Think of Brazil and what comes to mind? Beaches, carnivals, the Amazon, favelas, and very likely, the majestic, 98-foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer. Brazil is all this and more. So much more that in is a country of so much diversity and so many superlatives, you don’t even know where to start.

First, the size. Brazil is massive! We’re talking twice-the-size-of-Europe kind of massive. It is the fifth largest country in the world and occupies 47.3 percent of the South American continent.

It is home to the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon and some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever find. Lush jungles, unparalleled bio-diversity and wildlife, amazing waterfalls, beautiful caves, canyons, pristine national parks, tropical islands and beautiful mountains all await you in Brazil.

As a melting pot of nationalities, Brazilian culture is one of the world’s most varied and diverse you’ll find in one country. Long term migrations from Europe, the slave trade which brought people from Africa and of course the Native American populace have given rise to a population that is a brilliant mix of cultures. This is evident in all aspects of life, from the music to the food and the festivals. All of these different influences give Brazil its unique and complex culture.

Weather-wise, Brazil lies in the tropics and has a warm climate all year long. In Rio de Janeiro and the south of the country it rains more in summer, from October to May. Winters are dry and mild in Rio but it can get very chilly in the south. Temperatures are low in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. In the northeast, on the other hand, it’s hot all year long. The wet season goes from May to July but the rest of the year the sun shines most of the time. Finally, it can rain at any time in the Amazonas, as it lies on the Equator. However, the wet season officially goes from December to May.

The food is an eclectic mix – you will find a large variety heavily influenced by different cultures. Churrasco and Fejioda are some of the most popular. Churrasco is the term for a barbecue which uses a variety of meats, pork, sausage and chicken which may be cooked on a purpose-built “churrasqueira”, a barbecue grill, often with supports for spits or skewers. Fejioda on the other hand is a typical Portuguese dish of beans stew with beef and pork. There are many others. In Bahia state for instance, you will find food heavily influenced by African cooking.

When in Brazil, the one thing you know you will never suffer from is a lack of things to do. There is something for everyone. The magnificent beaches scattered all around the country will provide plenty of fun for beachgoers. If shopping is your thing, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza have some of the best shopping destinations anywhere in the world. For the adrenaline junkie, adventure seeker or nature lover, the states of Paraná, Bahia, Maranhão, Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Manaus and surrounding areas of Amazonas have more than enough to get your blood pumping. And of course if partying is what you’re after, you can do that practically anywhere in Brazil, because if there’s anything Brazilians do better than anyone else on earth, it’s partying. Every major city has one festival or the other. The most famous of course is Carnival, with the biggest ones being hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador and Recife/Olinda.

Bem-vindo ao belo Brasil!