I have been reminiscing about my month long tour of Brazil, with all the excitement of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Even before I had made the leap to book a ticket, I had been dreaming about Brazil for as long as I could remember. It seemed to be filled with beautiful landscapes, beautiful weather and beautiful people. While “Come to Brazil” is a phrase usually reserved to the social media pages of celebrities, it should be a call for everyone to experience this magnificent country. Having visited five different cities in Brazil, I think I have figured out why this country will always inspire wanderlust.
If the word “diverse” was to be associated with any country, it would definitely have to be Brazil. Brazilians come in every single imaginable shade and shape, from the jungles of Manaus to the concrete jungle in São Paulo. A large portion of the Amazon forest can be found in Brazil, with the varying flora and fauna that can be found in the depths of the vegetation and beyond.
Foz do Iguaçu
As Brazil is such a large country, it is not lacking in natural beauty. Foz do Iguaçu is home to the famous waterfalls of the same name. The sheer volume of water is simply indescribable. It really is one of those sights that just takes your breath away and leaves you awestruck for a few moments. Until you realise that you do not have an unlimited time and have to get a move on. Thankfully, I had booked the awesome Che Lagarto hostel which made my trip very comfortable and not ridiculously expensive!
Bahians in Pelourinho
Being Nigerian, specifically a Yoruba woman, I knew that a lot of my history and my people could be found within the borders of this country. Brazil has the largest population of black people outside of Africa due to the large number of Africans that went there during the slavery period. And most of them call Salvador, home.
While I have still never been to Nigeria, Salvador gave me a great taster. The tribal religion from the Yoruba people are still being practised. In Dique do Tororó you can see large statues of the Orishas [also spelt Orixás]. Orishas are African deities, and some of the more famous ones like Sango [Xango] are featured in the Dam. You can find out more about what there is to see and do in Salvador here
Cristo Redentor in Rio
Ipanema and Copacabana Beach, Christ the Reedemer, Sugarloaf Mountain. The list for sights to see in Rio are plentiful, and definitely worth checking out. While I am not a big fan of beaches in general, it is hard not to find yourself drawn to the sandy beaches. There was something about the Carioca way of life that just taught you to relax, take it easy and just drink coconut water all day.
This was the first stop on my trip, and the friendliness of the people stayed with me throughout the trip. The combination of awe-inspiring sights and warmth made this one of my favourite stops.
Butterfly in Foz do Iguaçu
Most of the Amazon is located in Brazil. The variety of the flora and fauna which can only be found there is simply astounding. There’s nothing like spending a night in a hammock falling asleep under the stars, listening to howler monkeys through the night. During my few days in the jungle I went fishing for and ate piranha, saw pink dolphins and held a cayman. I would like to go back and actually catch a fish, though…
Elevator Lacerda in Salvador
Another reason why Brazil is the place to be is the miracles it works on your body. My hair and skin thanked for making the trip here. My hair and nails grew at a fast rate, and my skin was just glowing from the constant sunshine. I was on my black girl magic, for real. An extra bonus is that, because it was so humid all the time, I never had to moisturise. Which for a black person, is a big ol’ time saver!
The hype of the Olympics is certainly raising Brazil’s profile and putting it in people’s minds as a potential holiday/travel destination. But the striking landscapes, amazing people and culture will always keep people visiting. And so they should, Brazil is a sight to behold.
Have you ever been to Brazil, or want to visit sometime? Which place was your favourite, or what would you most like to see?