7 Sizzling Sights in Brazil - United Hub

7 sizzling sights in Brazil

By Bob Cooper

Brazil may rank fifth in size and population among the world's countries, but many global travelers are just now discovering its allure. If the 2014 FIFA World Cup didn't permanently put it on the map, this summer's Rio Olympics surely will. But when you visit Brazil, what is there to see in Rio and beyond?

An aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Go for the sights: Gaze down on Rio and its famed beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema, from the 98-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado mountain towering 2,300 feet into the sky — or reverse the view by peering up at the monument from the pristine sand. Go for the sounds: Samba clubs are the pulse of the music scene in the Lapa neighborhood. Go for the flavors: The aroma of meats grilling at churrascarias (a type of Brazilian steakhouse known for its buffet-style serving) envelops the city. Or just go for the whole sensory feast, whether your reason for visiting is business, your bucket list, the Olympics (August 5-21) or the next Carnival (starting Feb. 24 2017).

A skyline view of São Paulo in Brazil

Sights of São Paulo

Often overshadowed by Rio, São Paulo is actually far more populous and more affluent and diverse, with the people and the cuisine reflecting waves of immigration from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It's home to the most Japanese residents outside of Japan, so sushi can be enjoyed everywhere. Sao Paulo is also Brazil's culture capital, so don't miss the Museu do Ipiranga and its Versailles-inspired gardens.

The Iguazu Falls in the rain forest on the border of Brazil and Argentina

Iguazu Falls

Think Niagara Falls — but higher, wider and with more waterfalls. This thunderous medley of cascades also straddles an international boundary, in this case, the Brazil-Argentina border. Viewed from wooden platforms — or a boat, helicopter or rainforest train — Iguazu Falls (also called Iguassu or Iguacu Falls) tumble into two national parks.

A man on a small boat on the Amazon River going into the rain forest

Amazon adventures

Most Amazon explorations commence from Manaus, a city at the mouth of the amazing Amazon. Transportation and lodging options range from luxury cruise ships to eight-cabin riverboats and rustic eco-lodges. Regardless of your choice, you will be surrounded by the world's most bio-diverse collection of flora and fauna as your vessel ventures deep into the rainforest.

Brazil's Atlantic Coastline, including the beach

Beach cities

Along Brazil's Atlantic coastline — at 4,655 miles, more than twice the length of the U.S. East Coast — are countless cities, towns and villages known for their sunbathing and surfing beaches. The cities with the most to offer in addition to beaches:

  • Salvador (located in northeastern state of Bahia): Check out its 17th-century cathedral and Afro-Brazilian cuisine.
  • Florianópolis (capital of southern Brazil's Santa Catarina state): Take a selfie on one of its picturesque bridges and indulge in the superb seafood.
  • Recife (capital of Brazil's northeastern state Pernambuco): This former Dutch colony is situated near coral reefs and tropical forests for those looking to spend some quality time with Mother Nature.
  • Fortaleza (capital of northeastern state Ceará): The museum district and lively nightlife won't disappoint.

Sunset overlooking the ocean on the Fernando de Noronha Island in Brazil

Fernando de Noronha

Visiting this island, 220 miles off the easternmost tip of South America, is worth the relatively high accommodations prices. The snorkeling, diving and hiking options are all outstanding, and the beaches are rated the best in Brazil. Much of the six-mile-long island is part of a national marine park — expect to spot spinner dolphins. Only about 300 visitors are allowed to arrive daily by air, so reserve a flight well in advance on Azul Brazilian Airlines.

An aerial view of the city of Brasília


This unique planned city sprung out of nothing — carved out of the jungle in a three-year uprising of modernist architecture during the late '50s. Several palaces, the massive government complex at Three Powers Square and the glass-roofed Cathedral of Brasília are some of the most popular attractions.

All of these destinations are easily accessible via United nonstop flights from the U.S. (to Rio and São Paulo), and, once you arrive, you can get to the smaller cities on United mileage partner Azul Brazilian Airlines. Plan your adventure on united.com or by using the United app.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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