Aracaju, See Map location. Aracaju has a population of 426,581 and is tha capital of Sergipe state. It is located 216 miles from Salvador. It is a port on the Sergipe River near the Atlantic Ocean. Mainly a commercial center, Aracaju has cotton-spinning and weaving industries. It also produces leather, salt, bananas, and chemicals. Limestone is found nearby. The city was founded in 1855, when it replaced São Cristovão as state capital. Aracaju is the site of the Federal Univ. of Sergipe. The city's streets crisscross in a chessboard pattern, and are lined with luxurious houses belonging to the owners of nearby coconut plantations. Aracaju was the bulwark of resistance against the French invasion of Brazil in colonial times.
Belém,See Map location. Belém is the capital of Para, and it sits at the main point of entry to the Amazon River fropm the Atlantic Ocean. In the 19th century Belém was in the midst of the rubber boom. Interesting cultural attractions such as the Ver o Peso market were created and today are a reminder of that time. It is an interesting city because of its location, history, and importance as an economic and commercial center. Most people use this city as a base before voyaging on river cruises up and down the Amazon.
Belo Horizonte, See Map location. Belo Horizonte (pop. Approx. 2.7 million), the first modern Brazilian city to spring from an architect's drawing board, was expressly designed for its role as the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Its wide, landscaped avenues and carefully planned residential suburbs have, however, suffered the impact of the country's high rate of urbanization. Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Its chief manufacturing is steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Gold, manganese, and gem stones of the surrounding region are processed in the city. Belo Horizonte is also a leading cultural center, with three universities, a historical museum, numerous libraries, and sports stadiums. Because of its altitude (850m) the climate is refreshing and cool.
Blumenau, See Map location. Founded in the year 1848 by German immigrants lead by Dr. Hermann Blumenau, the city is recognized as the symbol of German colonization. Today it has a strong economic position that is many faceted and steadily growing. Here the largest textile manufacturer in Latin America and the second largest in the world can be found. All this industrialization has not adversely impacted the quality of life because industry makes a large investment in ecology. Blumenau's economy is one of the best developed in Santa Catarina, primarily furniture, and sports fashions. The municipal government is committed to cooperation with private initiatives through the Kongressbiro, an group which organizes the exhibition of the metal-industry, clothing-industry, and medicine that are produced locally.
Bonito, See Map location. Bonito, a small town of Serra da Bodoquena, is in the middle of a region which is just being discovered because of the unbelievable clear blue quality of its rivers and springs. The abundant limestone in the region makes an enormous filter for all the rivers and streams, removing the sediment and producing water almost magical in its clarity. The region has been careful in handling this large influx of tourism and balancing it against any possible impact on the environment. Bonito is a region rich in caves and waterfalls and presents countless attractions for travelers of all tastes and ages. Gruta do Lago Azul is a calcareous formation, greenish due to the deposit of vegetation, sediments and its Lago Azul (Blue Lake) is 100 m. below the ground (to maintain preservation of the site no swimming in the lake is allowed). However, diving in the Acquario Natural (Natural Aquarium) is a must and is done among enormous aquatic plants and large numbers of multicolored fish, some found only here. Another trip which is a must is touring the Rio Olho D'agua to its end, in the Rio da Prata. Rafting on Rio Formosa provides a touch of adventure to the trip and the opportunity to see the rich vegetation and the fauna on the river banks, encountering monkeys, toucans and macaws.
Brasilia, See Map location. Brasilia was built in the 1950's to be the capital of Brazil. The architecture was planned in a futuristic and modern style by a famous brasilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, with separate areas for industry, hotels, business and leisure. The city was actually built in the shape of an airplane. The city was made to hold 500,000 people. Now, the population is 1,598,000 which has forced most people to live in poor communities outside the city. Brasilia has monuments and museums and is alive at night with many bars, restaurants and night-clubs.
