If you are planning to travel to South America, check out these fun facts about Brazil to help you plan your trip. Occupying more than half of South America, Brazil is the largest country on the continent (and the fifth most populous nation in the world). Home to the Amazon Rainforest and some of the world’s most celebrated beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, Brazil is renowned for its natural attractions. However, the nation is also incredibly diverse and features cultural and historic sites too.
Fun Facts About Brazil
Get ready to enjoy some of Brazil’s most interesting facts to help you get to know this vast nation better. When it comes to traveling, the country offers something for every kind of interest whether it’s the cuisine, the flora and fauna, the rich culture, or yes the dazzling beaches and world-class resorts.
Brazilians Speak Portuguese
One of the most distinctive features of Brazil is its language; while the majority of South America speaks Spanish, Brazilians proudly communicate in Portuguese. This linguistic difference stems from Brazil’s colonial past when it was a part of the Portuguese Empire.
Today, Portuguese serves as the glue that binds Brazil’s diverse population, acting as a reminder of its unique identity in the Latin American mosaic. Whether you’re dancing samba in Rio de Janeiro or exploring the Amazon rainforest, you’ll hear the melodious sounds of Portuguese around every corner.
We recently travelled to Portugal and could not get over how many Brazilians now live in Portugal. A whopping 250,000 Brazilians are now residing in Portugal.
Brazil is the Largest Country in South America
Do you know how we told you above that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with a landmass of 8.516 million km²? Well, it also holds the title of the largest country in Latin America and the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere. And not only that, it is the 6th largest population in the world with 213,993,437 people. (it was previously the 5th largest, but that has now gone to Pakistan. It is so large that it borders nearly all the countries in South America except for Chile and Ecuador. So, Brazil is an all-around very large country.
Brazil has 4,655 Miles of Coastline
No other nation on earth can boast as much continuous coastline as Brazil. The nation’s coast is dotted with world-class cities like Rio de Janeiro as well as picturesque towns like Barra da Lagoa. Of course, tourists are wild about Brazil’s Atlantic coast because of its world-famous beaches and wide range of activities to enjoy there like surfing, snorkeling, and sailing. If you’re looking forward to a beach holiday, you’ll want to consider visiting some of Brazil’s best-loved beaches such as:
- Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro)
- Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro)
- Lagoa de Conceicao (Florianopolis)
- Porto de Galinhas Beach (Porto de Galinhas)
- Praia do Sancho (Fernando de Noronha)
- Lopes Mendes Beach (Ilha Grande)
- Praia do Espelho (Trancoso, Bahia)
Brazil Is Well Connected
Brazil is not only the largest country in South America by land area but also the most connected in terms of borders. Its vast territory stretches across the heart of the continent, sharing boundaries with a remarkable nine of the eleven South American nations. However, there are two exceptions: Chile and Ecuador.
While Chile’s lengthy shape hugs the Pacific coast, and Ecuador nestles in the northwest region alongside Colombia and Peru, neither touches Brazil’s expanse. This geographical aspect underscores the sheer size and centrality of Brazil on the continent, reinforcing its pivotal role in regional politics, economics, and culture.
If you are wondering what those countries are
- Argentina – Located to the southwest of Brazil.
- Bolivia – Located to the west of Brazil.
- Colombia – Located to the northwest of Brazil.
- Guyana – Located to the north of Brazil.
- Paraguay – Located to the southwest of Brazil, directly south of Bolivia and west of Argentina.
- Peru – Located to the west of Brazil, sharing a border in the Amazon region.
- Suriname – Located to the north of Brazil, east of Guyana.
- French Guiana – Located to the North
- Uruguay – Located directly south of Brazil, with its northern border meeting Brazil’s southern border.
- Venezuela – Located to the northwest of Brazil, directly west of Guyana.
Four Million Plant and Animals Species
Brazil has roughly 15-20% of the world’s biodiversity–so far! That’s because every year, as many as 700 new plant and animal species are discovered. Regarded as a ‘megadiverse’ country, Brazil features about 4,000 plant species, 9,000 vertebrates, and 120,000 invertebrates. The country boasts many famous animal ambassadors that include the:
- Pink dolphin
- Maned wolf
- Toco Toucan
- Three-toed sloth
- Poison dart frog
Some of the country’s most celebrated plants include:
- Rubber tree
- Cocoa tree
- Strangler fig
- Giant water lily
Brazil Hosts the World’s Largest Carnival
With roughly six million participants, Brazil’s Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro is one of the country’s most highly anticipated events of the year. The festival takes place on the Friday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Christian practice known as Lent. The festival is marked by street-wide celebrations filled with ornate parade floats and people dressed in elaborate costumes. Rio’s first Carnival was held in 1723. Today, this party attracts attendees from all over the world.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Brazil is home to 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that attract tourists from all over the globe. These sites are protected and attract many tourists. Some are more accessible than others, but each is well-worth visiting if you can get there. Some of the country’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites include:
- Iguacu Falls (the largest falls in the world)
- Pantanal Conservation Area
- Brazilian Atlantic Islands
- Central Amazon Conservation Complex
- Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site
- Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis
- Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves
- Serra de Capivara National Park
60% of the Amazon Rainforest Is in Brazil
The Amazon River and surrounding rainforest flows through northern South America, but two-thirds of it is located in Brazil. The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on the planet. The river itself is the world’s largest in terms of water volume and second-longest after the Nile River. It’s thought that the rainforest features roughly 390 billion trees represented by about 16,000 tree species. Exploring the rainforest is not ideal for all tourists as the terrain is rough. However, many people enlist guides and travel along the river to marvel at the diverse flora and fauna of the surrounding rainforest. Read more about the Amazon at Surprising and Fun Facts About the Amazon River
Feijoada is the National Dish of Brazil
The traditional Brazilian feijoada is a stewed black bean dish cooked in beef and pork. This dish is considered the national dish of Brazil and you’ll find it on every buffet in Rio de Janeiro.
