Rio de Janeiro
No trip to Brazil would be complete without visiting the charismatic city, Rio de Janeiro, with its golden beaches and mountain range swathed in verdant forestry. Arguably Brazil’s most iconic sight is the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain, a colossal sculpture honed from concrete and soapstone. Visitors can cycle along the beachfront to the Botanical Gardens or take a cable-car ride to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. A perfect day might end with a spot of dancing at one of the many Samba Schools, before sipping chilled Caiprinhas in one of the city’s funky café bars.
Covering a range of 210,000km2, twenty times the size of the Florida Everglades, The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland. With less than half located in Bolivia and Paraguay, the majority of this natural playground lies in Brazil. The vast freshwater wetland hosts a formidable diversity of flora, fauna, aquatic plants and varied ecosystems and it is home to numerous rare and endangered species, such as the Giant River Otter, along with jaguars, capybaras, caimans and Capuchin Monkeys. There are ample opportunities to spot wildlife here, due to the largely flat open plains that offer few hiding places for animals.
Once the magnificent capital of Portugal’s great New World colony, Salvador is a complex fusion of European and African cultures. The city offers an intriguing blend of the historic and contemporary, exemplified by its Baroque churches and colonial buildings. Colonial echoes abound at Pelourinho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site set on a ridge above the ocean, where capoeira circles form on plazas as night falls. Salvador is the country’s musical and cultural centre, and the place where Brazilians come to party all year round.
Selected in 2011 as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Iguazu Falls is nearly twice as tall as Niagara and is dwarfed only by Victoria Falls as the world’s tallest waterfall. The expansive UNESCO World Heritage Site spans 2.5 kilometres and has a total of 250 dizzying cascades. Devil's Throat is the most imposing, dropping more than 80 metres into a misty abyss. The lush, subtropical national parks surrounding the area boast abundant wildlife, flora and fauna.
Sao Paulo is Brazil’s economic centre and most cosmopolitan city. Perhaps unfairly, it is widely regarded as a sprawling mass of urban high-rise buildings, but the city’s numerous urban attractions compensate for any lack of natural beauty. Sao Paulo hosts a vibrant carnival every February, when the streets pulse with partygoers, bands and colourful costumes. It has a burgeoning foodie scene, exemplified by the ornate Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo. Opened in 1933, with stained-glass windows, domes and a Belle Epoque facade, this building houses three-hundred food stalls, spilling over with vibrantly coloured vegetables, meat, fish, sweets and spices.
Nestled picturesquely on UNESCO-protected shores, Trancoso, a tiny former fishing village, has a delightfully tranquil vibe. Visitors are warmly welcomed as they mingle with the locals, who congregate to chat in the town square. It’s a car-free zone, creating a charming, nostalgic and family-friendly ambience. Either side of the square are casual bars and rustic restaurants, offset against a pathway to the beautiful beach, which in summer is the venue for lively Full Moon parties and has been labelled Brazil best ‘secret’ beach destination.
Offering journeys of a lifetime at the confluence of the Amazon and Rio Negro, Amazon Clipper sails serenely over the junction of two of the world's largest rivers. Owing to each river's different temperature, speed and density, the inky black hue of the Rio Negro and the sandy coloured water of the Amazon can be witnessed bumping alongside each other for around six miles, creating a truly unique photo opportunity.
This four-day February fiesta is arguably the world’s most renowned street party, with its colourful, dusk-till-dawn samba parades, glitzy carnival balls and outrageous pageantry. The Magic Ball at Copacabana Palace Hotel, the most exclusive and luxurious ball in the Rio Carnival calendar, oozes glamour and sophistication and tickets are like gold dust.
Abismo de Anhumas
Twenty kilometres from the pretty town of Bonito, Abismo de Anhumas is a 72-metre-deep abyss, featuring an underground lake and ethereal stalactite formations. It's possible to rappel down into the lake with a little training, which must be done at Bonito's training centre the day before the visit. Currently, only eighteen visitors per day are permitted to make their way into the abyss, so pre-booking is essential.
British Airways direct from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
From London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro: 11 hours, 50 minutes. London Heathrow to Sao Paulo: 11 hours, 40 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil