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17 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Last updated on November 15, 2023 by Kay Pierce - 23 Comments

Famous for being home to one of the world’s top football teams, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and the remarkable Iguazu Falls, Brazil is an exciting world travel destination. As South America’s largest country, Brazil covers a majority of the continent’s northeastern region and borders all of its countries except for Chile and Ecuador .

From the Amazon rainforest in the North to the tropical beaches along the Atlantic , to the Pantanal wetlands and the vibrant metropolises of the Southeast there are plenty of interesting places to visit in Brazil .

In this post, we'll cover:

17. Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara

Located in the northeast of Brazil in the state of Ceara, Jericoacoara is a lovely, laidback place nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and a national park of the same name. Often referred to as Jeri or Jijoca, the small and secluded seaside town boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Brazil and is an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Besides its beautiful beaches, Jeri is surrounded by delightful dunes and lagoons that offer countless recreational opportunities, with hiking, swimming and watersports all very popular. Exploring the area on horseback or in dune buggies is a fantastic way to see as much of its splendid scenery as possible; Pedra Furada – or the ‘Arched Rock’ – is the standout sight and symbol.

While its remote setting makes visiting Jericoacoara a challenge, it is well worth the effort for its sumptuous scenery, wealth of outdoor activities, and surprisingly lively nightlife.

16. Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo

Not only is Sao Paulo the largest city in Brazil, but it is also one of the largest in the world according to population. Located in southeastern Brazil, Sao Paulo is known for its skyscrapers, gastronomy and robust culture scene. Home to many ethnic groups from all over the globe including the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.

Dividing the city between its old and new districts, Paulista Avenue is the city’s busiest strip, brimming in businesses, shopping malls, art galleries, theaters and restaurants. Although Sao Paulo is known for its concrete jungle, it is also home to a large number of public parks and even portions of the Atlantic rainforest.

15. Brasilia

Brasilia

Located in the Brazilian Highlands, Brasilia was installed in 1960 as Brazil’s capital. Brazil’s former President Juscelino Kubitschek of the late 1950s ordered the city to be planned and developed into what some refer to as a utopia. Brasilia’s modern day infrastructure is designed in the shape of an airplane in which each of its sections serve as different districts such as government, commercial, residential and cultural.

Brasilia’s new and creative architecture attracts many visitors. Most significant is the Three Powers Square, which houses the Presidential Palace , the Congress and the Supreme Court. Other important buildings include the Palácio da Alvorada, the President’s official residence and the TV Tower. The Brasilia Cathedral with its glass roof that resembles hands reaching up to heaven is a must visit.

In addition to all its concrete, steel and glass, Brasilia also features a large artificial lake and several beautiful parks that all offer a variety of leisure activities. The capital is also an important transportation hub for travel within Brazil.

14. Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Tucked away among the mountains of Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto is the most picturesque, popular, and well-preserved colonial town in Brazil. As it was one of the main centers of the Brazilian Gold Rush , wealth and riches poured into its streets – along with the power and prestige that came with it.

Strung out across a series of hills, its historic center is full of steep, winding cobbled streets that meander past gorgeous old buildings and 18th-century churches. The small city also has several interesting museums for visitors to check out; many of these focus on the artworks of Aleijandinho or Ouro Preto’s mining past.

Many people visit the city for its rich history and culture or to visit the numerous mines via a guided tour. In recent years, Ouro Preto’s colorful carnival has attracted more and more revelers to its ancient streets.

Bonito

Lying in the southwest corner of Mato Grosso do Sul, the small city of Bonito is a great place to go in Brazil if you are looking to explore the gorgeous Pantanal region. While there’s not all that much to see or do in the town itself, it has long been the posterchild of sustainable ecotourism in Brazil.

Awash with natural wonders, the area surrounding Bonito is home to sparkling waterfalls, gushing rivers, and huge sinkholes and lake-filled caves that you can go swimming or snorkeling in. Hiking in the lush rainforest is also popular, with lots of colorful fauna and flora to be spied in Serra da Bodoquena National Park .

Many companies operate out of Bonito’s pousadas, and excursions usually focus on the Pantanal’s rich ecology and ecosystems. Among the most popular are snorkeling below underwater stalagmites at Anhumas Abyss, enjoying a canopy walk in the rainforest, and exploring Blue Lake Cave – one of the largest flooded caves in the world.

12. Fortaleza

Fortaleza

Nice beaches, dynamic shopping and lively culture all make Fortaleza one of Brazil’s popular tourist destinations. The capital of the Ceará state on the country’s northeastern coast, Fortaleza is Brazil’s fifth largest city, well-known for its forró music .

Featuring a mix of colonial and modern day architecture, Fortaleza offers plenty of things to see and do. Praça do Ferreira is the city’s main square where restaurants, shops and a movie theater are all located. Praça José de Alencar is another popular square where street performers can be observed.

Fortaleza’s 16 miles of urban beaches are one of the reasons many tourists flock to the city. The most popular beach is Praia do Futuro , but other favorites are Iracema, Mucuripe and Meireles. Not only are the beaches great for swimming, sunbathing, fishing and surfing competitions, but they also offer hotels, restaurants and markets. Fortaleza also serves as the jumping-off point for many visitors to truly spectacular beaches, rolling dunes and idyllic fishing villages along the Ceará coast.

The shopping experience in Fortaleza is another of its main attractions. Because the city is home to a large textile industry, clothing is cheap here. Local handicrafts and fresh seafood and produce can be found among the city’s markets while the Iguatemi Mall offers a little of everything.

11. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Chapada dos Veadeiros

Home to sparkling lakes, dramatic waterfalls , and stunning landscapes – as well as some of the oldest and most biodiverse tropical ecosystems in the world – Chapada dos Veadeiros really is a treat to explore. Covering a huge area in the center of Brazil, the marvelous microregion can be found in the state of Goias, some three hours drive north of the nation’s capital Brasilia.

Chapada dos Veadeiros’ main attraction is the wonderful national park of the same name that lies atop an ancient rainforest-coated plateau . Scarred by jagged cliffs and crumbling canyons, the park is fascinating to hike around, with lots of awe-inspiring waterfalls hidden away among its verdant flora and fauna.

Other highlights include the appropriately named Moon Valley , which is home to lunar landscapes. Swimming and bathing in any one of the numerous waterfalls and rivers that dot the area is a must-do. The two main places to stay when visiting Chapada dos Veadeiros are Alta Paraiso and Sao Jorge, a small city and village which lie not too far from all of the main sights.

Parati

A paradise of tropical forests, waterfalls, emerald sea and coastal mountains, Parati is a popular tourist destination located along Brazil’s Green Coast in the Rio de Janeiro state. Also spelled Paraty, this beautiful city is a former Portuguese colony established on the shores of the Bay of Ilha Grande.

The heart of Parati is its historic center with cobbled streets and multicolored colonial houses, many of which now serve as bed-and-breakfast accommodations called pousadas . Some of the most visited attractions here are the colonial defense forts that still boast original walls and cannons. The historic center of Parati is pedestrian-only .

Surrounding the city are several beautiful parks and nature preserves where visitors can hike and explore the natural setting of mangrove forest, waterfalls and wildlife. There are also indigenous villages here that can be visited. The bay offers gorgeous beaches where visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, diving and boat cruises.

Recife

Nicknamed the “ Venice of Brazil ” because of its numerous waterways and bridges, Recife is the capital of the Pernambuco state and one of the largest and most important cities on Brazil’s northeastern coast. Situated amid tropical forests with many islands and rivers, Recife is an interesting place to visit because of its historic old town, beaches and vibrant culture.

Recife was a Dutch colony during the early 17th century, and nowhere is this more evident than the city’s historic district where many colonial buildings still remain. Some of the most significant structures include the oldest synagogue in the Americas and one of Brazil’s most beautiful baroque churches, the Franciscan Convent of Saint Anthony.

Pernambuco

Saint Peter Square is also noted for its history and picturesque setting of colorful buildings, shops and restaurants.

The city’s main market, the Sao José Market , is a popular place to find traditional handicrafts, medicinal herbs and locally produced food. Recife’s beaches are considered some of the best in Brazil. Lined with hotels, restaurants and bars, Boa Viagem is the most popular beach with its pristine white sands, clear water and coral reef.

8. Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina

Created in 1985 to protect, preserve, and promote its spectacular scenery and rich ecosystems, Chapada Diamantina National Park lies in the northeast of Brazil in the center of the state of Bahia. Popular among nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the park encompasses everything from dramatic mountain ranges and sweeping valleys to teeming rivers and towering waterfalls.

As it is set atop of a plateau, the park is very mountainous, with its tallest peaks reaching more than 2,000 meters. Crumbling, rugged cliffs line the plateau, as do lots of epic waterfalls ; the awe-inspiring 380-metre-high Cachoeira da Fumaca is the tallest in Brazil. Cavernous caves also punctuate its rugged terrain, with Lapa Doce and Pratinha two of the largest.

Chapada Diamantina

Thanks to its diverse landscapes and gorgeous scenery, Chapada Diamantina National Park is an increasingly popular tourist destination. Visitors can choose to either camp or stay in one of the small towns, such as Lencois and Vale de Capao. Horseback riding and hiking are popular pastimes, as is swimming in the rivers and pools of the area.

Olinda

One of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial cities, Olinda is located on the country’s Atlantic Coast in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Founded by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, the city served as the state’s capital until it was burned by the Dutch, thereafter losing its sovereignty to its nearby neighbor, Recife.

Perched on a picturesque hilltop surrounded by trees, Olinda’s historic downtown is a treasure trove of colonial churches, colorful old houses and numerous artisan studios. Because of its love affair with art, Olinda packs many shops and markets selling paintings, ceramics, sculptures and handicrafts.

Olinda

Every year, Olinda hosts its lively Carnival celebration that differs somewhat from those of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador in that Olinda’s festival is best at daytime and features the music, dances and traditions of African culture . Olinda’s Carnival involves parades, lavish costumes, giant puppet dolls, street parties and the rhythms of maracatu and frevo.

However, even outside of the Carnival season, Olinda offers an animated culture where every weekend buzzes with parties, bars, nightclubs and singing groups who perform serenades of traditional songs in the streets.

6. Pantanal

Pantanal

Covering a vast swathe of western Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay and Bolivia , the Pantanal is the world’s largest and most diverse tropical wetland area. Due to its stunning scenery and incredible wildlife, the region is increasingly popular to visit, although its remote and watery nature does pose a few challenges.

During the rainy season, around 80 percent of the floodplains are submerged, so the only way to get around is by plane or boat. It is worth it, however; the endless marshes and grasslands are home to an astounding array of fauna and flora.

Capybara

Besides exploring the scenic landscapes ranging from swamps and savanna to lakes, forests, and wetlands, visitors are also sure to spot many caiman and capybara . The highlight of any trip is spotting the South American jaguar ; the Pantanal is the best place on the continent to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature.

5. Florianopolis

Florianopolis

The capital of Santa Catarina state, Florianopolis lies in the south of Brazil, with half of the city set on the mainland and the other on a beautiful island . Due to its scenic setting, it is a very popular tourist destination and is widely considered one of the best places to live in the country.

An important economic, cultural, and political center, Florianopolis is a modern city with lots of large shopping malls and chic restaurants, as well as lively bars and nightclubs. Despite this, it is a lovely laidback place, and each of its neighborhoods has its own distinct identity.

The main attraction, however, is the wealth of fabulous beaches . While relaxing in the gorgeous scenery is divine, Florianopolis also has stunning dunes, sparkling waterfalls, and forested mountains – as well as a large lagoon for visitors to explore. Hiking and cycling around the ‘Magic Island’ (which it is also known as) are popular activities, as are paragliding and watersports.

Manaus

The capital of the Amazonas state in northwestern Brazil, Manaus is an important tourist destination because it serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest .

As a result of the region’s flourishing rubber industry during the early 20th century, Manaus today is Northern Brazil’s largest metropolitan area, featuring distinguished landmarks like the Amazonas Opera House , the Adolpho Lisboa Market and the Rio Negro Palace.

Amazonas boat

Not only is the port of Manaus an important commercial hub for several manufacturing industries, but it also serves as the most popular starting point for river tours into the Amazon rainforest. Some of the most striking things to see on these tours include the Paricatuba Waterfall, Love Cascade and glimpses of the Pied tamarin, Brazil’s most endangered monkey. Another significant sight is the Meeting of the Waters , which is a natural phenomenon where the two rivers of Negro and Solimões run side by side for more than three miles without mixing.

Besides the rainforest and river, Manus also offers public parks, a botanical garden and a zoo. Several beaches are here as well such as Ponta Negra with a number of restaurants, bars and hotels.

3. Salvador

Salvador

A historic Old City, beautiful beaches, lively culture and one of the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations all fashion Salvador into one of Brazil’s top tourist destinations. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Salvador is Brazil’s third largest city and the capital of the Bahia state.

Formerly a major center of sugar and slave trade, Salvador today still bears traces of its history in Pelourinho or Old City, which features colonial architecture, stunning churches and plazas where important events once occurred. Also found in the old quarter are many restaurants, bars, art galleries and handicraft shops. Contrastively, Salvador’s New City district is where all the modern day developments of shopping megaplexes, entertainment venues, golf courses and residential neighborhoods are located.

Porto da Barra Beach

Situated on the coast of the Bay of All Saints, Salvador offers fantastic beaches that are ideal for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. Some of the most popular include Porto de Barra, Flamengo and Stella Maris.

One of Salvador’s main crowd-pullers is its annual Carnival celebration . Acclaimed as one of the largest in the world, this extravagant event involves music, dancing, parades, costumes and street parties.

2. Foz do Iguacu

Foz do Iguassu

One of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world, Iguazu Falls straddles the Argentine-Brazilian border. It is often compared to Niagara Falls and Victoria Falls, such is its staggering size and scale. Surrounded by dense rainforest, its endless series of cascades stretch for almost three kilometers, making it the largest waterfall system in the world.

Every second, incalculable gallons of water from the Iguazu River course over the Parana Plateau, plunging onto the rocks and pools below. While 80 percent of the falls are in Argentina , it is the Brazilian side that offers the most spectacular views, with Devil’s Throat canyon being the highlight.

Iguazu Falls

Besides gazing in awe at Iguazu Falls and taking in the deafening roar, visitors can take a boat ride beneath the falls or go hiking in the steamy rainforest that surrounds them. The gateway to the falls on the Brazilian side is Foz do Iguaçu, a big and reasonably safe city by Brazilian standards.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer

There is no destination on earth more animated and exciting than Rio de Janeiro. Located in southeastern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city of South America due to its famous mountains, beaches and Carnival festival.

Rio de Janeiro is situated on one of the world’s largest harbors surrounded by natural attractions that include the Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountains and famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema . Within this sprawling metropolis is Tijuca National Park , one of the world’s largest urban forests, teeming in native flora and fauna.

Ipanema Beach

The city’s iconic landmark is the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain. Other important landmarks include colonial fortresses, former presidential palaces and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums.

See also: Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

Sadly, most people also know Rio for its crime and favelas. The favelas are areas of poor-quality housing, slums usually located on the city’s many mountain slopes, juxtaposed with middle-class neighborhoods.

Rio de Janerio is home to one of the world’s largest Carnival celebrations , renowned for its vibrant parades, costumes, dancing, music, fireworks and street parties. Outside of the festival, the city buzzes nightly with an abundance of bars and dance clubs.

Map of Places to Visit in Brazil

Places to Visit in Brazil

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Reader interactions.

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October 11, 2019 at 3:37 am

I would also recommend Maceió. Beautiful beaches, great nightlife and safer than the big cities. But, you can’t go to Brasil for the 1st time and not go to Rio (my hometown for 16 years/Copacabana). As one person said above, do your homework before you go and you should be safe. Don’t dress like a gringo… just saying!?

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February 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm

I highly recommend you guys to go to Porto de Galinhas (translates to…Hen’s Harbour, yeah), i’ve been there a couple of times and it’s one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever been, with amazing beaches, some handicraft fairs (that show a lot of brazilian’s northeastern culture) and splendid sights and hotels.

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March 30, 2018 at 8:04 am

I recommend “Porto de Galinhas-Pernambuco” and “Maragogi-Alagoas”. Paradise! They are safe places. Really Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are very dangerous.

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June 29, 2017 at 7:44 pm

@Laura Morgenstern, I have to say that there are some places that are dangerous. But people generalize about it. Like most countries, there ares some dangerous neighborhoods but it is not the entire country. There are very safe cities, and I’m sure that if you speak with local people they will tell you where you have to avoid going to. There are amazing places in Brazil that some people don’t know about such as Gramado, Aguas de Lindóia, Brotas – radical sports in the water, Balneário camboriu

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June 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Isla do Mel……amazing! Curitiba, fantastic city.

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January 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

And about Espirito Santo… Beaches. Guarapari and Vila Velha and beautiful mountains like Domingos Martins with a wonderful wine by the fireplace

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December 22, 2016 at 12:19 am

I went to Brazil for three weeks this summer and there weren’t any cases that made me feel uncomfortable or where I felt unsafe. I was in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero during my trip. I wouldn’t recommend going to certain parts of both cities because there are gangs but if you do your research you’ll be able to figure out where not to go and what is safe.

My trip was absolutely amazing and I would recommend going if you ever get the opportunity.

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October 20, 2016 at 9:33 am

Gramado is the best city

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June 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I think Brazil is a beautiful place, but ‘s very dangerous. It’s true?

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November 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

Thank you for recommending all these interesting places. My husband I are thinking to go to Brazil next year but I do not wish to go to big cities – may go to Rio for a few days only and then travel to other small places. Which ones would you recommend – We are not beach people. Like the culture and ”naturaleza” from these places people are recommending? which is the best time to go?

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October 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Forget about the big cities in Brazil… The best and safest tourism here is in small and fantastic places. Keep noted: 1. Bonito – Is, by far, the most amazing place in Brazil!!! There you can swim in small rivers with several fishes and enjoy the real nature 2. Fernando de Noronha – Is an isolated island in the north east of Brazil. Destination of the Hollywood movie stars. You can swim with dolphins or sharks. Amazing beaches and is a very calm place. 3. Iguaçú falls (Foz de Iguaçú) – Much bigger than niagara falls and really beautiful. You can feel the power of nature there. 4. Chapada dos Veadeiros – A lot of water falls and a mistic place. Great site to meditate and to be in touch with yourself.

All these places are safe and really cheap if you have Dollars or Euros. Forget the big cities…

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June 12, 2015 at 12:07 am

I do not speak English , I am using a translator , sorry . Anyway , I wanted to leave my opinion ‘m from São Paulo SP Brazil ( love this place <3) , and put the ranking as: 1 – Maranhão – National Park Maranhenses 2 – Amazonas – Manaus, located in the center of the largest tropical forest in the world 3 – Bahia – Morro sp 4 – Bahia – Chapada Diamantina National Park 5 – Pernambuco – Porto de Galinhas 6 – Ceará -the beach of Canoa Quebrada 7 – Rio de Janeiro – Paraty 8 – Minas Gerais – Sao Tome das letras 9 – São Paulo – SP ( Paulista Avenue, Ibirapuera Park) 10 – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

Sao Paulo has little beauty , but it's where you find the best hotels, bars, parties and museums in Brazil.

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May 15, 2015 at 6:47 pm

I think that you should mention Mato Grosso do Sul ( Bonito the city) , crystal clear waters, a lot of different animals. It s amazing and perfect

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July 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain is wonderful and unbelievable! I really want to visit that place 🙂 Great!

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July 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

I think you should put Graemado and Canela (two cities of Rio Grande do Sul) too! It doesn’t have beaches, but it’s like a cold paradis. It’s VERY beautiful and there are a lot of cultural attractions. I would recommend the dates around Easter and Christmas (specially the last one), because there’s really maaaany beautiful things. During the winter it’s very cold and good to stay there! It’s awesome

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May 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

Brazil is Amazing and Fascinating!! I hope I visit it soon and the first place ide love to visit is amazingly the Rio De Jeneiro!! ..its the most wonderful place I’ve heard of and apart from this comes the iguazu Falls..SPLENDID..its Paradise On Earth!..

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May 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

You should visit the south too, specially Rio Grande do Sul, where many cities still conserve the german and italian culture! June and july is the best time of the year

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May 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Wow, I never knew there were so many beautiful cities in Brazil! I visited Floripa and it IS beautiful!

Please add it between 2 and 6!!

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May 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

I agree with you! There are a lot of beautiful cities in Brazil to visit!! Not just São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro! Floripa is very beautiful too

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April 14, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thanks for mentioned Sao Paulo!

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January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I also would put Floripa between 3 and 6 for sure!

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December 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I want to understand how Florianopolis isn’t in that list…

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December 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I appreciate your information about the top ten in Brasil.. But I would like to inform another city: Ouro Preto, very interesting,, cultural and beautiful , the first capital of the important Minas Gerais state. Rich Baroque, churchs from the XVII and XVIII, is a place very important to the cultural tourism. All the gold from Brasil to Europe, in these centuries came from OURO PRETO ( black gold) regions , the name of this city, in the heart of Brazil, between mountains, near the new Capital of Minas Gerais State: Belo Horizonte.

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18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brazil

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated May 26, 2022

The largest country in South America, Brazil occupies almost half the continent. Nearly all of it is in the Southern Hemisphere, and much of it is tropical, with vast stretches of rainforest filled with exotic plants and wildlife.

Brazil's 7,400-kilometer Atlantic coast is lined with golden-sand beaches , and its interior is filled with mineral resources. Gold from Brazil's mines still lines the churches of Portugal, the colonial power that ruled Brazil until 1822. This strong Portuguese influence is evident in Brazil's colonial architecture , in decorative arts such as the glazed tiles in its churches and convents, and in the language.

For tourists, Brazil is both a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and the pulsing rhythms of Rio's Carnival.

To discover the best places to visit and things to do, use this handy list of the top tourist attractions in Brazil.

1. Cristo Redentor and Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

2. sugar loaf, rio de janeiro, 3. iguaçu falls, 4. copacabana, rio de janeiro, 5. carnaval, rio de janeiro, 7. amazon rainforests, 8. brasília's modernist architecture, 9. salvador's pelourinho, 10. ouro preto, 11. museu do amanhã (museum of tomorrow), 12. ibirapuera park, são paulo, 13. museu oscar niemeyer, curitiba, 14. botanical garden of curitiba, 15. porto de galinhas & pernambuco beaches, 16. art museums of sao paulo, 17. belo horizonte, 18. escadaria selarón.

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro

With arms outstretched 28 meters, as if to encompass all of humanity, the colossal Art Deco statue of Christ, called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), gazes out over Rio de Janeiro and the bay from the summit of Corcovado.

The 709-meter height on which it stands is part of the Tijuca National Park , and a rack railway climbs 3.5 kilometers to its top, where a broad plaza surrounds the statue. Completed in 1931, the 30-meter statue was the work of Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, and is constructed of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

The eight-meter base encloses a chapel that is popular for weddings. Although this is one of Brazil's most readily recognized icons, it is often mistakenly called The Christ of the Andes, confused with the older statue marking the boundary between Argentina and Chile.

A mid-point stop on the railway leads to trails through the Tijuca National Park, a huge forest that protects springs, waterfalls, and a wide variety of tropical birds, butterflies, and plants. Several more viewpoints open out within the park.

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro

The easily recognized emblem of Rio de Janeiro, the rounded rock peak of Sugar Loaf juts out of a tree-covered promontory, rising 394 meters above the beaches and city. Its summit is one of the first places to visit for tourists, for views of Rio and the harbor, and for the thrill of riding suspended in a cable car between Sugar Loaf and the Morro da Urca , a lower peak from which a second cableway connects to the city.

Rio's first settlement began below these peaks, near the long Praia da Urca beach, and you can tour one of the three early forts there, the star-shaped Fort São João .

Iguaçu Falls

At the point where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet, the Iguaçu river drops spectacularly in a semicircle of 247 waterfalls that thunder down into the gorge below. Just above the falls, the river is constricted to one-fourth of its usual width, making the force of the water even stronger.

Some of the falls are more than 100 meters high and they cover such a broad area that you'll never see all of them at once, but you do get the broadest panorama from the Brazilian side. Catwalks and a tower give you different perspectives, and one bridge reaches all the way to one of the largest, known as the Garganta do Diabo (Devil's Throat).

You can cross to the Argentinian side for closer views from catwalks that extend farther into the center of the falls. The two sides offer different perspectives and views, so most tourists plan to see both.

The falls are protected by the UNESCO-acclaimed Iguaçu National Park , where subtropical rainforests are home to more than 1,000 species of birds and mammals, including deer, otters, ocelots, and capybaras.

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Downtown Rio's most fashionable and famous section follows Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and is bordered all along one side by four kilometers of white sand and breaking surf. The beach is separated from the buildings and traffic by a broad promenade paved in black and white mosaic in an undulating pattern reminiscent of streets in Lisbon, Portugal.

The beach isn't just for show. It's also a popular playground filled with sun-worshipers, swimmers, and kids building sand castles whenever the weather is fine. Stroll the streets here to find restaurants, smart shops, cafés, and beautiful old buildings from the days when Rio was Brazil's capital.

One of these, the famed Copacabana Palace , is protected as a national monument. Inside its lobby, you can easily imagine seeing the royalty and film idols who have stayed here.

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro

Few shows match Rio's pre-Lenten Carnaval (Carnival) extravaganza for color, sound, action, and exuberance. Make no mistake, this is not just another rowdy street party, but a carefully staged showpiece, where spectators can watch the parades of competing samba dancers from a purpose-built stadium designed by none other than Brazil's best-known architect, Oscar Niemeyer.

