Wonders of Brazil

John Updike wrote in his novel “Brazil” that “Life is a gift, for which we must give something back.” This perfectly sums up the largest country in South America. It is so immense that it comprises just about every aspect of the human condition, every kind of landscape, flora, and fauna.

From the Amazon Rain Forest to the mighty river and its basin, Carnival, and all the tropical wildlife, Brazil is an extreme country that appeals to the true adventurer. Because it is so vast, there is no set custom or tradition. There were so many tribes of people in Brazil it’s almost impossible to learn all about them and their ancestors who are still around today.


One of the most fascinating things about Brazil that is not as widely known (as Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, and the Amazon rain forest) are the “quilombos.” These are settlements formed by the ancestors of escaped slaves (of African origin) who settled in Brazil. These communities are astounding in their resilience and efficiency. While Afro-Brazilians still fight racial injustice today, they make up a huge part of Brazil’s population.

Tribes, Indigenous Peoples

While Portuguese is the main language in Brazil, ancient tribes spoke their own, more esoteric languages. When first discovered by European explorers around the year 1500, most tribes shared the “Tupi” language. The Amazon Basin was filled with tribes that were not nomadic since food was plentiful (such as the Arawak and Carib cultures). In other parts of the country, people had to be nomadic in order to survive. It is thought that there were once around two thousand different tribes in Brazil. The Tupi people, above all, valued courage. Some other native tribal peoples include the Tikuna Indians, indigenous Kamaiura in Xingu Park, and Waura Indians of Northern Brazil.

Discover with Spartan and the Green Egg’s Explorer Pins

Lencois Maranhenses National Park

“A protected area in Brazil, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is known for its tall white sand dunes, surrounded by crystal clear blue water. Many people believe that this park is a desert, but it is not. In fact, it is not too far from the Amazon Basin.” The park’s ecosystem is made up of many connecting rivers and lagoons that are home to endangered species, such as the scarlet ibis and wolffish.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro: “The Carnival is a gigantic festival known all around the world. The festival takes place in Rio de Janeiro and is considered the largest in the world. The celebration begins right before Lent, so it takes place six weeks before Easter. The intention of Carnival is to enjoy life with music, lavish costumes, dancing, and celebratory parades.” Never has there been more of a spectacle! Did you know that armadillo is a popular part of special Brazilian cuisine?

Amazon Water Lilies:

“Amazonian water lilies get their name from where they are located, the Amazon River. The lilies are often called Victoria, which is meant to be a reference to Queen Victoria. The leaves of Amazonian water lilies can grow to be up to nine feet wide. The blossoms are unique because they change colors between white and pink.” These lilies are extraordinary due to their sheer size. Many can support the weight of a small adult person!

Christ the Redeemer, Rio: “Christ the Redeemer is a giant Art Deco-style statue made in the image of Jesus Christ. It is located in Rio de Janeiro and was created by a French sculptor, Paul Landowski. Landowski was assisted by a Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa. The statue is just a little shy of one hundred feet tall, and the arms of the statue stretch out ninety-two feet across.” Because Brazil is a largely Catholic country, this statue is a beacon of hope for many, as well as iconic.

Iguazu Falls

“The Iguazu Falls get their name from where they are located, the Iguazu River. The river is on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The falls split the river and divide the area into upper and lower Iguazu. A local legend states that the two waterfalls were formed when an ancient god split them in two.”

Amazon River Cruises

“What does 55 gallons of water per second look like? The Amazon River, that’s what! The Amazon is THE largest body of freshwater rivers in the world. The Amazon snakes through many countries, but the largest portion is in Peru, which is in South America. When exploring the Amazon River, you’re likely to see brightly colored birds, such as parrots and macaws, as well as towering trees, exotic flowers, and some of the most unusual wildlife to be found on the planet.”

For more information on the sights and destinations mentioned above, along with corresponding SGE explorer pins, check out Spartan and the Green Egg on the website, read the blog, and click the links below.

Lencois Maranhenses National Park – Spartan and the Green Egg

Carnival: Rio de Janeiro – Spartan and the Green Egg

Amazon Water Lilies – Spartan and the Green Egg

Christ the Redeemer – Spartan and the Green Egg

Iguazu Falls – Spartan and the Green Egg

Amazon River Cruises – Spartan and the Green Egg

For more on information cited in this blog, refer to Richard Cavendish’s 1970 “Man, Myth and Magic: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural.”

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