Occupying more than half of South America, Brazil is the largest country on the continent (and the fifth most populous nation in the world). Home to the Amazon Rainforest and some of the world’s most celebrated beaches like Copacabana, Brazil is renowned for its natural attractions. However, the nation is also incredibly diverse and features renowned cultural and historic attractions too. When it comes to traveling, the country offers something for every kind of interest whether it’s the cuisine, the flora and fauna, the rich culture, or–yes–the dazzling beaches and world-class resorts.
Here, we’ll explore some of Brazil’s most interesting facts, helping people get to know this vast nation better. If you’re considering a trip to Brazil, you’ll want to take plenty of time to get to know all that it has to offer so you can plan your ideal holiday in this wonderland of tropical proportions.
National Park Champion
Home to more national parks than any other country in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil is rich in pristine tracts of postcard-worthy landscapes. Brazil features a whopping 72 national parks that brim with incredible biodiversity, dynamic landforms, and untamed watercourses. Some of the country’s most celebrated national parks include:
Amazonia National Park
Located in the state of Para, Amazonia National Park features an incredibly diverse habitat within its 3,300 square-mile radius. The park is located between the cities of Manaus and Belem. The Trans-Amazonian Highway runs through the park, making it more easily accessible than more remote areas of the Amazon Rainforest. Read more: What to Expect on an Amazon River Cruise – Life on the River
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Iguazu National Park
Located in the state of Parana, Iguazu National Park is home to the celebrated waterfalls of the same name. The falls are also partly located in Argentina. While the falls are the most celebrated attraction of this national park, there are plenty of hiking trails where visitors can admire the pristine landscapes and maybe even catch a glimpse of animal residents like the giant anteater and giant otter. Check out 11 Fun and Unexpected Things to do in Iguazu Falls
Other must-see national parks in this South American country include:
Itatiaia National ParkPantanal Matogrossense National ParkCabo Orange National ParkFernando de Noronha National ParkChapada Diamantina National ParkFuma Feia National ParkJau National ParkTijuca National Park
Hosts of the World’s Largest Carnival
With roughly six million participants, Brazil’s Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro is one of the country’s most highly anticipated events of the year. The festival takes place on the Friday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Christian practice known as Lent. The festival is marked by street-wide celebrations filled with ornate parade floats and people dressed in elaborate costumes. Rio’s first Carnival was held in 1723. Today, this party attracts attendees from all over the world.
Population and Size
Do you know how we told you above that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with a landmass of 8.516 million km²? Well, it also holds the title of the largest country in Latin America and the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere. And not only that, it is the 6th largest population in the world with 213,993,437 people. (it was previously the 5th largest, but that has now gone to Pakistan. It is so large that it borders nearly all the countries in South America except for Chile and Ecuador. So, Brazil is all-around one very large country.
4,655 Miles of Coastline
No other nation on earth can boast as much continuous coastline as Brazil. The nation’s coast is dotted with world-class cities like Rio de Janeiro as well as picturesque towns like Barra da Lagoa. Of course, tourists are wild about Brazil’s Atlantic coast because of its world-famous beaches and wide range of activities to enjoy there like surfing, snorkeling, and sailing. If you’re looking forward to a beach holiday, you’ll want to consider visiting some of Brazil’s best-loved beaches such as:
Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro)Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro)Lagoa de Conceicao (Florianopolis)Porto de Galinhas Beach (Porto de Galinhas)Praia do Sancho (Fernando de Noronha)Lopes Mendes Beach (Ilha Grande)Praia do Espelho (Trancoso, Bahia)
Four Million Plant and Animals Species
Brazil has roughly 15-20% of the world’s biodiversity–so far! That’s because every year, as many as 700 new plant and animal species are discovered. Regarded as a ‘megadiverse’ country, Brazil features about 4,000 plant species, 9,000 vertebrates, and 120,000 invertebrates. The country boasts many famous animal ambassadors that include the:
Pink dolphinCapybaraManed wolfPiranhaCapuchinToco ToucanThree-toed slothPoison dart frogJaguar
Some of the country’s most celebrated plants include:
Rubber treeCocoa treeStrangler figGiant water lilyLupuna