Called the Sambódromo , this long series of grandstand boxes provides ringside seats to a 700-meter parade route where dancers and musicians from the competing samba schools strut their stuff in a dazzling explosion of brilliant costumes.

If mob scenes are less appealing to you than more spontaneous celebrations (that are equally riotous and colorful), you'll also find Carnivals in Salvador , Bahia, Recife, and other Brazilian cities.

Aerial view of Ipanema and Leblon Beach

Beyond the beaches of Copacabana, the glorious white sands merge into the just-as-famous beaches of Ipanema. The same wave design of Copacabana's wide promenade continues here, separating the sand from the line of hotels, restaurants, cafés, art galleries, and cinemas that make this a popular social zone year-round.

Farther along, beyond the Jardim de Alá Canal, which drains Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, are the beaches of Leblon . With more locals and fewer tourists, these beaches are favorites for families. Sunday is especially busy, with an antiques market at Praça de Quentaland and the Feira de Artesanato de Ipanema , alive with music, art, handcrafts, and street food.

The waves at Ipanema and Leblon can be very strong and unpredictable, so be careful where you swim. Follow the locals and stay out of the water where you don't see others swimming. If surf is what you're looking for, head to the stretch between Copacabana and Ipanema, where the surfers hang out.

Amazon Rain Forest

About 20 kilometers southeast of Manaus, the dark Rio Negro waters meet the light muddy water of the Rio Solimões, flowing side by side for about six kilometers before mixing as the Amazon. Boat trips from Manaus take you to this point, called Encontro das Aguas , meeting of the waters.

Other boat trips take you into the heart of the rainforests and the network of rivers, channels, and lakes formed by the three rivers. In the Rio Negro, the Anavilhanas Islands form an archipelago with lakes, streams, and flooded forests that offer a full cross-section of the Amazonian ecosystem.

You can see monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, caimans, turtles, and other wildlife on a boat trip here. Also close to Manaus, the 688-hectare Janauari Ecological Park has a number of different ecosystems that you can explore by boat along its narrow waterways.

An entire lake here is covered with giant water-lilies found only in the Amazon region. While in Manaus, be sure to see its famous Teatro Amazonas , the Italian Renaissance-style opera house, designed to put Manaus on the map as South America's great center of culture.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Manaus

Brasília's Modernist Architecture

Brazil's new city of Brasília was carved out of the wilderness and completed in less than three years to replace Rio de Janeiro as the country's capital in 1960. The ambitious plan by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer became a showpiece of city planning and avant-garde architecture, and it remains today as one of the world's few cities that represent a completed plan and a single architectural concept.

Without the normal mix of residential and business districts, the entire governmental section is composed of major architectural highlights, which are the city's main tourist attractions . Some of the most striking surround Praça dos Tràs Poderes : the presidential palace, supreme court, and the two sharply contrasting congress buildings, plus the Historical Museum of Brasília and the Panteão da Liberdade (Pantheon of Freedom), designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

That architect's best-known building in the city is the circular Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida , whose curved concrete columns rise to support a glass roof. Another of Niemeyer's landmark works is the Palácio dos Arcos , surrounded by beautiful gardens designed by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who worked with Niemeyer on several projects throughout Brazil.

The round Memorial dos Povos Indígenas (Museum of Indigenous People) is patterned after a traditional Yąnomamö round house. But many consider Niemeyer's finest work to be the Monumento JK , a memorial to President Juscelino Kubitschek, the founder of Brasilia. Brasilia has been named a UNESCO World Heritage city.

Salvador's Pelourinho

The Cidade Alta (Upper Town) of Brazil's former colonial capital has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its exceptional collection of 17th- and 18th-century colonial buildings, the finest such ensemble in South America.

Called the Pelourinho, this old quarter is where you'll find Salvador's most beautiful churches and monasteries, built at a time when Brazil was the source of Portugal's riches, and the plentiful gold was lavished on the colony's religious buildings.

The finest and most opulent of the city's churches is São Francisco , built in the early 1700s and filled with intricate carvings covered in gold. In the choir and cloister, you can see excellent examples of Portuguese tile panels, called azulejos.

This was the friary church, and next to it is the church of the Franciscan Third Order. It's impossible to miss the riotously carved façade covered in statues and intricate decoration. The interior is just as ornate, surpassing even the Portuguese Baroque in its opulent detail.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Salvador

Ouro Preto

The wealth of Brazil's state of Minas Gerais in its glory days of the colonial period is easy to imagine from the interiors of the churches in its old capital, Ouro Preto. Entire walls are washed in gold that flowed – along with diamonds – from the mines surrounding the city in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cascading down the sides of a steep valley and surrounded by mountains, Ouro Preto is a jewel of a colonial town, but its steep narrow streets and mountain setting – however captivating for tourists today – didn't meet the needs of a growing provincial capital. The government moved to the newly built capital of Belo Horizonte, leaving Ouro Preto in its time capsule.

The 17th-century Baroque and Rococo churches of São Francisco de Assis and Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar are the best examples, but the entire town is so rich in colonial architecture that Ouro Preto has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The steep streets, so precipitous in places that they become stairways, are lined by gracious colonial mansions, and white churches crown its hills with Baroque bell towers.

Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro

The futuristic architecture of the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro gives a clue about its contents. Thought-provoking exhibits invite visitors to think what the world might be like in the future, exploring scenarios of how our planet may change in the next half century.

Examining these times of fast-moving changes in society, technology, and the physical world, the museum prompts viewers to consider various paths into the future, and how each opens up based on the choices made every day as individuals and as a society.

This eye-catching science museum overlooking the waterfront was designed by Spanish architect and artist, Santiago Calatrava.

Address: Praça Mauá 1, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ibirapuera Park

The most visited park in South America, Ibirapuera Park is a vast green space designed by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, with buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The park is a showcase for modern architecture and a center for Brazilian culture.

Amid its monuments, gardens, playgrounds, trails, and lakes are museums and performance spaces that include Oscar Niemeyer's Auditório Ibirapuera , one of São Paulo's best concert venues. A Japanese Pavilion with sculptures, clothing, and traditional crafts is set in rock gardens with a fishpond.

The Museu da Aeronáutica e do Folclore , the Aeronautics and Folk Art Museum , features thousands of examples of folk arts and exhibits on traditional cultures from across Brazil. The lower floor is devoted to aeronautical equipment and model airplanes. A separate museum, the large Museu Afro-Brasil , features the culture and history of Afro-Brazilians and their contributions.

Address: Avenida Pedro Alvares Cabral, São Paulo

Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Paving the way for the unconventional building shapes created by later futurist architects such as Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava, Oscar Niemeyer left his native Brazil with a treasury of his most iconic buildings. One of these was built as the New Museum, completed in 2002 when Niemeyer was 95 years old, and renamed in tribute to him in 2003.

Balanced on a massive 60-foot pillar, the gallery is formed by a pair of joined arcs that resemble the shape of the human eye, hence its popular name, Museu do Olho – Eye Museum. Access to this raised structure is by a series of curved ramps. Inside the eye, the 2,000-square-foot gallery focuses on architecture, design, and the visual arts, and displays many of Niemeyer's works.

Niemeyer added a later rectangular gallery on the grounds to display changing exhibitions of works by contemporary Brazilian artists. In addition to visiting during its daytime open hours, try to see the Museu Oscar Niemeyer after dark, when it is spectacularly lighted.

Address: Rua Marechal Hermes 999, Curitiba

Botanical Garden of Curitiba

Reflecting the style of 17 th - and 18 th -century French palace gardens, Curitiba's Botanical Garden was opened in 1991. Formal beds are outlined by low sculpted hedges, in a geometric design inspired by the city's flag. The landscape is enlivened by fountains, waterfalls, and ponds, and in the park surrounding the gardens are forests of native trees, with walking paths.

The focal point of the botanical gardens is the main greenhouse, an Art Nouveau-style conservatory made of glass and white metal, reminiscent of the Crystal Palace in Victorian London. Its unusual shape includes three domes that merge into the rectangular base. Inside are plants native to the region.

Even the grass in the Garden of Native Plants of Curitiba is a native variety, and its flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. The Garden of the Senses (Jardim das Sensações) is a 200-yard path through a wisteria tunnel, where the more than 70 plant species are chosen for their fragrance or tactile appeal. Visitors are invited to try walking through it blindfolded to fully appreciate the garden by using their other senses.

Behind the main greenhouse is the Frans Krajcberg Cultural Space, displaying more than 100 large sculptures created from the remains of trees that were burned or illegally cut, calling public attention to the destruction of Brazil's native forests.

Pernambuco Beaches

The crystal waters, tall palm trees, and broad stretches of silver sand are only a few of the reasons why Porto de Galinhas is frequently cited as Brazil's best beach. For a country with more than 7,000 kilometers of Atlantic coast, much of it sandy beaches, that's saying a lot.

The town stretching along the beach is laid-back, colorful, and just the right blend of old-fashioned beach town fun and chic boutiques. Its hotels and resorts lie close to the land instead of soaring in high-rise blocks.

Jangadas, picturesque sailboats, will take you out to reef-top pools where brilliant tropical fish swim around your feet in ankle-deep water. You can also take a boat to a lagoon where tiny seahorses swim, and you can scuba dive to explore impressive coral reefs or shipwrecks, kayak in the lagoons and estuary, or buy a fanciful kite from a beach kiosk to fly in the steady breeze. Nearby Maracaipe is popular with surfers.

Porto de Galinhas is just one of the beautiful beaches on Pernambuco's 187-kilometer coast. Closer to Recife, 17th-century Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking a popular beach. The main beaches in Recife itself are Praia da Boa Viagem, São José da Coroa Grande, and the Carne De Vaca.

Art Museums of Sao Paulo

São Paulo holds some of the best collections of fine arts in Latin America, and the buildings in which they are housed are architectural landmarks as well. The Museu de Arte, MASP, displays the continent's most comprehensive collection of western art, with representative works by artists from the Renaissance through modern masters.

There are 73 bronze sculptures by Degas and works by Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Miró. From its beginning, the museum has concentrated on works of mid- to late-20th-century artists, and the building designed by architect Lina Bo Bardi is a Modernist landmark.

Oscar Niemeyer designed the Pavilhão da Bienal de Artes in Ibirapuera Park , home to the Museu de Arte Contemporânea. More than 8,000 works of art - one of Latin America's largest collections of 20th-century Western artists - includes Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky, Miró, and Modigliani along with major Brazilian painters.

Set above Versailles-inspired formal gardens, Museu do Ipiranga houses paintings and decorative arts.

For another kind of art, don't miss Batman's Alley , an open-air gallery of street art by local and international artists. It is in the bohemian Vila Madalena neighborhood, where you'll also find art galleries showing the works of well-known and rising Brazilian artists and craftspeople.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in São Paulo

Praca da Liberdade, Belo Horizonte

The capital of the state of Minas Gerais gave the pre-eminent Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer his first commissions, and today, these early Niemeyer buildings draw tourists and fans of Modernist architecture to the city.

His first major work, which immediately set him apart from conventional architects, was the parabolic-curved São Francisco de Assis church, beside a lake in the Pampulha neighborhood. On the hillside above it, and connected by gardens designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, is Niemeyer's earlier casino building, now an art museum.

Overlooking the large Praça da Liberdade in the city center is the sinuous apartment building, Edificio Niemeyer , one of his most famous early works. The clean geometric lines of his later Palácio das Artes mark the edge of the Municipal Park, housing the Minas Gerais Craft Center featuring works of contemporary craftsmen.

The postmodern Rainha da Sucata – Queen of Scrap Iron – is another landmark building in Belo Horizonte, this one the work of Éolo Maia and Sylvio Podestá. It now houses the mineralogy museum.

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Belo Horizonte & Easy Day Trips

Escadaria Selarón, Rio de Janeiro

For 13 years, until his death in 2013, Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón covered the long stairway that formed the street in front of his house with a mosaic of colorful ceramics and glass fragments. Broken tiles and pottery, mirrors, and colored glass were worked into exuberant designs that largely feature the colors of the Brazilian flag.

Selarón called this "my tribute to the Brazilian people," and as the work grew year by year, people began bringing him shards to incorporate. First these were from his Santa Tereza neighbors, then as the fame of the stairway spread, contributions came from all over the world. Now more than 60 countries are represented in the 250 colorful steps.

Address: Rua Manuel Carneiro (off Rua Joaquim Silva), Rio de Janeiro

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The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil!

Posted on Last updated: December 15, 2023

Categories Brazil , South America

The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil!

Expert travel storyteller Jordan Adkins, founder of InspiredByMaps.com, brings a decade of adventures across 101 countries and 450+ UNESCO sites into rich, off-the-beaten-path narratives, melding ecological expertise with genuine, seasoned travel insights.

One of the world’s most fascinating countries, there are so many things to do in Brazil that adventure-hungry travelers are spoilt for choice. Whether you want to hike in the jungles, lie on the beach or dance in the streets, you can do that here.

From tranquil beaches to vibrant cities to lush rainforests, the country spans a huge variety of landscapes — and as a result, there are so many places to visit in Brazil.

If you’re not already captivated by its scenery and biodiversity, you’ll be hooked by the culture. There are energy and a love of life that runs through every aspect of Brazilian culture.

Samba dancing, drumming in Carnival, indigenous and Portuguese influences, mouth watering food; all of these aspects and more combine to create an atmosphere that you’ll want to stay in forever.

things to do in brazil

And, to put it plainly: Brazil loves to party!

You’ll have heard of Carnaval, of course; a cacophony of music, dancing, and general joy. There are also diverse festivals going on throughout the year, great nights out in the cities and towns; not to mention just any quick drink turning into dancing at dawn!

So, what are some of the best things to do in Brazil? With so much on offer, how can you narrow it down? We’ve got some suggestions below.

things to do in brazil

The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil! 🇧🇷

Page Contents

Rio de Janeiro

Fernando de noronha, iguazu falls, recife & olinda, lençóis maranhenses national park, parque nacional da chapada diamantina, ilha grande, florianópolis, amazon from manaus, são miguel das missões, alter do chao, belo horizonte, the pantanal, salvador city, chapada dos veadeiros national park, vale dos vinhedos, armação dos búzios.

World-famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Christ the Redeemer statue and wild Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro is absolutely top of the list of things to do in Brazil. We can’t pretend it’s a quiet place, but it’s got a relaxed, carefree attitude that is intoxicating for travelers.

Otherwise known as the Cidade Marvalihosa (Marvelous City), here you’ll find lush forests and mountains circling the city while the beach acts as the city’s backyard.

You can hike, surf, sail or rock climb – or just chill on the sands, if you’d rather! It’s a stunning landscape for a city and you’ll never stop appreciating the beauty. In a city this, well, marvelous, it’s hard to get past the superlatives and decide exactly what to do — so to help, we have put together a list of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro Brazil!

The rich and varied history means there’s plenty to discover among Rio’s myriad attractions. That is, if you want to leave the endless fun of the bars and the beach. Arriving at a festival time means you’ll soak up even more of the joyful celebration, whether it’s a big football match, Carnaval or weekend samba parties. New Year is also a pretty spectacular time to enjoy all that makes Rio special.

places to visit in brazil

The tropical oasis of Fernando de Noronha is in an entire league of its own. The isolated tip of a submerged ocean volcanic, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, lies 271 miles (350 km) off Brazil’s northeast coast and consists of 21 islands.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a sensitive ecosystem, tourist numbers here are restricted to around 450 to 500 people per day. But the lucky few that make it here are duly rewarded …

Fernando de Noronha has everything you could want from an unforgettable island getaway. Picturesque scenery, majestic seascapes, fine white sand beaches, bountiful diving, animated snorkeling, turquoise waters, and oh-so-much-more.

Only one island in the chain is inhabited, with a population of around 5,000 people. Otherwise, most of the rest of this paradisaical retreat is left to the seabirds, reptiles, turtles, and exotic marine life. A nature lover’s paradise, Fernando de Noronha can be compared to Fiji , an arresting beach island scene straight out of a Hollywood film set.

There are a limited number of flights daily, so getting here – and accommodation once you arrive – is not particularly cheap. Still, if you can stretch your budget, Fernando de Noronha is worth every cent.

Fernando de Noronha - Top Things To Do In Brazil

As well as fascinating cities, Brazil also has some of the most stunning natural wonders in the world; the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls are among these. There are 275 separate drops along the 2.7 kilometers of the falls, which separate Argentina and Brazil. From the Brazilian side, you go to the Igauçu National Park to enjoy the spectacle.

There’s an intricate series of footpaths and walkways that enable visitors to get up close to the natural beauty and on the Brazilian side, there’s a long pathway along the canyon.

A must-see for everyone is Devil’s Throat, a narrow chasm that takes half of the river’s flow along; you can imagine the power and noise of the water there.

Get a panoramic view of the falls from the trail or splurge on a helicopter ride for the bird’s eye perspective. Stay in the nearby town of Foz de Iguacu so you can get up early to beat the heat and the crowds; then enjoy being mesmerized by the majesty of this remarkable place.

things to do in rio de janeiro

Recife and Olinda are sister cities on Brazil’s northeast coast that stand within sight of each other. Both started life as colonial cities under Portuguese rule, exploiting the vast richness of the New World, but over the centuries Recife has pulled ahead while Olinda has kept its small-town charm. The juxtaposition of both is tantalizing, and ensuring visiting them together is one of the top things to do Brazil.

Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state, has a booming population and everything from charming canals and vividly painted colonial buildings to glistening skyscrapers, palm-fringed beaches, and exuberant nightlife. An energetic and inspiring city, Recife also has plenty of entertainment and cultural attractions, more than a dash of grit and growing traffic problems. A true metropolis – warts and all.

In contrast, Olinda – just a short bus trip to the north – has very much maintained its colonial charm and clings to a slower pace of life. Position on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an artsy counterpart to Recife with galleries, workshops, baroque churches, convents, monasteries, and wonderfully preserved houses and manors.

It is rare in the world to find two destinations that contrast and complement each other so completely. On their own, each would be worth a visit – but together, they become one of the absolute top highlights of Brazil.

Recife & Olinda - brazil places to go

A must-visit destination for anyone fascinated by the natural landscape, this 1550 square kilometer national park is a spectacular area filled with dunes, lagoons, and beaches. Its undulating dunes give the park its name – ‘Lençóis’ means ‘bedsheets’ and these expanses really do look like sheets draped across the land.

The rains between May and September get filtered by the sand to create incredibly clear blue lakes between the hills of sand. You can choose whether you navigate the area on foot, on horseback or in a car; whatever you do, you won’t regret making the effort to come here. It’s got an almost otherworldly quality, making a dramatic impact.

It’s easy to see why it is called one of the most beautiful places in Brazil – and people make the considerable effort to get here. 

The most convenient way to explore is to stay at Barreirinhas on the river although if you don’t mind heading somewhere more remote, Santo Amaro and Atins are more peaceful bases.

things to do in rio de janeiro | things to do in rio

An expansive national park in eastern Brazil, Chapada Diamantina attracts adventurous tourists looking for nature, hiking, colonial wonders, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. And boy, do they find it here.

An almost untouched wonderland of cascading waterfalls, intrepid hiking, and panoramic views – the entire park sits atop an otherworldly 41,751 square kilometers (16,120 sq. mi) plateau bounded by cliffs in central Bahia.

The most famous attraction is the Fumaça Waterfall, one of the tallest waterfalls in Brazil, which at 340 m tall evaporates in a mist before even reaching the ground. Another famous highlight is the cauldron-like Devil’s Pool, with its deep black water and sinister history, or the enormous sandstone-and-quartz Lapão Cave.

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina offers everything from day hikes to multi-day journeys. There are plenty of trained local guides happy to help you organize your expeditions once you arrive. The old colonial mining towns of Lençois and Mucugê are popular bases for exploring the park and offer cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes and a cute range of pousadas (a boutique inn that provides a more intimate experience than your traditional hotel).

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina - Best things to see in Brazil

If you’re tired of the mega-cities yet still want to experience town life in Brazil, Ouro Preto is the place to go. It’s one of several colonial towns in the state of Minas Gerais that date back to the 18th-century gold rush and by far the most beautiful.

It’s not just historically important for the gold mining but also for being the setting for the country’s first independence movement. That is probably why they made if a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you have traveled to places like Lisbon,  you’ll really be able to see the influence of Portugal on Ouro Preto. In fact, Ouro Preto actually has some of the best-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, with few signs of modern urban development—unlike Macau.

Sure it might not be that easy to get to, but the best places never are and you will be justly rewarded with a fairytale town like no others. It’s pure magic!

There’s so much joy here in getting lost in the narrow, cobbled, steep streets (not to mention you’ll have thighs of steel by the time you’re done!) and the views once you get to a vantage point are incredible.

It’s also one of the more artistic things to do in Brazil with a range of art galleries and cultural centers showing off the mineiro art.

what to see and do in brazil

Do you dream of cocktails at sunset? White sand under your toes and the sound of waves crashing on the beach? A stress-free location away from chaos where no cars are allowed, prices are low, and your biggest worry will be ‘Açai or Coconut for lunch?’

Well then, do we have the island for you. Ilha Grande is a fabulous tropical island located only a few hours bus and boat trip away from Rio de Janeiro on Brazil’s stunning southeast coastline. Yes, this could be all yours: gorgeous blue skies, empty beaches, and that tempting ocean. Just imagine…

It’s a natural paradise with 99% of the island being covered in natural Atlantic Rainforest, only one small town and a series of paths crisscrossing the dense vegetation leading to deserted beaches.

Yes, it sounds like heaven— and that’s because it probably is.

Then there is the thriving (but laid-back) nightlife scene, incredible sunsets, fantastic snorkeling, funky monkeys, range of affordable accommodation islands, and abundance of caipirinhas.  Most people who travel here end up extending their stay, but it’s hard to know beforehand if you will like it, and how long you will need, so we have put together a more comprehensive guide to things to do in Ilha Grande to help you fall in love with this magnificent place.

Ilha Grande - places to visit in brazil

From secluded natural beauty to wild and wonderful festivities with a cacophony of noise and color. An annual festival held in February in the run-up to Lent, this is a time where Brazilan cities let loose with parades, music, and dancing.

A lot of dancing.

While the Rio Carnaval is the most famous, you can go to any city in Brazil at this time and experience the best party you’ve ever been to. The entire county celebrates Carnaval and unifies for almost a week of non-stop partying.

In the Southeast Region you’ll hear a lot more samba; in the Northeast, more frevo and maracutu. Whatever the music and wherever you are, shine your sequins and get ready for spectacle galore!

famous places in brazil

Freshwater snorkeling in heavenly Bonito one of the best-kept secrets in Brazil, though its popularity is growing.

Bonito is an eco-tourism hub in Mato Grosso do Sul state in Southern Brazil. The encompassing area has garnered a reputation for its crystal-clear rivers, huge, stalactite-covered cavern, and a bounty of colorful fish.

Located on the edge of the great Amazon basin, Bonito is a mirror into the underworld – similar to the great cenotes of Tulum and Cuba . While unassuming on the surface, there is a reason by Bonito is named after the Portuguese for “beautiful.”

While snorkeling in the magical waterways that end in shallow (and warm) pools as clear as glass is the main highlight, Bonito is also the jumping-off point for expeditions into the Pantanal region, filled with jaguars, boa constrictors, and colorful birds. Then there are the river-beaches on clear water lakes, zip-lining adventures, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and fantasy waterfalls.

An aquarium come to life; Bonito is a jungle-laden paradise with just enough eco-tourism operators to make life easy— yet not enough to destroy what makes this spot so enchanting.

Bonito, Grute do Lago Azul, Brazil - what to do in brazil

The capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, Florianópolis, is the place to go for beach resorts, surfing, boating, and a heavy German influence.

Most of the city lies on the spectacular 54-kilometer-long Santa Catarina Island and connected to a mainland commercial area via the famous Pedro Ivo Campos Bridge. The frontier between Portuguese and Spanish empires, the region was filled with German-speaking immigrants in the 1820s to act as a buffer – and has had a lasting legacy.

These immigrants kept their small family-owned farming practices, similar to North America at the time, yet vastly different from the mega-plantation culture of most of Brazil. This resulted in Florianópolis having a healthier legacy of equality and egalitarian policies than the rest of the country — a trend that continues today. Not to mention a wild Oktoberfest festival, fascinating history, and a flourishing cultural scene.

For tourists, there is sun, sand, and surf aplenty, with beach hopping being the most popular attraction. The seafood and beer are both expectedly standout, as is the sophisticated city vibes. With over a hundred beaches, all encircled by picturesque hills covered with lush Atlantic Forest vegetation – it is impossible not to love this unique place in Brazil.

Florianópolis - Best Places To Visit in Brazil

What Sao Paulo lacks in Rio-style beauty and landscape, it more than makes up for in energy and pride. Ask any resident and they’ll tell you at length how they’ll never live anywhere else – so it’s definitely somewhere that travelers should check out. Traffic galore there may be but there’s plenty to experience in this bustling cosmopolitan city.

 It’s the art center of Brazil so, as might be expected, there are a wealth of museums, galleries and cultural centers. Not to mention all the street art.

Head downtown for the historic area and many of the main attractions; head to the other areas for more of an insight into the daily life of the Paulistanos. In the evenings, aside from a great nightlife, there is always something happening, whether it’s theatre, musical performance and international events.

We love heading to Avenida Paulista on a Sunday to join in the masses of people walking, cycling and rollerblading along the temporarily pedestrianized street. The city is also home to a wide range of culinary delights and it’s definitely one of the top places to go in Brazil for foodies.

places to visit in brazil

Another contender for the most beautiful town in Brazil, Tiradentes in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is an unspoiled case of Portuguese colonial architecture. It is so well preserved and so appealing, you would at times think you have mistakenly wandered into a movie set – and will catch yourself thinking,’ how can a place be so perfect.’

