Brazil doesn’t need much selling to any gap year traveller, but here goes: staggering natural beauty, 5000 miles of beaches, the jungles of the Amazon, the most famous carnival in the world, cities that are a byword for exotic hedonism, some of the most vibrant music and art cultures in the world and a reputation for laidback good-living. Brazil may very well have it all, but there’s only one way to find out for sure…
For the adventure traveller in Brazil, the Amazon jungle has to be the first stop: teeming with wildlife, including species and plants found nowhere else on earth, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Then there are the majestic Iguacu Falls – plural, since it’s really a complex of over 250 different waterfalls – the southern wetlands of the Pantanal, plus kayaking, rafting, trekking, diving and surfing (and that’s big surfing).
Travel in Brazil may be costlier than other South American countries, but that’s made up by the convenience. For those student travellers looking for rich experience, it’s ideal: mountains on one side, some of the world’s most famous beaches on the other and in between life lived at an intensity other nations don’t quite manage. It has nightlife and music that rivals any in the world, and a history that blends African, European and native Indian influences into a distinctive national character.
If you’re looking to dig deep into the culture of Brazil, volunteer work is the very best way to do it. You can work in the poor favelas of Rio with youths and other community projects, often with Portuguese tuition included.