Buzios, See Map location. Just 105 miles from Rio de Janeiro, a pleasant 2-hour trip takes you to the peninsula of Buzios, whose more than 20 magnificent beaches and crystal-clear water contrast with the sculptured landscape and exotic vegetation, which thrives in an endless summer. Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, this mixture of many cultures prospered and became a picturesque fishing village, and was elected one of the 10 most beautiful areas in the world, famous for its unique combination of rustic charm, architectural harmony, incredible beauty and sophisticated boutiques and restaurants. This is the in-place for the discerning traveler in Brazil.
Caldas Novas, See Map location. Caldas Novas is the world capital of hot water springs, where natural mineral water temperatures reach 51 C. The area is surrounded by pleasant lakes, waterfalls, many varieties of birds and a beautiful views of mountain ridges. For the traveler there is the comfort of deluxe hotels, flats for cozy resting, bungalows and camping sites, an airport and complete tourism infrastructure. Caldas Novas is located 160 km from Goiânia and offers the biggest hotel complex in the Central-Eastern area of Brazil. For those who enjoy modern facilities, the local hotels and country clubs offer the most advanced resources, like waterslides, swimming pool, bars, sports activities, etc. Caldas Novas whose population is normally about 65,000 people, welcomes tourists year round. During Carnival, over 300,000 visitors enjoy its attractions.
Camboriu,See Map location. Camboriu Beach is one of Southern Brazil's major tourism hubs. Counting a permanent population of only 70,000 (but growing rapidly) it can reach over a million in the summer when the high temperature can reach 105 F. From all around Brazil and the world people come to enjoy sunny days and lively night life, as well as beaches and sports. The ocean water is lukewarm the year round. Chartered in 1964, this area has quickly become one of Southern Brazil's in resorts because of its beautiful landscape and solid tourism infrastructure. Because of its facilities and fast paced action, Camboriu Beach is the entertainment hub for the gorgeous outlying resorts which can be reached by bus, car or boat. Two of those beach resorts stand out: Porto Belo and Bobinhas, where the sea meets the rough wild coast surrounded by the coastal woods of Mata Atlântica. Camboriu Beach's major event is the New Year's Eve, with fireworks bursting all along its 4 mile shoreline. The mid beach is the most sought-after, but the Southern region, known as Costa Brava (Wild Coast), also draws crowds because of its sheer beauty.
Campo Grande, See Map location. Campo Grande, founded in 1899, became the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul only 20 years ago when Mato Grosso split into two. While here, if time permits, don't miss the fascinating Dom Bosco Museum, which showcases many different animals of the region including countless stuffed birds, ancient fossils, shells, insects and a very large anaconda, known locally as a sucuri. There is a detailed ethnographic section with displays on the various Indian tribes of the area.
Cuiaba, See Map location. Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso State in the Center-West region of Brazil, is very hot and dry. It was founded at the beginning of the 18th century by explorers in search of gold. Another gold rush, this time in the 1980s, saw thousands of people migrate to Cuiabá to try to find gold. This is the gateway to Northern Pantanal with the best fishing in Brasil. A good range of hotels, pousadas and resorts are available.
Curitiba, See Map location. Curitiba (population 1,700,000 ) is the Capital of the state of Paraná, situated in the south of Brazil next to the seacoast mountain ridge. It has a rich colonization history which began in the 17th century. The city is extremely pleasant all around with good weather and 4 defined seasons. Above all it is very friendly, in fact comfortable for the traveler. A curios combination of natural scenic surroundings and the busy metropolitan life seem to coexist without clashing. People here live a slightly different life style from other Brazilian state capitals. They enjoy an increasing quality of life that began a few decades ago. Getting around is quick and safe via the unique "Speedy Bus", that uses bus tube stop. This unique service provides comfort and speed on the surface without the high costs of an subway or metro. During the 1970's, Curitiba protected and refurbished the historic buildings within the historic sector. Together with museums, cinemas and theatres like the Guaíra and Paiol, an integrated effort for cultural revival was started. They also created pedestrian only streets like the famous Flowers Street - the central avenue of the downtown became the first pedestrian street in the country as a meeting and leisure point. On Saturdays the pedestrian areas are entertained by street performers. The creation of parks and the preservation of woods guaranteed to maintain the quality of life were also created. Because of its accomplishments Curitiba deserves its title of ecological capital of Brazil.