The beauty of this dish is that it is one of the easiest Brazilian recipes to make. The black beans are mixed with salted pork or beef. But the good cuts are left for the churrascarias. The feijoada gets all the trimmings like ears, feet, and tails. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, just think sausage. Sausage is always stuffed with bits of the animal.
Add some black beans, white wine vinegar, chili peppers, onions, and garlic, and then mix it all together in a heavy saucepan and you have yourself a dish. Serve it over rice and you’ve got one fatty delicious mouthwatering dish! If you want the full recipe, check out this recipe.
Brazil is a National Park Champion
Home to more national parks than any other country in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil is rich in pristine tracts of postcard-worthy landscapes. Brazil features a whopping 72 national parks that brim with incredible bio diversity, dynamic landforms, and untamed watercourses. Some of the country’s most celebrated national parks include:
Amazonia National Park
Located in the state of Para, Amazonia National Park features an incredibly diverse habitat within its 3,300 square-mile radius. The park is located between the cities of Manaus and Belem. The Trans-Amazonian Highway runs through the park, making it more easily accessible than more remote areas of the Amazon Rainforest. Read more: What to Expect on an Amazon River Cruise – Life on the River
Interested in more Brazil information? Read these Brazil travel guides
Iguazu National Park
Located in the state of Parana, Iguazu National Park is home to the celebrated waterfalls of the same name. The falls are also partly located in Argentina. While the falls are the most celebrated attraction of this national park, there are plenty of hiking trails where visitors can admire the pristine landscapes and maybe even catch a glimpse of animal residents like the giant anteater and giant otter. Check out 11 Fun and Unexpected Things to do in Iguazu Falls
Other must-see national parks in this South American country include:
- Itatiaia National Park
- Pantanal Matogrossense National Park
- Cabo Orange National Park
- Fernando de Noronha National Park
- Chapada Diamantina National Park
- Fuma Feia National Park
- Jau National Park
- Tijuca National Park
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s Melting Pot of Culture
The second-largest city in Brazil after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro is a popular Brazilian attraction in its own right thanks to its world-famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, iconic natural landmarks like the peak of Sugar Loaf, and man-made landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue that perches above the city. In addition to its beaches, visitors to the city enjoy Rio attractions such as:
- Copacabana Palace (landmark hotel)
- Tijuca National Park
- Botanical Garden
- Sao Bento (church and monastery)
- Maracana (stadium)
- Municipal theater
- Catedral de Sao Sebastiao
Land of Emeralds
Brazil is home to a wealth of natural resources, but emeralds are among its most sparkling! Beginning in the 1970s, Brazil has provided the world with a steady flow of emeralds, especially from the state of Minas Gerais. Gem mining is a large industry in many of Brazil’s states. While nearby Colombia has achieved greater fame for its emeralds, Brazil has unearthed many large emeralds with quality that rivals those found in Colombia. Additionally, Brazil is home to many gemstone deposits, including opal, tourmaline, imperial topaz, citrine, amethyst, aquamarine, and even diamonds.
Coffee Goodness: World’s Top Producer of Bliss in a Cup
If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s a good chance you’ve tasted Brazil’s coffee. The nation is the world’s top coffee producer. The state of Minas Gerais produces more coffee than any other Brazilian state and is known for its richly flavored Arabica coffee beans. Some of Brazil’s chief coffee plantations feature tours. You may want to plan a Minas Gerais coffee tour or visit some of Brazil’s most celebrate coffee houses and cafes such as:
- Beluga Cafe (Old Sao Paulo)
- Confeitaria Colombo (Rio)
- Casa Cave (Rio)
- Cafe do Mercado (Curitiba)
- Cafe Kahlua (Belo Horizonte)
- Cafelier (Salvador)
Home to Queimada Grande Island: Lair of Snakes
Although you generally have to be a biologist and obtain approval to step foot here, Queimada Grande Island is a unique Brazilian attraction, and possibly the most deadly destination in the world. The island is a veritable lair of venomous snakes. In fact, it features the highest concentration of deadly snakes such as golden lancehead vipers. Though critically endangered, these snakes contain a venom that’s so dangerous it can actually melt human flesh. Queimada Grande Island is an Atlantic island administered by Sao Paulo. It’s small–only about 106 acres, but it’s got a big reputation as a terrifying lair of snakes.
Home to Iconic Wonders and Landmarks
Brazil is home to many natural wonders, but that’s not all. As mentioned, the Christ the Redeemer Statue, located in Rio de Janeiro, is possibly one of the country’s most famous (and has been listed as one of the 7 Modern Marvels of the World), but there are many other man-made attractions and landmarks you may wish to visit during your Brazilian trip such as:
City in the Rainforest: Manaus
Most visitors to the Amazon Rainforest only expect to find dense forest teeming with orchids, bromeliads, monkeys, snakes, and insects, but within the heart of the rainforest is a city of about two million people–Manaus. The city of Manaus is the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. It is home to many attractions such as its municipal theater, an opera house, a cathedral, botanical and zoological gardens, and the world-renowned Institute of Amazonian Research. The city has hosted World Cup events as well as some events of the 2016 Olympics.
Brazil beckons travelers from around the globe to enjoy its enchanting landscapes, waterways, and dynamic cities. Whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, dance, sport, culture, or relaxation, you’ll find it in Brazil. Use these facts to help you plan your travel itinerary.
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