Brazil, home to football, the Samba, the Amazon, gorgeous beaches and tropical hideaways, is rich in culture and vibrancy. The gateway to South America, Brazil thrives off of tourism and offers many exciting cities and towns to visit. The allure of Carnival and other festivals has many travelers already packing, but the history, religion, traditions, and culture of Brazil can be experienced throughout the year and enjoyed by all.

The tropical climate boasts hot days in the bright sun and warm, soothing beachy evenings, making Brazil an ideal destination for year-round travel. For Carlie Fasanella, a recent Hofstra graduate and currently the Executive Assistant to the Head of Development and Production at Busboy Productions, Brazil is one of her top travel choices in the world. Carlie, born in Medellín, Colombia, and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, has yet to return to South America and is eager to make Brazil one of her main destinations.“I love tropical climates,” says Carlie, “and I’ve always wanted to explore parts of the Amazon and lounge on those famous Brazilian beaches.” Fortunately for her, Brazil has more than 1,500 beaches and 500 scenic island paradises to choose from!

Carlie, an adventurous and active person by nature, also lists the Iguaçu Falls as a “must see” during her time in Brazil. “I live in Manhattan, and although I have a nice view of Central Park, I need to be in nature and enjoy its beauty…There is nothing like the Falls, with its tropical allure and majestic power.” The Iguaçu Falls is a series of picturesque and breath-taking waterfalls located on the Iguaçu River, on the border of Brazil and Argentina. With the surrounding lush rainforest as a backdrop, the Iguaçu Falls is a perfect example of Brazilian exotic wildlife.

While in Brazil, Carlie notes that a visit to a traditional Brazilian town would provide a different experience in contrast to the larger cities like São Paulo. Parati (also spelled Paraty) is a popular tourist attraction located along the Green Coast in the Rio de Janeiro state. This beautiful city is a treasure chest of tropical forests, waterfalls, emerald waters and coastal mountains. Once a Portuguese colony, Parati feels stuck in time with cobbled streets, colored colonial houses, and colonial forts with original walls and cannons. Carlie also wants to explore Olinda, another well-preserved colonial city, which is located on the Atlantic Coast in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Situated on a hilltop surrounded by trees, Olinda’s heart of the city is filled with colonial churches, colorful old houses, restaurants, museums, and many artisan studios. “I adore the idea of a colonial city,” gushes Carlie, “it’s so rich with history and I’d love to walk the streets and feel like a resident.”

“Of course, if I do have the opportunity to visit Brazil, I absolutely must see Rio de Janeiro.” Like Carlie, countless tourists dream of the chance to see one of the most animated and exciting cities in the world. Settled in southeastern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in South America because of its famous beaches, mountains, landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue, and of course, the Carnival festival. Rio de Janeiro embodies the electrifying Brazilian culture, with vibrant parades, costumes, dancing, music, fireworks, and street parties that welcome residents and tourists alike. “Brazil is definitely a one-in-a-lifetime adventure. There is so much to see and do, but I know that wherever I go, there is no other place like Brazil in the world.”

CLAUDIA KNUTSSON

Freelance writer