Fernando de Noronha, See Map location. Fernando de Noronha is an island off the north-east coast of Brazil. The island and the surrounding sea are part of a National Park and only a limited number of people are allowed on the island at one time. Apart from the stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and clear waters there is also a large variety of underwater life, including very unique and colorful reef fish and even large groups of dolphins. The island itself is home to many species of birds. In general, the beaches found on the protected side of the main island are ideal for diving and swimming during the months of April through November, due to the extremely calm sea. During the rest of the year, the changing conditions of the sea favor the sport of surfing, especially during January and February. For the traveler there are incredible beaches and an opportunity to explore the surrounding waters by snorkle or scuba. There is a hotel on the island and a few Pousadas (small family run Inns). They are all simple but comfortable.
Florianopolis, See Map location. Florinapolis is the capital of the region and the biggest island in Santa Catarina State. It is about 31 miles long and 11 miles wide at its widest. No slouch when it comes to development and tourist infrastructure, Florianopolis has 42 beaches, an international airport, various hotel chains, many restaurants and bars and particularly friendly natives. It has a number of paved roads, dunes, rivers, and streams. In the heart of the island there is a large lake, Lagoa da Conceição. Throughout out the island one can buy handicrafts especially baskets from straw and wicker, as well as ceramics. Sundays there is a craft market on the Praça XV de Novembro. Worth a visit too the center. Brazil is beaches and Florinapolis is a great choice for sun, sand and surf.
Fortaleza, See Map location. Fortaleza, five hundred miles northwest of Recife it is the capital of Ceará State, was founded in 1611. Currently with a population of 1,766,000 it became the capital of Ceará in 1810. Few places present as many attractions,both natural and cultural, as does Fortaleza. Located only two degrees south of the equator, this authentic tropical paradise welcomes thousands of visitors every year who are fascinated with the wide beaches, the sea of warm green waters, the brightness, the historical monuments, the handicrafts, and the local customs and traditions. It is a large, modern city where bold new architecture contrasts with beautiful beaches and tall coconut palms. A good range of hotels, pousadas and resorts are available. On the beaches, visitors can see local fishermen who take to the sea in their rugged "jangadas" (crude sailing rafts traditionally used for fishing in the region). Thier daily struggle against the wind and waves is a fascinating sight.
Gramado, See Map location. Gramado is 80 miles north of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state. This area is temperate, though it can get hot during the summer and drop slightly below freezing in winter. It even snows! The city displays a distinctive northern European ethnic cultural heritage derived from settlers from that area. The annual "Chocofest", chocolate festival is held in March and the week long Gramado film festival occurs in August. The city's Festival of Flowers begins in late September and runs through Columbus Day. This city has a good selection of hotels at all prices.
Iguassu also Iguacu, See Map location. Iguassu Falls is both a city and an incredible attraction itself. It is located in the state of Parana at the junction of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. For those seeking a place of natural beauty, the falls and surrounding forests and streams can not be beat. The Iguazu Falls are an unforgettable spectacle being one of the largest group of falls in the world. The falls are surrounded by a National Park that has a good diversity of wild life. Located north of the city is Itaipu, the largest hydroelectric dam of its type in the world. Visiting the Falls is the highlight of your trip. This can be done in different ways, such as walking along the raised walkways to the edge of the falls, going on a boat that takes you to the base of the falls or viewing it from a helicopter.