Gorgeous homes set along cobblestone roads enveloped by green mountains and a truly majestic church: Tiradentes is the kind of place dreams are made of. Except it is real. When gold became scarce, this historic mining town was largely forgotten and fell into decay. Crucially, this meant it wasn’t modified or ravaged by growth and modernity. When tourism began to trickle back here in the late 1970s, intrepid guests were rewarded with exceptionally preserved Baroque structures thanks to the years of isolation.

Beyond the obvious visual appeal, there is a booming restaurant scene, lush forest hikes, and some wonderfully insightful museums. The charming São José Fountain should not be missed, along with the vintage steam train that runs between Tiradentes and the magnificent Serra São José grouping of quartzite blocks.

Tiradentes - Things to do in Brazil

If you’re looking for things to do in Brazil that give you more of a perspective on the country, then Brasilia is one of those. Established as the capital city in 1960, it was a utopian vision of organized urban design in response to the perceived chaos of Rio and Sao Paulo.

It was designed in the shape of a crucifix but is also often compared to an airplane, with Eixo Monumental forming the central body with the star attractions laid out along it and two wings making up the residential and commercial sectors.   

It’s a spread-out city with lots of spaghetti junctions so you can’t walk around it the same way you would other cities, but there’s still plenty to discover.

Head up to the viewing platform of the Television Tower to appreciate the city plan or stroll past the government buildings on the Esplanade of the Ministries. Go bar hopping, starting at old favorite Beirute, or enjoy culinary experiences in some of Brasilia’s ever-increasing contemporary restaurants.

things to do in rio de janeiro | things to do in rio

A small town popular with backpackers, Paraty is flanked by the jaw-dropping mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde and supremely positioned between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

The perfect place to break up a trip, Paraty has a lot going for it with a rich Portuguese colonial center including cobbled streets and many excellent 17th- and 18th-century buildings due to its history as an important port during the Brazilian Gold Rush.

Today more of a popular artist refuge and tourist hotspot than an export hub, Paraty was recently recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the nearby island of Ilha Grande.

Paraty is a welcome escape from the city madness, with tropical hiking, horseback riding, boat cruising, and snorkeling. Or you can just spend hours exploring the colonial-era streets, darting into small cafes, whitewashed churches, and modern galleries. Paraty has long been a beloved getaway for residents of Rio, but now the cosmopolitan vibes have been taken a step further with the influx of international vacationers.

In August, Paraty host the annual Festival of Cachaça, and in May, there is the Paraty Bourbon Jazz Festival, which includes many of the world’s top artists. Add to this the 65 islands and 300 beaches nearby, a fun cook school, a slew of bars and luxe lodgings, and it is safe to say Paraty will firmly keep its status as one of the best places to visit in Brazil for the foreseeable future.

Paraty - things to do in brazil

The Amazon has captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the ages and for good reason. Its incomparable ecosystem and diverse flora and fauna are fascinating not just to biologists, but to travelers, which is why going on an Amazon Rainforest River Tour on the Rio Negro is so popular!

Cruising down the Amazon River taking in the quiet majesty of the area is one of the things to do in Brazil that just can’t be missed.

Manaus is the largest city nearby and definitely the most convenient location you can explore from. Here you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options and tour operators to fit every budget. And prices are a lot lower here than what you can find in the Ecuadorian Amazon or Peruvian Amazon if that helps…

You can go on organized hikes into the jungle, canoe trips or even go fishing. All of these are unforgettable experiences to help you appreciate the power of the river and the life it generates around it.

brazil places to see

São Miguel das Missões in Rio Grande do Sul state is a monumental Spanish Jesuit mission ruins from the 17th century.

It was built because the Jesuits at the time of colonization were on a mission of evangelizing the Indigenous people of Bacia do Rio Prata (a territory that today is spread across Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil), to preserve their culture and language and protect them from Portuguese slave traders. Eighteen such villages were built as places where converted Indigenous people lived, to adapt their lifestyle to Christianity.

The Jesuits were eventually expelled under the Treaty of Madrid when the area was transferred from Spain to Portugal. The Guaraní tribes who lived here refused to comply with the order to relocate from their homelands, and thus a joint Portuguese-Spanish army attacked and defeated the Guaraní. The São Miguel das Missões was left in ruins, the Guaraní were killed and enslaved, and this great social experiment ended.

The ruins today have a ‘paradise lost’ feel to them, with an incredible museum and many gorgeous viewpoints to appreciate the scale of the undertaking.

In 1984 the Mission was listed as World Heritage under the Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis listing, along with three others in Argentina including the equally impressive San Ignacio Mini.

São Miguel das Missões - Brazil Things to Do

Hidden in the murky depths of the famous Amazon jungle, Alter do Chao is a quirky and offbeat beach destination that boasts astonishing white sandy stretches that will convince you you’ve somehow traveled to Brazil’s famous north coast.

Located around 33 kilometers west of the already isolated Santarém, Alter do Chao is most well-known for its Ilha do Amor (Island of Love), an arresting island ringed by a white-sand beach. But there is much more to this place than just beaches; there is a three-fingered lagoon to investigate – either by canoe or stand-up paddleboard – and boat tours into the surrounding Amazon.

You should not miss a trip to Ponta do Cururu at sunset where large numbers of pink and grey dolphins gather for an evening meal. An ethereal experience — to say the least.

Positioned on a major tributary of the Amazon river between Belem and Manaus, the isolation of Alter do Chão’s and retreat from the modern world is the appeal here – and the main reason why there are so few visitors. A lack of roads in the region means the main way to get here is by flying to Santarém and then catching the bus. You’ll be duly rewarded for your efforts.

Alter do Chao Brazil - Places To Go

While not on most tourist itinerary for Brazil, landlocked Belo Horizonte is the capital city of Brazil’s Minas Gerais and the countries sixth-largest city.

A lively, industrial and gritty city – architectural lovers should not miss this city and the Pampulha Lake Architectural Complex, home to an assortment of incredible designs by Brazil’s modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. There is the wavy-topped Church of St. Francis of Assisi, a casino, a ballroom, the Golf Yacht Club, and various other edifices all in collaboration with famed landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and give a hint to what he would later build in Brasília.

The artificial lake itself is also stunning and has capybara living around its edge.

Back in the concrete jungle, Belo Horizonte is a sprawling mess – but has plenty of charm if you are willing to seek it out. The Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim is the world’s largest open-air contemporary art museum with 87 acres of beautiful gardens— then there is a vibrant central market and a revitalizing museum scene.

Ouro Preto is also a short distance away, making Belo Horizonte a convenient stopover point.

Belo Horizonte - best things to see in brazil

Another of the most incredible natural sites in Brazil, the Pantanal is virtually unpopulated. It’s an enormous wetland covering approximately 210,000 square kilometers and hosting an amazing variety of animals.

Definitely, one for the nature lovers, the wildlife here is unmissable if you like to see creatures in their natural habit. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Pantanal Conservation Area actually consists of a group of four protected areas with a total area of 187,818 ha.

Positioned in western central Brazil at the south-west corner of the State of Mato Grosso, the protected site stewards 1.3% of Brazil’s Pantanal region, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems.

The headwaters of the region’s two primary river systems, the Cuiabá and the Paraguay rivers, are found here, and the wealth and diversity of its vegetation and animal life are magnificent.

cool places to visit in brazil

Belém, the largest city of the state of Pará in the country’s north, is the eastern gateway to the Amazon River.

2.5 million people reside in this tropical metropolis, which has benefited throughout its history from a position approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean.

While many might flit through this transit hub in a rush to more exotic adventures, you should spend a few days exploring the dynamic city filled with mango trees, vibrant markets, museums, and a growing restaurant scene. For a while during the rubber boom in the late 19th century Belem was known as the ‘tropical Paris; with electricity, grand monuments, streetcars, and a sophisticated European vibe – though today Belem is very much forging its own path.

The standout highlight has to be the colorful riverfront district Cidade Velha (old town) filled with Portuguese-colonial architecture similar to Lagos or Porto – with plenty of ornate churches, picturesque azulejo-tile houses, and an extensive 17th-century fort.

Another ‘must-see spot’ is the vast Ver-o-Peso open-air market located on Guajará bay’s docks and hawking exotic Amazonian fish, unknown fruit, and indigenous handicrafts. It is considered one of the largest markets in Latin America, and you can spend at least a few hours perusing the items on sale, interspersed with breaks for a gratifying bowl of pulped açai berries at one of the stands and a cold bottle of Tijuca beer to top it all off.

In the evening – try to catch an opera or performance at the Theatro da Paz, which would look right at home in Vienna or Buenos Aires .

Belem - Northern Brazil things to do

We love Salvador, Brazil’s third-largest city, for its lively mix of cultures and styles, its 17 th and 18th-century architecture, and its endless vibrancy. This is the epicenter of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian community and where the best music and culture can be found.   

Of all the things to do in Brazil, make Salvador one of them. During the days, explore streets so picturesque that you feel like you have stepped back in time, especially in the center (Pelourinho); at night, take a ride on the 85 meters Art Deco Lacerda Elevator on your way to a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants. Architecturally blessed and culturally diverse, Salvador was the first capital city of Brazil and has it all.

In between times, chill on the beach. This is a city that likes to live, so enjoy being part of it!

Salvador City - Beach Cities in Brazil

An improbable eco-tourism destination, the remote Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the central Brazilian state of Goiás is 650 square kilometers of big sky country. There are rolling hills, lush flora and fauna, dramatic canyons, and plenty of hiking trails to keep you occupied for at least a few days.

Rivers crisscross the park (and surrounding private land), creating a lattice of canyons, cliffs, and rivers – usually with a waterfall somewhere to allow for a refreshing dip at the end of the hike. There is an abundance of orchids, and iconic wildlife species like jaguars, armadillos, jaguars, and toucans.

Guides are no longer required to hike here, but if you want to learn about the biodiversity here, they are recommended. The Travessia das Sete Quedas hike, in particular, is simply magical, a 23-kilometer trail through a spectacular canyon and crossing the Rio Preto river twice. You can do it all in one day, or overnight in a campsite with seven small waterfalls nearby.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park access is from the nearby town of São Jorge, which connects to kooky Alto Paraíso de Goiás and the rest of the start.

Chapada dos Veadeiros, Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO, Brasil - Places To Visit In brazil

Who would have expected one of the top things to do in Brazil to be to visit wine country, but yes – the Vale dos Vinhedos Wine Region proves this marvelous country does have it all.

Located in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul between the cities of Garibaldi, Bento Gonçalves, and Monte Belo do Sul, this area has a strong Italian influence. It also offers the unique properties required in terms of soil, climate, topography, and culture to create a desirable bottle of wine.

Vale dos Vinhedos covers 82 square kilometers (32 square miles) and is home to over 30 wineries and an influential national grape and wine research bureau. Miniature estates sit alongside larger wineries providing plenty of options for wine tours, with most allowing drop-in visitors.

Even for those who don’t like wine, the attractive area also houses a cornucopia of cheese factories, art workshops, craft houses, restaurants, and boutique accommodations. The work of the Italian immigrants over the last 150 years has culminated in Vale dos Vinhedos getting a reputation for outstanding vintages, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It was even recently named one of the world’s ten best wine travel destinations recently, joining the likes of Queenstown in New Zealand or Champagne in France.

While not yet swamped with international tourists, the Vale dos Vinhedos is exceptionally popular with locals and has a well-established collection of rural inns and tourist routes. You’ll be rubbing your eyes and thinking you have been transported to Italy or Northern California.

Vale dos Vinhedos - Brazil Winery

One hundred eighty kilometers from Rio de Janeiro is Armação dos Búzios – or just Búzios for the devoted, a renowned seaside town where Rio’s elite flock each weekend.

An urbane Eden of greenery, clear waters and narrow cobblestone streets create an enduring appeal that has seen Búzios transform over the past 50 years from a small fishing village to Brazil’s St. Tropez. Located on a jutting peninsula, Búzios is a collection of three settlements and 17 beaches with oceanfront dining, an arresting harbor, and all the expected tourist amenities.

There is everything from hostels to high-end hotels and more options for relation, shopping, and nightlife then we could ever cover. It is hard to know where to start. And then there are the off-shore islands, ideal for diving, world-class gastronomy, world-class galleries, and boutique shopping.

But our favorite activity has to be people watching here. Buzios attracts the most fashionable people from not just Brazil but around the world. So, as you might imagine, one of the best things to do is simply choose a seat at a pavement cafe, order a Caipirinha, and watch the gorgeous people go by…

Armação dos Búzios - Things to see in brazil

Brazil, Pantanal, water lilies (Victoria regia) sunrise

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One of the world's most captivating places, Brazil is a country of powdery white-sand beaches, verdant rainforests and wild, rhythm-filled metropolises.

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The sunset with Christ The Redeemer on the Corcovado Hill viewed from Paineiras Road at Tijuca Forest with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

Parque Nacional da Tijuca

Rio de Janeiro

The Tijuca is all that's left of the Atlantic rainforest that once surrounded Rio de Janeiro. This 39-sq-km tropical-jungle preserve is an exuberant green…

Sugar Loaf cable car

Pão de Açúcar

Seen from the peak of Pão de Açúcar, Rio is undoubtedly a Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City). There are many good times to make the ascent, but sunset on…

"Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, View of Copacabana beach at sunset"

Copacabana Beach

A magnificent confluence of land and sea, the long, scalloped beach of Copacabana extends for some 4km, with a flurry of activity along its length: over…

Iguazu falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the city of Curitiba. The river flows through Brazil for most of its course, although most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil.

Parque Nacional do Iguaçu

Brazil's second-oldest national park, created in 1939, protects one of South America's most magical and majestic sights, Iguaçu Falls, part of the largest…

Lpanema beach

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema & Leblon

One long stretch of sun-drenched sand, Ipanema Beach is demarcated by postos (posts), which mark off subcultures as diverse as the city itself. Posto 9,…

In this photo is possible to see a boat in the Anavilhanas Archipelago region.The river is the principal path of transportation for people and produce in the Amazon regions, with transport ranging from balsa rafts and dugout canoes to hand built wooden river craft and modern steel hulled craft.

Reserva Extrativista Baixo Rio Branco-Jauaperi

This newly minted extractive reserve is an outstanding place to immerse yourself in the best the Amazon has to offer, with excellent wildlife-watching –…

An aerial view of Rio de Janeiro and.the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Cristo Redentor

Flamengo & Around

Standing atop Corcovado (which means ‘hunchback’), Cristo Redentor gazes out over Rio, a placid expression on his well-crafted face. The mountain rises…

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina

Spanning over 1520 sq km and containing within it innumerable species of plants and animals, deafening waterfalls and vast, rugged plains, Parque Nacional…

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Parque das Aves

Parque das Aves

Foz do Iguaçu

This 5-hectare bird park, located 300m from the entrance to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, is home to 800-plus species of birds, including red ibis, bare…

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

Sampa’s pride, this museum possesses Latin America’s most comprehensive collection of Western art. Hovering above a concrete plaza that turns into an…

Farol das Conchas

Farol das Conchas

Built in 1872 on orders from Dom Pedro II, this lighthouse stands picturesquely atop a hill at the island’s most easterly point. From here you have…

Museu do Futebol

Museu do Futebol

Tucked under the bleachers of colorfully art deco Pacaembu Stadium, this fantastic museum is devoted to Brazil’s greatest passion – football (soccer). Its…

Maracanã Football Stadium

Maracanã Football Stadium

Rio’s Maracanã stadium is hallowed ground among football lovers. The massive arena has been the site of legendary victories and crushing defeats. Maracanã…

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America

The epicenter of Rio’s Carnaval, the Sambódromo was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1984. During big parades, come here for fantastic views…

Beco do Batman

Beco do Batman

One of São Paulo's premiere street-art locations, 'Batman's Alley' has slowly risen from secret location for band promotional shots and Brazilian films to…

Cumbuco

Cumbuco, 35km from Fortaleza, has a long wide beach with soft sand, an expanse of dunes and a few lagoons that make it very popular for buggy rides and…

Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara

Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara

One of Brazil's most important national parks, this 1300-sq-km reserve contains more than 40,000 rock paintings among spectacular panoramas of immense…

Peak Prateleiras mountain in Itatiaia National Park, Brazil

Parque Nacional do Itatiaia

Rio de Janeiro State

Brazil’s oldest national park, Itatiaia shelters a stunning variety of landscapes, from dense rainforests to spare and rugged upland peaks. Most visitors…

Itaipu Binacional

Itaipu Binacional

With a capacity of 14 million kilowatts, this binational dam is the world's second-largest hydroelectric power station, and the one that produces the most…

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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Brazil

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

As the largest country in South America , Brazil is a vast playground for the intrepid traveller with everything from dense, exotic rainforest to bustling, dynamic cities, as well as sprawling national parks and glorious, jaw-dropping beaches. If you’re feeling spoilt for choice, here are the 20 attractions that are must-sees in Brazil.

Foz do iguaçu.

Foz do Iguaçu are one of the largest waterfalls in the world. This impressive natural phenomenon straddles the border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay and is made up of hundreds of powerful cascades that tumble down into the fast-moving body of water below. A highlight is the Devil’s Throat, an 80-metre fall where visitors can look over the edge of a wooden platform that crosses the top.

Foz do Iguaçu

Christ the Redeemer

places to visit on brazil

Fernando de Noronha

Made up of a collection of 21 islands, Fernando de Noronha is a slice of paradise in Brazil. As a protected national marine park, the area is home to a diverse and rich ecosystem that includes dolphins, reef sharks, tropical fish, and rays. Famed for its undeveloped beaches and rugged, green coastline, it is a picturesque retreat and ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.

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places to visit on brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain

One of Brazil’s most visited natural wonder is Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, a rounded peak surrounded by the sea. Visitors take a cable car to the top to enjoy panoramic views over the city, the coastline and across the ocean – the most rewarding time to go is at sunset when the lights of the city twinkle below, while the sun casts shades of pink, orange, and red across the sky and sea.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Located in the north of the country, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a striking desert landscape made up of sloping white sand dunes that stretch tall and wide, and dotted with rainwater lagoons that nestle between the valleys of the sand banks. The largest lagoons there are Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Bonita.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

A huge wetland that swallows up the west of Brazil before sprawling into Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal is a wildlife haven rich in a diverse ecosystem of rare and wonderful creatures. Nature lovers can spot hundreds of species of birds, in addition to large mammals such as jaguars and capybaras. Some of the most famous residents there are the thousands of caimans.

Amazon rainforest

One of the most ecologically complex regions in the world, the Amazon rainforest is an extraordinary natural wonders. The dense forest provides fertile grounds for thousands of endemic species, while the Amazon river provides a home for incredible freshwater life, including the elusive pink river dolphins.

Amazon rainforest

Chapada dos Veadeiros

Stretching across the central of Brazil is Chapada dos Veadeiros, an immense national park comprising deep canyons, hardy vegetation, and imposing quartz crystal formations. It is a fertile ground for several orchid species that grow wild throughout the park, and local residents include jaguars and armadillos.

Pelourinho, Salvador

Pelourinho is the historic city centre of Salvador in the state of Bahia. The vibrantly coloured buildings are a picturesque example of how the African, indigenous and European cultures, which were thrown together in Salvador, have converged throughout the centuries.

Pelourinho, Salvador

Located in the exotic northeast of Brazil, Fortaleza is a coastal city with strong winds that have attracted adrenaline-junkie kitesurfers for years. Watch the surfers race across the sea’s surface, their trajectory temporarily broken by impressive, daredevil leaps. The city is famed for its fresh, locally-sourced seafood with beachside restaurants in abundance serving Fortaleza’s delicious cuisine.

Jalapão State Park

Jalapão State Park is in the lesser-known state of Tocantins, yet the park has long been on the radar of curious travellers who love adventure. Known for its deep-orange dunes, raging rivers, and cascading waterfalls, it is a prime example of untouched wilderness that will keep any intrepid visitor satisfied.

Jalapão

Dunas de Genipabu

Just a short drive from Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the Genipabu dunes are an ever-changing collection of sand dunes that are shaped and reshaped by the daily winds that come off the coastline and whip over the sands. The region offers a host of adventurous activities such as buggy rides, camel treks and sledging down the sand dunes.

The charming colonial city of Olinda sits in the north of the country, in the state of Pernambuco. Located on a hilltop, it is a cultural wonderland of churches, museums, and buildings that have kept their colonial façade. The best time to go is during carnival when the city comes alive with vibrant, colourful street celebrations that reflect its strong African roots.

Carnival in Olinda

Porta de Galinhas

With its crystal clear waters and white, pristine beaches, Porta de Galinhas has deservedly earned the title as one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. When the tide comes in, the shoreline fills up with warm pools, locked between walls of coral and filled with a thriving ecosystem of marine life. It is possible to see marine turtles here, as well as seahorses for the observant snorkeller.

Mount Roraima

A rock formation that seems straight out of The Lost World, Mount Roraima is an imposing flat-top mountain that extends across the borders of Brazil, Venezuela, and the less-explored Guyana. To reach the top takes between seven and 10 days, but those that try will be treated to unforgettable views and waterfalls on the way.

Mount Roraima

Inhotim is located outside of Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, and has inspired art lovers across the world. The open-air art gallery is located on the grounds of a 5,000-acre botanical gardens and houses sculptures, art pavilions and interactive masterpieces from both Brazilian and international artists.

A region teeming with natural resources and wildlife, Bonita in the southwest of the country is recognised for its ecological importance and has become a well-protected haven. With freshwater pools and waterfalls alive with thriving shoals of tropical fish, it is a must-visit for any keen nature explorer. One of the highlights is Gruta do Lago Azul, an underground flooded cavity that stretched more than 200 feet deep and home to the fossiled remains of prehistoric animals, such as sabre-tooth tigers. The source of the mysterious, underground river that has yet to be discovered.

Gruta do Lago Azul, Bonita

Chapada Diamantina

This large national park is teeming with an extraordinary range of biodiversity from rare orchids to large animals such as giant anteaters and armadillos. The large flat top rock formations with long, sloping plains beneath them create breathtaking views and scenery.

Cathedral de Brasilia

This cathedral with its circular-inspired ceiling is the masterpiece of Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. The all-around stained glass walls slant up to a single point in the ceiling and allow natural light to flood in, creating an airy atmosphere. The cathedral has a capacity of 4,000 people, watched over by angels that hang suspended from the ceiling.

Cathedral of Brasilia

Bento Goncalves

The landscape of Bento Goncalves comprises sloping hills, rows of grapevines and quaint rivers, ringing a persistent bell that sounds of the Italian countryside scenery. That’s unsurprising, given the area is largely influenced by Italian immigration in the 1800s. The area is replete with wine regions, locally-produced foods such as cheese and jams, and the streets are lined with charming boutique restaurants and places to eat.

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Top 21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Brazil

Famous for its love of dancing, fun, festivals, and football, Brazil is one of those bucket list countries most want to visit in their lifetime. It’s a unique land known for its firsts and originality and is home to the world-famous Rio Carnival, Samba, Capoeira, and of course Caipirinha.

The country is filled with beautiful people and gorgeous beaches the most famous being Copacabana Beach. The vastness and variations of the landscapes make Brazil a particularly interesting destination and having spent many months traveling around this extraordinary country, here is my choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Brazil…

1. Rio de Janeiro – the famously stunning, sunny and fun-loving city 

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

A list of beautiful places in Brazil would not be complete without Rio de Janeiro. Everyone I know that has visited loves the place.

The city offers something for everyone. Do you want to go hang-gliding? Then do it – the birds-eye view of Rio is hard to beat! Trekking? That is also a possibility.

Fancy visiting one of the seven world wonders? Go ahead, but do set a couple of hours aside since the ride up to Christ the Redeemer takes a little while.

Bored of hectic city life? Then take a tour to the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and then finish the day enjoying the nightlife in Lapa, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro which offers bars and clubs which cater to all tastes.

2. Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco – a gorgeous beach famous for its bright-water beaches 

Porto de Galinhas Brazil

This beautiful place to visit in Brazil has been voted “Best Brazilian Beach” eight times in a row by readers of the Brazilian magazine Voyage & Tourism.

Situated 70 kilometers south of Recife, the town was until the 90’s an isolated fisherman village which now it is accessible to anyone who is looking to relax and enjoy the amazing beaches the town has to offer.

Snorkeling is a must here as only a couple of hundred meters out in the sea you will find a reef and when the tide is low, natural pools are created on the beaches behind the reef.

In these natural aquariums, you will find a stunning selection of colorful fish. Other activities include water sports, horse-riding, trekking, Capoeira, and much more.

3. Lençóis National Park, Maranhão – one of the best places to visit in Brazil

Lencois National Park

Lençóis – located in the North of Brazil – provides a view that will leave you gasping for air. The national park is a “desert” unlike any other.

The rain collects in the alleys between the sand dunes which result in that what could have been a desert is an area where the sand dunes are varied with turquoise lagoons as far as the eye can see.

The lagoons are home to many different species of fish and one of the species stays dormant in the moist areas of the sand during the dry season only to surface when the lagoons once again emerge.

The stark contrast between white sand dunes and crystal clear lagoons make Lençóis an experience a must-see place in Brazil.

4. Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul – a beautiful ecological destination in the heart of Brazil

Pantanal - places to visit in Brazil

Pantanal is located in the Brazilian state Mato Grosso do Sul, except for small parts of the wetland that belongs to Bolivia and Paraguay.

