Top 10 Brazilian beaches

beaches2Brazil boasts close to 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) of coastline and more than 2.000 beautiful Atlantic beaches, most of them lying beneath palm trees in the tropics. Including Praia do Cassino (Rio Grande – RS), according Guiness Book of Records the worlds largest beach.

To make a top 10 list of the most beautiful Brazilian beaches
Though our Brasilbar team has been fortunate to visit many Brazilian beaches, it has decided to rely on various sources to select a top 10:
Tripadvisor, The Guardian, CNN, Frommer, Guia Quatro Rodas, various Brazilian magazines and travel organizations.
We made it a top 10+ list:

  1. Fernando do Noronja (PE)
  2. Praia do Espelho (BA)
  3. Praia de Taipus de Fora (BA),
  4. Porto de Galinhas (PE)
  5. Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande (RJ)
  6. São Miguel dos Milagres (AL)
  7. Praia dos Carneiros, Ilha de Santo Aleixo (PE)
  8. Jericoacoara (CE)
  9. Alter do Chão (PA)
  10. Praia da Pipa (RN)
  11. Arpoador, Rio (RJ)

fernandoFernando do Noronja
Paradise is the word most commonly used to describe Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago 350km off the north-east coast of Brazil. Finding a nice beach is an easy task on the small volcanic island, but visiting three is mandatory: Praia do Sancho, which is reached through a crack in a rock wall; Baía dos Porcos (Pig’s Bay), a place of astonishing beauty and great for swimming; and Atalaia, a natural saltwater pool with abundant sea life. All have translucent waters, and because tourist numbers to the islands are strictly monitored, it is easy to spot turtles, octopuses, a plethora of fish and even sharks. The food chain in Noronha is well preserved, so sharks are less dangerous here there than elsewhere. (source: The Guardian)

praia do espelhoPraia do Espelho, Caraíva, Bahia
There’s an adage with remote Brazilian beaches: first go the hippies, then the yachties, then the French … Caraiva is still at the happy-hippy stage of discovery and even then only for a brief period in the summer. No motorised transport is possible in Caraiva so the sounds that prevail are the breeze in the high almond trees and the exhaling of a dozen mules that pull the little carts that are the only alternative to walking. The beach stretches uninterrupted for more than a day’s walk in either direction – north as far as the much-hyped village of Trancoso and south to Corumbau. Golden sands lead down to the water where a firm surf pushes relentlessly against the shore and provides the soundtrack to the handful of idyllic beach bars. And then, of course, there are the goalposts that remind you that you are in Brazil. (source: The Guardian)

taipus de foraTaipus de Fora, Maraú peninsula, 113km (70 miles) south of Salvador, Bahia
The 1,100km coastline of the state of Bahia is speckled with spectacular beaches. I love long beach walks and my favourite is Taipus de Fora on the Maraú Peninsula. The long sweep of beach ends at a headland where beautiful reef pools are exposed by the receding tide, revealing a huge naturally sheltered pool, offering wonderful snorkelling and tropical fish. South, past the headland, the sandy beach goes on and on, and I walk on and on, stopping off for a refreshing dip. On my return, I always stop in at the Bar das Meninas, a cool restaurant bar located in front of the reef pool with a creative seafood menu, breezy cocktails and chilled beers. Maraú is an indigenous word meaning the “sun’s light at daybreak”. Even more spectacular though is the light at the rising of the full moon. Here the moon seems nearer and larger than it should be, flooding the beach and tide pools in soft light. (source: The Guardian)

porto de galinhasPorto de Galinhas, 70km (43 miles) South of Recife (PE)
Porto de Galinhas is one of the nicest beach destinations in all the Northeast. Known for its crystal-clear water, its lovely beaches, and the tidal pools that form in the nearby reefs, the region is a perfect water playground for adults and children. Development has been kept resolutely small-scale. With no high-rises, the town is mostly small pousadas and low-rise hotels. The town has perhaps six streets: enough for a dozen restaurants, a bank, some surf shops, and some beachside bars. Colorful jangadas (one-sail fishing rafts) come and go all day, and the beachside restaurants and cafes are packed with people soaking up rays. (source: Frommers)