Ilheus, See Map Locaton. Ilheus is a small town about 400Km south of Salvador and 315 Km north of Porto Seguro where the local coastline is broken up by 5 rivers and a series of bays, lagoons and waterways. The heart of the city is on a hill that overlooks one of the largest and best beaches in Bahia. It is between hills, beach and a small harbour at the mouth of the Cachoeira River. It dates back to the early 1500's and inspite of many modern buildings there still remains plenty of the past for the tourist to expolore before heading to the beaches. It is the birthplace of Amado one of the best-known of the Brazilian authors. If you are not familiar with his novel Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon you will be, seems most of the bars, hotels and restaurants are named after it.
Joao Pessoa, See Map location. Joao Pessoa (population 500,000) is capital of the small state of Paraiba and boasts a number of interesting churches and cloisters. However it is best known for the futuristic-looking hotel located seven kilometers to the east, in Tambau. The Hotel Tropical Tambau, a round structure with a tower set in the middle, bears a striking resemblance to a rocket launching pad and the hotel is designed so that half of the structure sits over the water. In the center Joa Pessoa take an interesting stroll through the Parque Solon de Lucena, which leads past an artificial lake and towering coconut palms to the Convento de Santo Antonio, a Franciscan monastery in Baroque . Joao Pessoa is actually on the banks of the Rio Parafba. It was founded in 1585, making it the third-oldest city in Brazil. Beyond Cabo Branco lies Ponta do Seixas, the easternmost point in the Americas. Among other things to do is a day trip to Cabedelo, or to the convent church of Sao Francisco, which was constructed between 1701 and 1734. Joao offers both cultural and more earthy pleasures. Sun, beach and history. It has a wide selection of accommodations for the traveler to insure a enjoyable stay for any budget.
Joinville, See Map location. Joinville is one of the communities in the south of Brazil with a deep German Alpine heritage. It has about 75,000 inhabitants. It hosts many festivals, including Fenachopp, an Octoberfest celebrating its Germanic heritage, Festa das Flores honoring the flowers grown locally, and a large Festival de Dança, where thousands of dancers participate. Nearby Blumenau and Pomerode also retain their German traditions and language. Visitors enjoy visiting these towns for a taste of the Old Country.
Maceio, See Map location. Maceio, capital of Alagoas state, has a beautiful coast where a row of in-town beaches and most of the city's hotels and restaurants are situated. Maceio is on the tip of a curved peninsula, the ocean beaches on one shore and a lagoon - Lagoa do Mundau - on the other immediately to the south of Maceio's downtown area. The beautiful beaches include Pajucara, Ponta Verde, Jatiuca and Praia de Cruz das Almas. A good range of hotels, pousadas and resorts are available.
Manaus, See Map location. Manaus is over 1.5 million in population and lies along the north bank of the Negro River, 11 miles above its joining the mighty Amazon. It is located 900 miles inland from the Atlantic coast in the heart of the Amazon rain forest. As a major inland port (reached by oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic) it is a collecting and distribution center for the river areas of the upper Amazon. The first European settlement on the site was in 1669. A small settlement developed and in 1850 became the capital of the province of Amazonas. From 1890 to 1920 the rubber boom brought prosperity to the city, actually to a few rubber barons. During this period the great Opera House was constructed. The best entertainers from Europe and North America were brought in for the pleasure of the 100 or so families that then controlled the economy of the area. With the advent of synthetic rubber in the early 1920's the economic importance of natural rubber, and consequently that of Manaus declined considerably and never really bounced back. For the tourist it is a kicking off place for tours of the Amazon and it has also been declared a duty free zone. It does have a good selection of hotels, and restaurants.
Natal, See Map location. Natal with a population of about 800,000 is the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, NE Brazil, just above the mouth of the Potengi River. The name Natal comes form its founding day, Christmas Day, 1599. Later (from 1633 to 1654) it was occupied by the Dutch and in 1817 was briefly the seat of a revolutionary government until it was suppressed by imperial authorities. It grew rapidly during World War II, when an airport was built for flights to Africa. It is a modern city that has retained its colonial flavor and as an additional tourist attraction (and point of relaxation for the locals) it is surrounded by white sand and palm studded beaches. On the commercial side (can't be all play and no work even in Brazil!) its port handles a good volume of coastal shipping and particularly in the export of tungsten. There is also some light manufacturing.