It’s the world’s largest wetland and the place to go if you are interested in wildlife. The open marshes make it easy to spot the animals and the unspoiled region of Pantanal doesn’t have a large human population which means the wildlife flourishes.

The wetland offers beautiful landscapes as well as the chance to see a great variety of birds and other animals. You’ll get a chance to see reptiles as well as jaguars in their natural habitat.

5. Salvador, Bahia – a stunning city famous for its Portuguese colonial architecture

Salvador, Bahia Brazil

Salvador is the first colonial capital of Brazil as well as one of the oldest cities in both North- and South America.

Known to be Brazil´s capital of happiness, it offers numerous outdoor parties and the city´s street carnival is the largest in the world.

 The beauty of the city is partly due to its location by the sea but it is much more than that – it has a rich music and architectural culture and a historic area filled with colorful colonial houses and cobblestoned streets.

6. Chapada Diamantina, Bahia – a stunning place to explore in Brazil

Chapada Diamantina, Bahia

The gorgeous National Park Chapada Diamantina takes its name from the steep cliffs in the region as well as to the diamonds that where once found here. 

Visiting the national park you will be provided a smorgasbord of beautiful views of the landscapes from different cliffs.

You will see canyons, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, caves, and much more. It’s definitely one of those beautiful places which will stay with you even after you leave.

7. Jericoacoara, Ceara – a virgin beach hidden behind the dunes of the west coast

Jericoacoara - best places to visit in Brazil

This is a remote little beach town located in the Ceara state of Brazil. You can get here by bus from Fortaleza to Jijoca, it’s not an easy journey but it is worth it!

This paradise-like town has not yet been destroyed by tourism. The streets of sand, the beautiful beach, the kite-surfing, the breathtaking sunset views from the sand dunes, the Capoeira at the beach, the amazingly huge and starry night sky, the hammocks in the lagoon which are just a beach buggy ride away is just some of the reasons to why Jericoacoara is one of Brazil’s hidden treasures.

8. Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco – one of the top places to go in Brazil

Fernando de Noronha

Would you want to visit a Brazilian beach so beautiful that just the sight of it will make you gasp for air? Do you want to swim with stingrays, sharks, and a variety of colorful fishes?

Do you want to see dolphins, sea turtles, and albatrosses? Well, here you can! 

Fernando de Noronha is a group of islands that belongs to Brazil. The archipelago consists of 21 islands, islets, and rocks of volcanic origin and this UNESCO World Heritage-listed island is a paradise on earth for anyone who is interested in diving and animal life.

9. Iguazú Falls, Paraná – the world-famous natural attraction which is a place of interest in Brazil

Iguazu falls Brazil

I don’t think a list of beautiful places in Brazil would be worth the name unless Foz do Iguaçu was part of it. 

The Iguazú falls consist of more than 270 waterfalls of different sizes which border Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay are a truly amazing spectacle.

If in Brazil (or any of the other bordering countries) do not miss the opportunity to see what is one of Mother Nature´s greatest expression of the beauty in our world.

10. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro – a small and pretty town backed by mountains

Paraty - best places to visit in Brazil

This gorgeous coastal town was first settled in 1667, so there is a lot of history to it. It truly offers something for everyone, including cobblestone streets, magnificent forests, amazing waterfalls, and an emerald-green sea.

There is a lot to do and even more to look at when you visit Paraty, and even though it is compact enough to be enjoyed on foot, you’ll still find a lot of enjoyment and fun activities every step of the way.

There’s even a city center that provides you with information on how the town came to be what it is today.

11. Búzios, Rio de Janeiro – a beautiful Brazilian resort set on an ocean peninsula

Búzios, Rio de Janeiro

A resort town with roughly 34,000 residents, Búzios is the place to go when you want calmness and serenity, and a break from the hustle and bustle of a tourist’s life.

A lot of the people who live there are fishermen, and it offers all sorts of water activities, including swimming and surfing.

In fact, you’ll find a little bit of everything in this town, including shopping, restaurants, bars and lounges, art museums, and just about anything else you need to make your vacation unforgettable.

12. Florianópolis, Santa Catarina – home to 60 beaches, sun, sand and waves

Florianopolis, Santa Catarina

Located in the southern part of Brazil, Florianópolis has a total of 60 beaches and is noted for its surfing opportunities. It bases its economy mainly on tourism and information technology, so tourists can find a lot to do there.

Radical sports and nature offer some of the best opportunities for tourists, as well as activities that include mountain climbing, hang-gliding, rowing, and paragliding.

It is connected to the continent by three bridges, one of which is the Hercilio Luz Bridge, which is famous but is now closed.

13. IlhaBela, São Paulo – one of the most sought-after getaway destinations for Brazilians 

IlhaBela, Sao Paulo

Also known as Beautiful Island, which is what it is translated to in Portuguese, IlhaBela has a population of roughly 32,000 and offers attractions such as 360 waterfalls, numerous forests, hiking trails of all difficulty levels, and of course, the beaches.

In fact, there is a total of 41 beaches on the main island, so whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or watch the dolphins and whales, you’ll never run out of things to do.

With beautiful waters and even more beautiful skies, this is the place to be if you have a fondness for sand and surf.

14. Maragogi, Alagoas – a stunning beach to explore

Maragogi, Alagoas Brazil

Maragogi sits in the northwestern section of Brazil and offers lots of beaches and living tropical reefs. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply enjoy the many sights that give the place some ambiance.

Maragogi is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brazil thanks to its natural beauty and all of the activities it gives people to do.

You can enjoy sea cliffs that seem to reach to the sky and take a boat ride to get up close and personal with the coral reefs. Whatever you do there, it’s one place you will never forget.

15. Trancoso, Bahia – Brazils best-hidden beach town

Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil

Trancoso has two things going for it: lots of beaches, and an advanced way of thinking when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint.

It has lots of festivals to enjoy throughout the year, but its main attractions are all of the beaches that surround the area, each one seemingly more gorgeous than the previous one.

With white sand, reefs, and water that always seems to be at the perfect temperature, this is the perfect place to be when lots of time in the water and sun are what you’re looking for.

16. Campos do Jordão, São Paulo – known as the Brazilian Switzerland

Campos do Jordao Brazil

A municipality in southeastern Brazil, Campos do Jordão is the highest city in Brazil, reaching 5,341 feet above sea level. Among the many activities for tourists are hiking, mountain climbing, treetop cable swings, and motorbike, and ATV riding.

There is also a festival that takes place every winter that celebrates classical music, and in addition to a really cool cable car, the town offers bars, restaurants, discos, and other activities that make for great nightlife. In other words, this is one town that truly offers something for everyone.

17. Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro – a beautiful island escape

Ilha Grande beach Brazil

One thing you will never be short of in Brazil is stunning paradise-esque beaches. Ilha Grande is an island located in the sea outside the state of Rio de Janeiro where you will find tropical beaches that will tempt you to purchase your own pousada and simply enjoy the tranquil island lifestyle for the rest of your days.

Previously a prison island, it offers good conditions for snorkeling with chances to see coral, tropical fish, whales, and even penguins.

The island, which has no roads or motorized vehicles, provides hiking trails to different beaches and villages. On the island, you are likely to spot both monkeys and hummingbirds.

18. Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro – one of the most charming cities in the region

Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro

Mostly known as the town that is home to Brazil’s national football team, this city sits in between mountains and hills and has lush green grass and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever experienced.

There is a national park found on part of the city near the city limits, and mountain structures such as Devil’s Needle and God’s Finger are definitely worth paying a visit to.

There are also lakes, statues, and lake houses that are nothing short of extraordinary, and the farms in the area provide a little bit of nostalgia to this now-modern city, which is always a win-win situation.

19. Penedo, Rio de Janeiro – a small and pretty village with a curious history

Penedo, Rio de Janeiro

With a population of roughly 64,000 people, the town has a magnificent reputation for towns with extraordinary architectural wonders, especially if you love cathedrals, churches, and other buildings with historical and religious significance.

It has even been mentioned in books and movies, most noticeably the book The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian. In fact, the city has roughly 270 square miles of land but seems to have more than its fair share of amazing things to see, learn about, and enjoy. In short, you will never be bored here!

20. Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro – an interesting and pretty a colonial city 

Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro

If you are thinking to visit Brazil, Petrópolis is your destination. Also known as The Imperial City, it is home to nearly 300,000 residents and offers activities to pique anyone’s interests.

These include theaters and museums, as well as lots of festivals and carnivals. You can also enjoy some very unique architecture, and if you love palaces, national parks, or old monasteries, this is the place to be.

You can visit these places individually or join a tour guide. This large city offers all of the advanced benefits of any other large city, which means you’ll never run out of things to do.

In fact, regardless of which month you visit the city, you’ll always have something interesting to do, I loved this place. Enjoy wonderful Brazil! 

21. Amazon Rainforest – a paradise tropical rainforest perfect for nature lovers

The Amazon Rainforest - Brazil

Although Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches and outstanding landmarks, another famous place to visit is the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. The forest is split into 60% being in the Brazilian territory, 13% in Peruvian and 10% in Colombian soil. The remaining 17% is distributed between French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

There are so many things to explore in this giant jungle, and one of them is to spot the pink dolphins or go bird watching as the forest is home to over 800 bird species. The best time to visit is during the low-water season which is from July until December.

We also have posts on… 

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Emma Clair Kelly

Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer

With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board ,  Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

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10 thoughts on “Top 16 Cool and Unique Hotels in Amsterdam”

Going to Visit brazil next week as I don’t know much about it so I was looking for a blog to know the best things to there thanks for this information. As Know I know What to do there.

WOOOOW the OXXXmmm place Brazil one day i will enjoy these natural beauty

Hope everyone get a chance to come to Brazil specially to Jericoacoara!

Oh Jericoacoara is so beautiful and this PIC is so… Bleh. We can find great pics on google.

Visitem Ibicoara, localizada na Bahia,chapada diamantina.

Rio and Ouro Preto are my top choice 😉

Thanks Escape Hunter! Good choices 🙂

So many reasons to visit Brazil! I’d love to visit Salvador and Ilha Grande especially. Gorgeous photos!

Very true, there’s so much more to the country!

Thanks for the suggestions Gabriel!

Wow what a country, I really must visit one day!

Hope you make it one day Scott!

They all look beautiful! Would love to visit and every one of them!

What a beautiful place, would love to go there.

Ilha Grande is a new find for me.. wow! so beautiful. Brazil is definitely one to really explore – thanks for the post, a great eye opener!

Thanks Adam!

There is also Pantanal in the state of Mato Grosso, not only in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Congratulations though for the overall text and pictures!

I want to go to all of these places! Brazil has been on my list for a long time now! Thanks for sharing.

Happy travels 🙂

I admire travelers who focus on South America, it’s such a gorgeous region with so much to see. Thanks for the inspiration!

Wow, I’ve fallen in love just with the pictures alone! It would be nice to get back to Brazil one day. Clearly Rio has so much to offer I could need an extended trip there.

I’m in love with Rio de Janeiro!!! Hope to make it there soon, perhaps in 2015!

What lovely photos and a great read! I wish I had spent longer in Brazil when I went last year as only saw Rio and Iguazu and would have loved to have visited some other parts including Salvador and Pantanal. I also can’t believe Ilha Grande was right there and I didn’t even know about it till just now! It looks stunning 🙂

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I Heart Brazil

Home » Travel guides » 101 of the Best Places to Visit in Brazil

101 of the Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Looking for jaw-dropping places to visit in Brazil? You came to the right place.

Brazil is a real mosaic. 

In this country of continental proportions, we received cultural influences from different people around the world, and this is even more evident when we visit a few places in Brazil. 

From tiny colonial towns with massive historical baggage to untouched beaches and mountains in the four corners of the country, diversity is everywhere.

For that reason, I couldn’t write about only 10-20 best places to visit in Brazil as a Google search showed me most websites are doing. No. The full list of the best places to go in Brazil is far more extensive.

Covering an area nearly as big as Europe and the United States, the country has countless vacation destinations worth visiting and experiencing.

Best places to visit in Brazil

In a nutshell, I worked my butt off to write this article so you can decide where to travel in Brazil . Seriously, I wrote down all the places that I strongly believe you’ll love and should visit on your next trip to South America.

Some of these places you have already heard about, others you probably had no idea existed. 

But at the end of this article, I’m sure you’ll be glad you got to learn about these magical places. 

Without further ado, let’s get to the 101 best places to visit in Brazil that you can’t miss. 

Wanna know the most beautiful places and destinations in Brazil? Read on!

Not enough time to read this article in one sitting? Save it for later!

Places to visit in Brazil Pinterest graphic

Before you check out the best places to visit in Brazil

No matter where you go or for how long, travel insurance is the most essential item you need for any trip.

Many things can go wrong before, while, and on the way back from your vacation. And although this statement might sound too negative, it’s true.

You can get injured, robbed, need medical attention, or have your flight canceled, to name a few.

Now imagine trying to solve any of those situations in a strange country where you don’t speak their language? Save yourself the hassle. 

For a couple of dollars a month, you’re covered for many situations.

I often travel for my job, but never without travel insurance because it’s not worth the risk. The company I use is Safety Wing , and I’m satisfied with them. Click here to get a quote .

Accommodations in Brazil

Looking for places to stay in the country? Browse our articles about hotels in Brazil to find accommodation in the cities you’re visiting.

Outside the main destinations (aka Rio de Janeiro, Amazon, and São Paulo), hotels are pretty affordable. To compare properties and score the best deals, I always use Booking.com . It’s easy to use and reliable.

Best vacation spots in Brazil

Christ the redeemer, rio de janeiro.

Christ the Redeemer is the most prominent Brazilian statue

Known as Brazil’s symbol, Christ the Redeemer is among the world’s most famous landmarks . 

Surprisingly, the statue itself isn’t so high—it’s 98 ft (30 m) high, and it stands on a 26-ft (8-m) pedestal—, but the mountain where it is located is massive.

To be more precise, it’s a 2,300-ft (700-m) high mountain, and from there you have a fantastic view of the city. It’s like Christ is watching over Rio de Janeiro.

Batman Alley, São Paulo

Batman Alley Graffitis in São Paulo, Brazil

As a concrete jungle, São Paulo evolved its art scene with the city’s elements—buildings, museums, and alleys. 

Among the many graffitis you can spot throughout São Paulo, Batman Alley holds arguably one of the most interesting temporary open-art exhibitions. 

In truth, Batman Alley is one of the most unique places to visit in Brazil. That’s because artists come here often to create new paintings on top of the prior wall art, and the cycle goes on.

Read next: Where to stay in São Paulo

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro

Hitting the beach is one of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro , and Ipanema Beach is a delightful place to soak up the summer vibes.

While it does offer scenic views of the Dois Irmãos Hill and a pleasant sand stretch, know that this beach in Rio de Janeiro is highly touristy.

It is one of the most famous places in Brazil, after all.

I avoid crowds at all costs, so my best Brazil travel advice is to visit touristy beaches early in the morning during summer and weekends.

Ipanema neighborhood is one of the best places to go in Brazil for singles (but also for those traveling with a partner) because of the charming bars and venues in the area.

Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, Mato Grosso

Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is one of the best things to see in Brazil

Chapada dos Guimarães is an eco-tourism hub in Brazil, which has several archaeological and paleontological sites. The park also has river springs, waterfalls, protected environmental areas, and hiking trails. 

One of its highlights is the local postcard, the Véu da Noiva Waterfall (English: Bridal Veil). 

The water comes from among a dense forest plunging for 282 ft (86 m) against a granite wall. It’s beautiful. And note that this is one among the many jaw-dropping locations in the whole park.

Pelourinho, Bahia

Pelourinho in Salvador, Bahia

Nestled in the country’s first capital, Pelourinho is the historic center of Salvador , one of the cheapest places to visit in Brazil. 

The area is sprinkled with colorful colonial houses divided by cobblestone streets and unified by Brazilian history—from slavery to freedom. 

Marvel at the Renaissance urban settings adapted to a colonial site and how the civil, military, and religious architecture mixed with each other. It’s a unique place to visit in Brazil.

Itaimbezinho Canyon, Rio Grande do Sul

Itaimbezinho Canyon in Brazil, beautiful scenery

About 3.6 mi (5,8 km) long and almost half-mile deep, the Itaimbezinho Canyon is pretty or deadly. Or both. Probably both. 

There are three hiking trails and many beautiful views, including some near the edges. Take care.

The area is covered by Atlantic and Araucaria Forest and cliffs, where a bunch of animals finds a place to call home. This is the biggest canyon in Brazil. 

Porcos Bay, Pernambuco

Porcos Bay at Fernando de Noronha

It isn’t easy to access this destination in Brazil, but the effort is rewarded. This tiny beach has a narrow strip of sand and lots of rocks in the sea, which form transparent water pools. 

A towering rocky seawall and the view of the Dois Irmãos Hill complete the breathtaking look of this protected area in Fernando de Noronha.

This archipelago is considered one of the best vacation spots in Brazil. 

Blue Lake Grotto, Mato Grosso do Sul

Blue Lake Grotto in Bonito is one of the best vacation spots in Brazil

Blue Lake Grotto is a natural monument and protected area in Bonito. You wouldn’t think a beautiful blue lake is inside this cave from the outside as its hidden entrance is modest.

Stone steps take you down the cave where the bright blue lake lies.

Many animal skeletons from the Ice Age period were found in this cave, including a 9.8-ft (3-m) high sloth and a saber-toothed cat. 

Tip from a local: The lake is at its brightest from Sep–Feb.

Paradise Lake, Maranhão

Woman chilling on hammock in Jericoacoara lagoon

Paradise Lake is a body of light and dark blue water among sand dunes.

Locals and tourists venture on stand up paddle, sailing, or relaxing on a hammock in this lake with small waves—ideal for people traveling with kids.

The restaurants around the lake put tables and chairs near the water so that people can relax even while eating.

Campos do Jordão, São Paulo

Cottages in Campos do Jordão

Campos do Jordão is a Swiss-inspired town 112 miles (180 km) away from São Paulo City. It’s also one of the best places in Brazil where people can experience the European influence in the local architecture.

The half-timbered houses and cozy venues make this town unique.

Popular during winter, the charming Campos do Jordão is also an excellent destination during spring (Sep–Nov) when the smell of flowers fills the air.

Patacho Beach, Alagoas

Patacho beach in Alagoas

Unlike most beaches in this list, Patacho in Porto das Pedras is a paradisiac wild beach. No structure or toilets, no crowds or cars, only a few locals selling coconuts, soft drinks, and beers. 

The lack of structure might be a downer for many people, but you’ll forget about it when you feel the lukewarm crystal clear water on your legs.

As a backdrop, palm trees line up by the shore as far as the eye can see. If you get tired of doing nothing, take a boat from this beach to natural pools nearby. Either way, you won’t regret it.

Historic Center of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais

Set in a remote and rugged landscape, Ouro Preto is a former colonial mining town, which has maintained most houses, churches, and bridges from its period of prosperity.

The city probably heads the list of historical places in Brazil, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site not only for its exceptional Brazilian Baroque constructions but also for the originality in mixing the traditions of both cultures—Brazilian and Portuguese.

Also, Aleijadinho was born and raised in Ouro Preto, where he designed the Church of São Francisco de Assis and its sculptures.

Aleijadinho, also known as Antônio Francisco Lisboa, was one of the best Brazilian baroque artists.

Ouro Preto is one of the most significant places to visit in Brazil where you can learn the local history.

Abrolhos Marine National Park, Bahia

Humpback whale in Abrolhos Marine Park

This archipelago located 43 mi (70 km) away from the coast is a singular place in Brazil and an adventure hub for those looking for crystal clear waters to dive in.

The water visibility is about 65 ft (20 m) from December through March, but from July through November, curious humpback whales are swimming around the route there.

With such tempting options, it’s difficult to choose when to come. I know. 

Naturally, you can also spot the hundreds of colorful fishes and interesting species that live in this marine national park. It’s a long sailing day, but undoubtedly worth the trip. 

Tip from a local: Using repellent or sunscreen before swimming harm wildlife. To protect yourself and the environment, cover your body with UPF clothing and apply reef-safe sunscreen on exposed skin.

Caracol Falls, Rio Grande do Sul

Caracol Falls in Rio Grande do Sul

Caracol Falls isn’t majestic as Iguazu or Niagara, but it has a remarkable setting.

Among the dense forest, a subtle stream of water has an uninterrupted drop of 426-ft (130-m) against basalt rock cliffs, and it cascades down looking like a bridal veil.

On sunny days, a beautiful rainbow appears to complete the magical scene.

The falls can be seen either from a cable car or an observation tower nearby. Both are beautiful.

Read next: 19 Tempting reasons to visit Brazil

Fervedouros do Jalapão, Tocantins

Fervedouros are water springs where people can easily float due to the pressure coming from the aquifer. That’s why you can’t sink in these natural pools.

Currently, about 20 springs are spread across Jalapão and have clear waters for a relaxing day out. 

Depending on the weather, the waters can even turn light blue but remember NOT to use sunscreen and repellent as these products pollute the clear waters.

Meeting of the Waters, Amazonas

Include the Meeting of the waters in your trip to Brazil

The difference in speed, temperature, and density between the Amazon River and Dark River makes their confluence a mesmerizing place to go in Brazil.

For miles and miles, these rivers run side by side without mixing. While Dark River, as the name suggests, is dark, it also is warmer than the Amazon River. The latter has a muddy color and runs two times faster than the former.

Such a phenomenon makes the Meeting of Waters an exciting attraction in the Amazon region. Unfortunately, as the waters of both rivers are far from clear, you can’t spot any animals while sailing here.

Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana beach

Next to Ipanema, Copacabana Beach is unmissable with its undulating black and white—Portuguese inspired—promenade and clear waters. 

Although the light beige sand stretch is long, Copacabana can get jam-packed on warm days. 

If you don’t want to sunbathe here, I understand, but you must visit Copacabana once to see Rio de Janeiro’s main beach. While here, look left to spot the Sugarloaf Mountain.

And don’t worry about the tiny bikinis. I know (and have heard) that this is one of the most famous things in Brazil, or better put, from Brazil.

Foreigners usually make a big deal out of it, but Brazilians won’t. So if you want to wear it (or not), it’s ok. Nobody will bat an eye here. Just dress the way you feel more comfortable.

Poti Canyon, Piauí

According to scientists, Poti Canyon is about 400 million years old. The spectacular fauna and flora together with prehistoric rock carvings make this canyon a breathtaking place.

About 197 ft (60 m) high, the canyon is hidden in a desert wilderness creating an oasis in the region. Tourists often come here to kayak or sail in a tour boat. 

Despite the awe-inspiring landscape, only a few people know about this underrated vacation spot in Brazil.

Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão

Sand dunes at Lençóis Maranhenses

White sand dunes, clear waters, and mesmerizing views, the Lençóis Maranhenses are arguably one of the best places to visit in Brazil. 

The protected area is a national park with lakes formed between dunes in the rainy season so that the best time to visit the park is Jun-Aug, the local winter.

During this time, the temperature is enjoyable, and the lakes are starting to dry. The landscape at Lençóis Maranhenses is out of this world. Like a magical setting.

Alto da Ribeira Touristic State Park, São Paulo

Petar in São Paulo is one of the best places in Brazil for hiking

Also known as Petar, this state park is one of the most exciting ones in Brazil.

It not only has the most extensive cave opening in the world but also holds the most significant portion of Atlantic Forest in Brazil, which is one of the reasons why it’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park covers an area of 65,405 American football fields. Whoa, that’s a lot!

Also, due to the natural landscape scattered with caves and rocks, adventure sports, such as climbing, and abseiling are common in the park. For that reason, the special Brazilian police and firemen also train in this area.

Wildlife-wise, a few animals can be spotted here, such as the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and the jaguar.

Paulista Avenue, São Paulo

Woman walking at busy Paulista Avenue in São Paulo

Paulista Avenue is a summary of Brazil: Diversity in every corner along a 1.7-mi (2,8-km) long avenue. The area attracts all crowds—from business tied-up folks to hippies and rock ‘n roll fans.

You can find all sorts of shops and venues in this avenue. Also, many parades of all kinds take place here, such as the Gay Parade and New Year’s Eve Party as well as demonstrations for political reasons.

On Sundays, the avenue is closed for cars so that locals and tourists can ride a bike, skateboard, or wander through the area without worrying about cars.

Prata River, Mato Grosso do Sul

Snorkeling in the blue waters of Rio da Prata in Bonito

Striking nature and unique wildlife, the Prata River is an ecological hub in Brazil, and arguably in South America.

National and international tourists come here to snorkel in crystal clear waters, and although rare, visitors can spot many Brazilian animals , such as alligators, snakes, and countless species of fish in Prata River.

Iguazu Falls, Paraná

Iguazu Falls in Brazil

The second-most visited place in Brazil and the world’s most significant falls, Iguazu Falls is 9,120 ft (2.780 m) wide and has a total drop of 262 ft (80 m).

These waterfalls, located inside a national park with the same name, are among the most beautiful natural wonders in the world.

When you see this awe-inspiring landscape by yourself, you’ll understand why.

Iguazu Falls are among the best places to visit in Brazil or at least one you can’t miss.

Fun fact : Iguazu (Portuguese: Iguaçu) means “big water” in Tupi-Guarani, the first official language in Brazil. 

Read next: Vacation packages and tours in Brazil

Barra dos Remédios Beach, Ceará

Barra dos Remédios beach

Perfect place for those who want to disconnect, Barra dos Remédios is a beach among sand dunes with nothing around but nature.

Bring your water, food, and a trash bag to enjoy a day in Ceará’s Caribbean. To get there, you need a guide because there are no signs and you need a proper 4×4 car or dune buggy.

