Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil. Its territory to the east has a long coastal strip bordered by the Atlantic ocean, while to the south it borders Uruguay, to the west with Argentina, to the north is the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. The border with Argentina and part of that with the state of Santa Catarina is marked by the Uruguay River.
The northern part of the state is formed by a plateau which is the continuation of the southern highlands of Brazil (Planalto Meridional), its average height is between 600 and 900 meters. In the north-eastern section there is also the highest point in the state, the Pico do Monte Negro (1,398 meters) which is part of the Serra Geral mountains.
In the center, the Rio Grande do Sul, is crossed by a large depression, the Depressão Central. This depression is characterized by a slightly undulating flat territory, this is the most densely populated area in the region. Here, near the coast, there is also the city of Porto Alegre.
Flat areas are found along the low, sandy Atlantic coast. Numerous fresh and brackish water lagoons have formed here, the largest being the Laguna dos Patos, Lagoa Mirim and Lagoa da Mangueira.
Rio Grande do Sul is one of the wealthiest states in Brazil. The driving sectors of its economy are agriculture, livestock and industry. The agro-food, metalworking and high technology sectors are particularly relevant in the industry. The main center and the capital of the state is Porto Alegre.
State tourism is directed in summer to the famous north coast beaches. Especially in the cities of Capão da Canoa, Tramandaí and Torres. The best wineries in Brazil can be visited in the area known as “Little Italy”, where the cities of Caxias do Sul, Bento Gonçalves and Garibaldi are located. One of the natural wonders of the region is the Salto do Yucumã, a side waterfall of almost 2 km in length with a jump of 20 meters in height. The falls are located along the Uruguay River, bordering Argentina.
The national parks in the region are excellent for hiking, trekking and rafting. In the Serra Geral National Park it is worth visiting the imposing Fortaleza canyon. A canyon 7.5 km long and 1500 meters wide. While the main attraction of the Aparados da Serra National Park is the Itaimbezinho Canyon, which has a length of 6 km and walls up to 720 meters high. In Rio Grande do Sul there are also interesting historical destinations such as the ruins of the Jesuit mission of São Miguel das Missões.
- Area: 281,748 km²
- Population: 10,693,929 (2010) (whites 82.3%, mulattos 11.4%, blacks 5.9%, Asians or indigenous 0.4%)
- Capital: Porto Alegre
- Time zone: UTC-3 (Summer UTC -2)