Olinda, See Map location. Olinda, was founded in 1537 as the capital of the Portuguese state of Pernambuco, is located 5 miles from Recife whose growth overshadowed Olinda's and took much of the commerce. In the early days it depended heavily on sugar cane and slave labor. The city is noted primarily for its 16th and 17th century ornate churches and monasteries and for other colonial buildings which attract tourists interested in Brazil's colonial period. For the tourist shopping for the unique there is a large colony of artisans who produce wood carvings and pottery at very reasonable prices.
Ouro Preto, See Map location. Ouro Preto is located 50 miles southeast of Belo Horizonte, it can be reached via a picturesque highway from Belo Horizonte which climbs to about 3,500 feet. Driving time is about 2 hours. Although the Minas Gerais State has a number of interesting destinations this is undoubtedly the most inviting. Rich in its colonial past, Ouro Preto has the most dramatic and well preserved architecture of the area. From a point above the city the visitor will marvel at its many treasures. Declared a UNESCO World Cultural Site we recommend at least a three day stay to take full advantage of what this city has to offer. Many times passengers contact us from Ouro Preto to get a hotel so they can extend their stay after they have discovered this jewel in their drive from Belo Horizonte. There are a number of good choices for accomodatons in Ouro Preto.
Pantanal, See Map location. The Pantanal is considered to be one of the most beautiful and important ecological sanctuaries on the planet. It is the largest wetland area in the world covering an area of 150,000 sq. Km. During the year there is a complete change of the water level. This flooding and drying of the land has dictated the life and habits of the animals in the area and produced an inland paradise with an unforgettable spectacle of sounds and colors. Most of the accommodations here are either in Pousadas (small or family run hotel similar to an inn) or on farms, always catering for a small number of guests. The food is homemade and generally cooked in wood burning stoves.
Paraty, See Map location. The small coastal village of Paraty (also called Parati) is a virtual museum within a tropical paradise. It is located 125 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro and possesses one of the finest "collections" of classical 18th century Portuguese colonial buildings. Parati is characterized by cobblestone streets and pastel buildings. It has a long pier and small boats are available for day trips to the surrounding islands. In the early 1700's Parati was a major gold shipping port to Portugal. Today it is a major international destination for sophisticated tourists seeking sunshine and spectacular beaches (including snorkling and scuba) all within a classical architectural setting. Automobile traffic is forbidden inside the city in order to preserve the tranquil ambience.
Porto Alegre, See Map location. Porto Alegre, the largest city in southern Brazil with over 1,600,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, land of the Gauchos, and churrasco. The city, located on the Guaiba River, was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores. Since the 19th century the city has received numerous immigrations from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Poland, and Italy, each adding their distinctive heritage to the city's culture. Located at the junction of five rivers, it has become an important port as well as one of the chief industrial and commercial centers in Brazil. Products of the rich agricultural and pastoral interior, such as soybeans, leather, canned beef, and rice, are exported from Porto Alegre to destinations as far away as Africa and Japan.
Porto Galinhas, See Map location. Porto Galinhas, chicken port in English and 30 miles (57 Km) south of Recife, is a great tourist attraction because of its fantastic beaches. Originally it was the entry point for arrival of slaves. When slave traffic was prohibited they were hidden in crates full of chickens. So the name. The surrounding sea is characterized by reefs that make it almost like a fish tank. In the natural pools they create tourists can dive among the many colorful fish. In low tide you can walk to these pools, but the best way is to rent a raft along the beach. You can get any equipment by renting in the town. It is a great beach getaway with a well developed infrastructure for the tourist searching for a special sun and surf haven.
