From the jungle calls of the Amazon to the thong-clad crowds of Copacabana beach, Brazil is an intoxicating mix of the giant, the bold and the pretty, perennially of the world's favourite destinations.
It's also of the largest countries on the planet, with an awesome array of treasures to match. Its giant shoreline is fringed with soft sands and island getaways; the Amazon Basin teems with an incomparable mass of flora and fauna; and the wetlands of the Pantanal, the largest on Earth, support a staggering diversity of wildlife.
And then there's the IguaÃ§u Falls, an unforgettable natural spectacle featuring hundreds of waterfalls, which cascade from the tropical rainforest as blue morpho butterflies flit through the spray.
Without a doubt the greatest draw, however, are the Brazilians themselves; probably the most hedonistic people on earth. Whether it's Rio's effervescent Cariocas going overboard at Carnival, or SÃ£o Paulo's sultry citizens gyrating in stylish nightclubs, Brazilians love having fun.
Adrenaline junkies can go wild in Brazil; shooting the giant surf of Santa Catarina; bouncing in beach buggies over the sand dunes of northern Natal; snorkeling in Fernando de Noronha National Park; or abseiling in the Chapada Diamantina National Park.
Their irrepressible joie de vivre finds its best outlet through music and dance. Samba, lambada and bossa nova are Brazil's best-known musical exports, but visitors can also discover a plethora of other genres, from the Northeast's forrÃ³ to the punchy bass of baile funk coming out of Rio's favelas.
Or you can take life simple and let Brazil come to you by lolling in a hammock on an Amazonian ferry, looking out for the occasional macaw, or browsing the backstreets of colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Paraty, which are lined with architectural monuments and stylish boutique hotels.
Whatever you're looking for, rest assured, Brazil has it in spades.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Brazil
There are 19 World Heritage sites in Brazil in total, with 12 Cultural sites and 7 Natural sites;
– Carioca Landscapes of Rio de Janeiro
– Town of Ouro Preto
– Town of Olinda
– Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas
– Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis
– Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia
– City of Brasilia
– Serra da Capivara National Park
– Centre of São Luís
– Centre of the Town of Diamantina
– Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás
– Town of São Cristóvão; São Francisco Square in the
– Iguaçu National Park
– Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves
– Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves
– Central Amazon Conservation
– Pantanal Conservation Area
– Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves
– Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks
– The annual Brazil Carnaval is held between February and March in line with Easter celebrations.
– Flight fares don't normally increase over the Carnaval period. There is a lot airline competition, which helps with prices and availability.
– Local travel in Brazil is easy with buses and a few trains. Transport is plentiful and cheap but busy.
– Cars can be rented but the roads may prove to be a challenge.
– There are five main regional cuisines so ensure you sample the local delights.