Holambra, São Paulo

Colorful houses in Holambra, São Paulo. One of the prettiest Brazil tourist attractions

Imagine the cute architecture of the Netherlands combined with the tropical weather of Brazil? 

That’s right, Holambra is a Dutch-inspired town in the countryside of the state, which is a perfect day trip from São Paulo .  

Besides the sweet, colorful houses, you can experience more of the Dutch culture in São Paulo. Stroll around the tulip plantations, see Van Gogh’s paintings (replicas of course!) and visit a windmill.

Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco

Porto de Galinhas in Pernambuco

Porto de Galinhas is the main tourist center of Pernambuco’s southern coast. 

The place’s fame is due to the diversity of natural beauty, such as the clear mangrove swamp, the white sand beach, and the coconut trees aligned by the shore.

This natural pool is home to colorful fish and turtles in the middle of a paradisiacal setting formed by coral reefs. Honeymoon-worthy location.

Chapada das Mesas National Park, Maranhão 

Chapada das Mesas is a national park jam-packed with breathtaking hidden paradises. Blue Well is one of them.

And as the name says, this is a bright blue well where tourists can swim, relax, and find some relief for the heat.

Moreover, the park also has exciting hiking trails, caves, and some of the best waterfalls in Brazil . Need I say more?

Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro

Sugarloaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is nestled among lots of hills and mountains. Some of them are next to the sea, and Sugarloaf is one of them.

From the ground level, the first cable car takes you to Urca Hill, where you’ll have a magnificent view over Rio.

But the next cable car takes you to the Sugarloaf Mountain, and there, my friend, you feel like Jack in Titanic, like the queen/king of the world. 

That’s the place where you understand why people call Rio de Janeiro, the Marvelous City.

Canoa Quebrada Beach, Ceará

Canoa Quebrada beach

With its calm and warm waters, Canoa Quebrada Beach is surrounded by orange cliffs, which makes the perfect contrast with the blue sea.

The beach is not only loved among kitesurfers and windsurfers and is considered one of the best in the country to practice these sports due to strong winds.

If you’re feeling adventurous, know that you can have lessons and rent the equipment right there on the beach.

Botanical Garden of Curitiba, Paraná

Botanical garden in Curitiba

Among the most famous postcards of the city, the Botanical Garden of Curitiba is often the most popular one. 

The garden is one of the favorite places in the city not only for tourists but also for the inhabitants of Curitiba themselves.

Besides this massive green and colorful French-inspired area, a metallic greenhouse houses botanical species that are a national reference, as well as a pretty fountain. 

Pantanal, Mato Grosso

Toucans at the Pantanal

The world’s largest swamp is a heaven for nature lovers and adventurers. That’s because the Pantanal has a diversified flora with plants from the Amazon Rainforest, Atlantic Forest, and Cerrado, to name a few. 

Besides that, this region has over 1,000 animal species, such as the jaguar, piranha, and toucan. 

At Pantanal, you experience more of Brazil’s wildlife than you would in most regions of the country. (Or even in many countries out there.)

Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Rio de Janeiro

Serra dos Orgaos in Rio de Janeiro

At Serra dos Órgãos National Park is the Serra dos Órgãos, a mountain range in Rio de Janeiro covered by extensive areas of Atlantic Forest. On a clear day, you can spot the mountains from Rio de Janeiro City.

Besides the mountains’ dramatic features, countless waterfalls and hiking trails are spread across this massive park.

Xingó Canyon, Sergipe

The imposing Xingó Canyon, one of the most beautiful places in Sergipe, is the perfect combination of breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders.

There you can let your adventure self swim in the light green waters of the São Francisco River, go stand up paddle, or even rappel the canyon. 

One thing is for sure, you won’t want to miss the sunset from the top of Xingó. It’s beautiful!

Missions of São Miguel, Rio Grande do Sul

Ruins of São Miguel missions

The Missions of São Miguel are composed of the ruins of five missions from the Jesuit Mission settlements within the land of Guarani, indigenous peoples of Brazil. 

These missions were built between the 17th and 18th centuries.

São Miguel Arcanjo Church is the most well-preserved building among the ruins.

The site was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ability to integrate the productive land and the religious mission in the area. 

Castelhanos Beach, São Paulo

Ilhabela in São Paulo

Castelhanos Beach is one of the main beaches in Ilhabela, a paradisiac island off the coast of São Paulo, and one of the most beautiful ones in Brazil. The only problem is that it is challenging to reach it.

On the way to the beach, you face over 12 mi (20 km) of dirty and irregular roads making a 4×4 indispensable. 

Alternatively, taking a boat there might cut the hassle, but the sea must be calm for that.

At the beach, all you see are a few modest and improvised restaurants, a dense forest in the background, and beautiful blue-colored water ready to jump in. 

Mount Roraima National Park, Roraima

Mount Roraima seen from Brazil

Have you watched Up? Then you’ve seen this place already. In the movie, Carl finds Paradise Falls near the park where Mount Roraima is. 

The falls exist indeed, but with another name—Angel Falls—, and it’s the world’s highest waterfall reaching heights of 3,212 ft (979 m).

Mount Roraima itself is monstrous. The mountain is 9 mi (14 km) long and 9,222 ft (2,810 m) tall at its highest point—a beast.

For full disclosure, to trek the Mount Roraima you must do it through Venezuela because there’s no hiking trail on the Brazilian side, which is an impressive national park and requires previous authorization.

Furnas Canyon, Minas Gerais

Furnas Canyon in Capitólio, Minas Gerais

The Serra da Canastra region is full of beautiful waterfalls, and among the many cities bathed by these waters, Capitólio City attracts the majority of the tourists.

In addition to the waterfalls and lookouts in Capitólio, the most sought after tour is the one at Furnas Lake. 

Locals call it “Minas Gerais’ Sea” because of its beautiful color ranging between blue and green.

At Furnas Lake, the rugged canyons rise over 66 ft (20 m) high in the sky from where you have magical views of the region.

Búzios, Rio de Janeiro

Búzios in Rio de Janeiro

The town’s name is Armação de Búzios, but people often call it Búzios only. Búzios has about 23 pristine beaches and a scenic town center. 

Wander through Rua da Pedra, the central street, to find lots of boutiques, restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Among its beaches, Ferradurinha draws the most attention for having blue water and being a good snorkeling location. On the other hand, the red sands and calm settings of Forno Beach make it a mesmerizing place in Búzios.

Pipa Beach, Rio Grande do Norte

Pipa beach in Rio Grande do Norte

Pipa Beach is famous among international tourists because there’s a location where you can watch wild dolphins at Dolphin Bay.

So keep your camera ready because these curious animals often swim around this area. 

Oh, and remember not to try to interact with them or give them food as they’re wild animals.

Eixo Monumental Avenue, Goiás

Brazilian congress in Brasília

As the capital of Brazil, Brasília houses the three independent powers—the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary—and the main buildings of the government are at or around the Eixo Monumental Avenue.

Oscar Niemeyer, the acclaimed Brazilian modern architect, designed the city together with two other colleagues, hence why the city has the shape of an airplane. 

Wander through this avenue and spot the memorials along the way, the Mané Garrincha stadium, and the peculiar Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida, among others. It’s a beautiful area!

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Goiás

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Chapadas dos Veadeiros is home to incredible scenarios and biodiversity.

Right in the heart of the country, this national park is home to several plant species, hundreds of springs, rivers, waterfalls, ancient rocks, and breathtaking landscapes surrounded by the Brazilian cerrado, a tropical savanna. 

In some parts of the park, they have preserved former gold panning areas, which are part of local history. 

Also, Chapada dos Veadeiros is known as one of the most mystical spots in Brazil because of the quartz crystals and the rock paintings scattered around the park.

Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro

Parque Lage and Corcovado at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Once the residence of the Brazilian industrialist Enrique Lage and the Italian singer Gabriella Besanzoni, Parque Lage is a mansion among subtropical forests.

The little palace lies at the foot of the Corcovado, mountain where Christ The Redeemer is. 

Nowadays, the park is public and has plenty of walking trails surrounding the mansion, including one to Christ The Redeemer. Also, the manor houses an art school and a courtyard cafe.

Sé Square, São Paulo

São Paulo Cathedral at Sé Square

São Paulo’s ground zero, Sé Square is the most traditional place in the city.

Many historical demonstrations took place here, but today the square houses the neo-gothic São Paulo Cathedral and is surrounded by palm trees and lots of shops.

The streets around the square have some of the oldest buildings in the city, which are pretty. But for full disclosure, many homeless and drug addicts have been living in this area in the last few years. Sad.

Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul

Gramado, Santa Catarina

Gramado is a small city in the south of Brazil, which was highly influenced by the Germans in the 19th-century. 

Small, beautiful, and charming, the city continually invests in attractions, landscaping, beautification, signage, and anything else that can encourage its primary source of income, tourism.

With its peculiar architecture, Gramado has a European atmosphere that mixes a bit of German, Italian, and even Swiss.

In winter, the cold of the mountains adds extra charm to the streets full of little shops and bustling cafes.

Bombinhas, Santa Catarina

Bombinhas beach in Santa Catarina

Bombinhas is a peninsula surrounded by 39 beaches of all kinds. Some wild, some with infrastructure, some with a calm sea, and others sought by surfers. 

All known for the beautiful landscapes and clear waters.

The fauna and flora of Bombinhas (both on land and in the sea) are essential aspects of the local life, making it an ideal place for nature and beach lovers.

Bombinhas is also one of the safest places to visit in Brazil.

Carneiros Beach, Pernambuco

Beautiful chapel in Brazil, Carneiros Beach

Carneiros doesn’t have a vast sand stretch, but it certainly has most attributes of a postcard-worthy beach.

The coconut palms shadowing the clear sand, transparent green sea, and natural pools full of colorful fish, make Carneiros one of the best places in Brazil to chill out. 

To complete the picture, an 18th-century little church right on the beach looks straight out of a fairytale book. If I were to choose a wedding by the beach, this would be the place.

No wonder hundreds of tourists disembark here to spend a lazy day in paradise.

Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro

Ilha Grande in Rio de Janeiro

Ilha Grande is an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, and it’s known as an undeveloped paradise because the island doesn’t have much infrastructure. 

Its attractions and activities are all nature-related, such as snorkeling, sailing, hiking, and kayaking, to name a few.

The landscapes won’t disappoint either. Blue waters, dense forest, waterfalls, lakes, and caves. Seriously, Ilha Grande is one of the best vacation spots in Brazil. 

João Pessoa, Paraíba

São Francisco Church in João Pessoa

João Pessoa is the first mainland city in the Americas to see the sunrise every single day. 

Besides the beautiful beaches, the city has good infrastructure, organized traffic, extremely friendly and welcoming people, historic churches, a center filled with colonial houses, and tranquility not seen in many large metropolitan areas.

Jalapão State Park, Tocantins

Jalapão National Park in Tocantins

This state park is a popular destination among ecotourism and adventure lovers. 

Located in the state of Tocantins, Jalapão has abundant clear waters, mesmerizing plateaus, and wild mountains with savanna climate, as well as the savanna landscape with orange dunes, waterfalls, springs, and impressive rock formations. Whoa, that’s a lot!

For the more adventurous ones, know that the region is also ideal for sports, including rafting, canoeing, abseiling, and hiking/cycling trails.

Paraty, Rio de Janeiro

Paraty in Rio de Janeiro

Cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and beautiful nature, Paraty is a sweet colonial town and has exceptional historical importance in Brazil.

Together with Ilha Grande, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its culture and biodiversity.

Also, Paraty has four protected areas of Atlantic Forest, which are part of one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. A trip to Paraty is a trip to Brazil’s soul. 

Água Milagrosa Cenote, Mato Grosso

Água Milagrosa is a 600 ft (200 m) deep cenote with transparent watercolors that switch between hues of turquoise and emerald depending on the time of year.

To access the cave, visitors must walk a light trail for about half a mile and then walk down an uneven staircase of more than 150 steps. The effort is worth it. 

The water visibility is around 197 ft (60 m) between April through September.

However, such clear water still won’t allow you to see the bottom of the lagoon, which is unknown to this day. The deepest a diver reached was 597 ft (182 m).

Pedra da Gávea, Rio de Janeiro

Pedra da Gávea is one of the most famous places in Brazil to go hiking

The highest monolithic mountain directly in the ocean, Pedra da Gávea is 2,769 ft (844 m) high, and to reach the summit, hikers must venture on a 2.5-3-hour challenging hike.

That’s why visitation without a guide and equipment is not advised.

But so much effort is rewarded with panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro—Christ The Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, the city, and Dois Irmãos Hill.

Farol Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Farol beach in Arraial do Cabo

Chosen as the 2nd most beautiful beach in Brazil , Farol Beach is located on an island off the coast of Arraial do Cabo . Farol is my husband’s favorite place to visit in Brazil as it was the cleanest water he had ever seen in his life.

This beach is protected by the marine, hence why access to it is restricted—only 250 people can be on the beach at the same time.

Fish swimming between your legs and birds diving after them in search of lunch in crystal clear water, that’s the scene that keeps playing itself the whole day.

Or at least for the entire 40 minutes, you’re allowed to be on this beach.

Chapada do Araripe Park, Ceará, Pernambuco, and Piauí

Chapada do Araripe is an offbeat destination in Brazil that holds plenty of hypnotizing landscapes. 

Unlike other parks-chapadas, this one is located in a semi-arid region, and because it has abundant water, the place is considered the lungs of the backlands. 

Also, the park is home to Araripe UNESCO Global Geopark, which holds one of the largest deposits of fossils from Lower Cretaceous in Brazil and in the world.

Pomerode, Santa Catarina

Pomerode is a rather unusual place to visit in Brazil as locals call it the most German city in the country.

They say that because the town was founded by German immigrants, and even today, most of their traditions, architecture, and language are preserved. 

Yes, German in Brazil. It sounds crazy, but it’s a reality. But for disclosure, know that they speak a dialect, not the German you would hear in Berlin, for example.

Learn more about Pomerode’s history, visit the museum with the same name, which explains the development of the city and the region. 

After that, you can follow the half-timbered houses route to see the Brazilian influence on German-styled houses. (This route is part of Brazil’s historical and artistic heritage.) 

MASP, São Paulo

The Museum of Art of São Paulo, MASP, is one of São Paulo points of interest

MASP, Museum of Art of São Paulo, is among the most significant museums in Brazil. The gallery is an open space where all paintings and photographs are exposed.

Besides being the city’s postcard, the São Paulo Museum of Art is home to the most important European collection in the southern hemisphere.

Fun fact: In 1968, Queen Elisabeth II inaugurated the museum in its new address at Paulista Ave.

Joaquina Beach, Santa Catarina

Joaquina beach in Santa Catarina

Joaquina Beach got famous in the surfing community because of the Hang Loose Pro contest in 1986.

Although the winds in Joaquina brought sports enthusiasts from all over the world, the surf is not everything this place has to offer.

A long stretch of soft and bright sand, inviting sand dunes, and a perfect place to watch the sunrise complete the landscape of one of the prettiest beaches in Florianópolis .

Imperial Museum, Rio de Janeiro

Imperial Museum in Petrópolis

Brazil was a Portuguese colony for 322 years already when in 1822 it became the independent Empire of Brazil. 

This empire didn’t last long, and in 1889 Brazil became the republic we know today. But the historical events of the Empire of Brazil are documented at the Imperial Museum in Petrópolis.

Besides having priceless artworks, the museum is also based on an invaluable building—the former summer palace of Emperor Pedro II, surrounded by a garden.

Chapada dos Parecis, Mato Grosso and Rondônia

Ecotourism and adventure sports are the main economic activities in this region where about 26k people live. Visiting Brazilian Indian tribes is also an excellent option to get immersed in Brazilian culture.

With countless untouched natural beauties, rivers of crystal clear water, waterfalls, natural stone monuments, and caves with millenary inscriptions, this land is owned by the Nambikwara and Parecis Indian tribes. 

The latter obviously inspired this park’s name.

Tabuleiro Falls, Minas Gerais

Tabuleiro Falls

Tabuleiro Falls is the highest waterfall in the state and the third highest in Brazil. 

The falls have an uninterrupted drop of 896 ft (273 m) against heart-shaped cliffs, which you can only see after an easy 1.6 mi (2,5 km) hiking trail. 

But for the more adventurous souls, know that it is possible to hike to the top of it. Prepare yourself for a 5 mi (8 km) intermediate hike, and watch out for the edges. Finally, take in the view and enjoy it.

Igreja Hill, Santa Catarina

Igreja Hill in Santa Catarina

One of the most visited attractions of Santa Catarina, and also one of the most beautiful ones, is Igreja Hill. This location is considered the highest inhabited place in the southern region of Brazil.

From there you can see the Pedra Furada, a 98-ft (30-m) high rock formation with a hole in the middle. The full view is breathtaking as you can see mountains and hills going as far as the eye can see.

Belém, Pará

Ver-o-peso market in Belem

Belém is a port city that preserved most of the Portuguese colonial architecture in its old town. 

A few good examples of it are the Paz Theater but also the Ver-o-Peso Market, which offers the most varied flavors and aromas of Pará. 

This massive open market on the shores of Guajará Bay brings together hundreds of stalls of fruit , fish, herbs, spices, sweets, essences, crafts, and more. 

An ideal place to have a taste of Brazil as Belém is a rather foodie city with deep Brazilian roots and flavors.

Historic Center of Goiás, Goiás

Historic Center of Goias

Whitewashed and pastel-colored colonial houses, cobblestone streets, and a piece of Brazilian history in every corner, the Historic Center of Goiás is rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Not only made of cute little streets, but this place is also home to a few delicious Brazilian delicacies, such as pastelinho and coconut rose. 

In a nutshell, Goiás city center is the perfect place to experience colonial architecture, unique culture, and authentic food.

Sunset Dune, Ceará

Watch the sunset at the Sunset Dune in Jericoacoara

This place might look like a simple sand dune during the day, but during sunset, it gets jam-packed with tourists looking for romantic views.

Watching the sunset on this dune in Jericoacoara is nearly a ritual where people celebrate weddings or bring champagne. 

Either way, it’s the perfect way to finish a memorable day.

Chapada do Guarani, São Paulo

Apart from offering a massive number of attractions, the State of São Paulo is rich in routes and circuits that tell the history of the region.

The Chapada Guarani Circuit, for example, is a natural paradise about 124 mi (200 km) from the state capital.

With its abundant nature, this route, which sits on the Guarani Aquifer—one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world—integrates the cities of Brotas, Analândia, Itirapina, Torrinha, São Pedro, São Carlos, Descalvado, and Santa Rita do Passa Quatro.

As expected, the region has plenty of adventure activities such as rafting, canoeing, trekking, paragliding, mountain biking, and many others. 

I said ‘as expected’ because Brotas is the national capital of adventure. But don’t think its neighbors São Pedro and Itirapina are far behind. The whole region is a perfect adrenaline-rush route.

Espelho Beach, Bahia

Espelho beach in Trancoso, Bahia

Espelho Beach is considered one of the prettiest beaches in Brazil. Here, you’ll find everything a beach needs to be among the most beautiful ones in a country where people are not strange to paradises.

This beautiful beach has clear and calm water, a vast expanse of sand, natural pools, restaurants, and beachside bars. Not to mention the surrounding cliffs that contribute to the unique landscape.

Inhotim Museum, Minas Gerais

Inhotim Museum in Brumadinho

The Inhotim Institute in Brumadinho houses a museum complex with a series of pavilions and galleries featuring works of art and outdoor sculptures of contemporary art.

And although located near the horrible dam disaster of 2019 in Brumadinho, the museum wasn’t affected. 

Concept-wise, Inhotim works in a way that is far from the one urban museums do. 

That’s because Inhotim’s experience is primarily associated with the development of a spatial relationship between art and nature that enables artists to create and display their works in unique conditions. 

Visitors are invited to experience actively the surrounding space by walking through gardens, forest landscapes, and rural environments, and getting lost among lakes, trails, sculptures, mountains, and valleys.

Domingos Martins, Espírito Santo

Pedra Azul in Espírito Santo, Brazil

In the mountainous region of the state, you’ll find a city colonized by Germans and Italians which is as charming as it could be. 

The city of Domingos Martins preserved the European culture and incorporated it in many aspects of local life, such as in the gastronomy, architecture, and folk festivals. 

Apart from these European-inspired urban settings, the region also offers natural pools, waterfalls, hiking trails and places ideal for rappelling, tubing, and rafting.

Natural Pools in Maracajaú, Rio Grande do Norte

Maracajaú beach in Rio Grande do Norte

The Maracajaú Parrachos are a mesmerizing example of natural pools on the Brazilian coast where the color of the sea is as pretty as the Caribbean sea, if not more beautiful. 

Here, tourists snorkel around the coral reefs and spend some time in contact with nature before returning to Maracajaú Beach, a beach with calm sea and palm trees aligned by the shore.

Brasília National Park, Goiás

Brasilia National Park

Many people don’t know, but Brasília has a national park with beautiful pools made of wells nearby. 

Flora and fauna-wise, the park houses not only the savanna vegetation typical of this part of Brazil but also rare and threatened species, such as the Yellow Faced Parrot, Maned Wolf, and Giant Anteater.

Sucuri River, Mato Grosso do Sul

A hidden gem in the central-west region of the country, Sucuri River runs through Bonito, an ecotourism hub and a mesmerizing place to visit in Brazil.

Tourists come to this transparent blue-hued water river to snorkel and see wildlife. But what many people don’t know is that a few sucuri snakes (also known as anaconda) reside in this paradise. 

Well, there’s nothing to fear, though. Most tourists never see snakes as they come out more often during wintertime, but if they do come out, know that these snakes don’t approach humans—also, they’re nowhere as fast as J-Lo’s movie.

Apart from that, you’ll be accompanied by a professional guide who knows the region and the animals.

Manaus, Amazonas

The pink Amazon Theater in Manaus

Amazon Rainforest’s main entrance is an exciting and pretty city.

From the exceptional Amazon Theater—one of the best tourist attractions in Brazil— to the impressive Amazon Museum, the city has so much contrast in its landscape that it clearly shows the country’s diversity without even noticing it.

The Meeting of the Waters and a visit to a Brazilian Indigenous tribe also attract many tourists to Manaus.

Serra da Capivara National Park, Piauí

Serra da Capivara in Piauí

Serra da Capivara is the only park in Brazil which is home to flora and fauna typical of the Caatinga ecosystem. 

The Caatinga ecosystem is only found in the countryside of the northeastern area in Brazil, and it’s characterized by tropical dry vegetation. 

Having one of the oldest cave paintings in South America, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has the highest concentration of archeological sites in the continent. 

Rio Branco, Acre

Hearty food, incredibly friendly people, and an excellent ecotourism point, Rio Branco is by far the most underrated capital in Brazil. 

Most Brazilians of other states haven’t been to Acre, and to be honest, they have no idea what an unpretentious yet remarkable place they’re missing.

Take some time to enjoy the local cuisine, visit Brazilian Indian tribes, or go museum hopping. 

Either way, a visit to the city is sure to bring you closer to authentic Brazilian culture and traditions you won’t see anywhere else.

Balneário Camboriú, Santa Catarina

Balneário Camboriu is one of the best places to visit in Brazil

On the coast of Santa Catarina, Balneário Camboriú is filled with nature and modern architecture. 

Brazil’s highest building, paradisiac beaches, excellent hiking trails, and soft adventure sports are some of its attractions.

The city also has a Christ The Redeemer, but far more modest than the one in Rio de Janeiro.

On each day of the week, the statue will be lit up with a different color, and each color represents a beautiful state of mind, such as love, peace, etc.

Tiradentes, Minas Gerais

Tiradentes town in Minas Gerais

A colonial town with remarkable architecture features, Tiradentes is jam-packed with colonial mansions and has a small-town feeling without losing the best of Minas Gerais traditions. 

Perfect place for those who want to learn more about Brazilian history and disconnect from the bustling world out there. 

Among its attractions, Santo Antonio Church is the highlight of the city with its ornate interior made of gold and its facade designed by Aleijadinho, the Brazilian sculptor. 

Morro de São Paulo, Bahia

The beach at Morro de São Paulo, Bahia, is a must to your Brazil vacation

Famous for having jaw-dropping beaches and landscapes, Morro de São Paulo is a car-free village on an island off the coast of Bahia.

Although its main attractions are the beaches, there are still other things to do as well as tours to take around the area.

Something that many people do every single day here, something like a ritual, is to go to Toca do Morcego or Forte de Morro to watch the sunset.

It’s romantic and beautiful, but Morro de São Paulo is also known for being a top party place in Brazil.

Oh, and if you want to travel in the region, you might want to check out Boipeba Island , too.

Serra do Rio do Rastro Road, Santa Catarina

Road at Serra do Rio do Rastro

This highway (SC-390) in Santa Catarina is among the most impressive ones in the world. That’s because it’s characterized by steep climbs and hairpin curves. To be more exact, 284 curves in total.

Driving on this road is a remarkable adventure, so don’t forget to pull over in one of the designated spots to take in the dramatic views.

Also, a lookout at the end of the road, at 4,662 ft (1.421 m) high, offers the perfect place to photograph the road, and at night, this highway is fully illuminated.

Ipiranga Museum, São Paulo

Ipiranga Museum in São Paulo

There is no better place to learn about Brazilian history than in the Ipiranga Museum.

The museum is settled near the bank of the river with the same name, where Emperor Pedro I proclaimed independence from Portugal. 

That event marked the beginning of the Republic of Brazil, and that’s why you can hear about it in our national anthem or even see Pedro Américo’s visual representation of it—the Independence or Death painting.

