The tiny cobble and whitewash gold-mining towns of Goias and Minas Gerais contrast with the busy metropolises of Sao Paulo, Salvador and Recife, which offer the most exciting and surprising urban culture in Latin America. And then there’s Rio - the jewel in the country’s urban crown, romantic Rio; with its bays and islands, boulder mountains, beaches and beautiful people.
But best of all there are the Brazilians, in all their joyful diversity. Portugal, France, Ireland, Holland, and Britain all laid claims here and left their cultures to mingle with the indigenous inhabitants; Brazil is home to the greatest numbers of Africans, Arabs and Japanese in the Americas, and bierfests, sushi, bauhaus, rock music and rodeos are as much a part of the culture as bossa nova and football. As yet, the country is undiscovered beyond the cliches, but Brazil is becoming big news – with a World Cup to host in 2014 and an Olympics two years later; so visit before Brazil becomes yet another destination on the exotic travel circuit, and have it all to yourself; and the local people.