Framed by a landscape of winding reliefs Belo Horizonte seduces by its wide boulevards and amazing architectural ensemble that blends classical French style buildings with the modernism of daring works of the world famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. BH, as the capital of Minas is known, is currently one of the cities with a better quality of life in Latin America, entitled by the United Nations (UN), and became a reference in the country in terms of culture, with several museums, parks and monuments. Besides the excellent food and entertainment options, BH also attracts visitors due to its surroundings: it is a starting point for historical cities of curious colonial architecture, such as Tiradentes, Ouro Preto, Mariana and Sabará. That proximity makes Belo Horizonte an even more attractive destination for those seeking fun, leisure and culture.
Popularly dubbed the “Marvelous City”, Rio de Janeiro is currently the second largest metropolis in the country, and the major tourist destination in Latin America – and it is not hard to understand why. The contrast and at the same time the perfect blend of urban center with the exuberant nature of a rain forest, the sea and mountains turns Rio into an inspiring setting for those seeking natural beauty, leisure and fun. In June 2012 the city received the title of World Heritage Cultural Beauty. Among many other worldwide-renowned tourist attractions, Rio proudly displays the statue of Christ the Redeemer, a symbol of the city, elected one of New Seven Wonders of the World. From the top of Corcovado Mountain, Christ seems to welcome the city and its visitors with His arms wide open. Another must-see tourist spot is the Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf), a huge block of granite that resembles the molds used in the refining of cane sugar in the old days – hence the origin of its name. You can reach the top of the Sugarloaf by means of comfortable cable cars, in two steps of less than five minutes each, stopping at the top of Urca Hill. This cable car system is considered one of the safest in the world. The panoramic view that can be appreciated on a clear day is amazing – and spectacular after sunset, when you can see the glittering city lights everywhere. The warm weather during most of the year makes even more enjoyable a stay in Rio, whether for long walks around Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon or watching the sunset at Arpoador beach or getting a golden tan on the sands of the famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. It is worth reminding that the Rio was the capital of Brazil for a long period, which is why the city boasts a heritage of the country displayed on the architecture of majestic buildings such as the Municipal Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Library and the Church of the Candelária, as well as in the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Teresa. There is no shortage of options for visitors and cariocas to enjoy Rio’s bubbling and informal nightlife – as irresistible as the beaches. Theaters, restaurants, bars, kiosks and live show venues are abundant, always full of joyful, noisy people who gather with friends to eat, drink, dance and have lots of fun – especially in the currently trendiest bohemian point in the heart of Rio: the Lapa zone, under the Arcos da Lapa, a towering aqueduct built in the early eighteenth century. Of course, when you speak of Rio de Janeiro you are also talking about samba and its top expression: the Carnaval (Carnival), which enchants tourists from around the world and from other Brazilian states, featuring an unparalleled spectacle of dance, rhythm, fancy costumes and plenty of joy and emotion.
São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo. It has a population of 12,038,175 inhabitants. In its metropolitan area has a population of 21,893,053 inhabitants, according to data from the 2010 census, considered the first metropolis of America, one of the most populous in the world. It is the main financial center of Brazil. Some sources consider it the best city to do business in Latin America and Brazilians call it as the city that never stops. As an alpha-type global city, São Paulo is one of the most important economic, financial and cultural centers in America and in the world. São Paulo stands out more as a city marked by corporate tourism than leisure tourism, with an excellent and strong hotel network constructed to serve the tourists: its infrastructure allows the city to host 120 of the 160 main expo/fairs in the country. The tourism circulates around R$ 8.3 billion per year in travel, lodging and ground and air transportation. According to the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), São Paulo occupies the first place among the cities that receive international events in America and 12th place in the world. Cultural and leisure tourism also has relevance in the city, especially when one takes into account the many excellent international events such as the Bienal de Artes de São Paulo and the various programs that make their presentations in the capital. São Paulo is the only city in Brazil to host an annual musical festival called “Lollapalooza Brasil”. The city has the best nightlife in the world: 280 cinemas, 120 theaters, 71 museums and 39 cultural centers, some of those targeting the upper classes and others general public. The diversity of people and cultures that were incorporated into the pulse of the city, gave rise to a rich and very different gastronomy, which in itself is a major tourist attraction, with more than 50 types of kitchen.
Santos is a port municipality located in the Metropolitan Region of Baixada Santista, located on the coast of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. With the greater economic participation of this region, it is home to the largest port in Latin America, the main responsible for the economic dynamics of the city alongside tourism, fishing and commerce, occupying the 5th place among the most important non-capital cities for the Brazilian economy And ranked 10th according to quality of life.
Among the main sights of Santos, in addition to its beaches, we can mention the Jardins of the edge of Santos that is the biggest front beach garden in extension of the world. The Santos Aquarium (former Santos Municipal Aquarium), inaugurated in 1945 by then-President Getulio Vargas and expanded in 2006, is the second most visited public park in the state and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Other places of interest are the Museu do Café Brasileiro, the Municipal Orchid Garden, the Chico Mendes Botanical Garden, the Teatro Coliseu Santista, the Andradas Pantheon, Monte Serrat, and Valongo Station. Laje de Santos is a popular place for divers. Among the churches of interest we have the Cathedral of Santos, the Church Santo Antônio do Embaré, and the Church of Valongo.
