Friendly locals are one of colourful, tropical Brazil's greatest assets. Meet the people on the sun-kissed beaches of Rio de Janeiro, or learn the fluid dance-martial art of capoeira with them amid the colonial splendour of Salvador. Get up close to Brazil's fauna and flora in the incomparable Amazon or lesser-known Pantanal wetlands.
Brazilians take partying seriously. Whether it's the glittering pre-Lenten spectacle of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro or a group of friends meeting for lime and sugar-cane caipirinhas cocktails in a small Bahian town, you'll always be made welcome. The north of Brazil is mostly uninhabited Amazon jungle, whose great river is best explored on boat trips and lodge visits. Brazil's urban centres are concentrated in the south, including modern architecture's fantasy city, the capital Braslia. Here you'll also find Brazil's business and cultural centre, So Paulo, and the beach city of Rio de Janeiro.
Founded in the 1950s, capital Braslia is a futuristic-looking city that is the architectural brainchild of visionary Oscar Niemeyer. Beaches in Rio de Janeiro are as much for people watching as sunbathing. Keep an eye on it all from the Corcovado, site of the Christ the Redeemer statue. Gaze at masterpieces by Rembrandt or Picasso in the So Paulo Museum of Art. Tuck into So Paulo's varied choice of restaurants from Japanese to Middle Eastern or Portuguese. Then sample some of the renowned nightlife in the continent's biggest city.
The northwest of Brazil is dominated by the enormous Amazon rainforest, through which the chocolate waters of the Amazon River run from jungle capital Manaus out to Belm on the coast. The northeastern serto backland is drier, but its Chapada Diamantina National Park features tabletop mountains, underground caves and azure lakes. The swampy Pantanal is great for spotting tapir, giant otters and monkeys, while the border with Argentina is the site of the spectacular Iguau Falls.