From the jungle calls of the Amazon to the thong-clad crowds of Copacabana beach, Brazil is an intoxicating mix of the big, the bold and the beautiful, perennially one of the world’s favourite destinations.

It’s also one of the largest countries on the planet, with an awesome array of treasures to match. Its vast coastline is fringed with soft sands and island getaways; the Amazon Basin teems with an unrivalled mass of flora and fauna; and the wetlands of the Pantanal, the largest on Earth, support a staggering diversity of wildlife.

And then there’s the Iguaçu Falls, an unforgettable natural spectacle featuring hundreds of waterfalls, which cascade from the tropical rainforest as blue morpho butterflies flit through the spray.

Undoubtedly the greatest draw, however, are the Brazilians themselves; probably the most hedonistic people on earth. Whether it’s Rio’s effervescent Cariocas going overboard at Carnival, or São Paulo’s sultry citizens gyrating in chic nightclubs, Brazilians love having fun.

Their irrepressible joie de vivre finds its best outlet through music and dance. Samba, lambada and bossa nova are Brazil’s best-known musical exports, but visitors can also discover a plethora of other genres, from the Northeast’s forró to the punchy bass of baile funk coming out of Rio’s favelas.

Adrenaline junkies can go wild in Brazil; shooting the big surf of Santa Catarina; bouncing in beach buggies over the sand dunes of northern Natal; snorkeling in Fernando de Noronha National Park; or abseiling in the Chapada Diamantina National Park.

Or you can take life easy and let Brazil come to you by lolling in a hammock on an Amazonian ferry, looking out for the occasional macaw, or browsing the backstreets of colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Paraty, which are lined with architectural monuments and chic boutique hotels.

Whatever you’re looking for, rest assured, Brazil has it in spades.


8,515,770 sq km (3,287,957 sq miles).


210,274,356 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

24 per sq km.




Federal Republic.

Head of state:

Acting President Michel Temer since 2016.

Head of government:

Acting President Michel Temer since 2016.


Brasília and Recife, 220 volts AC; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, 110-120 volts AC. Many larger hotels will have 110-volt and 220-volt outlets. Plugs usually have two or three round pins.