I lived in Brazil for almost year when I was a student in Political Sciences. And when I went back to the country, this time as a tourist, with more money to travel (hehehe), I rediscovered the unique Brazilian culture, that is in many ways close to the Indian culture…
When you arrive in Brazil, any Indian could easily pass for a local and mix quickly in the mass. Here, people are smiling, have a light brown, heavily tanned skin and are especially love to party all year round. This booming subcontinent is also proud of its culture blending the traditions of the tribals, African and Portuguese where the Catholic religion has a very important place.
Given the vastness of the territory, a trip to Brazil has to be prepared well in advance and it is difficult to describe here all the possible routes. Famous for its inescapable carnival, Rio de Janeiro is a must stop for a first visit. The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, made legendary by bossa nova singers and the samba clubs of the city, attract travellers from around the world. If you come specially to participate in Carnival in Rio, try to relax a lot in the aircraft on the way. Because, once you have landed, the the party goes on non stop until Ash Wednesday, which marks the end of festivities.
With nearly 500 festivals in the streets of the city, you will be spoilt for choice. If you want to get an idea of the scale of the carnival, join a samba school and parade with them amidst a thunderous percussion under the cheers of the audience at Sambódromo. Or at least, get yourself a dancing costume to follow one of the many blocos of the city. Even if the carnival lasts only a few days, its preparation takes months. The Cariocas, inhabitants of Rio, are the perfect incarnation of the joy of living.
Besides the famous carnival, opportunities to have fun are just about everywhere and at any time, whether spending a Saturday on the beach of Ipanema, going to a party in Lapa, watching a football match at Maracanã, or to joining a samba de roda, improvised on the pavements of the city.
Green hills and white sand beaches, bordering the deep blue ocean present an invitation to adventure, with multiple options. Surfing at Prainha, hiking in the Atlantic Rainforest at Tijuca, sailing in the Guanabara Bay, or climbing the Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf hill). Seen from here, the city is transformed into a set of gracefully curved green hills and golden beaches lapped by azure waters that kiss the feet of rows of skyscrapers. Amidst this backdrop, a short ride on the cable car is a delight. Of course, the more adventurous will climb the hill on foot or even scaling the rocks for the ones with extra adrenaline.
Easily accessible from Rio, Ilha Grande is a must for the tourists. For decades, the island served as a prison and a leper colony and untouched by development because of this, the island has slopes covered with jungle and several beaches which are amongst the best preserved in Brazil. Here one can spend days hiking through the lush tropical forest, snorkelling in aquamarine waters or basking in the cool waterfalls. Ilha Grande is definitely a true paradise for nature lovers, made even more so as automobiles are banned here.