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Brazil is home to 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that attract tourists from all over the globe. These sites are protected and attract many tourists. Some are more accessible than others, but each is well-worth visiting if you can get there. Some of the country’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites include:
Iguacu Falls (the largest falls in the world)Pantanal Conservation AreaBrazilian Atlantic Islands Central Amazon Conservation ComplexValongo Wharf Archaeological SiteJesuit Missions of the GuaranisDiscovery Coast Atlantic Forest ReservesSerra de Capivara National Park
60% of the Amazon Rainforest Is in Brazil
The Amazon River and surrounding rainforest flows through northern South America, but two-thirds of it is located in Brazil. The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on the planet. The river itself is the world’s largest in terms of water volume and second-longest after the Nile River. It’s thought that the rainforest features roughly 390 billion trees represented by about 16,000 tree species. Exploring the rainforest is not ideal for all tourists as the terrain is rough. However, many people enlist guides and travel along the river to marvel at the diverse flora and fauna of the surrounding rainforest. Read more about the Amazon at Surprising and Fun Facts About the Amazon River
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s Melting Pot of Culture
The second-largest city in Brazil after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro is a popular Brazilian attraction in its own right thanks to its world-famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, iconic natural landmarks like the peak of Sugar Loaf, and man-made landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue that perches above the city. In addition to its beaches, visitors to the city enjoy Rio attractions such as:
Copacabana Palace (landmark hotel)Tijuca National ParkBotanical GardenSao Bento (church and monastery)Maracana (stadium)Municipal theaterCatedral de Sao Sebastiao
Land of Emeralds
Brazil is home to a wealth of natural resources, but emeralds are among its most sparkling! Beginning in the 1970s, Brazil has provided the world with a steady flow of emeralds, especially from the state of Minas Gerais. Gem mining is a large industry in many of Brazil’s states. While nearby Colombia has achieved greater fame for its emeralds, Brazil has unearthed many large emeralds with quality that rivals those found in Colombia. Additionally, Brazil is home to many gemstone deposits, including opal, tourmaline, imperial topaz, citrine, amethyst, aquamarine, and even diamonds.
Coffee Goodness: World’s Top Producer of Bliss in a Cup
If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s a good chance you’ve tasted Brazil’s coffee. The nation is the world’s top coffee producer. The state of Minas Gerais produces more coffee than any other Brazilian state and is known for its richly flavored Arabica coffee beans. Some of Brazil’s chief coffee plantations feature tours. You may want to plan a Minas Gerais coffee tour or visit some of Brazil’s most celebrate coffee houses and cafes such as:
Beluga Cafe (Old Sao Paulo)Confeitaria Colombo (Rio)Casa Cave (Rio)Cafe do Mercado (Curitiba)Cafe Kahlua (Belo Horizonte)Cafelier (Salvador)
Home to Queimada Grande Island: Lair of Snakes
Although you generally have to be a biologist and obtain approval to step foot here, Queimada Grande Island is a unique Brazilian attraction, and possibly the most deadly destination in the world. The island is a veritable lair of venomous snakes. In fact, it features the highest concentration of deadly snakes such as golden lancehead vipers. Though critically endangered, these snakes contain a venom that’s so dangerous it can actually melt human flesh. Queimada Grande Island is an Atlantic island administered by Sao Paulo. It’s small–only about 106 acres, but it’s got a big reputation as a terrifying lair of snakes.
Home to Iconic Wonders and Landmarks
Brazil is home to many natural wonders, but that’s not all. As mentioned, the Christ the Redeemer Statue, located in Rio de Janeiro, is possibly one of the country’s most famous (and has been listed as one of the 7 Modern Marvels of the World), but there are many other man-made attractions and landmarks you may wish to visit during your Brazilian trip such as:
City in the Rainforest: Manaus
Most visitors to the Amazon Rainforest only expect to find dense forest teeming with orchids, bromeliads, monkeys, snakes, and insects, but within the heart of the rainforest is a city of about two million people–Manaus. The city of Manaus is the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. It is home to many attractions such as its municipal theater, an opera house, a cathedral, botanical and zoological gardens, and the world-renowned Institute of Amazonian Research. The city has hosted World Cup events as well as some events of the 2016 Olympics.
Brazil beckons travelers from around the globe to enjoy its enchanting landscapes, waterways, and dynamic cities. Whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, dance, sport, culture, or relaxation, you’ll find it in Brazil. Use these facts to help you plan your travel itinerary.
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