Brazil is the largest country in South America and shares borders with every country in this southern continent other than Chile and Ecuador. It is the fifth largest country in the world and the only Portuguese speaking country in the Americas.
The Amazonian rainforest and the Pampas between them cover the vast majority of this geographically diverse country, with its plains, hills, highlands, mountains and scrubland, and of course, the second longest river in the world, the mighty Amazon.
When the visitor thinks of Brazil, the most endearing picture is that of the huge statue of Cristo Redentore (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro, gazing out for all eternity across the bay of Guanabara, an inlet on the Atlantic coast close to the Tropic of Cancer.
The best time to visit this vast country is in the summer months, from December to March, and it is at this time, 40 days before Lent, that the world-renowned Carnival is held. Three day of a hectic, breathtaking rollercoaster ride of noise, spectacle, smells and an absolutely unbelievable riot of colour. All the senses are assaulted in the most unforgettable way as the biggest carnival on earth erupts and flows around the city, and draws even the most reluctant participant into its heart. Truly a memory that will never fade.
One of the most unusual sights is in Brasília, and is that of the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida, a most striking, modern piece of architecture completed and dedicated in 1970.
The last word on Brazil has to belong to the world-famous beaches at Ipanema and its rival the Copacabana beach; the visitor will find up-market shopping, luxury hotels, a vibrant night-life, and excellent restaurants, as well as many cultural centres, and the best thing is that they are all within walking distance of the beaches.