Spend a few days of your holiday on the beaches of Rio, soaking up the sun and watching the Cariocas (Rio residents) strutting their stuff. Of course, Rio is also synonymous with the feverish intensity of the world's largest carnival, held annually in February. Those not lucky enough to be in Rio for carnival can attend a Samba School at the favella of Mangueira, an intense and unforgettable experience.
A small fishing community, Buzios was put firmly on the map when Brigitte Bardot was photographed on holiday here in the 60s. Despite increasing popularity the area has retained its charm by strictly controlling development allowing only low rise construction. Pick your favourite of over 20 beaches in the vicinity, and head off windsurfing, surfing, diving, riding, trekking, biking or sailing.
To the south, on the lush Costa Verde, Picinguaba is a charming coastal village, home to a typical pousada by the same name; one of our favourite properties. Nearby, Paraty has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well preserved colonial architecture. The cobbled streets are a delight to wander around, as are the boutique shops, fine restaurants and bars, some of the best in Brazil. Original Travel also has an exclusive trip exploring the coastline by kayak from Paraty.
SAO PAULO HOLIDAYS
If you head further south still, São Paulo is South America's biggest city - a megalopolis of around 17 million people. The nightlife, cutting-edge hotels, endless shops and boutiques and diverse cuisine are enough to occupy any visitor, but the city has plenty of excellent museums and cultural appeal too.