Diversity is a hallmark of Brazil. Its vast territory is home to a mix of different peoples with all their customs, culinary traditions and religions. In a country famous for samba, soccer and Carnival, there are also plenty of opportunities to discover Brazil's natural wonders, its art and culture.
Currently divided into 26 states, a Federal District and 5,563 municipalities, Brazil has approximately 190 million inhabitants, living mostly in cities in the eastern part of the country. It is - by far - the largest and most populous country in Latin America and it plays a key role in the economy of South America.
The Largest Forest on the Planet
Yet, if one is drawn to Brazil looking for adventure tourism or exploration for the sake of knowledge, the Amazon is the ideal destination. Situated in the North of the country, the largest equatorial forest on the planet spreads over some 5.5 million square kilometers (over 2 million square miles), covering 61% of the country's territory and extending beyond its borders. The Amazon is a world icon of ecology and biodiversity, where it is possible to go on hikes and river boat trips to explore the jungle and appreciate the richness of its flora and fauna. The South of Brazil also claims its place on tourist itineraries, boasting romantic destinations such as the Serra Gaúcha mountains, in Rio Grande do Sul, where the finest Brazilian wines are produced, and the famous Iguaçu Falls, on the border between Paraná state and the countries of Argentina and Paraguay, which make up one of the most impressive Brazilian landscapes, with 275 waterfalls dropping from heights of up to 72 meters.
Beaches: Rest, Sunbathing and Ball Games
Nobody can resist the appeal of Brazil's beautiful beaches, which feature as main attractions in the majority of the country's tourist sights. The coastline is more than 7,000 kilometers long, with stunning landscapes of blue water and white sand, with plentiful sun and coconut water.
Some of the most well-known beaches are Copacabana and Ipanema, located in the main Brazilian tourist destination, Rio de Janeiro. Other highlights are Joaquina Beach in Florianópolis, where surfers gather from all over the world, the Praia (beach) do Forte on the northern coast of Bahia state, which hosts the Tamar Project for the protection of sea turtles, and the beautiful beaches in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, all internationally renowned.
On Sundays, Soccer
Wherever you are, on the beach or in a village in the middle of the forest, there will always be a green field, goals, a ball and at least two soccer teams ready to dispute the Sunday game. In big cities, you can visit the main stadiums, go to specialty soccer bars and even visit the first soccer museum of Brazil, housed in São Paulo's Pacaembu stadium.
With the preparations for the 2014 World Cup, Brazilian state capitals are in a rush to ready their arenas. But even stronger than the competition among the cities is the competition among teams who plan to renovate existing stadiums or build new ones in time to be designated as official World Cup arenas.