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Things to Do in Brazil - page 3

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Pipa Beach (Praia da Pipa)
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8 Tours and Activities

Considered to be one of Brazil's ten most beautiful beaches, Pipa Beach (Praia da Pipa) is in fact not one beach, but four beaches, that between them stretch for over 10km (6.2mi).

Backed by coconut palm plantations, sand dunes, cliffs and Atlantic forest, the beaches are spectacular, while the warm waters of the surrounding ocean attract native turtles and dolphins.

Pipa first became popular with surfers in the 80s and its fame spread, causing the little beach town of the same name to grow accordingly. Pipa town is now the place to party and traditional Brazilian music (as well as non-traditional!) is a nightly feature here. The town is also good for shopping.

Pipa is surrounded by natural beauty and there are plenty of adventure activities available here to help you experience it first-hand.

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Wire Opera House (Opera de Arame)
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The Wire Opera House (Ópera de Arame) is one of Curitiba’s most recognizable buildings and an excellent example of modern architecture. Built entirely of glass and steel pipes, the theater is nestled in a lush green space surrounded by a lake. It can seat up to 2,400 spectators and hosts performances ranging from classical to popular.

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Oscar Niemeyer Museum (Museu Oscar Niemeyer)
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One of Curitiba’s most recognizable landmarks is the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (Museu Oscar Niemeyer), built by and for the famous architect. It highlights his modern designs that are prominent in many of his buildings around Brazil. The museum’s rotating exhibits showcase both national and international artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Amazon Theatre (Teatro Amazonas)
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Much of Manaus’ wealth came from the rubber boom, during which it was the region's most-important port city. Manaus Opera House (Amazon Theatre) is a fine example of the Belle Epoque-style architecture that was popular during this epoque; the interior features some 200 Italian chandeliers and furnishings imported from Europe.

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Canoa Quebrada
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Surrounded by pink sand dunes, sandstone cliffs, and a winding river, Canoa Quebrada is a laid-back beach town blessed with a stunning natural environment. While the town has grown with the times, it hasn’t lost that mystical feel that earned its reputation as a ‘hippie town’ in the 1970s.

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Sao Francisco Church and Convent (Igreja e Convento de Sao Francisco)
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Travelers who approach the relatively plain exterior of São Francisco Church and Convent (Igreja e Convento de São Francisco) will be amazed by the ornate artwork, fine details and gilded ceilings upon entering this iconic colonial monument. Built in the early 1700s, the church took decades to complete. Its unique interior includes three aisles, rather than the more typical two, as well as some of the most impressive pillars, vaults and golden woodwork in the country. The classic Baroque style of São Francisco Church and Convent showcases one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture and artwork, making it a destination for traveler seeking to experience the history, beauty and artistry of another era.

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Curitiba Cathedral (Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora)
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Walking through the middle of Curitiba’s historic center, there’s no chance of missing the city’s cathedral, Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora,which dominates Praça Tiradentes. Built in 1876 in the Neo-Gothic style, the church features several stained-glass windows and paintings by artists such as Italian brothers Carlos and Anacleto Garbaccio within. The structure was designed by a French architect who is said to have been inspired by Barcelona’s Metropolitan Cathedral, another large, Gothic place of worship. Curitiba’s Metropolitan Cathedral sits on the very spot where the city’s first Catholic church was constructed back in 1693.

At the right-side entrance, visitors have a chance to see the chair where Pope John Paul II sat when he visited the city in 1980. Near the altar is a 30-foot (nine-meter) deep well, which is believed by historians to be the only remaining piece of the original structure. The cathedral is most easily spotted on a stroll through the park and is included in many walking and bus tours.

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Sambadrome (Sambadrome Marques de Sapucaí)
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Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome (Sambadrome Marques de Sapucaí)—also known as Sambodromo or Passarela do Samba Darcy Ribeiro—was designed and built by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1984. Established to host the city’s enormous Carnival celebration every year, the stadium features a 2,300-foot (700-meter) runway and seats 90,000 spectators.

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Galinhos
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With its vast, deserted beaches, towering sand dunes and pellucid waters, Brazil’s Costa Branca or "White Coast" is one of the country’s most enchanting regions, and its best-kept secret is the historic fishing village of Galinhos, a popular day trip from nearby Natal. Encircled by water and reachable only by boat, the sandy peninsula is a pocket of serenity, with horse carts in lieu of taxis and the landscape dotted with salt flats, mangrove swamps and rolling dunes.

If you’re looking to head off-the-beaten-track this is the perfect destination, but Galinhos isn’t completely void of life – in-the-know locals have long frequented the spot for kite surfing and wind surfing, while other activities include snorkeling and dune buggy rides.

