Brazil is the second largest country in South America by land area and the fifth-largest country in the world. This large Portuguese-speaking nation is welcoming the world this year as Rio de Janeiro is playing host to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Even if you can’t get tickets to the Olympics, there are still lots of things to see and do in Brazil anytime of the year. Here are a few must-see attractions in Brazil.
1. Ouro Preto
One of Brazil’s most well-preserved colonial towns, Ouro Preto, meaning “black gold”, was founded at the end of the 17th century. It was the epicenter of a gold rush in the state of Minas Gerais. Its 18th and 19th century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho have made Ouro Preto a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brazil.
2. Fernando de Noronha
This gorgeous archipelago with pristine beaches, landscapes and wildlife, found 220 miles off the northeastern coast of Brazil was discovered in 1503 and was temporarily occupied by the Dutch and French before the Portuguese conquered France in 1737. Today, only one of the 21 islands is inhabited and the islands are a popular destination for divers and snorkelers with warm waters year-round.