Moreover, the Ipiranga Museum is surrounded by a well-maintained garden with fountains and statues making reference to our independence. 

The Ipiranga Museum is closed for reform until September 2022, but the gardens are open for visitation.

Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo

Christmas tree near lake at Ibirapuera Park

My favorite place in São Paulo to sunbathe, picnic, jog or wander around. This urban park is a gem, and you didn’t visit São Paulo if you didn’t visit it. 

Oscar Niemeyer, Brasília’s architect, led the project back in 1954.

Apart from being an enjoyable place to chill out, Ibirapuera Park also houses three excellent museums, a Japanese garden, and ceramic exhibit, and a unique pavilion for temporary expositions shaped as a Brazilian Indian hut.

Taipu de Fora Beach, Bahia

Taipu de Fora Beach in Bahia

Taipu de Fora Beach is 4 mi (7 km) long with crystal clear water and thousands of coconut palms aligned by the shore. 

Coral reefs decorate both extremities, making it a perfect place for snorkeling. 

Along the coast, you will also find surf schools, beach clubs serving drinks and regional dishes, inns, and holiday homes.

Serra da Canastra National Park, Minas Gerais

Serra da Canastra in Minas Gerais

Without effort, you can spend a whole week exploring the Serra da Canastra Park. In fact, you’ll probably have to because countless soft adventure activities are available in the park. 

Hiking trails, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, jeep tours, motocross, kayak, and rappelling are a few options as well as tasting cheeses.

You read it right, tasting cheeses in the national park. 

The most typical and famous gastronomic product of Canastra is the cheese, which is considered a National Cultural Heritage.

Simply put, this national park is an ecotourism and gastronomic paradise filled with the Brazilian savanna, wild animals, and lots of activities. 

Bandeira Peak, Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais

The third highest mountain in Brazil, Bandeira Peak is located on the border of the states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais. 

The peak has this name because Emperor Pedro II ordered the placement of the Empire flag (Portuguese: Bandeira) on top of the mountain. At that time, this peak was considered the highest and most imposing point in Brazil.

To reach the summit of this 9,488-ft (2.892-m) high peak, you can follow either hiking trails in one of the bordering states. Both are easy and take about one hour to finish. The view you get from the summit is spectacular.

Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais

Belo Horizonte is one of the most beautiful places in Brazil

Get ready for a good marathon of cultural spaces, parks, world heritage sites, restaurants, and pubs. Loads of pubs! 

Belo Horizonte is one of the best cities in Brazil for foodies . The town is known for having a unique gastronomic circuit, abundant cultural life, and excellent architectural structures worth the shot. 

Or shots, if you will.

Not to mention that the city is the gateway to several historic towns, such as Diamantina, Ouro Preto, and Tiradentes.

Coffee Museum, São Paulo

Coffee museum in Santos

Located in the former coffee exchange building in Santos , the Coffee Museum is a baroque and neoclassical construction from the 1920s that reflects the power of São Paulo’s industry at the time. 

And as the world’s top coffee-producing country, Brazil has a deep coffee culture. 

After learning about coffee history and development in Brazil and the world, stop by the cafe on the ground floor to have a few sips of this beverage, and buy some to take home. It’s a unique souvenir .

Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro

Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro

Cabo Frio is a popular vacation destination in Brazil because of its blue water and white sand stretches. But the town has more than paradisiac beaches. 

Stroll around its photogenic historic center to feel the quiet atmosphere, or follow a path over the rocks at the end of Forte beach to reach Saint Matthew Fort, a 17th-century construction. 

Today the place houses local artists’ exhibitions. Also, the magical view it offers over the Atlantic Ocean and Cabo Frio makes it an ideal point to photograph the region. 

Locals enjoy watching the sunset here, and why not, daydreaming.

São Roque Wine Route, São Paulo 

Wineglass and people talking around table

More than 30 wineries, distilleries, restaurants, and hostels make up the Wine Route, a perfect day trip from São Paulo City.

Here you can buy artisanal liqueurs, sweets, local products, and of course, Brazilian wine. 

Naturally, one day isn’t enough to visit all of these places, so if you can’t spend much time in the region, reserve at least half a day to see the best of it.

The wine route in São Roque is one of the best places to visit in Brazil for foodies. 

Cataguás Island, Rio de Janeiro

Cataguases Island in Angra dos Reis

Angra dos Reis in Rio de Janeiro has 365 astonishing islands. One for each day of the year. 

And among all these islands, Cataguás, also known as Cataguases, is the closest to the Brazilian mainland, meaning it becomes jam-packed in specific periods of the year.

Cataguás is a top location to sunbathe, snorkel, or scuba dive. Take in the bluish-green water and spend some time watching as some species of fish and marine animals swim along the corals.

Carrancas, Minas Gerais

Waterfall in Carrancas, Minas Gerais

Imagine a tiny town with a calm town center and a modest stone church that impresses by its ornate interior. Nothing extraordinary so far. True. 

But it turns out Carrancas is not only a cozy small town but also the Waterfall’s City.

That’s because over 70 waterfalls are scattered around its surroundings. It’s an array of falls, wells, lakes, natural pools, and more. More places to go in Brazil, and add to your bucket list. Sorry, not sorry.

São Luís, Maranhão

Houses in São Luis, Maranhão

In São Luís, Brazilian culture lives, and it’s remembered more than in many cities scattered around the country. 

The quaint Historic City Center, together with its over 3k colonial mansions is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

And although many of these mansions are poorly preserved, the city has the biggest collection of Portuguese tiles outside of Portugal in its streets and looks somehow charming.

São Luís’ streets are also where many events throughout the year take place, such as Bumba-meu-boi in June, which depicts the death and resurrection of a bull.

Maceió, Alagoas

Maceió beach

Maceió has one of the most beautiful shores of Brazil, and all this beauty is mainly due to the blue sea and the numerous trees aligned by the coast.

Most visitors travel here in search of pristine beaches and good sunny days in front of the sea. 

If that’s what you expect from this trip, be ready because you’ll find so much more: excellent food, crafts, and a pleasant atmosphere that translates the overall feeling in the city.

Jaú National Park, Amazonas

Jaguars walking in the wild in Brazil

The Jaú National Park protects one of the largest areas of tropical forests in the world. 

It stands out because the park contains the majority of the ecosystems recorded in the Amazon, including dryland forests and periodically flooded lowland forests.

If the world had a heart, Jaú National Park would be a significant part of it. The unique fauna and flora of this place make it a biodiversity hotspot as visitors can observe countless bird species, jaguars, monkeys, and giant otters, to name a few.

Urucá Falls, Roraima

Urucá Falls in Roraima

At the border with Venezuela and Guyana, Uiramutã County has many natural sites, but the Urucá Falls stands out.

The waterfall reminds a 65-ft (20-m) bridal veil over a cliff covered with vegetation plunging into an emerald natural pool.

The whole area surrounding the fall is ideal for day hiking and waterfall spotting.

About 88% of the county’s population is indigenous—the highest concentration in the state. 

Alter do Chão, Pará

Alter do Chão is one of the best places to visit in Brazil

Hidden deep in the Amazon Forest, Alter do Chão is a laid-back town, which was elected by The Guardian as having one of the prettiest beaches in Brazil.

The town has numerous temporary white sand stretches that form beaches at Tapajós River during the dry season. 

The most famous beach is Ilha do Amor, a peninsula filled with basic restaurants and that can be explored by canoe or stand-up paddleboard.

It’s also the departure point for boat tours to nearby forest reserves and isolated communities. Needless to say that Alter do Chão has the best indigenous art stores in the Amazon region.

Recife, Pernambuco

Marco Zero, Recife

Capital of Pernambuco and one of the most multicultural cities in Brazil, Recife overflows with diversity. 

Land of frevo, maracatu, and mangue beat, the city bustles with history and culture. 

On top of that, Recife has several exciting attractions for all tastes. From Boa Viagem Beach to the Historic City Center, Recife is home to excellent museums, bars, restaurants, courtyards, and churches where the regional culture is lived at its best. 

Itacaré, Bahia

Itacaré beach in Bahia

Itacaré is a multi-layered eco hub and cultural pot with white sand beaches, untouched nature, friendly people, and finger-licking good food. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Itacaré is also a perfect place for surfing and watching capoeira with the sea as background. Capoeira is a typical Brazilian mixture of martial arts moves with music. 

All of these aspects make the city an excellent vacation destination in Brazil.

Nova Veneza, Santa Catarina

Nova Veneza, as you might have imagined, is a city inspired in Venice and it was founded by Italian immigrants who came from that Italian city.

Museums and restaurants show a little more of this connection between both countries, but Lucille is the gem in Nova Veneza’s crown.

Lucille is an original Venetian gondola at the main square, and it’s a gift from Italy. 

Only four original gondolas were donated by the Italian government to other nations, and this is one of them.

Curitiba, Paraná

Curitiba City, Paraná

Enjoyable parks with beautiful constructions and wildlife, the famous botanic garden, and even a Ukranian Memorial, Curitiba is surprisingly filled with exciting things to do.

Also, the city boasts a unique art scene between the street art and museums scattered around town. 

The highlights are the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Rail Museum, and the Holocaust Museum, the first in the country.

Santo Antônio de Lisboa, Santa Catarina

One of the oldest districts of Florianópolis, Santo Antônio de Lisboa is a tiny town heavily influenced by the Portuguese.

The colonial houses, together with the cobblestone streets, make this a magical place with a lovely laid-back atmosphere.

Food-wise, Santo Antônio de Lisboa is a foodie’s heaven because it combines the best of two cuisines: the Brazilian and the Portuguese.

Historic Center of Olinda, Pernambuco

Historic Center of Olinda, Pernambuco

Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic center of Olinda has a harmonious balance between the buildings, gardens, baroque churches, convents, and lots of tiny chapels. 

All of these constructions contribute to Olinda’s particular charm.

This 16th-century city was founded by the Portuguese, but it was later rebuilt after being looted by the Dutch, hence why its basic urban fabric dates from the 18th-century. 

Chapada Diamantina National Park, Bahia

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Arguably the most beautiful national park in Brazil, Chapada Diamantina is jam-packed with breathtaking natural scenes. 

From canyons, waterfalls, and caves to hill and lookouts, the park has plenty of options for hiking and enjoying what nature has to offer. 

To explore most of it, you might need a guide, though, as the park covers an area of 284,047 American football fields.

Brazil Travel resources

I want your trip to Brazil to be remarkable. That’s why I’ve created several resources that will be handy while planning your vacation.

So after reading this article about the best places to visit in Brazil, take a look at things you can do in the country .

Moreover, don’t miss my articles on the most essential Brazil travel tips and public holidays , which are an excellent resource for first-time visitors.

If this will be your first time in Brazil, check out my Brazil Trip Planning guide .

For transportation, check out my guide to avoiding taxi scams in the country. 

Inspired by this article about the best places to visit in Brazil? Then save it to your Pinterest or share it with friends!

Wednesday 7th of December 2022

I love brazil. Advice for those who want to visit every street.

Paulo Mottola

Sunday 17th of January 2021

Great list! Even including hidden gems like Inhotim Park. Of course its no exhaustive, like the breathtaking train ride at Serra da Graciosa, Mercado Municipal de São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha Island could easily be part of that list. Regardless, it's a great job!

Christine Rosa

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

@Bruna, SAUDADES !!! My USA government funded teachers' tour, The Fulbright Grant, took me to so many historical and cultural sites. Like the Tony Bennett song goes, "I left my heart in..." Ouro Preto and Paraty to name a few places. My Azorean family heritage love of azulejos was most definitely fulfilled in the colonial spots.

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Thank you! You're absolutely right. In a country with continental proportions, there are hundreds of incredible places to visit in Brazil. This list only scratches its surface. Take it as a teaser ;)

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Absolutely fantastic list. Perhaps a future article series might be stringing some of these together into trip ideas. Some would be easy - things focused on Rio or Sao Paolo, but others might be more rewarding for those who want to venture beyond the two big cities. Brazil is an enormous country, so would help potential visitors pick something that interests them and seeing what else is a short bus trip or flight away. Right now I'm pinning a bunch of these on a google map to see what might work.

Thursday 19th of November 2020

Hey Craig, thanks for your comment! Yes, I'm working on such content as I write this. Namely, I'm working on different Brazil itineraries---based on people's interests---where I include many offbeat destinations throughout the 5 regions. ;) But as you said, Brazil is an enormous country, so it is taking me much more time than I imagined to get it done. Good luck with planning your trip!

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » 15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Have you been itching for lush rainforests, fantastic cities, tropical islands, and heavenly beaches?  Then you’ve been itching for a Brazilian adventure. You’ll find colonial towns that will make you feel that you’ve stepped back in time, red-rock canyons that will make you feel that you’ve stepped onto another planet, and awe-inspiring waterfalls and jungles that will make you wish you could stay forever.

Brazil is the country of Carnaval, a celebration that takes over every city and every soul. You won’t believe the human capacity for fun and joy until you experience this festas. Ask yourself what you want in your next holiday, and Brazil is guaranteed to have it on offer.

Diverse ecosystems, with rare and wild plant and animal species unique to all other places on earth, kayaking through rainforests, horseback riding, whale watching, snorkelling in coastal reefs, samba dancing, all-night DJ’s, white sand beaches, history, culture, and big, full-power cities. Let’s explore the best places to visit in Brazil !

1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

There’s just no other place like Rio.  Welcome to lush mountains, brilliant beaches, over the top nightlife, and fanatic football fans. Known as Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvellous City, Rio is ringed by green mountains while the coast stretches for miles.

Most people come first for the beaches.  The cariocas (locals) consider the beach a home away from home and so much happens here that you could never leave and still have a complete vacation. You’ll love biking on the beach, hiking in Tijuca rainforest, hang gliding, rock climbing, and sailing to one of several small islands just off the coast.

Music is everywhere in the city – with the most popular being the African influenced samba vibe. If you want to explore the nightlife, head to Lapa, the cities red-light distinct. You’ll find live music and street parties every night.

2. Salvador

Salvador

Located in the state of Bahia, Salvador has a phenomenal energy that’s notable even for Brazil.  Most known for being Portugal’s New World capital, it maintains a great deal of its colonial architecture and you’ll find the historic centre of the town in the Pelourinho neighbourhood.

Here you’ll find large squares with small cobblestone alleys leading away, multi-coloured buildings, and churches like São Francisco with gilt woodwork and other baroque features. There’s an amazing arts movement here. You’ll find Olodum drummers on the streets, along with Capoeira martial artists, and crazy festivals happening everywhere you look.

The culture here is decidedly Afro-Brazilian and you’ll see that in the incredible food, religious ceremonies and rituals, and dance.

3. São Paulo State

Ilhabela, São Paulo State

Another in the long list of incredible things about Brazil is São Paulo state. It offers some of the best of the best that the country has to offer.  São Paulo city is the current Boom Town – everything here is growing:  commerce, industry, culture, finance, and, of course, tourism. But you can also leave the city for a bit and head to Serra da Mantiqueira.

Use this stunning mountain range, with its 2500m peaks, as your cosy mountain getaway. There’s also Ilhabela, to be used as your posh island escape. Or try Iporanga in the midst of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

You’ll also find great beaches with the rainforest as their backdrop – try the lovely Ubatuba for a relaxing few days.

4. São Paulo City

São Paulo City

The heartbeat of São Paulo State is Sao Paulo city.  It’s the largest city in Brazil and one of the largest in the world.  It’s a bit of a melting pot, with all kinds of ethnic groups calling it home, including the largest community of Japanese outside of Japan.

You’ll find unbelievable art galleries and experimental theatres, as well as fantastic fine-dining restaurants and upscale bars.  If you want a taste of sophisticated city life, this is your stop.

With 20 million people, Sao Paulo is a mammoth city, and does come with a lot of big city hassles, but for those willing to look a little closer; there is a vibe here that rivals New York City.

5. Brasilia

Brasilia

Built in the 1960’s, Brazil’s capital is a thoroughly planned and intricately organized city. Brasilia’s landmark infrastructure is laid out in the form of an airplane.

Each section of the plane is a different district like residential, government, finance, culture, and commerce.  The architecture here attracts tourists and professional architects alike.

Be sure to check out the Three Powers Square.  Here you’ll find the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Presidential Palace.

6. Fortaleza

Fortaleza

Another of Brazil’s big cities is Fortaleza.  It’s best known for an energetic cultural scenes, great beaches, and even greater shopping. If you’re going for the beaches, check out Meireles, Mucuripe, Iracema, and everyone’s favourite, Praia do Futuro.

Spend your mornings strolling through Centro, the oldest part of the city, and then spending your evenings in Praira de Iracema, a neighbourhood densely packed with hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.

Once you’ve had your fill of Fortaleza beaches, use it as starting point to discover the quaint fishing villages and rolling dune beaches of the Ceará coast.

Paraty

One of the most popular stops for tourists is located along Brazil’s Green Coast in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Paraty is bursting with waterfalls, emerald green sea, giant coastal mountains and tropical forests.

Once a Portuguese colony, the heart of the town is still the historic centre. Complete with multicoloured colonial buildings and cobbled streets built in the 17th century during the height of the Brazilian gold rush.  Many of the houses have been converted to bed and breakfasts’ which the locals call pousadas.  The entire historic district is great for strolling as the lanes are closed to cars.  It really feels like you’ve stepped back in time.

Don’t forget to check out the colonial forts – many that still have their original cannons – and Capela de Santa Rita, a lovely 18th century church.

Recife

There is nothing not to love about the “Venice of Brazil.”  Inside the city is a network of waterways, bridges, islets, and peninsulas, and just outside are tropical rainforests with rivers and islands to explore.  There is a wonderful historic old town here, as well as incredible culture and fantastic beaches.

The old town is known as Recife Antigo and is located on its own island near the harbour. Most would agree that Boa Viagem is the most popular beach in town due to the white sands and coral reef.

Recife is a large city with lots to offer – including an awesome place to spend Carnaval.

Olinda

Six kilometres from Recife is Olinda, is a 16th century Portuguese colonial town. The historic old town sits on a hill surrounded by trees and filled with churches, museums, and restaurants. In 1982 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The rest of the town is no less charming with tons of 18th century architecture, monasteries and convents, and fantastically painted houses.

Once a leader in the sugarcane industry, Olinda has transformed into a small artists’ colony; full of artists, workshops, studios, and other creative types.  Check out the pousadas in the old town if you’re interested in using Olinda as a base to enjoy Recife.

Carnaval is slightly different here, celebrated primarily during the day with the music and dance focused on traditional African culture.

Manaus

Considered by many as the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, Manaus sits on the Negro River. The capital of Amazonas and one of the largest cities in the country it has incredible landmarks like the Rio Negro Palace and the Amazonas Opera House.

If you’re in the mood for some phenomenal nature, check out the Meeting of the Waters, a three mile stretch where the Solimões and the Negro Rivers run side by side without fully mixing. Eventually, both rivers converge to form the Amazon. Most people come here as a stopping point on their way into, or out of, the Amazon.

If you’ve got time, check out the zoo that lets many of the animals roam free, and a little beachside museum just outside the city centre.

11. Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

This stunning natural wonder runs for 2.7km along the border with Argentina.

Iguazu Falls is a series of waterfalls along the Iguazu. The combination of luscious green forest, exotic wildlife, and breathtaking waterfalls is intoxicating.

Use the city of Foz do Iguaçu as your base camp as you enjoy cascades like the 80 metre Devil’s Throat.  With hundreds of fall’s to discover, you might consider a tour in one of the tourist rubber boats called zodiacs.

Bonito

Bonito is a one-street town full of charisma.  It serves as an ecotourism model for Brazil and as a hub for the surrounding areas.  If you’re an outdoor adventurer and water enthusiast, then this is your spot.

Discover Abismo Anhumas, a gigantic cavern covered in stalactite where you can dive and swim in an underground lake as well as do some abseiling.  Or how about snorkelling in the crystal clear Rio da Prata? If you’re a bird lover you won’t want to miss the macaws that nest deep in the Buraco das Araras.

To top it all off, explore the Serra da Boduquena National Park.

13. São Luís

São Luís

The historic centre of São Luís has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well-restored colonial mansions. There are so many museums, crafts, and galleries to explore while here.

São Luís maintains a largely Afro-Brazilian culture and you’ll find both reggae and Bumba Meu Boi music festivals. While you’re here be sure to catch the Centro de Cultura, a museum with exhibits on the three major Brazilian festivals.  You might also like the Archaeological Museum and the Casa das Tulhas, a 19th century market building.

When you’re ready, cross the Baía de São Marcos for a quick day trip to Alcântara to see this historic town as it slowly slips into tropical decay.

14. Jijoca de Jericoacoara

Jijoca de Jericoacoara

This hidden gem is one of the spectacular beaches in Ceara, Brazil. Named by the Washington Post as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the world, you’ll find calm seas, white sand dunes, and gorgeous blue lagoons.

It’s a nesting spot for large turtles and therefore was declared an Environmental Protection Area; it’s also been a national park since 2002. Thanks to all that, the area has remained largely isolated and untouched.

They’ve had electricity for less than 20 years in Jeri and thanks to local ordinance; the streets can only be lit by the moon.

15. Curitiba

Curitiba

This thoroughly urban capital of Paraná state is a well-known performance centre.  Visit the Wire Opera, a steel tube building with a see-through roof, as well as the Guaíra Theatre for some great programs.

Curitiba is also well known to urban planners across the globe as one of the most efficient cities ever built.  You’ll find a six-block stretch designated as a pedestrian zone, tones of parks and trees, innovative solutions to urban problems like pollution and poverty.

It’s a unique place to recharge before ending your Brazilian adventure.

15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil:

  • Rio de Janeiro
  • São Paulo State
  • São Paulo City
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Jijoca de Jericoacoara

Rainforest Cruises

  • Amazon River
  • Galápagos Islands
  • Indonesian Archipelago
  • Mekong River
  • Irrawaddy River
  • India Cruises
  • Machu Picchu
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Brazil Travel Guide

14 Best Places To Visit In Brazil

Sugar,Loaf.,Rio,De,Janeiro

Brazil is the largest country in South America, dominating the central and eastern portions of the continent. From the massive and legendary Amazon Rainforest in the north to the jaw-dropping tropical beaches along the Atlantic coast to the Pantanal wetlands, there are plenty of marvelous Brazilian vacation destinations , where you’ll see some of the most beautiful nature in the world. Here is an insight into some of the most amazing places to visit in Brazil.

Massive falls of Iguazu

Iguazu viewpoint

Foz do Iguacu (Iguazu Falls)

The Iguazu Falls are the largest system of waterfalls in the world , stretching almost 9,000 feet in width. This impressive natural phenomenon straddles the Argentine-Brazilian border and is made up of hundreds of powerful cascades that tumble down into the fast-moving body of water below. Every second, incalculable gallons of water from the Iguazu River course over the Parana Plateau. While 80 percent of the falls are in Argentina, it is the Brazilian side that offers the most spectacular views, with Devil’s Throat canyon being the highlight. Take a bus to the trailhead, where you can then walk a short trail to come face to face with a full panoramic view of the giant waterfalls. Then go the full Brazilian on a walking tour along the catwalks. Hear the falls resonating through the rainforest and revel in the full spectacle. Walk to the balcony of the ominously named Devil’s Throat; shaped like a horseshoe, and including 14 waterfalls, this is the largest, most impressive, and dramatic water curtain in the whole system.

Angra dos Reis

The 365 islands that make up Angra dos Reis are located in the southwest region of Rio de Janeiro. The biggest of these islands, Ilha Grande, has an illustrious history and some beautiful natural features, including the sweeping views from Pico do Papagaio, and the Castelhanos Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest in Brazil. If you’re into snorkeling and diving, you can explore the clear waters and coral reefs of Lagoa Azul, and see a multitude of marine creatures. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike through the jungle to the Cachoeira da Feiticeira, a 50-foot-tall waterfall with a natural pool at the bottom, where you can rappel down the steep cliff’s edge and swim in the pool beneath the cascade.

Cave with lake in Bonito Brazil

Clear Bonito waters

Bonito is the ecotourism capital of Brazil , and its stunning nature can be fully explored within the Serra da Bodoquena National Park. There are caves with lakes and amazing stalactite formations, lush forests, mountains, and grasslands, home to wildlife such as capybaras, and ocelots. You’ll also find beautiful waterfalls and incredibly clear rivers and pools alive with thriving shoals of tropical freshwater fish, while the skies above are graced by colorful parrots and macaws. You can go diving or rapelling in the Abismo Anhumas, a massive cave with dangling, rocky stalactites descending from its roof down towards an underground lake.

Karst formations over turquoise water

The turquoise waters

Fernando de Noronha

About 200 miles off the coast of Brazil’s mainland, Fernando de Noronha is a slice of paradise ; a small volcanic collection of 21 islands characterized by jagged, rocky coasts and lovely natural beaches. Because of its distance from the mainland, Fernando de Noronha is very secluded and great efforts are made to preserve the natural wilderness of this beautiful place. The area is home to a diverse and rich ecosystem that includes dolphins, reef sharks, tropical fish, and rays, and is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Large area with sand dunes

Endless dunes make amazing photos

Lencois Maranhenses National Park

On the northern coast of the Atlantic is Lençóis Maranhenses National Park , an immense area of desert-like land, which is known for its sloping white sand dunes that stretch tall and wide, and shallow rainwater lagoons that nestle between the valleys of the sandbanks. They form seasonally during the rainier seasons, due to a thick, hard, dense layer of rock not far beneath the sand. The lagoons are at their largest during the summer months, and after July, when they connect to rivers like the Negro River, there are even fish that live in the shallow pools.

