FLY: American Airlines, TAM, United, and Delta Air Lines taxi into Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport, eight miles from the city-center. Fly direct from U.S. hubs Atlanta and Miami. (Airport code: BSB)
SEE: When Juscelino Kubitschek became president in 1956, he invited only the best Brazilian architects and planners to present ideas on how to transform Brasilia—currently a UNESCO World Heritage site—into the country’s new capital. Innovative designs of modern architecture and urban planning were created by architect Oscar Niemeyer, landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, and urban planner Lucio Costa; together they planned the city from the ground up in only five years by separating it into separate zones: commercial, administrative and residential. Notable architectural wonders can be seen at the Praça dos Três Poderes, or the Plaza of Three Powers, depicting Brazil’s three powers of government in dramatically designed edifices made of striking white stone. Other notable structures include the National Theatre, the Esplanade of the Ministers, and the Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida.
STAY: Located in the south sector of Brasilia’s hotel zone, the 308-room St. Paul Plaza is only 15 minutes from the airport offering 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom accommodations in modern, comfortable decor with LCD TV, complimentary WiFi, and 24-hour room service. The hotel’s Flowers Restaurant, open daily for lunch and dinner, serves savory Brazilian cuisine. St. Paul Plaza is located near Parque da Cidade, the city’s immense park with green lawn space, jogging and cycling paths. (hotelstpaul.com.br)
WORLD CUP VENUE: Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha (capacity: 70,064); will host seven matches.
FLY: Direct flights are available to Cuiaba’s Marechal Rondon International Airport—four miles from the city—from Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on TAM, Azul, GOL, Trip and Avianca airlines. (Airport code: CGB)
SEE: Cuiaba is situated near three of Brazil’s largest ecosystems: the Amazon, the Pantanal wetlands, and the sprawling savannah known as the Cerrado. A tropical, hot and rainy destination, Cuiaba is also the gateway to Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park, which boasts waterfalls, impressive rock formations and nearly 50 archaeological sites. Aside from its natural wonders, visitors to the city will also enjoy the Museu Historico de Mato Grosso displaying artifacts and collections of the state’s history, while the Museu de Pedras Ramis Bucair displays a collection of stones, old maps, and local fossils and its shop sells precious and semiprecious stones.
STAY: The 174-room Deville Cuiaba is located in the downtown area of Cuiaba, only 15 minutes from the airport. Here, guests can choose from Luxury to Executive or Master suites with comforts like an LCD TV, a queen- or king-sized bed, and complimentary WiFi. After a day of futebol, guests staying at Deville Cuiaba can relax in the property’s outdoor pool, take advantage of the 24-hour room service, enjoy the fitness center, or relax with a treatment at NAGA Spa offering traditional hot stone, facial and massage treatments for men and women. The hotel’s Ventanas Restaurant serves local and international cuisine with a la carte service for lunch and dinner. (deville.com.br)
WORLD CUP VENUE: Arena Pantanal (capacity: 42,968); will host four matches.