Brazil is getting a lot of attention as the host country of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In honour of the World Cup, here are the top sites to visit in each Brazilian host city.
Soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from) is an awesome sport, and between June 12 and July 13 there will be games all over Brazil. There are 12 cities hosting games and the energy in the streets will be electric with soccer fever. If you’re looking for something to do between soccer games, I’ve compiled a list of things to do in each of the host cities.
Manaus is the capital of the Northern state Amazonas and situated next to the Amazon rain forest. Because of its proximity to the forest, the surrounding wildlife and natural beauty are a huge attraction. One of the most popular attractions is the Meeting of the Waters. Taking a tour boat out, you can ride along the waves of the Negro and Solimoes Rivers simultaneously. Negro River is composed of dark, almost black water, while the Solimoes is brown muddy water; both rivers meet and run side by side for about 6 km without mixing. A really cool natural phenomenon!
Next to the Atlantic Ocean, this city boasts some nice beaches and the largest water park in Latin America. Beach Park is made up of resorts, restaurants, and the water park, which has multiple family attractions and extreme attractions like the Insano, a water slide that once held the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Tallest Water Slide.”
Do you love nuts? Natal has the largest cashew tree in the world, which is nearly two acres in size! Another surprising fact, the cashew nut is actually a seed from the cashew fruit also known as the cashew apple. The fruit is sweet and soft and actually contains more vitamin C than an orange!
Nicknamed the Brazilian Venice because of its many canals, rivers, bridges and one way streets found in the city centre, this city has a European feel and is considered the cultural centre of Brazil. It offers a choice of 25 museums, 38 art galleries, 2 orchestra houses, 15 theatres, 1 opera house and more than 40 movie theatres to visit.
The Historic Centre of Salvador is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with historical monuments dating as far back as the 17th century. But don’t worry if you’re not too interested in the architecture; mixed in with the century old churches and monuments, you will find a cool open air shopping mall full of modern bars, restaurants and boutiques.
Ciuaba is known as the Southern Gate to the Amazon, and houses part of the Pantanal – the world’s largest wetland. A boat or horseback tour of this wetland area is a great way to see the natural inhabitants of the area like macaws, Capybaras, anacondas, peccaries, otters and, if you’re really lucky, the Jaguar.
The planned capital of Brazil has many important, historical buildings such as the National Congress and the official residence of the President, but I think the most fascinating structure is The Cathedral of Brasilia. The architecture of the building is beautiful with it’s almost floor to ceiling stained-glass roof; the building is a piece of art in itself.
Get the perfect view of the city with a trip to the tower of the Torre Alta Vila. The Sky Lounge offers a panoramic view of the city and beyond. On a clear day you can take in the awesome views all the way to the mountains of Minas Gerais.
A great place for the foodie in you! Visit the Mercado Municipal market which specializes in fresh produce and dried goods. If you are an Anthony Bourdain fan, you may recognize this place as the market he visited during to taste the famous mortadella sandwich from Bar do Mane.
Along with the annual carnival, Rio is known for Sugarloaf Mountain and the glass-walled cable car rides. This is a popular attraction that consists of two cable car rides that are around 3 minutes each. The rides provide great views of downtown Rio, Guanabara Bay and God’s Finger among other attractions.
Create your own travel adventure with the Linha Tourismo, a hop on-hop off tourist bus that takes you around the city and lets you on and off to see the most popular city attractions. Considered one of the best in the country, this tour bus stops at 25 locations and you can choose your top 5 to enjoy.
End your day at Lake Guaiba, known for its spectacular views of the sun set. Take your pick from viewing the sun set on a boat or while taking a stroll along the water with a churro in your hand. The sun sets quickly, usually lasting about 5 minutes, so make sure you’re in place to enjoy the full thing.
Brazil is such a beautiful country! If you ever get chance to visit Brazil, this can be your checklist.
Sandy is a lover of words and wild things. She is a constant student of the world, learning as much as she can both inside and out of the classroom. Her goal is to see as much of the world as possible and share her adventures with you.
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