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In a land famous for Carnival, beaches, gorgeous models, and Pelé, you know you won't be bored for a minute. From the bustling metropolises of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia, to the picturesque beaches of Jericoacoara, Brazil has a wealth of riches to discover in between. Head to the urban jungle (literally!) of Manaus and begin your exploration of the Amazon, where Brazil's indigenous people still live in small pockets across the rainforest, or go further south to Porto Alegre, your way in to the Green Canyons.
If you make it to Brazil for the biggest party of the year, remember that carnival night is never the same at any two places. Recife, with its bridges across several islands, and Olinda, where historical Portuguese roots are still well preserved, both have top-notch Carnival reputations and are worth a visit for the dance-till-dawn festivities
Brazil is a melting pot of several ethnic groups and this mix has resulted in a diverse range of cuisines that borrow a little something from every group. Whatever else you try, don't skip the Feijodada, a specialty dish made by combining the usual black bean fare with lots of different meats and served with rice. Brazilians like their alcohol and make it well. So if you tire of the wine and beer on offer, try a caipirinha with the famous cachaça (alcohol from sugar cane) or go for a more sober fruit juice made from Açai or Caju.
Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) are the main airports to fly to and get connecting flights to the rest of the country. There are also international airports at Salvador (SSA), Recife (REC), and a number of other smaller cities in Brazil. Cheap fares on direct flights from Canada to Brazil are few and far between but if you can't make a stopover, Air Canada and TAM have direct flights from Toronto to Sao Paulo. Airlines that fly from Canada to Brazil with stops in the US or other hub countries include United, Continental, American, Delta, and Air France and cheap airfares are usually available from April to May and from August to November.
In the summer months from December to February, temperatures climb from the high 20s to the high 30s Celsius in the East and Northeast of the country. In the South, temperatures range from 15-35°C from winter to summer. The Amazon and surrounding areas are hot and humid for most of the year except winter, when the rains provide some relief to the region.
Brazil's busiest tourist season is from December to March, but if you want to participate in the Carnival festivities in February, there's no avoiding the peak flight fares and steep accommodation rates.