Written by: Brendan Nienhaus
It’s still two years away until the FIFA World Cup descends on Brazil but travelers hoping to witness their favorite national teams ascend to World Cup Champion are already planning their trips. Aside from watching their favorite teams play in one of the twelve host cities, what else could a traveler do to pass their time in the largest country in South America? After perusing many travel websites I have made a list of popular destinations and some brief descriptions of them that an adventurous World Cup fan could use to plan an excursion(s) to fill the time between matches:
Rio de Janeiro: One of the largest cities in Brazil, as well as a World Cup Host City, this city in southeast Brazil is renowned for its pristine beaches and amazing views. The Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema beaches are very popular tourist destinations as are the Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountains and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. There are options for hang gliding, para-gliding, and hiking as well as lots of options for music and an eclectic nightclub scene.
Amazon Rainforest: Spanning across nine-countries in South America and encompassing the second-largest river in the world, the Amazon River, the Amazon Rainforest has the highest levels of bio-diversity in the world. Manaus, another World Cup Host City, is a great starting point for any excursion into the Amazon, as well as a destination in itself. Travel lodges, located along tributaries, and river boat cruises offer excellent options to explore this must-see geographical location and its diverse plant and animal life, many species located nowhere else in the world.
Foz do Iguacu: One of Brazil’s top tourist destinations, the waterfalls here are an astonishing sight. Situated on the border between Argentina and Brazil, there are numerous catwalks located on both sides of the waterfalls to offer panoramic views. There are also numerous boating and aerial tours to offer unique views of the majestic waterfalls.
Bonito: Located in mid-west Brazil,this town sits amidst crystal-clear rivers, dense vegetation, and numerous natural caves to make it perfect for the eco-tourist World Cup fan. With numerous opportunities to explore the area’s natural beauty, whether by horseback, snorkeling, cave-diving or any of the many other options, Bonito is ideal for the nature lover.
Pantanal Wetlands: Located south of the Amazon Basin and east of the Andes Mountains, the Pantanal is considered to be the world’s largest freshwater wetlands system. Featuring hundreds of diverse wildlife species including the increasingly rare jaguar, Hyacinth Macaw and giant river otter, the Pantanal is an ideal destination for the wildlife lover.
Fernando de Noronha: Located over 200 miles east of mainland Brazil, in the Atlantic Ocean, Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago consisting of 21 islands and islets. Oppurtunities to view the local marine life, such as sea turtles, dolphins and sharks, and the pristine beaches set upon turquoise seas make Fernando de Noronha an ideal escape from the hectic stadiums of the 2014 World Cup.
Chapados de Veadeiros: Located in the central western region of Brazil, Chapados de Veadeiros is resplendant with breath-taking mountains, water falls, and rivers. It also boasts over 100 types of plants and birds making it ideal for the nature lover.
These were just a few of the many exciting and beautiful destinations that Brazil has to offer the World Cup traveler in 2014 and only a small taste of what you can expect from each. I encourage any travelers to do their own research into these magnificent areas before planning their own World Cup excursion to ensure they don’t miss out on some of the most beautiful and exotic destinations Brazil has to offer. Good luck to all of the teams that make it to the World Cup and, more importantly, safe travels to all of the World Cup fans visiting Brazil in 2014.