lopes mendesLopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Rio state
Ilha Grande – big island – is home to Lopes Mendes, the beach of your dreams, a sweeping 3km of the whitest, finest sand that stretches out to a calm, crystal blue ocean. With not a building or restaurant in sight, Lopes Mendes is lined with palm and almond trees offering only a little shade. Bathers will need to take plenty of suntan lotion, snacks and a good book – although there are always a couple of drinks sellers peddling chilled beers. Getting there involves a three-hour bus journey from Rio to Angra dos Reis then a hop on the ferry to Ilha Grande. A scenic 40-minute boat trip takes you to Abraão, the island’s only town. Once in Abraão take a small taxi-boat to Manges beach, the last boat stop before Lopes Mendes. Landing on the beach, walk up over a hill and then down through a small forest to the beach. As you walk out of the forest, the beach is right in front of you in all its glory. (source: The Guardian)

praia de gungaSão Miguel dos Milagres, near Maceio, Alagoas
Praia do Toque is one of the favourite beaches of Ricardo Freire, author of 100 Praias Que Valem a Viagem (100 Beaches You Must Visit).
São Miguel dos Milagres fringes 15km of beaches protected both by reefs and the lack of a highway – the main coastal road turns inland, and only those in the know take the local road that leads to a forest of coconut trees and scattered villages. The sea is always warm; up to 36ºC at low tide in mid-afternoon – thalassotherapy for free! Set up base at Praia do Toque and walk the sands nearby. Twenty minutes north is Tatuamunha river, a sanctuary for manatees. Forty minutes south are two picture-perfect crescents: São Miguel and Praia do Riacho. At low tide hire a jangadeiro (a small traditional fishing boat) and head to the tidal pools. (source: The Guardian)

carneirosPraia dos Carneiros, Ilha de Santo Aleixo, Recife (PE)
About an hour south of Recife, Tamandare is an unpretentious beach town with a shore you can wander for miles and explore nearby wetlands.
A couple miles from town, you’ll find one of the most idyllic coastal stretches in Brazil.
Tucked into a grove of palms off a dirt road, Praia dos Carneiros looks like it escaped from a South Seas postcard.
The white sand beach faces a small, lagoon-style bay that’s great for swimming. The water is bathtub-warm, and there are no waves to contend with.
Leaning, long-frond palms form a picturesque colonnade down the shoreline.
Watercraft are available for rent, and boat tours of the bay and wetlands are a great way to get to know the area.
Carneiros’s superb natural setting is perfect for a quiet, not chaotic, day at the beach.
The secret to the tranquility is that Carneiros is a private beach. It and the area around it are owned by a single family, which has managed to keep it from being overrun. It’s not cheap — $30 a day per car, and the only on-site food is also pricey, but the serenity and scenery are worth it.
A day at one of Brazil’s best beaches doesn’t get much more relaxing than this. (source: CNN)

jericoacoaraJericoacoara (CE)
The pearl of Brazil’s Ceará coast, Jericoacoara’s attraction is partially its isolation. If you can manage the 4WD drive through the sands, you’re rewarded with miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, rock formations, lagoons, mangroves, palm trees, and a Sahara desert landscape of beautiful dunes. (source: Frommers)

Alter do Chão, Santarem (PA)
Brazil’s best beach is not in Rio de Janeiro or the sun-bathed north-east. It’s not even on the coast. It is on a river at the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Around 30km from the rainforest city of Santarem, Alter do Chao is the jungle’s answer to the Caribbean.
alter do chaoAfter a week holed up in the jungle, Alter do Chao is the perfect place to relax: you can lounge on the river beaches in the morning, gorge yourself on a local grilled fish in the afternoon and retreat to one of the area’s many charming pousadas by night. People often call the humid and dense Amazon the “green inferno”. Alter do Chao is its golden paradise. (source: The Guardian)

