Best of Brazil
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THE World Cup is just around the corner and this year, it will be held in the Land of Samba where football is a favourite sport.
If you are in Brazil during the event, be sure to check out some of TripAdvisor’s best-rated lodgings, restaurants and attractions in the cities that will play host to the Cup.
Famed for being so hot that you can even fry eggs on the pavement, Cuiaba is the gateway to the tropical wetlands at Pantanal and Chapada dos Guimaraes national park. Gran Odara Hotel is well-equipped with a cocktail bar, sauna and a gym. For a more modest option, Pousada Ecoverde is a homely hostel with a 24 hour reception. Mahalo has a reputation for excellent regional cuisine that comes with a fantastic ambiance. If you’re craving for a slice of history, elaborate architecture and a respite from the heat, visit Our Lady of Rosario and Sao Benedito Church.
The nation’s capital, Brasilia is built on tropical savannah and is home to many world-renowned architectural sights. For art lovers, Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre is the place to go to in Brasilia. For leisure travellers, Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada is a huge, luxury hotel situated beside Paranoa Lake. Alternatively, for those on a budget, you can stay at Hostel 7. Dine at Trio Gastronomia Cozinha de Autor which offers contemporary fine dining in the heart of the city.
It is known for its friendly locals, bohemian atmosphere and vibrant local food scene. Quality Hotel Afonso Pena which is ideally located near the city’s main sights provides quality accommodation. If you’re looking for group accommodation, try the La em Casa Hostel-Pousada and enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. For meat lovers, the La Victoria is famous for its roast meat. Also pay a visit to the Memorial Minas Gerais which showcases the rich history and traditions of the local Minas Gerais region.
Situated in the south of the country, Curitiba has forged a growing reputation as a cultural as well as economic centre. Four Points By Sheraton is a Travellers’ Choice Hotels winner which is highly rated for its customer service situated in the city centre. If you’re travelling in a group, Motter Home Curitiba Hostel makes a great option as it has rooms for up to eight people and a giant lounge area shared with other guests. Italian restaurant Barolo is consistently popular among the locals for its fine variety of wine, tasty pasta and generous portions. Head for the Jardim Botanico de Curitiba which was opened in 1991 and inspired by a crystal palace in London. It is known throughout Brazil for its colourful flowers, ponds, paths and art nouveau greenhouse.
Rio De Janeiro
Rated as one of the world’s best cities in the 2013 Travellers’ Choice Destinations awards, Rio de Janeiro is still the jewel of Brazil. Miramar Hotel by Windsor has a dedicated rooftop swimming pool, gym, sauna and bar enjoying views over the Copacabana beach. Alternatively, you can also try one of the four-themed dorm rooms at the Discovery Hostel. If you feel like treating yourself, Chachambeer is the perfect place to eat and enjoy Brazilian cuisine as it has a good selection of food and beverages. Take a trip up Sugar Loaf Mountain for breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. Recognised as the hallmark of the city, it is surrounded by vegetation and legendary tales that is sure to captivate your mind.
The city of Natal is perched on Brazil’s Atlantic coast and is surrounded by Dune State Park, where you can ride in a buggy over 9m sand dunes. Manary Praia Hotel is a Travellers’ Choice Hotels award-winner in the category of Small Hotels and is situated by Ponta Negra beach. Alternatively, you can rent a beach villa at Pousada Villa Simone. Camaroes Restaurante is a firm favourite with tourists who visit Natal and offers traditional seafood ranging from lobster to locally-sourced serigado. Genipabu’s combination of dunes and calm waters is a must.
Hometown of footballer Ronaldinho and supermodel Gisele Bundchen, Porto Alegre is known for its distinctive multicultural vibe. Deville Porto Alegre Aeroporto is just 800 metres from the airport and only 15 minutes from downtown Porto Alegre, or you can also try the Porto Alegre Hostel Boutique for a more affordable and chic option. Dine at Xavier260, a beautiful small restaurant that is highly recommended for its unique Catalan cuisine that uses authentic Brazilian ingredients. For fans of science, technology or dinosaurs, the PUCRS Science and Technology Museum is the place you want to be, with over 700 interactive displays and an impressive planetarium.
Beaches are the top draw in Fortaleza, which was recently named among the world’s top 10 Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise award winners. For accommodation within easy distance of the beach, consider Hotel Gran Marquise. Alternatively, for budget comfort, Hotel Pousada Villa Marina offers some of the best value rooms in the city. If you are looking for a feast, Coco Bambu Frutos Do Mar offers fresh seafood from the Atlantic. Take a scenic drive through the labyrinths at Morro Branco and explore its multiple canyons that boast multi-colour sands.
Brazil’s third largest city, Recife’s tropical temperatures and world renowned beaches have made it a popular draw among tourists. Hotel Atlante Plaza is located near the Boa Viagem Square and offers a marvellous view of the city. If you are travelling in a group, the Piratas da Praia Hostel-Albergue offers good value rooms. Located in one of the most traditional neighbourhoods of Recife, Leite is Brazil’s oldest restaurant that offers a splash of history and grandeur. Instituto Ricardo Brennand is placed second among Brazil’s museums in the 2013 Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards and has enough exhibits to occupy a full day’s visit.
Surrounded by rainforest, Manaus is located in the heart of the Amazon at the point where the Negro and Solimoes rivers meet. If you prefer a familiar hotel chain, you can stay at Holiday Inn Manaus or opt for Big Hostel Brasil if you’re travelling in a large group on a budget. Banzeiro excels in traditional Brazilian cuisine that is infused with a unique touch of French flavour and boasts a comfortable and cosy atmosphere. It features operas and other artistic performances.
Also known as the Capital of Happiness, Salvador is known for its stunning northern beaches, dense tropical forests and traditional Brazilian cuisine. AramYami Hotel is located only five minutes from some of the best beaches in the city and is a Travellers’ Choice Hotels award winner in the category of Small Hotels and Best Service. Alternatively, Hospeda Salvador Family Hostel is a great base for exploring the historic city centre. Boi Preto Grill is a Brazilian restaurant that is popular for its large sumptuous buffet selection. The Sao Francisco Church and Covent is one of the most spectacular churches in the world that is richly adorned with gold on the inside and is located in the historical centre of Salvador.
The largest city in South America, Sao Paulo’s cuisine and culture is as multinational as its diverse population. A Travellers’ Choice Hotels award winner in two categories, Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo offers five star luxury with a panoramic view of the city. Nahu Hostel, on the other hand, is a cheaper option that is close to the city’s main attractions. Sarrasin is a little restaurant that serves a fusion of Brazilian flavours with traditional French cuisine. The Julio Prestes Cultural Centre — Sala Sao Paulo is home of the Symphony Orchestra of the State Sao Paulo and one of the most important houses of concerts and events in the country.
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