Large Theatre in Manaus

Teatro Amazonas

The capital of the Amazonas state in northwestern Brazil, Manaus serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest and embarkation point for most Brazilian Amazon cruises . The port is located on the dark waters of the Negro River, just east of where it meets the muddy waters of the Solimões River to form the mighty Amazon. This meeting point is known as the “Meeting of the Waters,” which is a natural phenomenon where the two rivers run side by side for nearly four miles without mixing.

Young native Amazonas girls with traditional face paintings

Tribes of the Amazon

Amazon Rainforest

One of the most ecologically complex regions in the world, the Amazon rainforest, one of the best places to visit in Brazil , is an extraordinary natural wonder. The dense forest provides fertile grounds for thousands of endemic species, while the Amazon River is home to an incredible freshwater life, including the elusive pink river dolphins.

Lines of Caimans at the shore

Caimans of Pantanal

Covering an extensive swathe of western Brazil, before sprawling into Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal is a huge tropical wetland and wildlife haven rich in a diverse ecosystem of rare and wonderful creatures and an astounding array of flora. Here you can spot hundreds of species of birds, in addition to large mammals such as jaguars and capybaras. Some of the most famous residents are the thousands of caimans. During the rainy season, around 80 percent of the floodplains are submerged, so the only way to get around is by plane or boat.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Stretching across the center of Brazil, Chapada dos Veadeiros is a vast national park that lies atop an ancient rainforest-coated plateau. Scarred by jagged cliffs and deep crumbling canyons, hardy vegetation, sparkling lakes, and imposing quartz crystal formations, some of which are over a billion years old, the park is fascinating to hike around. Lots of dramatic waterfalls are hidden away among verdant flora and fauna, which includes several orchid species, macaws, jaguars, and armadillos. Other highlights include Moon Valley, which is a lunar landscape. Swimming and bathing in any one of the numerous waterfalls and rivers that dot the area is a must-do.

Jalapão State Park

Jalapão State Park in the state of Tocantins, is an untouched wilderness known for its deep-orange dunes, raging rivers, and cascading waterfalls. The natural landscapes of ‘Cerrado’, the Brazilian savannah, features rivers, rock formations, and numerous species of fauna, such as jaguars, maned wolves, and macaws.

Dunas de Genipabu

Just a short drive from Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the Genipabu dunes are an ever-changing collection of sand dunes, which are shaped and reshaped by the daily winds that come off the coastline and whip over the sands. You can slide down the sand dunes all day long, or you can raise your excitement level by taking a wild ride on a dune buggy. where experienced buggy drivers (bugueiros) will take you on a thrilling roller coaster ride around the wavy dunes.

Porta de Galinhas

With its crystal-clear waters and white, pristine beaches, Porta de Galinhas has deservedly earned the title of one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. When the tide comes in, the shoreline fills up with warm pools, locked between walls of coral and filled with a thriving ecosystem of marine life. If you’re into snorkeling, it’s possible to see marine turtles here, as well as seahorses.

Mount Roraima

Mount Roraima is an imposing tabletop mountain surrounded by sheer cliffs to create an island floating in the sky above the plains of the Gran Sabanais. It is one of the most mysterious and alluring mountains on Earth, and is said to be the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Novel, ‘The Lost World’. Mt Roraima extends across the borders of Brazil, Venezuela, and the less-explored Guyana.

rRcky plains of Chapada Diamantina

Rocky plains and canyons

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina National Park lies in the northeast of Brazil in the center of the state of Bahia. The Park teems with an extraordinary range of biodiversity from rare orchids to large animals such as giant anteaters and armadillos. Crumbling, rugged cliffs line the plateau, as do cavernous caves and lots of epic waterfalls; the awe-inspiring 1250-ft-high Cachoeira da Fumaça is the second highest waterfall in Brazil. The spectacular mountain ranges and sweeping valleys, fast-flowing rivers, and large flat top rock formations with long, sloping plains beneath them, create breathtaking views and scenery.

While Rainforest Cruises aim to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information herein or found by following any link on this site. Rainforest Cruises cannot and will not accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies, or for any consequences arising therefrom, including any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the display or use of this information.

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places to visit on brazil

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Places to Visit in Brazil

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Brazil Places to Visit

Here are some of the best places to visit in brazil:, rio de janeiro.

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Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the very location of Rio de Janeiro makes it spectacular so much so that it has been acclaimed as the world heritage site for being the “the staggeringly beautiful location for one of the world's biggest cities" by UNESCO. However, the accolades of UNESCO weren’t solely for the natural setting of the city but also for the planned green space, urban cultural landscape and the right blend of architecture, all of which have contributed very well in the growth of the city.     

Rio de Janeiro is also the second major city of Brazil has also served as the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960. Founded by the colonists from Portugal in the mid 1500s, the city used to be the port for the shipment of gold from its inland mining areas. 

All through the history, Rio always seemed very aware of its physical assets -   long crescent beaches, soaring mountains behind it and the towering Sugar Loaf above the harbor. All these are today the prime tourist attractions of the city which have amplified the landscape with distinguished buildings from the different era of the history as well as the green parks and spaces that add to the city’s landscape.    

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Even though the city is not too large in size, it is considered to be one of the most important industrial and commercial centers of the country. On the basis of what the Ministry of Tourism, Brazil had to say, Fortaleza is found to be the “second-most desired tourist destination in Brazil.” Some of the famous beaches of the city include the bech of Futuro and the Iracema. Since beaches are commonly used here, the majority of the tourists also indulge in watersports. Fortaleza consists of Brazil’s largest oceanariums known as Acquario Cear?. Found to be nestled away on the Praia de Iracema coastline in Fortaleza, the oceanarium has been recorded to have attracted over 12 million visitors annually. You can check out the Beach Park - a theme park to satisfy all your adventure fantasies. There are many other exciting experiences that you can indulge in including checking out the marvellous night-life and the beach-front restaurants are worthy of your time. Another one of Brazil’s gems that has a typical tropical climate. Some of the best times to visit this city are during summers, which would be between February and April.

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Located in the northeast corner of South America, Recife was founded in 1537 thereby qualifying as one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the capital city of Pernambuco and is primarily known for housing the largest scale of production for sugar canes. The city is home to many beautiful rivers, beaches and tiny islands. The name Recife itself can be accredited to the fact that the city’s shoreline is filled with magnificent-looking stone reefs. Due to the nature of the city, the place is also fondly referred to as the “Brazillian Venice.” Among the places to visit in Brazil, Recife should top your list. Why? The spirit of Recife is always about being up and about and the folks herein indulge in many different celebrations all throughout the year. You should surely check out the New Year celebrations starting at the Praia de Boa Viagem beach located in Old Recife. Recife consists of numerous local markets including the Mercado de S?o Jos? are worth a visit or two. Featuring an old, iron construction - these markets give you a vintage feeling. You can also visit the Fort Cinco Pontes, also known as the ‘Fore of Five Points.’ The weather is quite friendly all year round. Most days are tropical but the winter can go down to 1 degree. We recommend visiting Recife between March and June to enjoy the tropical weather.

Adventurous Trip to Jericoacoara in Brazil

Brasilia - named inspired by Brazil itself serves as the main seat of the government. Since it is home to the federal government, it is understood to be a federal capital of Brazil. This well-planned city is also home to some of the most important buildings in Brazil including the Banking sector and the Embassy sector. The city is filled with parks and beaches all around. Although modern by heart, they haven’t commercialised all aspects of the city but have made sure everything is kept intact. The city is filled with modern structures all over and thus, was declared to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. The city’s planning was considered to be quite advanced and urban. Another one of the architect’s paradise, many even refer to Brasilia as the “City of Design.” Being the federal capital doesn’t stop Brasilia from being just as happening as any other party location. There are festivals taking place all throughout the year. The festivals are often accompanied with different parades and unique types of celebrations. Brasilia itself features a young, vibrant art’s scene. Some of the world-famous artists have hailed from Brasilia including Bruno Giorgi, Alfredo Volpi, Burle Marx and Marianne Peretti to name a few. Brasilia is home to tropical, savanna-type climate. There are a few months during the year, wherein it does get mild however it is best to experience this city during its winter months. The best time to visit Brasilia is between December and March.

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Capital city of Amazonas, Manaus is home to Negro and Solim?es rivers and is qualified as the second oldest city in Brazil, as it was discovered in 1669. Initially, owing to its size, Manaus was actually considered to be a fort. It had a different name too. Back in those days, it was called Fort of S?o Jos? do Rio Negro. Among the tourist places in Brazil, many fondly refer to Manaus as ‘The City of the Margins of the Black River.’ Manaus acts as the perfect destination to lay low for a bit before you go exploring the incredible flora and fauna. It’d be interesting to take a boat ride through the black waters of the Negro River. If you’re around the region, you will surely be informed of the ‘Meeting of the Waters’ point wherein the black waters of Negro meet the brown waters of Solimoes River. Manaus is known for the happening nightlife it offers to its visitors. Imagine partying hard at the beachfront with some of the most interesting travelers from around the world - that’s just the kind of vibe that Manaus holds. Compared to most other cities in Brazil, Manaus has a humid climate. The best times to visit Manaus would be between December and March because that’s when most celebrations take place, as is the case with most Brazil places to visit. 

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The name ‘Salvador,’ is an abbreviation of a longer version, “S?o Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos.” This literally stands for ‘Holy Savior of the Bay of All Saints.’ Being the capital city of Bahia, the city is home to one of the oldest colonial settlements in the world, let alone Brazil places to visit. Salvador’s Porto da Barra Beach awaits you. Named as one of the best beaches in the world, the region is a party hub for anyone looking for adventure. The beaches are ideal for watersports including swimming, sailing and several other underwater activities. Stellar examples of rich Portuguese colonial architecture can be found in Salvador - a sight that you cannot absolutely miss. In fact, the whole Pelourinho area located in the upper town region of Salvador is classified as a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO. You will find yourself indulging in the tasteful cuisines that the city has to offer. The city is also known for its art - in several forms including music and dancing - making it an interesting choice when it comes to places to visit in Brazil. The weather, unlike many other cities in Brazil, is quite pleasant. The temperatures here are relatively consistent with most months being hot. It is only between April and June that it rains. The best times to visit Salvador would be between December and March, as is the case with most other Brazil places to visit.

Alter do Chao

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Alter do Cha? stands out as one of the most important administrative districts. Many even refer to Alter do Cha? as the ‘Brazilian Caribbean,’ given its location, which is why it is an important place to include in your list of places to visit in Brazil. Alter do Cha?, considered as the main tourist spot in the state of Santar?m, is home to some of the most incredible-looking freshwater beaches. Known as the ‘Island of Love,’ this small slice of paradise is located a few kilometers away from the Alter do Cha? city centre. Bustling at the heart of the city is a vibrant arts community. The region, Arariba Cultura Indigena is what comes to mind when we talk about art. If you’re at the Island of Love, you might want to go rowing in the boat and check out the crystal clear water. When it comes to Alter do Cha?, art doesn’t just limit itself to canvases. Be it ceremonial costumes, necklaces or even home decor - there’s something unique that you are sure to find among the Brazil places to visit. Tourists from all around the world come visiting during the low-tide months, which is between August and December, especially because of how calming the waterforce can get. However,  the best months to visit Alter do Cha? are between December and April.

Belo Horizonte

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The words Belo Horizonte literally translates to “A Beautiful Horizon” in English. It should be on the top of your places to visit in Brazil list. History suggests that Belo Horizonte is among the first cities in Brazil that undertook the modern-style of planning. Greenery all over, there are plenty of parks all throughout the city that you can check out as well, including the Baleia State Park as well as the Serra do Rola-Moca State park. The city is a paradise for architecture lovers as it is home to some of the best works till date. Chief among the best works of architecture is the Pampulha Complex. The good-natured city is extremely serious about conserving its flora and fauna and thus, you will find multiple environmental education projects all throughout. Some of the most common activities that you can indulge in while you’re here is visit the Bela Horizonte Zoo. The Zoo, which comes under the protection of the Ministry of Conservation Brazil, is constructed over a massive 1.4 million square meters. Belo Horizonte has mild weather all throughout the year, there are no extremes on this one. The city is pleasant all throughout the year but we recommend visiting during summers as the greenery just pops up the whole atmosphere.

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S?o Paulo is the most populated city of Brazil. The city is recognised as the capital of the surrounding state of S?o Paulo. Some of the wealthiest people are inhabitants of this city. There are numerous photo-worthy spots around the city as well, which makes it worth it in the places to visit in Brazil. For example there is the narrow alleyway of Vila Madalena. While you’re at it, do check out the luscious greenery of Ibirapuera Park. Another location that is straight out of a postcard is the Municipal Theatre - which is primarily based on the structural design of the Paris Opera House. This theatre is known to host musical and dance performances by world-famous artists. Be sure to check out one of the shows, if you’re passing through. There are a lot of activities that one can take part in while in S?o Paulo. Chief among them would perhaps be visiting the Avenida Paulista, the main financial and cultural centre of the city. The best of these restaurants and contemporary centers can be found in S?o Paulo’s Avenida Paulista region. The most popular museum of Brazil known as MASP is also located in this region. The temperatures here are relatively consistent with most months being hot. The weather is quite friendly all year round, with most days being tropical however, we recommend visiting between March and June.

Other Attractions

The pantanal.

The Pantanal

The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest

Sao Paulo Museum Of Art

Sao Paulo Museum Of Art

Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park

Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park

Lencois National Park

Lencois National Park

Arraial Do Cabo

Arraial Do Cabo

Florianōpolis

Florianōpolis

Mount Roraima

Mount Roraima

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina National Park

People Also Ask About Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Anna Gibiskys | Getty Images

places to visit on brazil

17 Best Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If it's your first time in Rio, you can't pass up people-watching along the white-sand shores of Copacabana  or Ipanema . But don't spend all your time at the beach; the Marvelous City has more spectacular natural beauty to offer with sites

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places to visit on brazil

Christ the Redeemer Christ the Redeemer

This iconic landmark is a must-see attraction in Rio. Recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this statue of Jesus Christ stands with arms outstretched to the city from above Corcovado Mountain's staggering 2,310-foot elevation.

Started in 1922 and completed in 1931, the monument – made of concrete and covered in soapstone mosaic tiles – stands 124 feet tall as a religious and cultural symbol of the Brazilian people's warm and welcoming culture. The monument rests atop Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca National Park and is the most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro, visited by nearly 2 million people each year. Recent travelers recommend visiting on a day with clear skies since the vantage point is the best in the city. Many also advise going as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

places to visit on brazil

Tijuca National Park Tijuca National Park

U.S. News Insider Tip: After a day of hiking, head over to Os Esquilos ("The Squirrels"), the national park's only restaurant. Visit between May and October when Rio's temperatures drop to enjoy fondue paired with red wine next to the roaring log fire. – Sarah Brown

Outdoorsy types love exploring this expansive green rainforest. Covering more than 9,600 acres, Tijuca National Park sits within the Atlantic Forest and is one of the largest urban forests on the planet. The natural beauty of the park can't be understated: it features varied terrains, waterfalls, caves and more than 1,600 plant species and more than 300 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

places to visit on brazil

Jardim Botânico Jardim Botânico

Spread out across more than 350 acres, this botanical paradise awes its visitors with more than 7,000 indigenous and exotic species of flora. This serene garden hosts everything from orchids to Amazonian trees to large ferns, and is a haven for wild animals such as marmosets, frogs and tropical birds. The gardens were originally created in 1808 by Regent Prince D. João to acclimatize spices from other regions. Since its debut to the public in 1822, the verdant sanctuary has become a haven for locals and tourists; Albert Einstein even dropped in. The national park is also known as a premier botany and ecology research center. 

Travelers relish the garden's tranquility, the abundance of nature, and recommend taking guided or self-driven thematic tours of the park's various sections. The park also includes a playground, souvenir shop and the Garden Café restaurant.

places to visit on brazil

Popular Tours

Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch

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places to visit on brazil

Boat Tours Boat Tours

With its iconic coastline and mountainous backdrop, Rio de Janeiro is best explored from the water. Boat tours offer a unique perspective of the city, giving visitors opportunities to admire its stunning beaches, islands, and landmarks from a different angle. There's a variety of boat tours to suit different preferences, including daylong boat tours and scuba diving excursions.

A scuba diving trip takes about five hours. Trips usually go to Cagarras Island – just off the coast of Ipanema – or to Arraial do Cabo – east of Rio. Those who have never dived before will get a quick lesson from experienced divers and will be accompanied in the water by a guide during their entire swim. Qualified divers can go ahead and enjoy the underwater biodiversity. Rio Natural Ecotourism and Itaway Eco Tours are two favorite vendors among tour-takers. Prices start at $130 per person.

places to visit on brazil

Lapa Lapa free

If you come to Rio to revel in samba and other Brazilian music, Lapa is the place for you. This festive neighborhood ignites at night when locals swing their hips and sip on delectable cocktails. Brimming with rows of botecos (typical Brazilian bars), clubs and live music venues, Lapa's seductive night crawl certainly isn't lacking excitement or charm.

You'll definitely want to check out  Rio Scenarium , the most popular Brazilian club that features three stories, vintage decor and a long list of craft cocktails. Other popular bars and nightclubs include Leviano , known for its variety of music ranging from samba to forró , and Armazém do Senado , a lively bar with live music where visitors spill out into the street, especially on Saturday afternoons.

places to visit on brazil

Ipanema Beach Ipanema Beach free

U.S. News Insider Tip: At the end of the day, go to Arpoador at the far end of Ipanema near Copacabana to watch the sunset next to the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountains). Locals clap as the last slither of sun dips behind the horizon. – Sarah Brown

Made famous by the well-known bossa nova song, "The Girl from Ipanema," this beach has drawn tourists for decades. The 1.5-mile stretch of sand boasts gorgeous mountain views, beautiful Brazilians and cobalt waters. While sunbathing, you'll observe wildly entertaining games of  futevolei  (the Brazilian version of volleyball without hands) and smell coalho cheese with oregano grilling nearby on skewers.

places to visit on brazil

Escadaria Selaron Escadaria Selaron free

One of the most iconic landmarks in Rio de Janeiro is the Escadaria Selarón, or Selarón Steps, a 250-step staircase decorated with more than 2,000 carefully placed tiles from around the world. It was created by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who began the project in 1990 of transforming a run-down outdoor staircase in Rio's downtown into one of the city's most photographed masterpieces. Dedicating hours of life to what he referred to as a tribute to Brazilian people, Selarón was found dead on his steps in 2013 (the exact cause of his death has not been disclosed). Today, the landmark has appeared in fashion magazines, music videos and films and continues to be one of the city's most visited icons. Best of all, it's free to visit.

Recent visitors said it was a must-see and a great spot for photos, even though it can get a bit crowded. Some travelers said the steps themselves are safe, however, it's recommended to keep belongings close while wandering in the surrounding area to avoid pickpocketing.

places to visit on brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar)

U.S. News Insider Tip: After visiting the Sugarloaf, unwind at the neighboring picturesque Praia Vermelha beach and then head over to the nearby Mureta, a bay-side wall in Urca where locals gather to watch the sunset and socialize the night away. – Sarah Brown

Standing high above Rio's bustling metropolis at 1,296 feet, Pão de Açúcar, or the Sugarloaf Mountain, cascades over the picturesque Guanabara Bay. From Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) in the residential Urca district, you can take a three-minute cable car ride up to Morro da Urca and then hop on another cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf. From the glass-enclosed bondinho (cable car), you'll get a dazzling view of the city, the sea and Rio's tree-covered mountains.

places to visit on brazil

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places to visit on brazil

Pedra da Gávea Pedra da Gávea free

Amid Rio's vibrant cityscape stands Pedra da Gávea, an adventure-lover's dream. This iconic granite peak stands more than 2,700 feet above sea level, providing stunning panoramic views of the city, ocean and the Atlantic Forest. It's a hike that's not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards are worth the effort – recent visitors describe it as "amazing" and "incredible" but warn it's a tough hike. It takes about five hours up and back down (although it can take longer depending on which viewpoints you visit), and involves a mix of steep ascents, rocky terrain and some rope-assisted sections. Hiring a local guide is recommended for safety and navigation, even if you're an experienced hiker. Always check the weather forecast before you go, as the trail becomes slippery during the rain.

The views from the summit are breathtaking and let you see some of Rio's famous sites including the Christ the Redeemer  statue, Sugarloaf Mountain , and the golden coastline. On the way back down, don't forget to visit the Garganta do Céu ("The Sky's Throat") for a unique perspective of Rio's coastline. Also keep an eye out for the Cabeça do Imperador ("The Emperor's Head"), a natural rock facade shaped like a face and an abundance of wildlife (think: monkeys, toucans and various plant species).

places to visit on brazil

Prainha Prainha free

Known as Brazil's "little" beach, this remote paradise sits about 22 miles west of  Ipanema Beach  but is well worth the jaunt. Prainha's magnificent shoreline features a backdrop of rolling hills and verdant rainforest. Surfers covet the killer waves – Prainha is a beloved spot among the surfing community – while beachgoers marvel at the gorgeous sunsets. The shore empties out during the weekdays (particularly during Brazil's winter, which is June to September), making Prainha a great alternative to other tourist-laden beaches. However, swimmers and surfers take note: currents are strong and there are no lifeguards.

Recent travelers love the quieter, more local vibe at Prainha, especially in the offseason. The beach boasts plenty of sunbathing spots during the week and is lined with kiosks selling snacks and drinks. There is also a restaurant nearby called Mirante da Prainha, ideal for oceanic views and Brazilian food. The best way to get there is by car (either taxi or Uber is recommended), as there are no direct public transport options. There is parking space for cars which is informally manned by local car attendants, meaning the cost may vary but is about 15 reais ($3) according to recent travelers, who also recommend getting there early to get a spot.

places to visit on brazil

Pedra do Telégrafo Pedra do Telégrafo

U.S. News Insider Tip: Make sure to visit the Wild Beaches after your trip to Pedra do Telégrafo. These stunning beaches are often completely deserted and feature white sand and lush forest backdrops. Check out Perigoso, Funda, Inferno and Meio beaches. – Sarah Brown

Located in the Atlantic Forest, Pedra do Telégrafo is a popular hiking destination for travelers seeking breathtaking views and memorable photo opportunities. This famous peak has gained worldwide fame for its gravity-defying photos that make it appear as though you're hanging off a rocky precipice over a sheer drop. Don't worry though – there's a solid rock platform beneath. The photos are all about perspective.

places to visit on brazil

Copacabana Beach Copacabana Beach free

One of Rio's most popular shores, Copacabana is a public beach located in the heart of the luxurious Zona Sul neighborhood. The beach is marked by postos , or lifeguard stands, that offer changing rooms and restrooms for a small fee (less than $1). Copacabana's 2.5-mile stretch of sand runs from Posto 3 to Posto 6, where you'll find a peninsula that houses the Historical Museum of the Army and Copacabana Fort.

Brimming with authentic eats, lavish accommodations and the beautiful Avenida Atlântica sideway made of mosaic tiles in a wave motif, Copacabana Beach boasts much more than powdery sands. Recent visitors said it was a must-visit beach and commented on how many people practice sports there at all times of day. Others commented on petty theft that may occur on the beach and recommended keeping belongings in sight and close by. You'll see runners and cyclists making the most of the cycle path that runs alongside the beach from the crack of dawn until well into the evening. The beach is also a hotspot for beach volleyball and football (soccer) at all times of day.

places to visit on brazil

Santa Teresa Santa Teresa free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Don't miss Parque das Ruínas , a restored historical building with exposed brickwork and stunning views across Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf and Rio's downtown. Check out the gallery of contemporary, local art there too. Best of all, it's free. – Sarah Brown

This hilly bohemian district boasts an eclectic array of art and architecture. Strolling along Santa Teresa's cobblestone streets, you'll be enchanted by sidewalk mosaics, palatial mansions and artsy galleries. Conveniently situated just southwest of  Lapa , this neighborhood offers traditional Brazilian restaurants, bars and craft stores.

places to visit on brazil

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places to visit on brazil

Barra da Tijuca Barra da Tijuca free

Barra da Tijuca, which includes an expansive 11-mile stretch of coastline and adjacent shopping center, is a neighborhood known as "Barra" and is popular among Cariocas. Recent travelers say its beach has a more relaxed environment than the sands at Copacabana  and Ipanema  and is more local and less crowded. They also say it's an ideal spot for walking, running and cycling. You can also find places to do surfing lessons, one of the most favorite pastimes of a Carioca. Along the shore, you'll find plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as kiosks selling coconut water, alcoholic drinks and typical Brazilian cuisine

The adjacent shopping center, Barra Shopping, is Brazil's largest commerce complex, featuring retail, entertainment, dining and business centers totaling more than 700 stores. Hours for shops and other stores vary within the center, although the mall itself opens Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Check Barra Shopping's website (written in Portuguese) for more information.

places to visit on brazil

Grumari Beach Grumari Beach free

You won't find beachfront restaurants, luxurious hotels or plentiful kiosks here. Without them, you'll have space to stretch out on the 1.5 miles of white and red sand. Part retreat for sun-seekers, part environmental reserve, this lovely beach is a way away from the swooning tourists at  Copacabana  and  Ipanema (about 25 miles).

Travelers rave about Grumari Beach's cleanliness and natural beauty but note that the trek there may take you awhile. Recent visitors said that even though the beach is about an hour's drive from the city, it's a hidden gem worth checking out. Some travelers warn that cell phone reception isn't great, meaning calling for a ride back can be a bit tricky. They also mentioned that the sea can be quite rough, so take care if you go swimming, especially as there are no lifeguards in the area.

places to visit on brazil

Ilha Fiscal Ilha Fiscal

Set apart from the bustling sights and sounds of central Rio, this remote neo-Gothic castle rests on a tucked away island in Guanabara Bay. Completed in 1889 and once a prime location for the Brazilian custom service for supervising port operations, Ilha Fiscal now serves as an illuminated city gem. It was once known for being the venue of the event that was known as "The Last Ball of the Empire," which was held just days before the Proclamation of the Republic.