Porto Seguro, See Map location. Porto Seguro is Located in Bahia state. Here is where the first Portuguese explorers landed almost 500 years ago. It is so named because it was a protected harbor hence the name which means safe port. Because of its rich historical significance it provides the traveler a glimpse into the early colonial period with numerous older structures, especially churches, still standing. It is unique in that for some reason the urbanization that has taken its toll on so many cities in Brazil has not had a terrible impact on Porto Seguro. It holds on to the special look that only a place in Bahia can have. Even its airport really doesn't look like one! Of course it does have airplanes which are a dead giveaway. It remains simple with restaurants, bars, shops for local handicrafts. Here one can find quiet solitude on a deserted beach or pick another for its bars, crowds and activity, you choose. Perhaps most of all it is the people that makes a place special. Here the natives are definitively friendly and the tourists tend to be the younger set. There is always something to see and do in this unique place.
Quixada, See Map location. Quixada is a smaller city of around 75,000 people in the state of Ceará. It is located about two hours driving time from Fortaleza. It is world renowned for its unique climate that allows sail planes to make some of the longest flights on record. It is the site of many international sail plane tournaments. From a business point of view it is largely an agricultural economy based on cotton.
Recife, See Map location. Recife boasts a population of around 1,650,000. It was originally built as a commercial port but its white sand beaches bordered by palm trees allow for a lighter side of life as well. It is the capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Recife has been referred to as the Venice of Brazil, so named for the many canals that cross it and the abundance of bridges. The city was named for the coral reefs that line the coast. The local fishermen brave the high seas in jangadas, crude log rafts with beautiful sails unique to the area, managing these in these waters requires special skills passed from father to son. Recife has a substantial night life as well with a good selection of restaurants and taverns. Of course the seafood is superb and fresh. On the more serious side it is the export point for products from the interior like sugar, cotton, and coffee.
Rio de Janiero, See Map location. Rio de Janeiro was discovered January 1, 1502 by the Portuguese, hence the name River of January. Rio with over 10,000,000 inhabitants it the second largest city in Brazil. While the folks in Sao Paulo labor all day Rio's inhabitants work and play all day and night. Often taking 3 hour lunches to go to the beach. And the beaches, open to all, are there with Ipanema, Copa Cabana, and countless others. Its unique landscape (mountains on one side ocean on the other) make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Indeed it can be called Brazil's emotional capital as well. Nothing expresses this like the annual Carnival that goes on for three days. Starting in late February or early March, just prior to the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, is world renown for its festivities. A note of caution for the tourist, Carnival can get a little wild. Of course what could one expect in an atmosphere with music, dancing and folks that are at best half dressed? It has a wonderful climate, a blend of summer and springtime. Temperatures during December to March can top 95° F, but during the rest of the year are a comfortable 68° F to 86° F. Sea breezes moderate temperatures throughout the year. Transportation is readily available, with inexpensive taxis everywhere and a subway system. It is linked to all key points in Brazil by an extensive highway system. It has 2 airports: Santos Dumont Airport, a downtown airport for local flights between Rio and Sao Paulo, and Galeao Airport, the international airport located on Governor's Island in Guanabara Bay. There is lots to see and do. The city's most famous landmarks are Sugar Loaf rising to 1,325 ft, located on a peninsula jutting into Guanabara Bay, and the Christ the Redeemer statue, which overlooks the city from the top of Corcovado Mountain. For lover of night life there are thousands of restaurants, bars and nightclubs for any taste. For the cultured there are fine museums, historical buildings and operas. Like any big city a tourist should use common sense for safety. Don't wear expensive jewelry, don't carry a lot of cash and don't stray far from the beaten path. If a neighborhood looks dangerous, it probably is.
