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Two-thirds of Brazil’s population lives near the coast, meaning that life is a beach for locals and tourists alike. People are the essence of the country, and while Brazil is home to a multitude of ethnic groups of varying economic status, there are some characteristics that everyone shares – energy and passion. It’s not all reserved for soccer either; Brazilians enjoy a good party whatever the circumstances. Rio is the hottest of destinations, particularly around Carnival time. Dancers gyrate, the music beats and the summer temperature rises. Almost anything goes. Bodies of all ages, colors and sizes don the very minimum in beachwear and idle away the days on the sun-kissed Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Volleyball, swimming and people-watching are but a few of the activities in which you can indulge. Brazil’s landscape is as diverse as the people who inhabit it. A rich colonial history exists, and the town of Parati is an exquisite example of eighteenth-century Portuguese architecture. The jungles and rivers of the Amazon, home to lush vegetation and exotic wildlife, incite notions of exploration amongst the intrepid, while the thundering Iguacu Falls are simply a spectacular wonder. Brazil’s massive assortment of people and places renders it ripe for choice. Being so vast, larger than continental United States, Brazil offers a variety of cultures and topographies. The range is evident in the contrast of the Amazon rain forest to the mountain towns of Minas Gerais, the urban jungle of Sao Paulo and the vast central plateau around Brasilia and the world-famous Rio de Janeiro. It all adds up to an exotic and exciting Latin American mix where the common denominators are samba, sunshine, sultry smiles and soccer.