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Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and covers over half of the continent of South America. Brazil borders all of the other countries on the continent except for Chile and Ecuador, and the Amazon Basin covers more than half of Brazil as well as including the largest river system in the world and the biggest rainforest.
Most visitors to Brazil head for the beach, just like the locals. This is a place of partying and socialising where colour and class does not matter. However, venture inland just a small way and it is like a different country with lost worlds, thundering waterfalls and curious people. Even if you spent a year in Brazil, you would never be able to cover all of its diversity. Yet visitors flock here all year round to try.
The history of Brazil
The Western world first knew about Brazil in 1500 when the Portuguese explorer Pedro Cabral landed in the northeast and claimed it. Amazonian tribes had been living there for millennia beforehand. The richness of the land and fertility of the soil meant others invaded and over the next two centuries, Brazil was conquered by the Dutch and the French.
In 1728, the first diamonds were mined in Brazil, just a year after coffee plantations were springing up all over the place. Then over a hundred years later, the descendents of the Portuguese monarchy were overthrown and Brazil was plunged into a republic state.
In 1964, the army took over and a long period of military rule began, only broken in 1989 with the first freely elected president. In 2002, to much rejoicing, Brazil wins its fifth football World Cup and Lula is elected president on his fifth attempt.
Highlights of Brazil
There are so many wonders and delights in this country, it will be hard to decide what to see. For an insight into true Amazonian culture, make the journey to Manaus, in the heart of the rainforest. Here you can take trips down the mighty river, visit the many zoos where the animals are predominantly out of the cages rather than in, and go to a river beach.
For spectacular scenery right on the border with Argentina, see the Iguacu Falls with 275 waterfalls along a 3km stretch. They are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara, and used to be a holy burial site for the Amazonian tribes who lived nearby.
Rio de Janeiro is party town and quite rightly so with its world famous annual carnival and the massive imposing figure of Christ the Redeemer watching over everyone from Hunchback Mountain. It is worth taking the train and cable car up there, and to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain for amazing views of the city.
A trip to Brazil will stay in your heart long after you have arrived back home. The people, the party atmosphere, the hugeness of it all will never leave you. To make sure you enjoy your visit to Brazil even more, check out the bargains at BudgetAir for flights to Brazil all year round.