praia de pipaPraia da Pipa, Natal (RN)
Located 80km (50 miles) south of Natal by road (or a mere 55km/34 miles if you go by beach buggy), Praia da Pipa is one of the most picturesque beaches in all of Brazil’s Northeast. This former fishing village was discovered by surfers back in the 1970s, and developed in the decades since, without yet overdeveloping. Though the town does fill up on weekends and holidays, Pipa’s pousadas and hotels remain manageable and small-scale. The village of Pipa is well known for its nighttime activity, and for the cafes and restaurants lining its cobblestone streets. Down on the long crescent beach are natural pools and reefs for snorkeling. Traveling south from Pipa one finds a string of beaches — Praia do Amor, Praia do Moleque — snuggling at the foot of tall coastal cliffs. The cliff-top drive from Pipa to Praia do Cunhaú is spectacular. (source: Frommers)

arpoadorArpoador, Ipanema/Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
At the end of Ipanema when the traffic curves round to Copacabana, pedestrians can carry on walking to Arpoador. A continuation of Ipanema beach, Arpoador ends with a tall rocky headline, an easy 60m climb, offering stunning views of the whole length of Ipanema, Leblon and the famous Dois Irmãos mountain. From the pavement wooden steps lead you down to the sandy beach, a favourite with surfers, body surfers and local bathers (most tourists stick to Ipanema or Copacabana). Arpoador is one of the few beaches which is lit up at night so a late night dip is also a possibility. End the day sipping a caipirinha and nibbling on a prawn pastel on one of the outdoor tables at the Azul Marinho restaurant, the only beachside restaurant in Arpoador and Ipanema, with a fantastic ocean view where you can also watch groups of local kids practicing capoeira and small bands of musicians. (source: The Guardian)

Top 10 Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

amazon boatNo reason to stick to the classic destinations. If you have a little more time to spare on your Brazilian holiday, there is much more to see and do.

1 Ride an Amazon River Steamer
If Mark Twain were still around he’d feel right at home on an all-wood triple-decker Amazon riverboat. For everyone else, it’s a sight to behold. Livestock and freight, loggers, ranchers, tourists, and Indians: Since the forest is too dense to walk or drive through, riverboats carry everyone. As on the ole Miss, voyagers pass the time talking, eating, drinking, singing, and gambling; in dull moments you can watch the world’s last great wilderness drift past. For accommodation there’s your own personal hammock, bought on the dock before departure and strung from a post or beam on the passenger deck. Journeys between Belem at the mouth of the river and Manaus in the heart of the forest take somewhere between four and seven days, depending on where and how often you pull in, and whether you’re heading upstream or down. Punctuality’s not a riverboat’s strong suit. Neither, it must be said, is luxury. An Amazon riverboat is pure frontier transportation; bring a hammock, water, some extra food for snacking and, and most important of all, some toilet paper.

bonito2 Swim Bonito’s Natural Aquarium
The countryside around Campo Grande is the kind of prosperous, slightly dull agricultural landscape that puts one in mind of Kansas. But just 150 miles to the south near the town of Bonito is a place that more properly belongs in Oz. Water from the Formosa, Securi, and Bama Bonita rivers filters and trickles through a region of calcium-laden bedrock to emerge in pools and natural springs of stunning clarity. Normally, pools of such crystalline clarity offer little in the way of aquatic life, but for reasons unknown, Bonito’s pools teem with fish.
The largest of the pools—the Aquario Natural—abounds in dourado, piripitanga, corimba, and hundreds of other colorful tropical fish. Visitors don mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit (yes, the water’s chilly, but it’s that very chill that also keeps out the piranhas) and swim in what is justly called the Natural Aquarium. Equally clear and colorful is a drift along the nearby Rio Sucuri (reached by a one-hour hike) where it’s hard to decide whether to look down through the blue-green waters or up at the lush pink and purple stands of orchids lining the riverbank.

