Five Not-So-Obvious Things to Love About Brazil

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This post originally appeared on Best Western’s’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.

Iguazu Falls

Living in Miami, I’ve always been exposed to Brazilian culture and their wonderful, laid back perspective on life. Even though World Cup is officially over, Brazil remains a great place to visit and, I must admit, I’ve been quite envious that work and family obligations made it impossible for me to be there for the games.

If you’re still in Brazil or are planning to go anytime soon, you’ve already done the research and know all about the Brazilian beaches and nightlife, but here’s my personal bucket list of things to see or do in Brazil that may not be something you’d find in a typical tour book:

Visit the Iguazu Falls: Whenever I visit a location, I am always in the mood to visit cool waterfalls. One of the world’s best and most famous waterfalls, the Iguazu Falls, straddles the borders of Brazil and Argentina, and is not to be missed. The falls are so large, they apparently make our Niagara Falls seem tiny in comparison. Add in the fact that the Iguazu Falls are located in the midst of Brazil’s colorful and lush rain forests, and this is one extra special treat to be sure and visit.

Hang Glide in Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro is known to be one of the world’s best places to hang glide, therefore toping my bucket list of places to go. The best hang gliding takes place from Rio’s Pedra Bonita, a beautiful mountain towering above the Forest of Tijuca National Park, located just 20 minutes from iPanema.

Visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil’s Version of the Statute of Liberty: Christ the Redeemer, one of the world’s most iconic statues, alongside monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and Michelangelo’s David, is located at the peak of the 2,300-foot Corcovado Mountains that overlook Rio de Janeiro. The statue stands 98 feet tall, not including its 26-foot pedestal, and its arms stretch 92 feet wide. Because it’s so easily accessible by car or tour bus, it is a definite “must see” during any trip to Brazil.

Taste the Brigadeiro: Brazil is home to one of the world’s tastiest treats: the Brigadeiro candy. This tasty candy is made by mixing sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder or powdered chocolate. The mixture is then heated in a pan on the stove to obtain a smooth, sticky texture, finished off by rolling the chocolate into balls which are covered in granulated chocolate. Try the real thing and you’ll see why it is a chocolate lover’s ultimate delight.

Catch a Soccer Match: This may or may not seem obvious, but I can’t imagine visiting New York City without catching a Broadway play. The same is true with Brazil and soccer – you can’t go to Brazil and ignore the happy splendor of its soccer matches. Brazil is teeming with talent (hey, five World Cup championships don’t lie) and it’s almost guaranteed that anywhere you see a game it will be worthwhile. Who knows – you might even be watching the next Pelé in action!

No matter what you end up doing in Brazil, remember that Brazil is located in a lush, tropical region of the earth that is prone to rapid shifts in the weather. Be sure to pack clothing for wet and dry touring to remain comfortable throughout your stay. Enjoy Brazil and bring back some Brigadeiro’s for me!

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