The largest country in South America, covering nearly half of the continent, Brazil is a land of contrasts that offers a multitude of landscapes and activities. From the enormous cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, or Salvador to the unexplored regions of the Amazon and the Pantanal, passing through unspoiled national parks and heavenly beaches, visiting Brazil will offer you experiences as diverse as they are enriching.
A stay of several months would be necessary to explore this country as large as 16 times the size of France, which is why we will help you choose what to do in Brazil thanks to our selection of unmissable places.
1.Rio de Janeiro
Gateway to the country Rio de Janeiro is often the most famous city in Brazil. Mythical for its carnival, landscapes, and monuments, it immediately immerses you in the relaxed and warm atmosphere of the country. Visiting Brazil is first soaking up the sweetness of life that reigns there.
Stroll on the mythical beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, where Brazilian men and women tan and show off their bodies without complexes. Stop to admire the salsa dancers who spin on the boardwalk in impromptu performances.
Then go to Corcovado, the mountain that hosts Christ the Redeemer, a city symbol. The view of the bay of Rio is breathtaking, and you will have another must-see in your sights, the Pão de Açúcar or Pain de Sucre, a granite peak that culminates at 396 meters above the sea, the summit of which you can reach a foot or by cable car.
2. The Costa Verde
You should not miss Costa Verde when looking for what to do in Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro region. This region runs along the Atlantic coast between Rio and São Paulo and is home to many wonders. Note the small town of Paraty, a jewel of colonial architecture that seems frozen in time with its white facades and cobbled streets. Not far away, the fishing village of Trindade spreads its white sand beaches dotted with fishing huts along a turquoise sea for your greatest pleasure.
3. Ilha Grande
Ilha grande — in English, “Big Island” — is one of the 365 islands in the bay of Angra dos Reis.
Accessible by ferry, it offers everything the traveler dreams of for a holiday. White sand beaches for relaxation, translucent waters suitable for snorkeling, walks in the preserved jungle, etc. All in a calm and relaxing atmosphere since the island has no roads and, therefore, no vehicles. The many hikes will satisfy motivated walkers and those who combine holidays with rest and will lead you, in any case, to largely deserted beaches or pretty little fishing villages.
4. Iguazú Falls
Visiting Brazil also means searching for some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. The Iguazú Falls (Foz do Iguaçu in Portuguese), on the border with Argentina, is a jewel that should not be missed. Located within a protected park, approximately 275 waterfalls spring from the forest at each bend in the path, up to the show’s highlight, the impressive Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat.
You will hear the sound of waterspouts pouring into it before seeing it, and you can get closer thanks to the footbridges along the cliffs and above the river.
5. The Amazon Rainforest
A visit to Brazil would only be complete with an immersion in the green lung of our planet, the immense Amazonian forest. So first, fly to Manaus, a legendary city developed in the 19th century during the “soft gold” rubber rush. This city, with colonial architecture, is the starting point for cruises on the Amazon River or hikes in the jungle. But be careful, going deep into the primary forest is a real adventure!
Choose an experienced guide who will introduce you to the fauna and flora of the region, sleep in a lodge in the heart of the forest, and set off to meet the native tribes. Following the river to its mouth, you can reach the city of Belém, the gateway to Ilha do Marajo. This island in the middle of the delta is an immense preserved territory that offers many treks, camping, and animal observation opportunities.
6. The state of the Pantanal
To stay on the nature theme, we advise you to visit Brazil by including the Pantanal in your itinerary. Located on the border with Bolivia, this marshy region is a wetland conducive to observing animals. You can go on a safari by boat or horseback in search of the mythical species that come to take refuge there.
You will see all kinds of exotic birds, such as parrots, ibises, or toucans, but also anacondas, monkeys, caimans, and iguanas. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a tapir, a sloth, or the majestic jaguar.
7. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
It is inconceivable to visit Brazil without discovering the unique landscapes of the Lençois Maranhenses. Dunes undulate as far as the eye can see like sheets – Lençois in Portuguese – and form hollows or natural pools.
Between March and September, they observe the formation of these basins and the small streams that meander between the dunes after the rains are possible. The water that accumulates is pure and translucent and contrasts with the desert environment, creating a unique landscape in the world. The park is 7 kilometers long and 25 wide, allowing leisurely exploration despite the many tourists visiting.
8. The colonial towns of Minas Gerais
What to do in Brazil if not immerse yourself in the country’s culture and go back to its Portuguese roots? The region of Minas Gerais (general mines) is a perfect example of the country’s colonial past. Many cities were erected there during the conquest of gold and have kept their charm of yesteryear.
This is the case of Ouro Preto, “black gold,” nestled in the mountains and the first Brazilian city to be classified as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You will stroll through the cobbled streets of this Baroque jewel, marveling at the architecture of the houses with white facades, the elaborate fountains, and the 10 great churches of the city. Also, take advantage of the charming Tiradentes and the Bom Jesus sanctuary dominating Congonhas.
9. Salvador de Bahia
To visit Brazil, you must take a trip to its former capital, Salvador de Bahia. It is the most mixed of Brazilian cities, with strong Portuguese and African influences, making it Brazil’s cultural capital. However, the warm atmosphere of Salvador will not leave you indifferent. Its center with colorful houses – Pelourinho – is full of small squares where you can interact with the population and restaurants to taste the gastronomy.
You will also discover capoeira – mixing acrobatic dance and martial arts – which is part of the city’s identity. Be sure to take the Lacerda — one of the oldest in the world — to admire the view of the Bay of All Saints and lose yourself among the colorful stalls of the market. And if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Brazil’s third-largest city, take a boat to Itaparica Island and its dream beaches.
10. The coast of Céara
Following the Linha Verde from Salvador, you can reach Recife and the beautiful Fortaleza along the coast. From there, the strips of fine sand follow one another and come to die in translucent waters.
Jericoacoara is one of the villages found on the way and is only accessible by 4×4. This fishing village is transformed into a seaside resort but remains preserved from mass tourism. The sandy streets, the pristine beaches, and the impression that time has stopped making it a perfect place to disconnect. Ideal if you are looking for what to do in Brazil to rest.
The Bonito region is a concentration of activities if you are wondering what to do in Brazil. Freshwater caves and lagoons dot the area, reminiscent of cenotes in Mexico. You can swim and admire the fish in the Aquario Natural in the middle of the forest, raft along the Rio da Prata river, or cave in the Abismo de Inhumans. Visiting Brazil will allow you to discover this beautiful region through hikes in a preserved forest between caves and waterfalls.