Salvador da Bahia, See Map location. Located in the Northeast of Brazil is the state of Bahia. Salvador, which is now the capital of Bahia, was the capital of Brazil until 1763. The city is broken up into two parts. The lower city, which is at sea level, is the old port where tourists find Brazilian arts and crafts. The upper city is accessed by steps, alleyways, or the famous Lacerda Elevator. The newer architecture is up here along with government buildings, museums, residential areas, and churches. Salvador has a strong African influence that can be seen in many of its cultural attractions. Salvador is a magical place, where the rhythm and the musicality of the Brazilian people shines from its historical roots. One has heard of Carnival in Rio well Salvador takes it a step further. It is known for its many wild festivals and general sensuality and decadence. Carnaval in Salvador is justly famous and attracts hordes of tourists.
Santos, See Map location. Santos (population 500,000) is Brazil's busiest sea port. Its wide and deep bay allows the largest vessels to dock at its 4 mile long piers. It is actually located on the island of Sao Vicente. Santos can be reached from Sao Paulo (72 kilometers away) either on the Rodovia Anchieta (SP 150) or via the more interesting Estrada Velha do Mar. Its beaches extend for seven kilometers parallel to Avenidas Presidente Wilson and Bartolomeu de Gusmao. The latter ends in the Ponta da Praia quarter, from which you can connect with a boat excursion through the Baia de Santos. It departs from Ponte dos Praticos. Coffee lovers should follow their noses down Rua XV de Novembro to Rampa do Mercado, where different varieties of coffee can be compared and bought at Casa do Cafe. Guaruja is a large group of beaches favored by Paulistas (folks from Sao Paulo) , is on Ilha Santo Amaro, accessible by ferry from Santos. The area has 19 beaches, including those on the islands of Pombeva and Cabras. Water sports enthusiasts especially like Enseada and Tombo; calmer waters are found at Guaiuba.
Sao Joao del Rey, See Map location. Two hundred kilometers south of Belo Horizonte, Sao Joao del Rey (population 75,000) is the southernmost baroque city in Minas Gerais state. Gold was discovered here in the early 18th century that started the city's growth. The town's most famous native son is Tancredo Neves, who in 1984 became the first democratically elected president of Brazil following 18 years of military rule. A memorial was built in his honor near the historic Ponte do Rosario, one of three stone bridges that spans the Corrego do Lenheiro, the brook that babbles through the town. Unlike Ouro Preto, Sao Joao has been extensively industrialized, sadly losing some of its early architecture. However places of interest fortunately remain. Among the most interesting sights is the church of Sao Francisco de Assis at Praqa Frei Orlando. Built in 1774. Several of Sao Joao's secular structures are also worth visiting, in particular the colonial mansions that originally belonged to prosperous families.
Sao Luis, See Map location. Sao Luis was founded by the French and named after their King Louis XIII, between 1641 and 1644 the Dutch were in control, but it is the Portuguese influence that a visitor feels throughout the city. The city boasts quite a few huge mansions that reflect the style of the 17th and 18th Centuries. But history is not everything in São Luis. The island was blessed by nature and is surrounded by wonderful beaches. Adventurous visitors can take São Luis as a starting point to discover the mysterious Amazon jungle. On the commercial side today São Luis serves as the main sea port for the states of Maranhão and Piauí.
