Long before the futuristic city of Brasilia was established, the first capital of colonial Brazil was Salvador, nestled on the shores of the expansive All Saints Bay by the Atlantic Ocean. Today this antiquated city is the capital of the Bahia state of Brazil and is a toy town of colonial splendour melded with the exotic influences of the Afro-Brazilian culture. With a deep-rooted history of industry and slavery, this once illustrious port city of northern Brazil will entice you with its vibrant atmosphere and perfectly restored colonial buildings.
The largest city on the planet that did not exist before the 20th century is, surprisingly, the celebrated capital of Brazil, Brasilia; a modern day urban design experiment of astronomical proportions. Designed around the scale of a car – making a walk to the corner shop an hour round trip, or just crossing the road a six lane jog – this futuristic city is a symbol of Brazil’s power and wealth. Constructed on virgin land, over an incomprehensible period of only forty-one months, this young city took over as Capital from Rio de Janeiro at it’s inauguration in 1960, since then it has grown into a wealthy centre of government and commence. With the most outlandish architecture seen in South America – think 1950’s space-age modernism – the pilgrimage to the Capital became a must on our Brazilian hit list.
Never would one imagine that in the tropical hills of Brazil lies a traditional Portuguese hillside village of postcard perfect, rustic, whitewashed houses on steep cobblestone streets, alongside fantastically decorated Baroque churches. Ouro Preto is a rare historical gem in the heart of Brazil. This is where one can get a glimpse of the grandeur of Portuguese colonialism over five centuries old.
Burrowed between jagged rocky peaks and voluptuous mountains, covered in dense, luscious green jungle, is the spectacular city of Rio de Janeiro. Rio is the pulsating heart of Brazil, with an irresistible culture of music, parties, and sun seeking. By day and night it will lure you in and leave you begging for more. Our sojourn in the city coincided with the end of the Carnaval festivities, despite the legendary parade being over the streets were still full of revellers persisting on making the party live on. We came to Rio, like all backpackers, ready to embrace the sun and the Brazilian way of having fun in what is one of the world’s most magnetic cities.