By Briana Seftel
South America's largest country is teeming with stunning natural wonders, vibrant cities and everything in between. That also means planning a trip to Brazil can be a little daunting, so we're here to help with ideas.
Here are 8 places in Brazil we think you should visit now!
Sun, surf and samba!
Ravishing Rio is a trip for all five senses. Surfers and sunbathers fuel up on acai bowls before hitting the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, while kids of the favelas toss around a soccer ball (Brazilians are fanatical about their futebol). Dance the night away at one of the city's many samba clubs, and if you really want to see the city come alive, go during Carnival in February.
Parrots, piranhas and poison dart frogs.
The Amazon brings to mind a colorful array of birds, deadly predators (hello, anaconda), a tangled expanse of emerald trees and one big river. Brazil is home to 60% of the Amazon, so if you're searching for Amazonian adventure ideas, this is the place to do it. Just don't forget insect repellent!
The world's most stunning waterfalls.
Niagra Falls doesn't stand a chance against Iguazu Falls, which holds the title as the largest waterfall system in the world. Straddling the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Iguazu Falls is made up of 275 individual waterfalls, with the Devil's Throat being the largest of them all. Come for the awe-inspiring gushing water and stay for the incredible flora and fauna surrounding the falls.
A non-stop party in Brazil's largest city.
Your brain might tell you to skip smoggy, overcrowded Sao Paulo, but you'd be missing out on some of Brazil's best nightlife, cultural offerings and Brazilian foodie pleasures. Like New York City or Tokyo, Sao Paulo (or Sampa as its called) is a city that never sleeps. It's big and noisy, but for city people there's no other place quite like multicultural, riveting Sao Paulo.
Colonial charm without the cars!
Paraty (or Parati) might be Brazil's prettiest city. Awash in colonial cobbled charm, the city has a heavy Portuguese influence and was a major exporter of gold during the 1600s. Stroll the streets of the pedestrian-friendly historical center (blissfully car free) and take day trips to pristine beaches and lush rainforest just outside the city.
The Venice of Brazil.
With its many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges, Recife is often called the Brazilian Venice. It's a buzzing, gritty city like Rio with a vibrant cultural scene and interesting historical center. Outside Recife, the beach of Porto de Galinhas has been repeatedly awarded the title of best beach in Brazil while the historic center of Olinda charms all who visit.
Eat your way through Brazil's tastiest city!
The capital of Bahia, Salvador is a city of many accomplishments. Its historic center is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas, capoeira was born here and the city's Carnival is the largest party on the planet. You can't visit Salvador with trying its food, which is heavily influenced by Africa and the Caribbean. One of the most famous dishes is moqueca, a seafood stew made with coconut milk.
Horseback riding in Brazil's heartland.
The state of Minas Gerais is a fertile land of rivers, mountains and valleys. As the main producer of coffee and milk in Brazil, its claim to fame is the popular Brazilian snack of pao de queijo made with Minas cheese. This region has emerged as a popular eco destination for its scene-stealing national parks and natural springs.