Spring has arrived, and it’s time to plan that ever-popular Spring Vacation. But where to go? Florida’s always packed to the gills, many of the Caribbean islands can be dicey politically, and Cancun is still in recovery mode after Hurricane Wilma. This year, why not branch out, head a little further south, and discover one of the world’s biggest countries – Brazil.
If your spring vacation always centers around a beach, Brazil has beaches aplenty. A great idea would be to head to Rio de Janeiro, home of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Despite the reputation that Rio has for being dangerous, it’s normally quite safe for tourists who use common sense and are aware of their surroundings. Made infamous in song over forty years ago, Ipanema is a place to pay homage to all that is the beach. With over two miles of beautiful golden sand bordered by lush green mountains and a mosaic boardwalk, Ipanema gives you the golden opportunity to worship the sun, sand, and waves.
If you prefer to spend your vacations immersing yourself in local culture and cuisine, Sao Paulo is the place to be. The largest city in South America, Sao Paulo is home to some of the best Brazil has to offer. There are museums and sites galore, including the infamous Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP), an art museum designed by the renowned Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi. The Jardim Zoologico is considered to be one of the best zoological parks in the world, and Fundacao Maria Luiza e Oscar Americano is an amazing cultural center offering a look into Colonial Brazil.
To top it off, the restaurants in Sao Paulo are considered second-to-none and will give you a great taste of the local cuisine. You can’t leave Sao Paulo without trying the Brazilian version of the petit gateau, a mini chocolate cake filled with liquid chocolate and surrounded by ripe mango slices. It’s a taste sensation, to say the least.
Environmental treks can suit the fancy of many vacationers. The peak of the rainy season in Brazil has just ended, so it’s a beautiful time to explore the wonders of the Amazon. Manaus, capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, is home to well over a million people and is a great home base for exploring the Amazonian rainforests. There are many travel companies who offer tours from Manaus throughout the rainforest, giving you the opportunity to see this dwindling natural wonder first hand. You can also visit one of the centers of burgeoning hope for rainforest conservation, the “chocolate forests”. These plantings of cocoa trees within the heart of the rainforest are bringing forth forest-conserving insects, soil fertilization, and microclimate stability.
When booking your Brazilian vacation this spring, the beauty of this amazing country should leave you anxious to board the plane. You won’t be disappointed as you experience this exotic piece of South American paradise.
About the Author: Jane S. Roseen is the Owner and President of Harmony Sweets, an international gourmet chocolate shop. Harmony Sweets' mission focuses on individual consumers purchasing gourmet chocolates from around the world for their friends and relatives, as well as corporate gift giving. Gourmet chocolate gift baskets and personalized chocolates are also available.