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Things to do in Brazil

Things to do in  Brazil

Welcome to Brazil

Wherever you are in Brazil, the infectious sound of samba drifts from bars; platters of perfectly roasted meats and obsidian-black beans line tables; and cheerful ois (hi, in Portuguese) erupt from the mouths of lively locals. In Rio de Janeiro, the legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are set against the dramatic backdrop of Corcovado, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the outstretched arms of Christ the Redeemer. Full-day sightseeing tours tick off all of the city's highlights, while the Selaron Steps, Rochina favela, and a samba show are typically form part of the itinerary, too. But Rio is just the beginning. The sprawling metropolis of São Paulo—Brazil's most-populous city—reveals its cultural heft on a panoramic tour, while nature buffs will be charmed by the Amazon rain forests of Manaus, home to numerous biodiverse species. In the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iguassu National Park, the Iguazu Falls (Foz de Iguacu) create a thundering roar, and in Salvador, historic African influence dictates the vibrant energy of the city. Myriad private and group tours help visitors experience it all with skip-the-line entry to top sights, simple transportation options, and local perspectives. And Brazil borders almost every country in South America—only Chile and Ecuador are excluded—making it the ideal starting point for any South American trip. Begin with New Year's Eve or Carnaval, two of Rio's most spectacular celebrations, before journeying across the continent.

Top 15 attractions in Brazil

#1
Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor)

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor)

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Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor) sits atop Corcovado Mountain at 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city. Unveiled in 1931 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, this impressive monument is often credited as the most iconic site in Brazil.More
#2
Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

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Decorated with more than 2,000 brightly colored tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag, the Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) is one of Rio de Janeiro's most vibrant and striking landmarks, marking the boundary between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods.More
#3
Amazon River

Amazon River

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The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river’s storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.More
#4
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)

Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)

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It’s easy to see why Rio de Janeiro was nicknamed the “Marvelous City” when you’re gazing down at it from the heights of Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar). From its soaring 1,300-foot (396-meter) summit, the city unfolds around you, with views of the iconic Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the Tijuca Forest, and the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing tall atop Corcovado Mountain to the west.More
#5
Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista)

Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista)

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As one of the most expensive strips of real estate in Latin America, Avenida Paulista is Sao Paulo’s most famous thoroughfare. What started out as a residential street lined with neoclassical mansions is today a modern hub of business, culture, and entertainment.More
#6
Ibirapuera Park

Ibirapuera Park

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Designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, Ibirapuera Park is Sao Paulo’s answer to New York’s Central Park. As the largest park in the city center, Ibirapuera encompasses 13 playing courts, jogging and cycle paths, a lake, several modernist buildings, and two of Sao Paulo’s most significant art galleries.More
#7
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao)

Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao)

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Tall and cone-shaped, the modernist Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao) doesn’t look like a typical church. The unusual design was constructed between 1964 and 1979 by architect Edgar Fonseca. One of Rio’s most important religious structures, it is dedicated to St. Sebastian, the city’s patron saint.More
#8
Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu)

Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu)

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Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu), the largest waterfalls system in the world, are truly awe-inspiring to behold. Though Argentina boasts better trails around the falls, Brazil is blessed with the best views of this natural marvel’s 275 separate cascades, which span the border between the two countries. Take in full-frontal views of Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo), San Martin Island, and more from the short-but-sweet catwalks that wind their way around the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls.More
#9
Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

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Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana Beach evokes images of white-sand shores, sun-kissed volleyball players, tourists sipping agua de coco out of bright green coconuts, and bikini-clad revelers partying long into the night. And for the most part, that’s pretty accurate. Add in a touch of local carioca (Rio residents) flavor and a splash of the obscure, and it becomes obvious how thousands of people easily spend entire days (and nights) wholly entertained on the world’s most famous beach.More
#10
Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de Sao Conrado)

Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de Sao Conrado)

