iguaçu fallsCredit: roger borgesCredit: roger borges

With almost 200 million inhabitants and a total area of 8,456,510 sq km, Brazil is about the size of the continental United States.

The capital of Brazil is Brasilia, a world reference for urban planning. Viewed from above, the main portion of the city resembles an airplane, and the city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, like accommodation, shopping and government buildings. It was developed in 1956, with Lucio Costa as the chief urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the main architect.

The country is internationally famous for its biggest party, the Carnaval, as well as gorgeous beaches and even more gorgeous supermodels like Gisele Bündchen. It exports “caipirinha” (the national drink), several hit soap operas and music – even Frank Sinatra covered some of the “carioca” songs. But all of that is quickly overshadowed by its football team (who won the World Cup five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002).

The main language spoken in the country is Portuguese (try saying “bacana”, which means ‘cool’), but if you explore just a little off the beaten path you will find an astonishing 180 indigenous languages.

White-sand beaches with palm trees stretch for 8000km in the coast of Brazil. Inland, waterfalls, canyons, and mighty rivers host some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth. You can do some kayaking, rafting, trekking, snorkeling and surfing in nearly any region in Brazil. Given the country’s innumerable possibilities, the only drawback to traveling in Brazil is the logistics on moving around – you will certainly need more time but simply won’t want to leave.

Top Picks For Brazil

Verdant wonderland with fantastic wildlife viewing (much better than the Amazon for animals), coupled with trekking, horseback riding and boat trips

Brazil's top ecotourism destination with river snorkeling, forest-backed waterfalls and surreal caverns

The ultimate backpacker hideaway. Fantastic scenery with fine surfing, fine windsurfing, and even finer kitesurfing!

Spectacular tropical archipelago with pristine waters, world-class diving and magnificent beaches

The afro-Brazilian soul of the country has powerful drums on the streets, mystical ceremonies and picturesque colonial architecture

250 spectacular waterfalls surrounded by Atlantic rain forest

Brazil's finest baroque architectural gem with a labyrinth of cobbled streets climbing precipitous hillsides

The enchanting city of samba clubs, beautiful people, soccer madness and bohemian life

The once-glorious city boasts an impressive opera house and is the gateway to jungle trips along the mighty Amazon River

When to go to Brazil & Costs

During Brazil’s summer (from December to March) the country fills with both foreigners and vacationing families. Prices rise and you’ll face more crowds, but the whole country is in a festive mood until the Carnival, usually in February. The low season runs from May to September, though it can be utterly vacant in some resort areas and cold in the south.

Due to a temperate weather year-round, there’s no bad time to visit Brazil. But treks into the Amazon and the Pantanal are best from June to August, when it’s drier.

With a booming economy and strong real, Brazil has become South America’s most expensive country. Rio de Janeiro has grown particularly pricey in the last few years. Rural and less-visited destinations are significantly cheaper. Bus travel costs about R$8 (US$4) per hour of distance covered. Flights might not cost much more for long hauls. What will quickly eat up your budget are decent accommodations and particularly rental cars.

If you’re rather frugal, expect to pay around R$40 for accommodations, R$30 for food and drink, plus bus travel and admission to sights. If you stay in hostels and just want to lie on a beach eating rice and fish, you can probably get along for R$70 a day.

If you preffer to stay in comfortable hotels, eat in better restaurants, go out most nights and keep flying around, you’ll probably spend R$250 daily. For real luxury, double that.

Bear in mind that during Carnaval accommodations prices triple, but just a week after prices will drop to low-season rates. Brazil is fair value for solo travelers if you don’t mind sleeping in hostels. Otherwise, a single room usually costs roughly 75% of a double room.

Planning a trip down there? Just leave your comment here and I will be happy to give specific suggestions and facts about Brazil.