feet). The Botanical Museum in the complex provides many rare flora species and is a seat for much research in this field.

27. Rio da Prata, Bonito

Vista de ouro preto
Source: Photo by user Bruno Girin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

An estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and Parana Rivers, you can see lots of rare creatures and plants at Bonito’s Rio da Prata. Bonito is Brazil’s ecotourism hub, located in the south of the country. You could trek through the rainforest to get up close with nature, or indulge in snorkeling and diving to get firsthand experience of life under the sea.

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Mystical yet modern, Brazil is a perfect holiday destination

From beaches and places of historical importance to museums and amusement parks, Brazil really can offer something for everyone. Brazil also has a hospitable climate throughout the year although the best time for a visit is in the second half of the year, with the best months being September and October. Plan your trip to this mesmerizing destination and get ready for an incredible time!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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