Brazil: Pure Gold

Brazil's southern coast offers a wealth of experiences.

There’s never been a better time to visit Brazil’s golden southern coast, a region whose exotic reputation is underpinned by a spirit of hospitality. And with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics on the not-so-distant horizon, this South American hotspot is only primed to get hotter. Of course, with a total area spanning more than 3 million square miles, Brazil is incredibly diverse and begs for more than a quick trip. However, there are certain key hot spots worthy of headlining any Brazilian itinerary.

[inset insetimage=”n-brazil-2.3-inset.jpg” insetcaption=”Ponta dos Ganchos”]

May we suggest making stop number one the famous Copacabana Beach? True to song, the nightlife there is memorable, but during the day you’ll find an eye-opening mix of tanned locals in tiny swimwear, engaged in all manner of outdoor activity. Hang-gliding, volleyball, or sunbathing—it’s all done best with abandon.

Just down the shore sits Ipanema. From fashionable vintage shops to live samba bars to bohemian bistros, the area holds undeniable appeal. Its cuisine is no exception: Flaky pastries filled with fresh pork or shrimp, savory fried bolinho de arroz (balls of rice), and coxinhas (chicken croquettes) all go down easy, especially with a cool glass of Caipirinha, the lime and sugarcane–based national cocktail. Sample the dulce de lethe cheesecake at Zaza and you may never leave.

Other must-sees relatively nearby include Brasilia, the capital, with its stunning futuristic architecture; and Sao Paulo, “the New York of Brazil,” with its impressive go-all-nightlife and clubs that cover the spectrum from stylishly small to towering, laser-lit warehouses.

But if there was ever a resort capable of luring guests away from the party, Ponta dos Ganchoes might well be it. This ecofriendly resort is located on a private peninsula in Brazil’s biggest oyster producing region, just a short flight from Sao Paulo. Premium accommodations set against a dramatic tropical forest backdrop draw art from every amateur photographer’s lens (#nofilter required).

Begin your jaunt at visitbrasil.com, and remember to pack lightly—the most golden adventures favor the bikini-and-a-toothbrush approach.

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