Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, which nearly covers half of South America. Ranging from vast cities to huge rain forests, it is culturally diverse and environmentally mixed. It offers tropical escapes as well as cultural escapes, a destination that travellers can find any activity they are seeking.

Officially the Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country in South America and the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal in 1500 until its independence in 1822. Famous for its football tradition and its annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. Diversity from the bustling urban mosaic of São Paulo to the untouched wilderness of the Amazon rainforest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, and a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.

Music plays an important part in Brazilian identity, styles like choro, samba and bossa nova are considered genuinely Brazilian. Caipira music is also in the roots of sertanejo, the national equivalent to country music. Brazilian Popular Music mixes several national styles under a single concept, BPM. Forró, a north-eastern happy dancing music style, has also become common nationwide. New urban styles include funk, the name given to a dance music genre from Rio’s favelas that mixes heavy electronic beats and often raunchy rapping, and techno-brega, a crowd-pleaser in northern states, that fuses romantic pop, dance music and Caribbean rhythms.

A mixture of martial arts, dance, music and game, capoeira was brought to Brazil by African slaves, mainly from Portuguese Angola. Distinguished by vivacious complicated movements and accompanying music, it can be seen and practised in many Brazilian cities. Candomble and Umbanda are religions with African roots that have survived prejudice and persecution and still have a significant following in Brazil. Their places of the cult are called terreiros and many are open to visitors.

Whereas the “Western” roots of Brazilian culture are largely European, there has been a strong tendency in the last decades to adopt a more “American way of life” which is found in urban culture and architecture, mass media, consumerism and a strongly positive feeling towards technical progress. In spite of that, Brazil and the intellectual elites are likely to look up to Europe, especially France, not the U.S., as a source of inspiration. Many aspects of Brazilian society, such as the educational system, are inspired by the French.

In general, Brazilians are fun-loving people. Some may even tell you that beer, football, samba and barbecue is all they could crave for.


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