Sun, sea and samba.
Stretching from the Andes to the Atlantic, Brazil contains most of the Amazon, some of South America’s most spectacular beaches, the largest wetland in the world (the Pantanal), and the mighty Iguaçu Falls, which thunder over an imposing horseshoe precipice.
Portuguese, African and Brazilian influences are all on display in sultry Salvador. Brazil’s second city is also the gateway to the beaches of Bahia, including those of Trancoso, widely regarded as the best in Brazil.
Trancoso is a bohemian beachside paradise, with fishermen’s cottages in all colours of the rainbow and a sun-blanched, UNESCO-listed town square – the Quadrado – atop a cliff overlooking the sea. This is where Hollywood stars and Brazilian models slip away to on holiday. Just remember that prices can sky-rocket over Carnival and Réveillon and that bookings at these times often need to be made many months in advance.
Then of course there’s Rio, home to the outstretched arms of Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
West of Rio lies the Costa Verde and the mountain-backed town of beguiling Paraty. Known for its exceptional colonial architecture, Paraty’s historic district is a joy to explore, with cobblestone streets winding between whitewashed buildings and beautiful baroque churches, and a wonderful array of shops, galleries and restaurants to uncover.
The town sits on the edge of a huge bay that’s backed by emerald rainforest and studded with tiny islets and scores of secret beaches. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, where houses are often only reachable by boat – perfect if you’re looking for some down time out the rat race.
Price Guide: From BR$2,000 to BR$2,500 per night
Sleeps: 6 + 2
Price Guide: From BR$2,100 per night
Price Guide: From BR$6,900 to BR$28,000 per night
Price Guide: From BR$13,000 to BR$17,000 per night
Sleeps: 10 + 4
Price Guide: From BR$20,000 to BR$100,000 per night
Price Guide: On request