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Whether you’re looking for the surf, the golden sands or to soar in the skies above, visiting Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de São Conrado) is a highlight of Rio de Janeiro. Here in this affluent, oceanfront neighborhood that’s sometimes called Praia Pepino, visitors will find an eclectic combo of people, many of whom are surfers or paragliders. The juxtaposition of social classes is evident out on the streets—yet everyone seems to equally enjoy the combo of sunshine and surf.When strolling the sands of Sao Conrado, be sure to look up and scan the skies for hangliders circling above. The beach is a popular landing spot for groups of paragliders and hangliders, most of whom have launched from the slopes of neighboring Pedra Bonita. To get a birds-eye view for yourself—but keep your feet back on land—a strenuous trail climbs 2,500 feet up towering Pedra da Gávea. This stoic sentinel and oceanfront rock is a classic Rio landmark, though the round-trip climb can take a whole day—even for seasoned hikers.More
#11
Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca)

Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca)

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Prior to the 19th century, Rio de Janeiro was surrounded by Atlantic rain forest. Today, all that remains is the 13-square-mile (33-square-kilometer) jungle known as Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca). Studded with tropical trees knotted together by jungle vines, the world’s largest urban forest is home to ocelots, howler monkeys, more than 300 bird species, waterfalls, and one of Rio’s iconic landmarks, the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing atop Corcovado Mountain.More
#12
Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

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Although less famous than its neighbor Copacabana Beach, Ipanema holds its own with quiet charm and considerably cleaner surroundings—and it does so without skimping on any of the white sands, blue waters, or local character that give Rio de Janeiro’s beaches their claim to fame.More
#13
Monastery of Sao Bento (Mosteiro de Sao Bento)

Monastery of Sao Bento (Mosteiro de Sao Bento)

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In Sao Paulo’s downtown, the Monastery of Sao Bento (Mosteiro de Sao Bento) is known for its Gregorian chanting, exceptional bakery, and beautiful frescoes.To catch the medieval chants of the monks, head to the 10am Sunday mass — get there early for a good seat. If you come for Sunday service, you’ll also get to hear the 6,000 pipe organ being played. For cake, jams, cookies, and breads prepared and blessed by the monks, look for the bakery to the left of the main hall. It’s a little more expensive than regular bakeries, but the quality is excellent and there’s a wide range of baked goods to choose from. Try the pão de mel — honey bread filled with jam and dipped in chocolate.Surrounded by skyscrapers today, the Monastery of Sao Bento was built from 1910-1922, and it stands in the place of the original 17th-century chapel. Home to 40 cloistered monks, the monastery was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for his stay during his first official visit to Brazil in 2007. Inside, see the famous murals painted by the Benedictine German monk, Dom Dutch Gresnicht Adelbert, who came to Brazil in 1913 especially to paint these Biblical scenes.More
#14
Meeting of Waters (Encontro das Aguas)

Meeting of Waters (Encontro das Aguas)

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The city of Manaus lies at the confluence of two great rivers, the Solimões and the Rio Negro. Due to the different colors of the two rivers, it's possible to see precisely where they meet, which is what makes the Meeting of Waters, or Encontro das Aguas, a checklist must-do for visitors to Manaus.More
#15
Sao Paulo Municipal Theater (Theatro Municipal)

Sao Paulo Municipal Theater (Theatro Municipal)

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Situated grandly atop downtown São Paulo’s Vale do Anhangabaú like a concrete wedding cake, the century-old Theatro Municipal still shines as an example of the city’s place at the vanguard of art in Latin America. Opened in 1911, the ornate showplace—styled in the tradition of the great European opera houses—has welcomed Maria Callas, Isadora Duncan, Duke Ellington, and Mikhail Baryshnikov to its stage.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Brazil

Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch
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Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Small-Group Tour
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A day in Rio - Full City Tour

A day in Rio - Full City Tour

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Full Day in Rio: Christ by Train, Sugarloaf, Maracanã, Selarón & Lunch
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Tijuca Rain Forest Jeep Tour from Rio de Janeiro
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The Best of Rio in a Full Day Tour - Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, Selaron and more
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Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

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Private Tour: Rio's City Essentials including Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf
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Rio de Janeiro Soccer Match
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Rio de Janeiro Soccer Match

