Mascarados in Pirenópolis. Photo © Mauro Cruz (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Unique Festivals Throughout Brazil Part 1

While Carnaval is the most famous and well-known festival, there are many more throughout the year and throughout the country that are just as incredible to experience–some are even more spectacular than Carnaval. Whether a festa is religious or historical in nature, one thing you can count on is it’ll be a heck of a party.

Where to Travel in 2016 Moon Travel Guides

Where to Travel in 2016: A Month-by-Month List

Most of us at Moon have an ever-growing list of places we want to visit, a common side effect of working on travel books. This list reflects a few of the destinations that inspired our wanderlust in the last year. There are trip-of-a-lifetime–type destinations, and there are smaller destinations, but all of them triggered that classic reverie, imagining what it would be like to be there, feeling that pull.

Author Michael Sommers. Photo © Michael Sommers.

Moon Brazil 4th Edition and Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes

When I was asked to contribute an article to accompany the recently launched 4th edition of Moon Brazil, my editor suggested an update of sorts to a piece I published four years ago upon the release of the 3rd edition. As I reread the former post, the refrain of Changes, David Bowie’s existential hit of 1971, popped up and began unspooling in my mind.

Réveillon in Trancoso. Photo © Robert Miguel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Brazil’s Many Festas

Brazilians’ fame for merrymaking is not an exaggeration. Carnaval is a spectacular example, but the year is filled with fantastic events–and many of them are quite different from Carnaval. Here’s what to expect from each celebration along with when and where they’re held.

In a cobblestoned square surrounded by colorful colonial buildings, a group of dancers in red shirts and yellow ribboned skirts dance with their arms raised.

Festivals in Salvador, Brazil: Carnaval and More

Salvador has all the prerequisite ingredients for a good party: an idyllic climate, a powerful musical and cultural heritage, the mix of Catholic and Candomblé, and a population that loves to take to the streets and celebrate. The following are a sampling of the most important and unique festivals.

View from the lookout tower at the Reserva Natural Palmari. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Nature Reserves on the Río Yavarí

The Río Yavarí is in an unspoiled, isolated part of the Amazon basin and is home to two excellent private natural reserves where you will be immersed in the jungle through all manner of activities. Spend at least three days or up to a week at one of the Yavarí nature reserves (they are both excellent) to gain a real appreciation for jungle life.

A beautiful sandy beach on curving coastline with visitors scattered amongst colorful umbrellas.

Brazil’s Beach Culture: Dos and Don’ts

In Rio the beach is a fundamental part of life, and the locals abide by various cultural habits and codes. If you want to blend in, check out this list of dos and don’ts from Brazil expert Michael Sommers.

Beachgoers near a tent with a rainbow flag and beach chairs on the white sand of Ipanema beach.

Rio de Janeiro City’s Gay Scene

While Rio’s vibe is quite gay friendly, few specifically gay venues exist. GLS (a Brazilian slang term for gay, lesbica, e simpatisante; i.e., gay friendly) spaces rule, with gays, lesbians, and heteros mixing socially. Here are the hot spots to check out.

A long curtain of water spills over verdant cliffs.

Best of Brazil 21-Day Travel Itinerary

Three weeks is probably the minimum amount of time required to get a quick sampling of some of Brazil’s most noteworthy attractions, landscapes, and cultures. Considering the country’s sheer size and diversity, and the distances and travel time involved, this itinerary is very selective. After all, the goal is to enjoy your time, not to exhaust yourself, and many of Brazil’s destinations involve some sort of relaxation.