Plan your adventure
From Iguazu Falls to Manaus, your trip will start with a Delta Flight to either Rio de Janiero or São Paolo. Or, just kick back in the city you arrived in. So many options, so many things to enjoy.
Rio de Janiero
One would expect great things from a place that inspired both Jobim's "Girl from Ipanema" and Duran Duran's "Rio" — and Brazil's second largest city and former capital doesn't disappoint. The Portuguese founded the city in 1565, but this thoroughly modern city will play host to the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Two Heavenly Views
Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's largest cities and can seem daunting to first time visitors. However, Rio's public transit system, especially its subway (Metrô Rio), makes getting around safe and convenient. For an unforgettable panoramic view of the city, take a cable car ride up Sugar Loaf Mountain. At its peak of nearly 1,300 feet, you'll be suspended over Rio's deep blue harbor, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Or find yourself at the base of the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue. This 130-foot colossus, completed in 1931, has become Rio's symbol that sits atop the Corcovado Mountain, some 2,300 feet above sea level. You don't compromise mountains for beaches here. Rio's pristine beaches with famous names like Arpoador, Ipanema and Copacabana simply can't be missed.
This is a town that really knows how to party. On December 31, the place to be in Rio is Copacabana Beach, where more than two million people ring in the New Year. Few celebrations on the planet can match Rio's Carnival. Held every February, you can enjoy the lavish parades and samba with five million of your best friends.
São Paulo, the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, is also one of the oldest in the Americas. Named after St. Paul the Apostle, it was established by Portugal in 1554 and today, it's an economic powerhouse and home to many corporations. Visitors will enjoy all of the historical, cultural and culinary advantages that a first-class city of São Paulo's stature affords.
Brazil's Melting Pot
It may come as a bit of a surprise that the single largest ethnic group in this diverse Brazilian city founded by Portuguese is Italians. They settled here in huge waves beginning in the 19th century, and currently some 6 million São Paulo residents are of Italian descent. The neighborhood of Mooca is the epicenter of this heritage, and probably has more Italian restaurants, cafés and pizzerias than any other locale in South America. São Paulo also has a prominent Japanese district, known as Liberdade, where you can enjoy authentic Asian food; furthermore, large numbers of Greeks, Germans and Chinese descendants also call the city home and have helped along the multi-cultural air about the city.
The heart of São Paulo beats along the toney Paulista Avenue, the city's main thoroughfare which feels akin to New York's Fifth Avenue or Paris' Champs Elysees. Here, in addition to a non-stop parade of chic boutiques and swank eateries, you'll find the São Paulo Museum of Art, where works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Goya are on display. Nearby, to the northeast toward the city center, site two of São Paulo's most regal landmarks: the glorious Cathedral da Sé, which has become the city's symbol, and the opulent Municipal Theater of São Paulo.