Long known for its white powdery sandy bikini-filled beaches, lush rainforests and colorful nightlife (where every day is a carnival), Brazil is the one place where you can spend a day viewing masterpieces in the museum by morning, monkeys and whale watching in the afternoon and sipping a caipirinha (national cocktail) and dancing the samba at night. A country of contrasts, the South American country boasts the best of biodiversity with the greatest collection of flora and fauna in the world while cosmopolitan pursuits range include shopping and museums.
While Rio is no longer the country’s capital, it still has all the sophistication of a major metropolitan city. As the home of the celebrated Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro and some of the world’s best beaches, be sure to experience the unique spirit that is solely Rio.
Take in the Views from Christ the Redeemer
One of the world’s most famous statues known as O Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) oversees the city of Rio atop the summit of Corcovado (also referred to as Hunchback Mountain). With its arms outstretched, the imposing concrete and soapstone statue is also the largest Art-Deco style statue in the world. Designed by French Sculptor Paul Landowsky in 1931, take the scenic train up the mountain for some of the best views of the city.
And Take in the Views at Sugarloaf Mountain
Named for its uncanny resemblance to a bag of sugar, Sugarloaf Mountain competes with Christ the Redeemer as the city’s iconic landmark symbol. Situated on the Guanabara Bay in Urca, stunning views, an interactive museum and lunch with a view will be your reward once you reach the top via hiking or taking a cable car.
Copacabana and Ipanema
The neighborhood and beach of Copacabana first rose to prominence in the 1920s when it became a hot spot for international jet setters and today still remains a popular beach for sun gods. Ipanema (made famous by Antõnio Carlos Jobim’s sixties anthem Girl From Ipanema) is lined with beachfront hotels and bars, luxury storefronts and the place to see and be seen.
Founded in 1948, the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) houses the best in Brazilian and international art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Be sure to check out the Modernist gardens designed by landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx. The museum is located in the heart of Rio’s Flamengo Park in an impressive building designed by architect Raimundo Castro Maia.
Monkeys and Toucans Oh My
Considered one of the world’s best botanical gardens, Jardim Botânico was commissioned in 1808 by Prince Dom João VI and his son. Filled with over 9,000 plant species, the 340-hectare is a garden lover’s dream. And if you visit in the morning, you might catch an occasional monkey or toucan on the grounds.
Home to 20 million people, the lively metropolis of São Paulo is an intriguing multicultural mix of 24/7 clubs, food scene, art and cinema, modern architecture and culture. As Brazil’s most populated city and major financial center, the trendsetting metropolis is also the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world.
Visit a Neo-Gothic Cathedral
São Paulo Cathedral (also known as Catredal da Se São Paulo) is the city’s largest and located in the center of the city. Attend a daily mass and you will see symbols of Brazil etched in the walls (everything from coffee beans to flora) and the incredible marble interiors and stain glass windows will not disappoint.
For the Love of the Game
Soccer aficionados will no doubt enjoy the Museu do Futebol (Football Museum) that celebrates the history of this international phenomenon. Fans can view memorabilia such as pennants, posters and videos of the game and its superstars and if you are a novice to the sport, perhaps you will gain a new appreciation after a visit.
Enjoy a tour of the city’s landmarks via a Regent Seven Seas Cruises excursion “The Best of São Paulo.” Ipiranga monument, Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, the Municipal Theater, Pioneer’s Monument and the Metropolitan Cathedral are a few of the featured historical sites along with a scenic sightseeing drive of the city and its environs.
The city’s famed Avenida Paulista houses the Museu de Art de São Paulo where the building’s bold red stripe signifies its location. Collections from a staggering list of who’s who – Renior, Degas, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Picasso – are showcased along with one of the largest collections of Western Art in Latin America.
Built in the early 1900’s, the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo is thought to be the country’s cultural, historical and architectural icon. Modeled after the Palais Garnier in Paris, the building is a mix of Baroque, neoclassical and Renaissance styles and features a variety of performances such as ballet, symphony and opera. Luminaries from Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso to Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov have performed here.
Get to know Rio De Janeiro, São Paulo, and other South American cities with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. See Voyages