Brazil Hidden Treasures I
As many visitors have already discovered and will be happy to tell you, Brazil is much more than just Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. This country of many hidden treasures and experiences begs to be uncovered.
As well as being home to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and nearly half of the Brazilian population, the southeast of Brazil is where the historic towns of Minas Gerais are to be found. This area is packed with artistic and architectural masterpieces, a collection of towns and villages that make up one of mankind’s great colonial legacies.
At last count, in 2017, Brazil boasts no less than 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including fourteen cultural sites and seven natural sites) of which the towns of Ouro Preto and Diamantina, and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Congonhas, are in Minas Gerais.
Further to the south is a prosperous, subtropical region that has been influenced by the countless European immigrants who have flourished here over the centuries, helping to develop the great cities of Porto Alegre, Florianopolis, and Curitiba.
This region is responsible for Brazil’s fine wines, and outstanding beef, as well as one of the world’s great natural wonders and most popular tourist sites in Latin America – the waterfalls at Foz do Iguaçu. Five times larger than its North American cousin, Niagara, the 275 individual falls at Foz stretch nearly 1.8 miles (3 kilometres) across the Iguaçu River to Argentina. The main fall is the largest in the world in terms of water volume per second, and the entire national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is also home to the exceptional beaches of Santa Catarina, from where whale watching is growing in popularity, the majestic highlands of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Jesuit Missions.
Away from the coast, in the geographical centre of South America, there is Brazil’s Central West that offers the striking contrast between the country’s futuristic capital, Brasília, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right, along with the historic centre of nearby Goiás, and the Pantanal, Brazil’s own wild west that holds one of the largest and richest reserves of flora and fauna known to man.