Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo form the gateway to Brazil’s south which boasts a spectacular sun-drenched coastline that is peppered with smalls towns and fishing villages, each with its own charm. Naturally stunning, as you head south, palm trees give way to pine forests and coffee plantations, providing a refreshing contrast to the ceaseless surf, golden sands and colonial towns of the north.
North of Rio is the sophisticated resort of Buzios which, after Brigette Bardot visited it as a quaint little fishing village in her heyday, soon became known as the St Tropez of South America. Boasting beautiful beaches, lagoons, cobbled streets, charming restaurants and boutiques, its easy to see why this gem has become a popular destination for visitors. Other worthy mentions include the colonial jewel of Parati and the paradisiacal island of Ilha Grande on Brazil's Emerald Coast, where the Atlantic forest meets the sea, its reflection creating a stunning illusion in the crystalline waters.
Further south, palm trees give way to pine forests, coffee plantations, cattle ranches and tranquil valleys. Visit the southern state of Santa Catarina and watch Southern Right Whales as they make their remarkable journey from the Antarctic to breed and nurse their calves (Jul to Nov), or visit the laid-back coastal city of Florianopolis, with its stunning beaches ranging from quiet bays to excellent surfing hot-spots.