Sao Paulo, See Map location. Founded in 1554, Sao Paulo now is the 3rd largest city in the world with over 20,000,000. Surprisingly it really did not begin to grow until 1890 based on the coffee business. It is the business and finance center of Brazil. A true melting pot it numbers over 1 million Japanese, 3 million Italians, 1 million Arabians, 1 million Portuguese, and 1 million Eastern Europeans. It has a wide variety of restaurants that range from Brazilian to Malaysian food (and everything in between). The Gardens district is the center of the dining scene, and thus the center of the Sao Paulo social scene. Paulistanos eat late, many restaurants don't even start serving until 9 PM, and it is common for them to stay open until 3 AM. Like New York, Sao Paulo never sleeps. There you can find anything from gyms to bookstores opened 24 hrs a day, hundreds of movie theaters, thousands of restaurants, stores, bars, and pubs. For nightlife its nightclubs have attracted some of the best performers in the world. There are 32 malls, countless department stores, and designer boutiques (such as Versace, Forum, Daslu, H.Stern, Chanel, Rauph Lauren, Armani, etc.). There are also several street fairs, and art exhibits throughout the city. Its museums are among the finest in South America. For the sun worshipper, its surrounding coastline is graced with many lovely beaches. Transportation befits a city of this size with a well developed road system, numerous and inexpensive taxis. Although we do not recommend that a foreign traveler use a rented car to get around the city, it suffers traffic problems like any big city and parking is a real challenge. It has 2 airports. One, in the city, provides domestic service with the international airport at some distance from the city center providing direct service to cities throughout the world. In addition it boasts one of the best subway systems to be found anywhere. Sao Paulo is be often called a concrete jungle, but actually this is one of the greatest cities in the world, come take advantage of what it has to offer!
Sao Sebastiao, See Map location. São Sebastião is located on the North Coast of the State of São Paulo. It is separated from Ilhabela (São Sebastião's Island) by the São Sebastião Channel. The channel is great for sailing and many regattas are held throughout the year. Because of this canal and its winds, São Sebastião was chosen to be the only South America stopover for The Whitbread international around the world sailing competition. São Sebastião is considered by some to be the third best natural port in the world, its deep canal permits commercial use. It is the biggest petroleum port in South America. On its South Coast, the beaches have perfect waves for surfing. Here for the nature lover are trails going through the forest, where one finds birds and waterfalls. Where the Guarani Indians live in harmony with nature. São Sebastião is a paradise that must be visited.
Teresopolis, See Map location. Teresopolis is Located in the cool Rio de Janeiro mountains overlooking the bay of Rio de Janeiro and set amidst beautiful forested surroundings. Unlike most cities in Brazil there is no beach nor ocean here. But the scenery makes up for it. It is a mountain town with about 150,000 inhabitants, located at 3,000 feet in altitude. The Colina dos Mirantes hill overlooks the city was once the summer residence of the Empress Teresa Cristina and is a great vantage point to see the city and its surrounding area. It is known for its true mountain atmosphere: wonderful panoramas, brisk mountain winds and the warmth of its people.
Tiradentes, See Map location. The town of Tiradentes (population 10,000), which was originally called Arraial Santo Antonio, is only 9 miles from Sao Joao del Rey. After Brazil became independent, the town was renamed in honor of its illustrious native son, the "tooth puller" (tiradentes) and martyr to the cause of independence, Jose Joaquim da Silva Xavier. The history of the rebellion he led is documented in the Museu Padre Toledo, located in the former home of Father Toledo. Next door stands an 18th-century colonial building in mint condition that now houses the Casa da Cultura. A little farther down Rua Toledo is the parish church of Santo Antonio. Begun in 1710, the gilding on its seven altars is among the most elaborate in Brazil. Three blocks north of the church an intriguing 18th-century fountain, Chafariz de Sao Jose, delivers water from three spouts that are differentiated by function: one is for people to drink from, another is for washing, and another third for animals.
Vitoria, See Map location.Vitoria, the capital of Espirito Santo has around 280,000 people. It was named by the Portuguese in 1551. Even with its smaller populace it has the feeling of a larger city offering many diversions for the traveler. It has beautiful beaches even a shopping mall. Surrounding it are remnants of the Atlantic forests to explore in places like the Parks of Fonte Grande and Gruta da Onca. The city is divided into two sections, a high and low. In the high city features historical monuments and many lush green parks. The low section consists of the port, shops and the beaches. For the seeker of bargains in local handicrafts there are some good choices. One is in Goiabeiras (next to the airport), where mud pans and ceramic objects this area is known for can be found . In the downtown area the Mercado Capixaba features more local handicraft shops.