Brazil : Impressive Tour
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Take a trip through time to this stately mountain town, which once was the summer residence of Brazil's royal family and is still sometimes referred to as Brazil’s ‘Imperial City’. Set in a scenic Alpine valley, Petropolis’ key attractions include the Imperial Museum, formerly the summer palace of the second Brazilian emperor and now housing an array of opulent royal relics; the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, famous for the ‘God’s Finger (Dedo de Deus) rock formation, which resembles an index finger raised to the sky; and the Rua Teresa, Brazil’s number one retail destination, where keen shoppers can trawl a wealth of clothing stores offering quality goods at excellent prices.
It is said that the former first lady of America, Eleanor Roosevelt, exclaimed her ‘pity’ for her country’s Niagara Falls when she first encountered the beauty of Iguazu Falls. This magnificent waterfall marks the confluence of the Iguazu River in Argentina and the Parana River in Brazil, and the meeting of the two countries is marked by stone pillars rising from the water. Roughly half the combined volume of both rivers thunders into the Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped cataract that delivers a torrential deluge of water into the wide basin below.
Iguazu National Park (Argentina)
Situated in the Misiones Province of Argentina, in the beautiful Iguazu Department, the Iguaza National Park is a phenomenal wonderland of natural beauty and ecological importance. At the centre of the Paranaense Rainforest, the majestic Iguazu Falls tumble in a display of 275 cascades, and constitute one of the largest waterfalls in the world, earning it a classification as one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’. The entire park has been recognised as a UNESCO site, due to the falls as well as its abundance of important (and often endangered) flora and fauna. Look out for colourful butterflies, numerous wild cat species, and rare, threatened animals such as the jaguar, yacare caiman, and tapir. Thrill-seekers can take part in white river rafting, while those seeking more leisurely pursuits can take in the views from the park’s excellent restaurant.
One of the oldest cities in Brazil, Salvador is known for its rich culture, hospitable locals and laid-back atmosphere. Set against a backdrop of impressive architecture, this attractive coastal destination is a place where entertainment, music and fine cuisine abound, earning it the nickname the 'capital of happiness'. Highlights of the area include its lovely beaches and ocean views, 17th century fort, São Joaquim craft market and array of fascinating museums. The best time to visit Salvador is during the annual Carnaval, when the streets come alive with colours, costumes, dancing and festivities.
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil’s second-largest city and one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, Rio de Janeiro is renowned for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain and the massive, majestic statue of Christ atop the Corcavado peak. The highlight of Rio’s social calendar is Carnaval, in the weeks leading up to Lent, when the city becomes a riot of colour, music and festivities, with thousands of costumed revellers parading through the street in what the locals call the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.
Iguazu National Park (Brazil)
Iguacu National Park, located in the Parana State of Brazil, is an extraordinary area famous for its biological importance, rich flora and fauna, and jaw-dropping waterfalls. The park has been recognised by UNESCO for protecting numerous endangered animal and plant species, as well as being home to one of the largest waterfalls on earth, the Iguacu Falls, which stretch 2700 metres wide in a semi-circle, and 72 metres down. Visitors will walk through the dense forests, to see them in all their magnitude from the footbridge at the Devil’s Throat. Some of the many threatened animals living here include giant otter and giant anteater, as well as the jaguar, puma, broad-snouted caiman, harpy eagle, and more. Don’t miss a visit to the Bird Park.
The Brazilian Highlands are enormous, covering approximately half of Brazil’s land mass and taking in a kaleidoscope of dramatic scenery along the way – rolling hills and mountains cliffs, evergreen forests and tropical jungle, flat plateaus and deep ravines. Meeting the fertile Amazon lowlands on the west and reaching their zenith at (9888 feet) 3014m high Pico de Neblina, the highlands stretch all the way to the Atlantic Ocean – where they drop off dramatically along the coastline, forming the Great Escarpment. The area is one of astounding beauty and biodiversity, featuring a wealth of flora and wildlife that will see nature lovers in their element.