The castle was reopened in July 2023 following 18 months of restoration and now includes several historical exhibitions and the Galeota D. Joao VI, the oldest vessel preserved in Brazil and used by the Portuguese royal family.

places to visit on brazil

Metropolitan Cathedral Metropolitan Cathedral free

Located in Rio's downtown, the Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro, is a unique masterpiece and a must-see for those interested in architecture. Designed by architect Edgar Fonseca, it's a striking example of modernist architecture, with its cone-shaped dome standing at 246 feet and resembling the Mayan pyramids. It's decorated with colorful stained-glass windows that encircle the structure and create a wonderful play of light inside, which many recent travelers say is beautiful to see. Construction of the cathedral began in 1962 and the first mass was celebrated there ten years later.

The interior has minimal decor, but has an impressive display of religious art. The main door, known as the Door of Faith, is decorated with 48 bronze high-reliefs, and the church holds a large collection of sculptures, paintings, statues and space for a choir and an organ.

places to visit on brazil

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10 Most Exciting and Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Do you want to uncover the exquisite beauty of the Tropics? Then t ravel to Brazil to discover its unique vibe, that makes it stand out from other Latin American nations, and succumb to the beauty of the New World.

Let your travels to Brazil be a new beginning. Latin America’s largest nation spans a myriad of diverse climates and cultures, offering at the same time a chance to see unique natural marvels such as its vast pristine beaches, ferocious waterfalls, sand dunes stretching beyond the horizon, and majestic rivers. 

Explore Brazil with our curated list of the top ten best places to visit in Brazil you should not miss.

1. Rio de Janeiro

places to visit on brazil

Brazil’s former capital is where its soul dwells. The city of Cariocas is known for its laid-back and hospitable people, scenic urban landscape, and unrivaled beaches right downtown such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. 

Travel to Rio to take pleasure in the wide avenues and warm sands of Copacabana, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to socialize with locals; or bask in the sunshine in the cosmopolitan Ipanema a short stroll away from the always bustling Copa. Leblon is a must for those who are keen to experience the inclusive friendly atmosphere of the city, with its carnivalesque vibe all year round, especially prized by arguably one of the world’s largest gay communities. 

If it is not just sand and breaking waves that make you happy, head to Lapa. This is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to delight in jazz music with possibly Latin America’s best jazz bars, and its world-famous Escadaria Selaron, a set of world-famous steps made by Jorge Selaron whose work, seen a bit wacky at first, ended up becoming one of Rio’s top landmarks. 

Other sites to visit in Lapa include its delicious restaurants and a splendid aqueduct, which along with Jesus, on the Corcovado mountain, and the famed somewhat unsafe but super photogenic favelas, such as Vidigal, make the top of the best places to visit in Brazil.

places to visit on brazil

Those keen to uncover the true spirit of Rio must give in to the magic of football. Headfirst to Botafogo Beach, where football is played even at night (don’t forget to climb Sugar Loaf, suitably near, for a perfect walk through the mont’s lush greenery and truly gobsmacking vistas), and go to a weekend football game at the iconic Maracana Stadium, the arena where Pele himself was scoring goals. 

Note that the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro is in February when the legendary Rio de Janeiro carnival takes place. But avoid it like the plague if crowds and busy festivals are not your cup of tea. 

For inspiration, one of the best books to read on a trip to Brazil is Brazil by Jonathan Updike, a magic realist love story set in Rio, Sao Paulo, and the Brazilian jungle wilderness.

Read next: A week in Rio for 100€

2. Trancoso

places to visit on brazil

Large cities such as Rio are fascinating: they have something for everyone, but their hustle and bustle can be tiring at times. If a bit fatigued, head to a veritable tropical idyll, Trancoso, located in the northern state of Bahia, the heart of Black Brazil. Trancoso is renowned for its capoeira, caipirinha, and unique cults some of whose rites were brought by the ancestors of Black Brazilians from Africa. 

Trancoso is arguably the best place to visit in Bahia to laze about on the beach and chill. It is quiet, safe, affordable, and truly paradisiac. It has a vast stretch of white sand, cozy bars, friendly locals, and its environs feature one of Brazil’s most beautiful churches. Also don’t miss out on the chance to book accommodation at an authentic Bahia bungalow located right on the main square. 

3. Porto Seguro

places to visit on brazil

Pay a visit to Porto Seguro, a great place to rest on the road from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador de Bahia.

Located just a short car ride away from Trancoso, Porto Seguro is a great place to explore Bahia. It is situated close to both pristine beaches of Trancoso and Brazil’s first capital, Salvador. But, primarily, it is known as the place where the Portuguese first landed in what was to become Brazil. The spot is marked by one of Brazil’s oldest churches, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to uncover its past.

On the other hand, Porto Seguro is located just a half an hour’s drive from Pataxó, where the remaining Native Indians of the region accept visitors to learn about their culture. 

4. Morro de São Paulo

places to visit on brazil

Head to Morro de Sao Paulo to take a break from the crowded Brazilian metropolises and take delight in its communion with nature.

Lying off the coast of Bahia and a two hours’ ferry ride from Salvador, is Tinhare Island. Its capital is one of the best places to visit in Brazil. It is here that the distinctive village Morro de São Paulo is situated. 

Sitting on its north-eastern tip, the car and carefree village is prized for its climate, traditional means of transport such as animal-drawn carriages and palm-fringed beaches. Among them, do not miss First Beach, frequented for its strong surf, and Second Beach, dotted with mouth-watering food establishments. 

Apart from the stunning landscape, and great swimming opportunities, Morro de São Paulo is also home to some significant historical landmarks such as the Fortress of Tapirandu, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to uncover its colonial past or the Church of Our Lady of Light, famous for its intricate altar made of wood. 

5. Salvador de Bahia

places to visit on brazil

Brazil’s first capital, Salvador is dubbed the city of 365 churches, one church per day of the year. Its abundant wealth of historical landmarks, picture-perfect nature, and kinetic nightlife, seducing with its Capoeira, and trans-inducing drum-beat, make it one of the best places to visit in Brazil. 

Head to Salvador if the modernity of Rio and Sao Paulo is not what your soul has been pining for. Here you can stay in the old colonial downtown, for example on the scenic Rue de Chile, with a mind-blowing port-view, where streets lure you with mesmeric sights, hypnotizing sounds, and strange fragrances – make sure to have your best travel camera on hand at all times. 

One of the reasons why Salvador is by right one of the best places to visit in Brazil is that you can go to a marvelous beach for you to swim right within the city limits, making it one of the best places in Brazil to combine culture-tourism with sun-bathing on a beach. 

6. Florianópolis

places to visit on brazil

Is there a need to go to Rio or São Paulo? The irresistible pull of their nightlife, food & bar sceneries, and phenomenal nature are truly enticing, but it is not just Brazil’s big cities that have it. 

Florianopolis, the surfing paradise in Brazil’s South, is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to go surfing, lazing around on the white sands, attending some of the Americas’ best parties, and eating its delicious food. Plus its juicy churrasco is said to be among the Brazilian South’s best! 

It is also advantageously located close to Porto Allegro, a large city known as the jewel of the Brazilian South, home to the world’s most beautiful street, Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho, otherwise the green tunnel, a 500-meter stretch submerged in foliage. 

7. Lençóis Maranhenses Sand Dunes

places to visit on brazil

Located in Maranhao State, the awe-inspiring sand ridges morph into a thousand blue lagoons running along the Atlantic Coast. They are part of Lencois Maranhenses National Park, one of the most stunning and overall best places to visit in Brazil. 

The majestic sand mounds are nature’s artwork: it is made by two rivers flowing through the natural reserve depositing sediment as they run towards the Atlantic. But it is not just the wash-up that forms the dunes, it is also the winds from the Atlantic that blow inland and carry the sand, co-authoring the oeuvre . 

Note that the capital of Maranhao State is the beautiful and quiescent Sao Louis City, with Bareirinhas, the closest town to the dunes being the best place in the country to visit the magnificent hills of sand. Traveling to Maranhao Natural Park is also a great reason to uncover the North of Brazil, a gateway to one of the world’s largest rainforests, the mighty Amazon.

8. Petropolis

places to visit on brazil

Petropolis is one the best places to visit in Brazil in summer. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is scorching hot in Brazil. The inhabitants of Rio prize Petropolis for its mild climate, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and romantic bars & accommodation. 

In their appreciation, they follow in the steps of the Brazilian emperors who made the hill station their summer retreat of choice. It is from them that are left what are arguably Brazil’s most fabulous palaces, such as Petropolis Imperial Palace, currently housing the Imperial Museum, and offering a peek into the state’s opulent imperial past. 

Note that Petropolis is located close to Serra dos Orgaos National Park, one of the best places to visit in Brazil for hiking . 

9. Cataratas do Iguaçu

places to visit on brazil

The Iguazu Falls are considered the largest waterfall in the world. Located amidst the primal Amazonian rainforest, this cascading nature marvel is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Brazil. 

To travel here, head first to Foz do Iguaçu city, a pleasant hub to explore the waterfalls and the surrounding beauty of the state of Parana. From the airport, it is just a 5-minute drive to the Brazilian side of the falls. 

Argentina and Paraguay are just over the border, making the falls one of the best places to visit the two countries from Brazil. Note that the best time to visit the Iguazu falls is between late March to May. 

10. Fortaleza

places to visit on brazil

Fortaleza is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to see for yourself its booming night scenery, taste its delicious food and bask in the sun on its sun-lit beaches punctuated by red cliffs, lagoons, rustling palm trees, and highly surfable waves.

Keep in mind that it is not just the memorable modern cityscape or the enthralling nature riches that lure. So are the attractions of Fortaleza, such as the performances at the Art Nouveau José de Alencar Theater and the neo-Gothic church architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral, which draw visitors to Fortaleza, one of the jewels of northern Brazil.

Brazil is a great country to visit and enjoy the tender caress of the sea, the relaxing whisper of palm trees, and the pleasant urban landscape, sometimes colonial and other times ultra-modern.

It is also a great destination to enjoy the company of the hospitable locals, and the perfect one to explore on a road trip !

All this well paired by cachaça, caipirinhas, and churrasco while listening to the melodies of the Brazilian rumba or witnessing a fierce Capoeira dance. Enjoy!

places to visit on brazil

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10 Top Destinations in Brazil You Need to Visit

Aug 29, 2016

By Margo Lynott

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Last updated on March 24th, 2021 at 10:16 am

Top Destinations in Brazil

Brazil is best known for the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro, the exotic Amazon region, and its famous Copacabana beach. But aside from those places to visit in Brazil , there are several more destinations to see in Brazil. Read on to discover the 10 top destinations in Brazil to visit, which are not already on your radar.

1. Porto de Galinhas

Porto do Galinhas was nominated as one of the most scenic beaches in Brazil . The attractive bright white water beaches and natural tide pools attract tourists year-round. Despite its popularity, there is not a lot of heavy traffic or crazy nightlife. Spend the day swimming with the fish, riding a dune buggy, or dozing off in a hammock by the warm, green, clear Atlantic.

Location: an hour or two south of Recife, Brazil.

2. Tiradentes & Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto buildings and distant church

Start in Tiradentes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 1985, and admire this beautiful colonial city before visiting Ouro Preto . Ouro Preto is often overlooked, but what people don’t realize is that this was the city where the majority of the gold was taken during the gold rush. Ouro Preto was once “the world’s richest city.” Here, admire the beautiful baroque architecture, fountains, cobblestone streets, and wander through the elaborate gold churches and chapels!

3. Fortaleza

Fortaleza city beach

Third, on our list of the top destinations in Brazil is Fortaleza. Is your ideal night filled with dancing and enjoying mouth-watering food? If so, venture to Fortaleza. Fortaleza is known for its fresh Brazilian lobster and seafood . With a happy belly, spend the afternoon in the sun at the surrounding urban beaches. At night, go dancing with friends at the lively nightclubs. Shopping and museums full of art and culture are also at your fingertips.

Location: Northeast coast of Brazil.

4.Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Lencois' unique sand dune pools in desert

If you’re traveling with teenagers, a Lençóis Maranhenses tour  will get them off their phones. At the Lençóis Maranhenses, sand dunes are begging you to drive a buggy around. If you’re feeling a little uncomfortable about driving in a foreign country, there are buggy tours available. Hang on to your seat as a tour guide drives you around the dunes and shows you some of the most impressive blue-green lagoons in the park.

Location: North of Fortaleza along the coast.

5. Gruta do Lago Azul

Gruta do Lago Azul is also known as “the blue lake grotto.” The main attraction here is the sparkling underground lake inside the cave. Tour guides are happy to share the history of the caves with you. Typically, the best time to visit Brazil ‘s cave is during late December and early January when the sun shines inside the cave at just the right angle.

Location: Bonito, Brazil.

6. Bento Goncalves

Bento Goncalves is a beautiful place for Brazil wine . There are many wineries along the rolling hills, but one that is close to our hearts is Casa Valduga. People here are yelling, “pass me the bubbly!”. Casa Valduga specializes in sparkling wine, as they host the largest sparkling wine cellar in America. For your wine-induced munchies, there is also a restaurant serving both Brazilian and Italian food.

Location: State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

7. Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapapda diamantina mountains

This national park is consistently described as amazing, and that isn’t solely coming from teenage girls. On your visit here you will see vast rock formations, crystal clear lakes, rivers, and overall a very mixed terrain. Sign up for a tour of the park and learn about the fascinating history of the diamond boom that occurred here. We recommend spending a few days to spend so that you can truly take it all in.

Location: hire a guide to help you out with directions and accommodations to the park, as it is a little tricky to find.

8. The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon doesn’t qualify as a “niche” destination, but if you stay at an Amazon Lodge in Brazil , you’re sure to have a unique experience. Wake up to birds chirping in the morning, and prepare to explore the jungle in the afternoon. At a lodge, you will experience the highlights of wildlife and the comfort of the luxurious rooms.

Location: Northwestern Brazil.

9. The Pantanal

group of caiman in panatanl

Similar to the Amazon, the Pantanal is also renowned for its wildlife. The Pantanal is an immense tropical wetland that is home to hundreds of species of birds, along with fauna like jaguars, caimans, and capybaras. Summer rains flood the region, while the dry winter season creates plentiful lagoons. On a Pantanal tour , stay at an eco-lodge where there will be access to canoeing, horseback riding, and hiking trails.

Location: Mainly in western Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state.

10. Curitiba

Last on our list for the top destinations in Brazil is Curitiba. Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná and is an inland city of tall buildings such as the Panoramic Tower, with an observatory on top. Travel to the top for a picturesque view! Book a show for the evening because Curitiba is home to performance venues, including the Wire Opera, a structure of tubular steel with a transparent roof, and the Guaíra Theater, with diverse programs. The botanical garden is a fun place to spend an afternoon too!

Location: Curitiba, State of Paraná, Brazil.

Contact us about the Top Destinations in Brazil

Contact our experienced travel consultants today to plan your dream trip to Brazil. They can arrange your accommodations for any of these top destinations.

Mentioned in this article

Margo Lynott

Margo Lynott

Digital content manager.

Margo was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington. She graduated from Seattle University, with a Bachelor's degree in International Business. With a desire to travel, she decided to leave Seattle and she studied abroad in Paris, France, Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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These Are 10 Of The Cheapest Tropical Places To To Visit

  • Visit Jamaica for beautiful beaches, a vibrant music scene, and delicious food. Eat at local restaurants to save money and experience authentic cuisine.
  • Greece offers luxurious vibes at an affordable price. Take advantage of affordable local transportation and visit beautiful beaches in Crete.
  • Vietnam is a vibrant and budget-friendly tropical destination. Save money by staying at boutique accommodations and visiting top spots like Phu Quoc and Halong Bay.

Some of the world's cheapest places to travel also happen to be some of the most beautiful. These stunning yet cheap tropical destinations for vacations are wallet-friendly and bound to keep one smiling.

Of course, those who want to stay closer to home can find a bounty of cheap places to travel in the US , but if one is itching for a faraway beach and doesn't mind hopping on a plane to reach the destination, these fantastic spots will more than fit the bill. One can also score cost-effective plane tickets and accommodations by comparing different deals and booking well in advance.

So, for those seeking some sun, sand, and sea without paying a small fortune, these are some of the cheapest tropical destinations to visit for a vacation, and each promises all the beauty and experiences that their expensive counterparts do.

Related: 10 Surprisingly Cheap Places To Live Around The World

The stunning island destination of Jamaica is full of powdery sand beaches, beautiful weather, and some of the nicest people in the world. Plus, one will find a thriving music scene, amazing food, and a host of different animals and plants all around the island.

If one tires of luxuriating on the beach, there are also plenty of things to do in Kingston .

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Eat at local restaurants to get a more authentic experience and cut costs
  • Top Spots: Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay

Greece might seem like one of the most luxurious and sophisticated destinations in the world, but it's also one of the most cost-effective, especially if visiting outside the peak summer months.

Also, one will find plenty of gorgeous beaches in places like Crete. It's a nice place to live like royalty while keeping the budget in check.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Local transportation is great in Greece, so make sure to take advantage of it
  • Top Spots: Mykonos, Crete, Santorini

Southeast Asia is full of phenomenal beaches, and Vietnam is certainly no exception.

This vibrant country is full of lovely stretches of sand and a fun tropical vibe. Plus, it's a very cheap tropical place to visit, and one can see a lot in a short time.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Consider more boutique accommodations rather than big hotels to save some cash
  • Top Spots: Phu Quoc, Hanoi, Halong Bay

Related Link: These Are The 18 Most Beautiful Southeast Asia Destinations

Brazil is the largest country in South America and has some of the best tropical vibes in the entire continent.

Brazil is full of fabulous natural wonders , tons of culture, and some great food, all without requiring tourists to spend their life savings; therefore, it's an excellent, cost-effective vacation bet.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Some of the top tourist attractions have smaller entry costs, like Christ the Redeemer and Iguazu Falls
  • Top Spots: The Amazon, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo

Malta is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe and among the best-kept secrets of the Mediterranean.

With miles of gorgeous beaches, plenty of tropical flowers, and a great sense of hospitality that will make one fall in love with the island, Malta is a must for anybody seeking a warm yet affordable beach vacation in Europe. The country is also home to many historic sites worth visiting, including the prehistoric megalithic temples of Malta .

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Check out some of Malta's best hostels for a community experience that costs less
  • Top Spots: Valletta, Marsaxlokk, Comino Island

The Philippines

The Philippines offers some of the cheapest tropical vacations in the world, yet it's a lovely island nation with great food, very friendly people, and plenty of stunning beaches to explore.

Plus, one will find jungle waterfalls, rugged mountains overlooking the stretches of sandy beaches, and plenty of local animal and plant life.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Learn how to haggle properly at local markets to save some extra money
  • Top Spots: Cebu, El Nido, Boracay, Bohol

Related Link: 18 Most Budget-Friendly Places To Visit In The Philippines

Head south to Central America, and one can visit the lovely islands and beaches of Nicaragua, one of the numerous cheap tropical places to travel around the world.

This epic spot borders its more popular neighbor, Costa Rica, but is less of a tourist hot spot, so one may score better deals on accommodations and attractions.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Consider traveling in November when the weather is nice, but it's technically off-season
  • Top Spots: Islets of Granada, Cerro Negro, Corn Islands

Puerto Rico

Although Puerto Rico can be a luxury destination , there are plenty of ways to have a great budget vacation in this Caribbean hotspot. Veer a bit off the beaten path, and one can find budget accommodations, stunning stretches of untouched beach, and some of the most stunning sunsets in the Caribbean.

Ultimately, there are tons of beautiful destinations in Puerto Rico that are wallet-friendly, earning this spot a place among the cheapest Caribbean vacation spots.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Go off-the-beaten path to find better deals and a more local vibe
  • Top Spots: Old San Juan, Culebra Island, Castillo de San Cristóbal

The United States' immediate neighbor to the south, Mexico, is an excellent tropical budget-friendly spot with tons of great things to do and see.

From the lovely bright blue waters to the lush jungles, this country has plenty to explore and will always leave one impressed and amazed. Plus, visitors have a chance to learn about fascinating ancient Mayan history along the Yutacan Peninsula in areas like Tulum.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Steer clear of Spring Break when a lot of people will be visiting Mexico
  • Top Spots: Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Chichén Itzá

Related: 10 Less-Crowded Unknown Islands In Thailand

While Thailand is a fairly long plane ride away, it's worth every minute of the journey.

This gorgeous tropical paradise has incredible cities, stunning beaches, and beautiful mountains in the north. Moreover, one can't beat the weather, and the people are super friendly.

  • Cost Cutting Tip: Take local transportation like trains between the cities, and use the BTS in Bangkok
  • Top Spots: Phuket, Koh Samui, Bangkok, Phi Phi Islands

These Are 10 Of The Cheapest Tropical Places To To Visit

This North American country tops the list of the safest countries for travelers

places to visit on brazil

A new year means new destinations.

When looking at where to go, travelers will consider the usual factors such as weather, cost and available activities. This year, safety is also top of mind as more people want to go off the beaten path and take solo trips.

To help, travel insurance provider Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection just released its ninth annual State of Travel Insurance report, which includes the safest countries in the world for travelers.

"The definition of safe destination has evolved,” Carol Mueller, vice president at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, told USA TODAY in an email. "In our most recent survey, travelers lean in on countries they believe as safe destinations they can move about freely without discrimination or harassment."

To determine the list, the travel insurance provider surveyed 1,702 people on their own travel experiences in different countries and also pulled data from third-party resources that evaluate safety concerns such as terrorism, weather emergencies, health measures and the safety of underrepresented groups. This included the  Global Peace Index  and the State Department’s own  travel safety ratings .

Learn more: Best travel insurance

While these countries are considered to be overall safe for people to visit, the company noted the report doesn't mean every part of the country is safe nor account for the possibility of natural disasters. And as always, don't let your guard down when it comes to petty theft against tourists.

'It's like your local bestie': This startup helps make solo travel as a woman feel safer

Read below to see the 15 countries determined to be the safest for all travelers.

The Great White North tops this year's list of safest countries in the world for travelers, thanks to its low violent crime and strict gun laws. Last year, the country, known for its high standard of living and political stability, made sixth on the list.

2. Switzerland

Known for its security and low crime rates, Switzerland made second place for the safest nations to visit. The country is known for its high quality of living and beautiful nature, such as Lake Geneva and Lake Zurich.

Besides having some of the best views of the dancing northern lights , Norway is also one of the safest places when it comes to crime rates, terrorist activity and violent demonstrations. According to the report, Oslo, the capital of Norway, was the country's safest area.

Those wanting to see Ireland's Cliffs of Moher or sip on some Guinness can rest assured in going through with those travel plans. The country had fewer homicides in 2022 than 16 U.S. cities, according to the report.

5. Netherlands

Last year, the Netherlands took the top spot for safest destinations to visit, and this year, it made fifth. Survey respondents repeatedly said they felt safe in the country and its capital Amsterdam. Just beware of the tourist tax increase as the city continues to crack down on reckless partiers.

6. United Kingdom

With a beautiful countryside and cities with low murder and theft rates, the United Kingdom is a safe bet for travelers. Unfortunately, the country is soon going to implement a fee to enter its borders .

7. Portugal

There's a reason digital nomads flock to this sunny coastal country, and it's not just the delicious seafood and wine. Portugal's cities are secure and orderly, and the rural areas are peaceful. In 2022, the country was determined to be one of the best places for solo female travelers too.

Last year, Denmark was the second safest country in the world for travelers, and its low crime rates continue to help it be a safe choice for travelers. The northern European country typically steals the spotlight for its happy residents and its politics.

Like its Nordic neighbor Denmark, Iceland is often regarded as the world's most gender-equal country and the safest country in the world when it comes to crime. To entice travelers even more, the country is home to otherworldly landscapes featuring glaciers, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and volcanic terrain.

10. Australia

Rugged wilderness and cosmopolitan cities make Australia a desirable country for travelers, especially female solo travelers since the Land Down Under also has low homicide rates. In 2022, there were 377 recorded homicides, about half of what Chicago experienced, according to the report.

11. New Zealand

Although expensive, New Zealand is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore its coastlines, mountains, fjords and more, or for those who are big "Lord of the Rings" fans. With low crime rates, the country is also considered to be quite peaceful and great for female solo travelers.

Along with low crime rates, Japan offers travelers a blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity. Think robot servers in restaurants amongst ancient shrines. In Japanese culture, politeness and orderliness are also highly valued, making it a safe place for travelers, solo or not. However, the report doesn't consider natural disasters, such as the earthquakes that recently shook the western part of the island nation.

Home to the City of Light, France has stood the test of time as one of the world's most popular destinations. Thankfully, for travelers, the country has relatively safe transportation (well, minus petty theft, which is common on the metro) and safety from disease epidemics, according to the report. However, violent demonstrations mean travelers should be cautious and check local media for updates.

Another popular European destination, Spain is known for petty theft like pickpocketing. Overall, the Mediterranean country has a low crime rating for how heavily touristed it is, the report said. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection recommends people especially watch out for passport thefts, so as always, travel cautiously.

This year, Brazil made the list of safe countries to visit. The survey respondents who identified as women, people of color and LGBTQ+ especially felt safe in the South American country, known for its beautiful beaches. However, Brazil's borders are notably dangerous for crime activity.

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected] .

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