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Valparaiso Acqua Park
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Visit Maranhão’s largest water park, Valparaiso Acqua Park, for an alternative to the sun-soaked beaches of Brazil’s north coast. Set within a scenic forest reserve, the park is an ideal family day out, with water slides, swimming pools, and activities to entertain all ages.

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More Things to Do in Brazil

Presidente Figueiredo Sanctuary Waterfall (Cachoeira Santuário)

Presidente Figueiredo Sanctuary Waterfall (Cachoeira Santuário)

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Located about 100 kilometers north of Manaus, Presidente Figueiredo's Sanctuary Waterfall (Cachoeira Santuário) is one of the top travel destinations for visitors to the region. Stationed along the Urubui River, where black waters meet the muddy Amazon, Sanctuary Waterfall is surrounded by thick rain forest and massive mossy rocks.

Its picture-perfect location is ideal for travelers who want to explore the natural beauty of Brazil, navigate the rainforest and learn more about the flora and fauna that’s indigenous to the region. Plus, its close proximity to Iracema Waterfall and the town of Presidente Figueiredo make it a perfect day-trip destination for outdoor adventurists.

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Florybal Magic Park Land (Parque Terra Magica Florybal)

Florybal Magic Park Land (Parque Terra Magica Florybal)

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A fantastical land of animatronic dinosaurs, indigenous villages, and magical forests await you at Florybal Magic Park Land (Parque Terra Magica Florybal). A fun family day out, especially for those with younger kids, the theme park offers amusement rides, play areas, a 7D cinema, and live shows.

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Farol Santander (Banespa Tower)

Farol Santander (Banespa Tower)

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A symbol of São Paulo’s race to modernity, this skyscraper, formerly known as Edifício Altino Arantes (as well as the Banespa Tower or Banespão), remains one of the most notable landmarks on the city’s evolving skyline, and recently underwent a renovation and rebranding—now known as the Farol Santander. It was originally built as the headquarters of the State Bank of São Paulo and named for one of the bank’s first presidents.

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Cumbuco Beach

Cumbuco Beach

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Fortaleza is blessed with many spectacular beaches and Cumbuco Beach is no exception. Just 45 minutes drive from the city and attached to a small fishing village, the beach is distinguished by its rolling white sand dunes and empty stretches of sand lined with coconut trees.

Cumbuco Beach is a popular spot for kite surfing, sand boarding and buggy tours - the latter involving a hair-raising ride over the bumps and inclines that will leave you giddy and white-knuckled and most likely eager for more!

There are more sedate activities available including horse riding and boat rides, although the most popular activity is of course soaking up the sun on the beach.

The beach fills up with locals on weekends but there is little to do in the Cumbuco at night – you’ll need to return to the city if you want to party.

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January Ecological Park

January Ecological Park

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Giant water lilies, flooded forests, fertile lowlands and rare wildlife are just part of what makes the 9,000-acre January Ecological Park a destination for travelers. Visitors can navigate the relaxing waters known for its massive lily pads—some measuring more than seven feet in diameter—while searching for rare tropical birds among the thick forests that line the river.

Playful monkeys, ferocious crocodiles and brightly colored butterflies are easy to stop on a trip through this extraordinary park. A handful of floating houses make for fantastic photo ops and a market selling traditional and handmade items by local artisans proves the perfect place to pick up handicrafts for friends back at home. And while it looks touristy at first glance, travelers agree January Ecological Park’s floating restaurant serves up local cuisine that’s worth stopping in for.

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Palace of Liberty Cultural Center (Paco da Liberdade Cultural Centre)

Palace of Liberty Cultural Center (Paco da Liberdade Cultural Centre)

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Once Curitiba’s City Hall, the Palace of Liberty is today a multi-functional cultural center hosting conferences, lectures and exhibitions with its movie theater, sound studio and electronic art lab. Built in the beginning of the 20th century to house the local government, it has an eclectic construction style. After the city’s government was transferred in 1969, the building was used as a museum, and later, restored as the cultural center it is today.

Visitors can wander through the site, passing between the two statues of Hercules holding up the archway to explore the building’s four stories. Wooden art nouveau carvings can be seen throughout the building, and large windows open up out onto the square. On the third floor, elaborate painted ceilings have many visitors looking up. The building is said to have been the first in Curitiba to hold an elevator, brought directly from Europe. The elevator is no longer in operation but has been preserved for people to see.