The Metropolitan Region of Campinas, formed by twenty municipalities of São Paulo, has more than three million inhabitants, forming the tenth largest metropolitan area in Brazil and, together with Greater São Paulo and Baixada Santista, it includes the so-called Complex Metropolitano Expandido, the first macrometrope in the southern hemisphere, which surpasses thirty million inhabitants, approximately 75% of the total population of the state of São Paulo.
Tenth richest city in Brazil, today it is responsible for at least 15% of all national scientific production, being the third largest Brazilian research and development center.
It also has several tourist attractions, with historical, cultural or scientific value, such as museums, parks and theaters. The Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Campinas, founded in 1974, is considered one of the main ones of the country.
Curitiba is the capital of the state of Paraná. According to the estimate made in 2014, its population is of 1,864,416 inhabitants, being the biggest city of the south of Brazil.
Known as a model city, Curitiba is considered one of the best Brazilian cities in urban planning and management, education, environment and transportation, making it ideal for anyone seeking well-being and quality of life. Here the colonial past is still present in the routine of the residents who knew how to preserve the right amount of customs, cuisine and buildings inherited from European ancestors, mostly from Italy, Germany and Poland – a harmonious blend of ethnicities and cultures that tell their story enrich the city and delight all visitors. In 2014, Curitiba will be one of the venues to the World Cup, and with the growing infrastructure of the city, the event already promises success.
The Iguazu Falls were elected one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature, in a competition organized by the Swiss Foundation New7wonders. Hundreds of waterfalls are located at the Iguaçu National Park, declared a Natural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.
The capital Florianópolis has more than 100 beaches, including Praia Mole, popular among young tourists, the famous Joaquina, a surfers paradise, and Jurerê International, that attracts young tourists and has one of the most exciting nightlifes in the country. Summer brings people from different countries in search of diving and surfing Championships all over the coastline. Beaches like Garopaba, Imbituba and Balneário Camboriú are always full from December to March.
Enlightened by a radiant sunshine throughout the year, Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco, is a city proud of its strong regional tradition. Tourists from all over world are attracted by the joy and musicality of its inhabitants who make it a point to preserve their folkloric dances. All through Carnival time, the millions of revelers flocking to the city are taken by the contagious magic of Frevo and Maracatu. At so-called Old Recife, one of the major postcards of Pernambuco, the “badalação” (merry bustle) is constant in the Historic Center, and its architecture reveals the memory of the Dutch rule in the region. On Boa Viagem Beach, the most famous in the city, the tranquility of natural beauty blends perfectly with the bustle of bars and restaurants spread along the entire extension of the coast assuring satisfaction to anyone who visits Recife in search of entertainment and leisure.
A metropolis of joyful and hospitable people where the blue-green sea, gentle wind, and gorgeous invite visitors and locals alike to relax and enjoy the scenery. On the horizon of Mucuripe the white sails cross the sea and complement the bucolic atmosphere of this beach of white sand and lots of coconut trees. On the promenade, where the rafts arrive full of lobsters, the afternoons are even more enjoyable at the pubs and restaurants which offer the typical flavors of the Northeastern cuisine. At sundown, the charming handicraft stalls are opened by the seaside to exhibit and sell the delicate works of lace makers (“rendeiras”) and leather craftsmen, as well as the pieces made of bamboo and straw of carnauba, a gorgeous typical handicraft of the region. Fortaleza is also the starting point for the beaches of Canoa Quebrada and Jericoacoara, which fascinate visitors with their red cliffs, a sea of tepid waters, dunes and palm trees. Truly a wonderful refreshment for the body and soul.
A region of pleasant tropical climate and idyllic landscapes, warm waters, reefs, dunes and cliffs turn the “Cidade do Sol” (City of the Sun), as it is known by tourists and residents, into an inspiring setting. Natal displays one of the most beautiful coastlines in Brazil, with inviting beaches and clear water natural pools. Those who visit this city get stunned at the sight the mountains of sand of the Genipabu dunes, which allow a fun experience esquibunda (ski-ass): people sit on wooden plates and slide down the sides of the dunes directly into the fresh water lagoons. Other activities namely “aerobunda” (aero-buttocks), and the thrilling buggy rides also ensure thorough fun. Even with so many options to enjoy at daytime, the nightlife of Natal can be quite hectic, especially at the lively parties of “forró”, a typically Northeastern rhythm. To eat well, there’s jerked beef, manioc, “paçoca” (mix of peanut, sugar and manioc flour) and “ginga” (tiny fried fish) with “tapioca” which compose part of the varied menu of the traditional cuisine that reflects perfectly the creativity of the “potiguares” (people born in Natal).
In the central plateau, this town of innovative shapes, and impressive architectonic ensemble was created to change the political and economic scene of Brazil. With just over 50 years of existence, the city of Brasilia was planned and built entirely by two great Brazilian names in architecture and urbanism – Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer – with the goal of becoming the seat of the government and capital of the republic. The construction of the city took only three years. Acknowledged as the most important work of urban design in the twentieth century, the city received the title of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Brasilia has an intense night and cultural life throughout the year. Moreover, for those seeking outdoor leisure, the natural riches of places like the City Park, National Park and Lake Paranoá are excellent choices.
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