I spent 5 months in Brazil back in 1997 and had an incredible time travelling the length and breadth of this extraordinary country. There are so many amazing places to visit that even after a period of 5 months I still felt there was so much I hadn’t seen and done. But here are a few of my most memorable experiences:
- Canoeing down the Amazon River, both in daylight and in total darkness. Both were equally amazing – in the daytime we were lucky enough to see a pink river dolphin swimming alongside our boat and at night-time the eerie sounds coming out of the pitch black made it an exhilarating – if unnerving – experience! Not to mention the sight of piranhas and alligators swimming around the boat…
- Taking the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. I spent several hours up there watching the sun set over the mountains, beaches and favelas of striking Rio de Janeiro. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed…
- Visiting the thundering Iguaçu Falls – the scale of these waterfalls is just mind-blowing! And the sunshine mixed with the water droplets makes for some eye-catching rainbows. You can visit the Falls in both Brazil and Argentina – I did both, and the views were amazing from both sides!
- Wandering the streets of stunning Salvador, listening to the pounding of drums one minute and watching graceful capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art) the next. Salvador is such a vibrant and colourful city, with so much going on. I spent 5 days there and still felt I had barely scraped the surface.
- Taking a stroll along Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, admiring the beautiful scenery and equally beautiful people (I wasn’t putting myself in that category by the way, I just happen to be in the photo!!). It is easy to see why both beaches have been immortalised in song… they are breathtakingly beautiful.
- Relaxing on the quiet, unspoilt beaches in North East Brazil… which made a very pleasant change from the non-stop noise of Brazilian city life. Get away from the tourist hotspots (or travel out of season) and enjoy the white sands and clear, blue seas in peace!
- Visiting the picturesque town of Olinda and admiring its beautiful colonial buildings and white-washed churches. This is one of the prettiest places I visited in Brazil and is well worth a few days of your time.
- Exploring pretty Ouro Preto and learning a bit about its fascinating mining history.
Brazil is probably the most diverse country I have ever visited… It’s as if there are lots of small countries rolled into one – the differences between the North East of Brazil and southern Brazil are so striking that it’s hard to believe you are in the same country. But I guess this is one of the things that make it such an incredible country to explore!