Picture pristine rainforests teeming with life, long crescents of powdery sand lapped by cerulean seas, hypnotic dances in the streets of preserved colonial towns and the energetic buzz of lively barrios at night; this is just a snapshot of what a Brazilian vacation looks like. This vast South American nation has long attracted visitors from far and wide, thanks to its enticing mix of culture and scenery, but why travel to Brazil in 2020? From visa-free entry to exciting new hotel openings, here is the lowdown on why you should start planning a Brazil trip for 2020.
US Citizens Can Now Visit Brazil Visa-free
Did you miss our recent blog announcing the New Visa Requirements for United States Citizens Visiting Brazil? Well, if not, on June 17, 2019, the Brazilian government lifted visa restrictions for American and Canadian tourists, meaning that visitors from the USA and Canada can now stay for up to 90 days a year in Brazil. Not only does this make Brazil trips in 2020 more convenient, but also pocket friendly, as you no longer need to pay to enter this amazing South American country. Previously, it would have costed you $160 to do so.
Strong Currency Exchange Rate
Brazil’s currency (the Real) goes real far now against the dollar making the exchange rate is better than it has been in the last decade. So, now that it’s become even easier to visit Brazil, you can discover a true South American gem and its myriad delights in 2020—visa-free while getting the most “bang for your buck!”
Explore Paraty and Ilha Grande: Brazil’s newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO have just announced (in July 2019) that the Brazilian town of Paraty and nearby Ilha Grande have been selected as new World Heritage Sites, an amazing accomplishment for this beautiful corner of southern Brazil. Recognizing the rich heritage and natural wealth of Paraty and Ilha Grande, UNESCO has established the region as a mixed culture and biodiversity site, which is the first ever in Brazil—other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country are either designated as cultural or biodiverse separately, as opposed to being part of both categories at once. With this new UNESCO status, the region can look forward to greater economic support to help preserve its exceptional colonial architecture and beautiful natural sites, meaning that Paraty and Ilha Grande will hold on to its inimitable charm and picturesque scenery.
Paraty is a gorgeous little colonial town clutching the shores of Brazil’s southern coast, with cobbled lanes flanked by pretty pastel facades dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Spend the day exploring the main square and ornate churches around town while popping into artisan boutiques, galleries, and outdoor cafes along the way. We are not surprised that this top Brazilian destination has been given such highly prestigious status, considering it was here that gold was shipped over to Europe, having been mined in nearby Minas Gerais. You’ll definitely be able to see the distinctive Portuguese influence through the architecture and art of that era that still is vibrant to this day!
Aside from the cultural and historical aspect of this region in Brazil, it has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its natural beauty. Wedged between the verdant Serra da Bocaina Mountains and sparkling Atlantic Ocean, Paraty flaunts a breathtaking backdrop that is simply stunning to witness, as tree-carpeted peaks rise above pristine crescents of sand and islands flung offshore. It makes up part of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, which is one of the top five biodiversity locations in the world, sheltering a vast array of species including Jaguars, Woolly Spider Monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries, all of which are sadly under threat.
While here on holiday, you can go island-hopping to any of the 65 islets rising above azure waters, take your pick from 200 beaches and go hiking through the Atlantic Forest. Best of all, Paraty and Ilha Grande are just a four-hour drive from bustling Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, making them even more irresistible to explore.
Rio de Janeiro: World Capital of Architecture 2020
Another recent announcement from UNESCO is that Rio de Janeiro—South America’s most iconic city—will be the World Capital of Architecture in 2020. The theme for the year will be ‘All the worlds. Just one world’, with the city being expected to tie in a variety of events and celebrations to this particular theme, so anyone with a passion for architecture and art should seriously consider visiting Rio in 2020.
The aim of this designation is to provide ‘an international forum for debates about pressing global challenges from the perspectives of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture.’ Throughout the year, Rio will undoubtedly showcase its distinctive architecture and unmistakable culture, while promoting exciting creative projects as well as one of the key goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.’
Festive Season Highlights and Options
If you’re looking for another excuse to hotfoot it to Brazil in 2020, and you’ve always wanted to catch the famous Carnival festival, be sure to visit between February 21 and 26 when the main celebrations take place. New year’s Eve is also a highlight of the summer with with lavish parties thrown all over the country. Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro is definitely the most popular destination to visit, but if you are looking for a more secluded celebration, try Trancoso: Brazil’s rustic chic paradise with a great New Year celebration in store. All this and more, can be relished on a 2020 Brazil tour with Latin Excursions.
Enjoy an insider’s view of Trancoso in the video below with drone footage captured recently when I brought my family to see my birthplace of Brazil!
New Direct Flights to Brazil
Although the USA is already well-linked to Brazilian airports, American Airlines and LATAM are looking to team up to provide new direct routes between South America and the USA. Americans are now able to travel from Miami to Belo Horizonte or Recife, and rumor has it that flights will soon be available from Austin and San Jose to São Paulo; so stay tuned…
New Hotels in Brazil for 2020
In 2020 you could also be among the first visitors at highly anticipated boutique hotels opening up around the country, from the city of Salvador to the Amazon Rainforest. Here’s our pick of the top new hotels in Brazil to check into in 2020:
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1) Fasano Salvador
One of Salvador’s few truly luxurious offerings in the heart of Pelourinho, the city’s old town, is the new Fasano hotel which treads the perfect balance between grandeur and understated five-star standards. Discreet but impeccable service is at the heart of this esteemed hotel group, and their Salvador outpost is no different. But what is novel about this particular property is its exquisite heritage, owed to the 1930s building in which it is encased—the former headquarters of A Tarde, the newspaper, rising into the skyline above Castro Alves Square to afford views of All Saints Bay. In fact, the building is Cultural Heritage-listed, so a real privilege to stay in.
Many of the 70 rooms and suites provide views of the bay, while elsewhere in the Fasano Salvador you could take advantage of a rooftop pool and terrace, spa, gym and Italian restaurant; that is, when you’re not stepping out to explore the Pelourinho and all its delights
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2) Fasano Belo Horizonte and Trancoso
Though that’s not all from Fasano, as yet more hotel openings can be expected from this first-class group. One has just opened in Belo Horizonte, which is actually the city’s first ever five-star hotel, spotlighting the amazing cultural offerings of this lesser-known Brazilian town through its events venue, live jazz music in the bar and Italian cuisine courtesy of the Gero Belo Horizonte restaurant.
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3) Anantara Maraú Bahia
Also studded on Brazil’s north-eastern coast in the state of Bahia is the new Anantara hotel, a gorgeous beach retreat set between Atlantic Forest and swathes of sun-kissed sand. Anantara is a highly reputable hotel brand with properties all over Asia and the Indian Ocean, but it is just about to establish its first resort in the Americas—the Anantara Maraú Bahia, Brazil—which will throw open its doors at the end of 2019.
A stay here promises access to the stunning beach; fabulous facilities including a pool, tennis courts, Anantara Spa and gym; activities like horse riding, surfing, deep sea fishing and diving; plus the chance to tuck in to exquisite Bahian cuisine or sip cocktails at the bar. In addition, while based at the Anantara Maraú Bahia, you can experience the local Afro-Brazilian culture too, discover hidden waterfalls or sail to secret islands; it’s going to be a game-changer.
Insider Access: Combine Remote Sand Dunes and Untouched Amazon
Take a brief visual journey of one of natures most exotic sand dune parks called Lencois National Park in the video below. This destination is a great place for family, couples or friends to explore in 2020. It’s truly one of the next great frontiers in travel in South America, and we can combine with a private yacht experience through an untouched region of the remote Amazon jungle!