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Tiradentes Square (Praça Tiradentes)

Tiradentes Square (Praça Tiradentes)

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Arguably the most important square in Curitiba, Tiradentes Square (Praça Tiradentes) is home to many of the city’s well-known sites, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica Minor of Our Lady of Light. Among the trees and statues in the square, visitors can walk over a glass-protected piece of the square’s original pavement, constructed in the first half of the 19th century. Thanks to the special lighting within the glass flooring, the spot is especially beautiful come nightfall.

The Cross of Christ and a historic monolith can also be found in the center of Praca Tiradentes. The former was a symbol of the Military Order of the Christ, instituted by King Denis of Portugal in the 14th century, and represented the legal power of Portugal over the land and the settlement of Curitiba in 1693. According to legend the spot also marks the place where Indigenous Chief Tindiquera of the Tingui Tribe once chose to settle his people.

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Mundo a Vapor

Mundo a Vapor

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A theme park devoted to all things steam-powered, Mundo a Vapor is a unique attraction that’s suitable for the whole family. It’s home to a miniature steam railway, a steam-powered sawmill, and a hydroelectric plant.

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Rocinha

Rocinha

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Pouring down a hillside in Rio’s South Zone, the one-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometer) Rocinha favela is crammed with a colorful maze of cement buildings, tin roofs, and upwards of 180,000 residents living in challenging socioeconomic conditions. The district is considered the largest favela in Brazil, complete with a culture and history of its own, and has entered a period of renaissance, with urban gardens, community art projects, and educational services revitalizing the neighborhood little by little.

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Ricardo Brennand Institute (Instituto Ricardo Brennand)

Ricardo Brennand Institute (Instituto Ricardo Brennand)

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With its castle-like façade and sprawling complex of museums, galleries and gardens, the Ricardo Brennand Institute has fast become one of Recife’s most important cultural attractions. Inaugurated in 2002, the cultural center is the brainchild of its namesake, collector Ricardo Brennand, and is renowned for its fascinating collection of historic artifacts, including a large section devoted to Brazil’s Dutch settlers.

Highlights of the museum include the world’s largest collection of armory, dating from the 14th to the 19th century; a sizable collection of paintings by Dutch artist Frans Post; an array of

exquisite antique furniture; and a selection of rare Dutch coins.

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Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop (Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand)

Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop (Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand)

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One of the most important cultural centers in Recife, the Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop (Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand) attracts tourists, locals, artists and amateurs alike. This impressive sculpture gallery and garden honors the works one of Brazil’s renowned ceramic artists, Francisco Brennand. Founded by the artist himself, Brennand created the workshop on a large piece of land located within the bustling city of Recife to showcase his life’s work, as well as create a workshop for sculpture and ceramic artists.

The expansive grounds are dotted with galleries, outdoor sculptures, and ponds amid a tropical landscape. Visitors can roam freely on the winding paths, in and out of the breezy buildings and workspaces and admire Brennand’s famously exotic, sensual and mysterious sculptures. Highlights include an ornate ceramic gazebo, intricate ceramic tiles, a sundial and sculptures incorporated into fountains and ponds.

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Itaipu Dam (Barragem de Itaipu)

Itaipu Dam (Barragem de Itaipu)

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Set near the convergence of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, Itaipu Dam (Barragem de Itaipu) is considered one of the World’s Seven Modern Wonders, clocking in at 4.5-miles (7.2-kilometers) long and 65 stories high. With a maximum flow up to 40 times more powerful than nearby Iguassu (Iguaçu) Falls, the dam’s hydroelectric power plant produces roughly 20 percent of Brazil’s electricity.

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Leblon Beach (Praia do Leblon)

Leblon Beach (Praia do Leblon)

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Fronting one of Rio de Janeiro’s wealthiest and most exclusive neighborhoods, Leblon Beach (Praia do Leblon) is one of the city’s cleanest and safest beaches and a slightly quieter alternative to Ipanema. Separated from Ipanema by a canal, the beach is particularly popular with families, as it offers a play area with beach toys and playground equipment.

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Via Costeira (Senador Dinarte Mariz Avenue)

Via Costeira (Senador Dinarte Mariz Avenue)

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Via Costeira, also known as Senador Dinarte Mariz Avenue, is a significant beachfront walkway and paved road that extends from Ponta Negra beach in Natal. It is one of the most important avenues in Natal, with two lanes in each direction and no traffic lights. It winds along the coastline and is popular with visitors for its views of the beaches.

At 12 kilometers long, it climbs through Natal’s coast up to Meio Beach. It is bordered on one side by a secluded beach full of Natal hotels, and on the other by the Dunes Park natural protected area. It connects all of the local urban beaches of Natal with the city center, with Redinha Beach connected via the Newton Navarro Bridge. The sidewalk of the road is great for walking and biking, with access to different beaches throughout the route.

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