Ipanema Beach © Mike Vondran
Brazilians exhibit a passion for life and exuberance of spirit that charms travellers from around the world. The long-lasting impression with which most visitors leave Brazil is of carefree, colourful people dancing and celebrating in the street parades at Carnival.
The country has much to offer visitors at all times of year. Tourists descending on the country's exciting cities, such as hedonistic Rio de Janeiro, can enjoy five-star hotels, shopping malls, pristine beaches, sunny skies and bustling nightlife. Visitors to Brazil can live the high life without really having to confront the hundreds of shantytowns (favelas) where the poorest of the poor eke out a living in the shadows of the skyscrapers. However, favela tours, meals, and overnight stays are becoming increasingly popular as tourists begin to explore safer neighbourhoods that are colourful, vibrant and friendly.
With booming mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, Brazil has the highest GDP in Latin America and is expected to be one of the world's dominant economies by the middle of the century. Brazil also caters well for business tourism and is a favoured destination for conventions, congresses and expos, particularly the city of Sao Paulo, which is the country's largest city and the business capital of Brazil.
Being so vast, larger than the continental United States, Brazil is home to a variety of cultures and topographies. From the Amazon and Pantanal rainforests to the urban jungle of Sao Paulo, the vast central plateau around Brasilia and world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to the mountain towns of Minas Gerais; it all adds up to an exotic and exciting Latin American experience where the common denominators are samba, sunshine, sultry smiles and soccer.