And that's true, to a certain extend. There is, in Rio de Janeiro, a permanent atmosphere of relaxing, splendour and careless ease. Cariocas tend to be extravagant, connected to music, to the sun, to human laziness and to the moment.
The best way to observe and to live this culture is by visiting a beach as Copacabana or Ipanema, contacting its people, watch a samba rehearsal or a carnival ball, going to a restaurant with communal tables or taking part in a musical event.
Also special, with more profound African traces, is the culture of Bahia, a northern state, with Salvador as its capital. Salvador da Bahia - and Bahia as a whole - is a very singular case, where the presence of the music is as overwhelming as in Rio, where the pace and rhythm of life is connected to older standards, and where the cuisine, the mysticism, and the joy and warmness of people make an unique mixture.
But there are other styles and significantly different cultures in Brazil. Brazil is a large conglomeration of cultures, and Bahia and Rio de Janeiro are just some examples of a much diversified cultural pattern.
Sao Paulo is a big metropolis that involves a region with 40 million people of many different national origins: mainly Portuguese but also Italian (1 million, largely predominant at neighborhoods as Bixiga), Spanish or Spanish speaking countries origin (1 million), German (100,000), Arab and Lebanese, and Asiatic (600.000). Here, business culture is very strong and the leisure and music cult is rather absent.
Sao Paulo has the more usual characteristics of a modern metropolis - including the art luxuries of the very big cities: excellent museums, cultural parks, art shows, top musical events, excellent restaurants, etc. Annual jazz festivals, world class fashion shows (the Sao Paulo Bienal), theatre, cinema, or opera events, are rather common. Great music performers and culture symbols are constantly arriving at Sao Paulo from abroad.
Sao Paulo is not an isolated case of European culture predominance in Brazil. The South of Brazil is mainly European, in its cultural style, sometimes with visible connections to some particular countries. That's, undoubtedly, the case of Blumenau the town where South America's largest and liveliest beer festival (Oktoberfest) takes place, reflecting a large German origin community. Blumenau's Oktoberfest is a three week festival, a replica of Munich's, an event that calls more than a million people a year and rivals with events like Rio de Janeiro or Salvador's Carnivals.
Blumenau is, indeed, an example of the predominance of European culture on the south of Brazil. Here, the impact of African or Indian culture is little and the racial blending of other Brazilian states doesn't exist.
If you want to visit an atypical Brazil, deeply related with European culture and where even the climate is different (four seasons, with a cold one), choose the southern states. Here you may find folklore, traditions, music and a cuisine (with beer and wine) strictly rooted in Europe.
The Amazonians - well represented by the caboclo community - are another different culture. The native caboclos work as rubber-tappers, fishermen and as small farmers living near the rivers' margins; they amount to around three million people, scattered around the river and the immense rainforest. The Amazonian Indians have almost disappeared, making the caboclos are, in a way, their heirs.