If you're a traveler looking for a budget-friendly destination, Brazil should be on your 2009 list. According to CheapTickets.com, Brazil offers savings of 58 percent in April, a time when the southern hemisphere's summer crowds have moved on, yet the warm weather still lingers. Most people think of Rio de Janeiro when they think of Brazil, but thanks to the arrival of low-cost air carriers, getting around Brazil is easier and more affordable than ever. Here are five things to do in Brazil:
Check out Carnival : This lively spectacle takes place in cities throughout Brazil, beginning in late February. One of the highlights of the event in Rio is the parade of samba schools, featuring local dancers, floats, costumes and music. While many of the festivities take place on the street and are free, the samba parade requires tickets.
Redeem yourself : After all the fun and games of Carnival, you may need to confess. Head to the Christ the Redeemer statue high atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio. The 120-foot monument is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Fall for Iguazu Falls : Wider and taller than Niagara Falls, this UNESCO World Heritage site lies along the Iguazu River on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Iguazu Falls is actually made up of hundreds of falls, which all together extend more than 2 miles in a semicircular shape.
See Sao Paulo : With some 10 million inhabitants, Sao Paulo is Brazil's largest and most chic city. As the country's financial hub, it attracts wealthy residents who demand cultural and artistic stimulation. Restaurants, night life and shopping are plentiful and diverse. A walk along Avenida Paulista will give visitors a good idea of the city's offerings.
Take an eco-tour : Almost half of the Amazon, the 2.7 million-square-mile tropical rain forest, lies within Brazil's borders. Most travelers start out at Manaus, where various tours highlight activities from bird-watching to hiking to river cruises.
More information: www.braziltour.com