In summer of 2013, I turned on The X Games to get my fix of extreme action sports and was completely astonished at what I saw. Instead of seeing a BMX player flipping around the screen, I was greeted with a breathtaking landscape. They were just returning from a commercial break, and to set the scene, the camera was panning over the most amazing waterfalls I’d ever seen – Iguazu Falls. I immediately knew I had to see this wonder in person, and seven months later, I was gazing up at the falls in total admiration. My trip was short, only a week and a half, but it was long enough for me to fall head over heels in love with the country. Here’s why I loved Brazil so much:
1. The beaches. With the #1 beach in the world, according to the 2014 TripAdvisor Awards, and with three beaches in the top 25, Brazil is known for having long stretches of gorgeous surf and golden sands. After visiting, I’d put Brazil right up there with Australia for having the best beaches in the world.
2. The active lifestyle. Something I noticed while relaxing on the beach is that everyone plays sports. To my left was a group of guys playing football (soccer), to my right was a personal training session, behind me was a game of beach volleyball, and in front of me were surfers shredding about. Not a bad lifestyle, eh?
3. You can party all night long. A typical Brazilian party schedule involves going out around 1am and staying out til 7. Their parties are craaaazy and legitimately last all night long! (I wouldn’t recommend going too all-out if you want to do anything the next day, but at least the option is available, unlike LA where everything closes at 2am).
4. Great weather. Granted, I went during their summer, but it’s pretty tropical or temperate around the country year-round. I happened to be there during rainy season, but it generally just rained a bit every day and cleared up, so it didn’t mess too much with plans. As long as it’s nice enough to go to the beach everyday, fine by me!
5. The spirit. I thought my university had the most spirit I’d ever see… I was wrong. Brazilians have the most pride, both for their country, and for their sports teams within Brazil, that I’ve ever witnessed. I attended a football match (not even an important one), and the fans were cheering, singing, and dancing from about an hour before the match, straight through halftime, all the way to the very last second. Never have I seen such a passionate crowd!
6. The friendly people. While I can’t generalize all Brazilians, every Brazilian that I meet is genuinely warm and welcoming. They all greet with hugs and kisses on the cheek, and they love being social. I instantly feel like I’ve been friends with them for years! As an added bonus, they’re not bad too look at either ;)
7. The breathtaking landscapes. Aside from the beaches, Brazil has stunning landscapes of every type. Whether you prefer scenery of mountains, or forests, or waterfalls, or cities, you’ll be amazed at some of the views you witness.
8. The delicious food and drinks. Since buffet style pay-by-kilo meals are very common, I got to try heaps of different foods, and all were very fresh and delicious. The most memorable were Churrasco (meat sliced off skewers), açaí bowls, coconut water (out of the coconut), and caipirinhas (national drink: cachaça, sugar cane alcohol, and muddled lime). Oh, and pão de queijo (pow-dee-kay-sho), the cheesy bread balls!
9. The events. Brazil hosts huge festive celebrations and is widely known for some of its annual events. Carnival, Parintins, and New Years Eve in Copacabana are some of the biggest, but this year Brazil is also hosting the World Cup, and will be hosting the Olympics in 2015. While I didn’t attend one of the massive events, I did attend one of the Lapa Street Parties (they’re held every Friday), where streets were closed down and thousands of people flocked to eat street food, drink caipirinhas, and dance at one of the many bars or clubs – or just in the street. Hard to believe that happens weekly.
At the end of the day, the main factor for any good trip is having fun. And Brazil certainly isn’t short of fun. It found its way quickly into my heart, and I’m sure it will in yours too.
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