Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu August 18 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | August 18, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    7 Epic Places You Can’t Miss On Any Trip To Brazil

    7 Epic Places You Can’t Miss On Any Trip To Brazil

    All photos by A Cruising Couple

    As one of the largest countries in the world, it’s hardly any surprise that Brazil is overflowing with spectacular scenery and one-of-a-kind attractions. But despite the many fantastic destinations that await, many travelers never make it any farther than Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

    The truth is, you would need an entire lifetime to even begin to scratch the surface of all Brazil has to offer. But if you’re looking for a snapshot of some of the country’s highlights, here are our top picks for destinations that you won’t want to miss in Brazil:

    7 Places You Can’t Miss On Any Trip To Brazil

    1. Iguazu Falls

    Devil's Throat Boardwalk Iguazu Falls Brazil

    Witnessing the thunderous roar of Iguazu Falls is an experience you won’t soon forget. Located on the border of Argentina, Iguazu Falls is comprised of 275 waterfalls stretching out over 2.7 kilometers—effectively making it taller than Niagra Falls and wider than Victoria Falls. Take a speedboat to the base of Iguazu to experience the wonder in all its grandeur.

    2. Chapada dos Veadeiros

    Cachoeira Waterfall Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

    This national park is located on an ancient plateau estimated to be some 1.8 billion years old. There are numerous hikes of varying length and difficulty. A leisurely walk will take you past bushy grassland, vibrant flowers, idyllic waterfalls, and dramatic canyons. Don’t miss a stop at Vale da Lua, or Moon Valley, for an otherworldly lunar-like landscape. The translucent emerald water makes the perfect swimming hole.

    3. Sao Paulo

    Sao Paulo might not have the allure of Rio’s beaches, but there’s plenty to love about this bustling city once you get past the traffic and pollution. For example, you’ll find some of the world’s best restaurants, museums, art galleries, and cinemas. We found it’s best discovered with a local Paulistano who can take you around to their favorite finds. When you need a break from the hustle and bustle, there are numerous hikes and parks just a short day trip away.

    4. The Amazon Jungle

    Sunrise over the Amazon Jungle

    A visit to the Amazon Jungle is a dream destination for many. While it extends into nine different nations, Brazil is one of the best places to sail down the Amazon River, hike through the jungle and try your hand at spotting unusual flora, fauna, and wildlife. We recommend basing yourself at Cristalino Lodge for a stylish adventure into one of the most remote corners of the Amazon.

    5. The Pantanal

    Jaguar in the Pantanal

    The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal offers some of South America’s finest opportunities for spotting wildlife—including the Jaguar. Take a journey down the Transpantaneira, a 146-km dirt road crossing 120 rickety wooden bridges. Then slowly cruise along the rivers in search of Jaguars. We had an up-close encounter with this gorgeous Jaguar for nearly an hour!

    6. Ouro Preto

    Ouro Preto Churches

    Ouro Preto (meaning Black Gold) was once the lavish center of Brazil’s gold rush. Today, the small town is an excellent spot to view 17th-century colonial and Baroque architecture. With over 23 churches and works of art from the highly regarded Brazilian artist Aleijadinho, there’s no shortage of things to do in and around town. However, we recommend putting down the map and getting lost in the narrow cobblestone alleys.

    7. Salvador

    Streets in Pelourinho Salvador Brazil

    A port city located on the Northeast Coast, Salvador was Brazil’s first colonial capital. It’s now a hub for Afro-Brazilian culture and offers travelers a fantastic opportunity to watch capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), listen to Olodum (an Afro-Brazilian cultural group known for its unique beats), and savor the world-renowned cuisine (expect plenty of coconut and seafood.)

    These are seven of our top picks for any vacation to Brazil, but it doesn’t even begin to dive into the myriad of gorgeous beaches, off-the-beaten-track islands, and abundant national parks within the country. So tell us—what’s your favorite place in Brazil?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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