Many foreigners go to Brazil and visit Sao Paulo, Rio, and beach cities in the Northeast, like Salvador and Fortaleza, or maybe the Amazon. However, the Southern part of the country is beautiful, with plenty of nice places to visit. Here is our small guide about it:
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Southern Brazil is full of immigrants, who started arriving in the country in the late 19th century to fill the gap in the workforce that left after slavery was abolished. Farmers needed workers, several countries were struggling, and so many people went to Brazil after a better life. Many immigrants settled in states like Sao Paulo or below, where farms were abundant and the climate was not too hot. Italians, German, Polish and Japanese people were very common workers at the farms back then. Nowadays, in fact, Brazil holds the largest population in the world of Japanese descent outside of Japan. In fact, Leticia is half Japanese, like many of her friends.
That being said, in the South of the country, you will find many people with these ethnicities, and some very popular cities, like Blumenau and Gramado, of German origin, which strongly reflects in its architecture. It can be quite a curious experience to notice how man ethnicities are present in Brazil.
WHERE TO VISIT?
Foz do Iguassu (or Iguaçú, in Portuguese):
You CANNOT visit Southern Brazil and skip Foz. The holder of one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Iguassu falls are huge, amazing, and the infrastructure inside the park is good. You can ride on the Macuco Safari, a boat ride that takes you all the way down to the falls. You get totally wet and see first hand the power of the waterfalls! Apart from the waterfalls, the city has the “Parque das Aves”, a beautiful park with toucans, macaws and other birds that were rescued from abuse. You can stay inside the areas with the birds and see them just centimeters before your eyes. It’s beautiful! Foz do Iguassu is also located on the borders of Argentina and Paraguay, so you can visit the waterfalls from the Argentinian side (which is said to be even more amazing) and have the traditional local barbecue. You can take a quick trip to Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay, and buy cheap goods, and also visit the hydroelectric of Itaipu, the second largest in the world. Quite a sight!
The capital of the state of Parana, Curitiba has a colder weather year-round. The Botanical Garden is a very popular spot, and you can also find constructions by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, like the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, curiously shaped as an eye. It’s just 45 minutes away from Sao Paulo by plane, or around 5 hours by bus, and a nice stop over if you want to visit…
The capital of the state of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis is one of the main destinations during Summer time (between December and February). Part of the city is located in a (huge) island, full of beaches for all occasions: surfers, those chilling with their families, or those looking for good parties and beautiful people. At the beach of Jurere Internacional, you’ll find lots of locals and many foreigners staying at fancy houses, driving luxury cars and enjoying the best parties in the city.
An adorable city of German descent, Blumenau has an adorable architecture and is very popular in the country in the month of October, when they hold their own Oktoberfest, an event that attracts more than half a million people every year!
Voted as the best touristic destination in the country by Trip Advisor in 2015, Gramado is certainly the best winter destination in the country. Although in Brazil it rarely snows, it’s considerably cold in this area, and you can find adorable hotels, enjoy good food and get to know the cities around, with their stone churches, waterfalls, and many other landmarks. For Europeans visiting the country, it might hold a resemblance, and thus tourists could prefer the Northeast beaches. However, it’s a personal favorite for me. I can’t get enough of the cute hotels, flowers all over and beautiful nature. Christmas time in Gramado is particularly beautiful and very well decorated!
Foz do Iguassu, Curitiba, Florianopolis and Gramado are all on the list of the 10 main spots to visit in the country, so maybe next time you’re in the area, you should consider exploring the beauties of Southern Brazil.