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Brazilian Side of the Falls and Boat Tour Macuco Safari - All Tickets Included
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Iguassu Falls Panoramic Helicopter Flight
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Brazil

star-5
Great Black History Tour in Rio
Krystian_D, Aug. 2022
Rio de Janeiro Little Africa Walking Tour - World Heritage Site
I learned so much about Black history in Brazil and got to see parts of Rio that no tourist guide will tell you about.
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Traveling the world with Frank Boogie - EU ❤ Brazil
Frank_A, Jul. 2022
Skip the Line Christ the Redeemer Admission Ticket
This was extra special, because I celebrated my birthday today thanking Christ for blessing me to see another year of life.
star-5
Great way to see Manaus
Robert_A, Jun. 2022
Historical City Tour
Got to see highlights of Manaus.
star-5
Fantastic Experience. Enjoyed locals
Jestina_F, Apr. 2022
Christ, Botanic Garden & Waterfall Shower. 6 Hours Tour.
Fantastic time feeding monkeys, going to the waterfalls, christ the redeemer and a special treat to the local market for fresh fruits and interactions with the locals.
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Lively, cultural evening of food and friends.
Amy_G, Apr. 2022
Small-Group Boozy 7-Recipe Brazilian Cooking Class in Rio de Janeiro
She is very dynamic, friendly and speaks great English!
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Fantastic
Zoe_R, Mar. 2022
Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch
Her English is also great!!
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Amazing!
Donald_N, Mar. 2022
Mountain bike Tijuca Rain Forest
You can’t find a better way to see the Tijuca Rain Forest!
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The best way to experience native Brazil!
Jessica_L, Aug. 2022
Guided Expedition with Canoeing and Waterfalls in Iguaçu
We also loved learning about Diego and his partners joint venture and how they have built this business themselves (he’s teaching them English and business)!
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Quick, but worth it!
Anonymous, Aug. 2022
Private Panoramic Helicopter Flight over Iguazu Falls
The ride was relatively short, but was beautiful with all the views of the waterfalls from above!
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Absolutely the best!
Mystina_S, Jul. 2022
Iguassu Falls Brazilian Side: Macuco Safari, Helicopter Flight and Bird Park
They took care of me during my tour of the Brazil side of the falls.
star-5
More than we expected!
Armando_G, Jul. 2022
Day Tour in Rio - Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Lunch and City Tour
I was a bit apprehensive when we began the tour because we had specified an English speaking guide, but found that we had been put in a Portuguese and Spanish group instead.
star-5
Safe, Informative, short and Colourful
DanThomas_H, Jun. 2022
Rocinha Favela Walking Tour
He gave us a general look at the life and culture, with multiple opportunities to both taste the food, talk to locals and showed us what to do and what not to do.
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Iguazu both sides tour
Sumilan_M, Jun. 2022
Full Day Iguassu Falls Both Sides - Brazil and Argentina
I only had one day to spend in Iguazú and was really interested in seeing the falls from both sides.
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A lot of sites!
jillgregoire, May 2022
A day in Rio - Full City Tour
I was the only American and I only speak English.
star-5
Great knowledge of Rio
Laura_C, May 2022
Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Small-Group Tour
Both of which are great to see and we had a good amount of time at both !
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Loved everything about this tour!
Lisa_B, May 2022
Exclusive Bike Experience at Iguazu Falls
Her love of the falls was apparent.
star-5
A great way to get a taste of Sao Paulo on day 1.
Kerstin_H, Apr. 2022
5-hour Private Tour Of São Paulo With Its Main Sights – Optional Airport Pickup
I enjoyed so much about this tour and it really gave me a better idea of the city and what I wanted to return to see and spend more time at.
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A Look Inside The Rocinha Favela With Our Great Guide, "Carlos"
Wes_B, Apr. 2022
Rocinha Favela Walking Tour
He is fully bilingual (at least in English/Portuguese.
star-5
The best tour ever
Vivian_H, Mar. 2022
Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Small-Group Tour
I had the privilege of having him and our amazing driver all to myself for the afternoon, during which they went out of their way to show me the best sights, share tips, facts, local habits and more.
star-5
Amazing experience.
wpq595x4st, Mar. 2022
The Best of Rio in a Full Day Tour - Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, Selaron and more
She took us to the main attractions of the city.
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All about Brazil

Currency
Brazilian Real (R$)
Time Zone
BRT (UTC -3)
Country Code
+55
Language(s)
Portuguese
Frequently Asked Questions