mountainbike3 Bike Chapada Diamantina
In the hinterland of Salvador, just outside of the town of Lengois, lies the Chapada Diamantina. Valleys of lush green dotted with bright tropical flowers surround a mountain range of twisted red rock formations reminiscent of the American Southwest. Prowling this lush little wilderness are capybaras, jaguars (to eat the capybaras), and flocks of gorgeous multicolored birds.
Named by the miners who once came in search of diamonds, the Chapada Diamantina is now sought out by adventure travelers who come to hike the trails, explore the caverns, and swim in the mountain-fed waterfalls. Backpackers here often eschew a tent, since campsites are mostly located conveniently next to a comfy grotto. For those in the mood for some two-wheeled exploration, there’s an excellent 47-mile track that starts in Lengois, leads down along the edge of the wetlands in the Vale do Capco, then switchbacks up to the highest point in the Chapada, the 4,000-foot Morro Volta da Serra, before gliding back down into the town of Andarai.

camp on beach4 Hike Northern Brazilian Dunes
If paradise consists of crystal-clear freshwater lagoons lined by palm trees and surrounded by towering dunes of the whitest sand imaginable, then Eden is actually in the north of Brazil, in the Parque Nacional dos Lençois Maranheses. This 600,000-acre preserve is one of the world’s truly unique ecosystems. Located on the coast, Lençois is a desert of massive sand dunes (most more than 100 feet high) that is blessed from December through July with abundant rainfall. The rains trickle into the troughs between dunes, creating spectacular lagoons of blue and green, which then fill up with fish and turtles and flocks of migratory waterfowl. Come summer, the rains cease, the lagoons shrink, and the sand dunes begin to shift, often by as much as 75 feet a year.
Tourism to the park is in its infancy; if you get there, you’re likely on your own. Within the park there are no facilities, but entry is absolutely free, and there are no rules about where thou shalt or shalt not put thy tent.

caving5 Go Caving in a National Park
Located in the far northeast corner of the Brazilian state of Goias, Terra Ronca boasts over 200 caverns—some tens of miles deep—many of which remain unexplored. The largest formations attract spelunkers, adventure travelers, and, once a year, the religious. Every August 6th, residents of the area celebrate the Festa do Bom Jesus da Lapa. Women dressed all in white form a procession to a large underground lake, into which they toss offerings of flowers and votive candles.
Perhaps the best-explored cavern is the Gruta Terra Ronca, which extends for over three miles underground. Exploring the length of the cave is possible, though you have to work for your fun; close to the entrance of the cavern is an underground river with a considerable current. The rewards on the far side include numerous galleries holding magnificent stalagmites and stalactites, as well some delicate and beautiful calcium flowers. In one gallery, about two-thirds of the way along, there’s an opening in the ceiling that allows enough sunlight to filter in for a few small palms to grow.

jalapao raft6 Raft the Jalapao
Travel northwards from Brasilia through the dry-as-dust scrubland and eventually—long after the asphalt has given way to gravel and the potholes have swallowed two of the three spare tires from your 4×4—you’ll see the Jalapco highlands rising the up like a mirage. Isolated in the eastern regions of the sparsely populated state of Tocantins, this extensive plateau gives rise to no less than five rivers, all of them pristine enough to drink from.
The main river, the Rio Novo, is best explored by raft. (Bring your own or book with an outfitter in the gateway town of Ponte Alta do Tocantins.) Expeditions begin on the placid waters below the Ponte do Rio Novo. Drifting quietly past the caimans through a gallery of overhanging trees, you’ll see wolves and deer coming down to drink, monkeys crashing through the canopy, and macaws and toucans cawing noisily at the disturbance. Near the edge of the plateau the river picks up speed, churning and surging through numerous rapids, pausing once in a while for a lazy flat section before once again cascading downwards. Four days later you wind up at the Cachoeira da Velha, a beautiful horseshoe-shaped waterfall that looks like a scale model of Niagara, except that at the bottom of it, you can swim.

chapada veadeiros7 Rappel Waterfall-Filled Caverns
Brazil lacks much in the way of mountains, and because it’s so hard to head up, Brazilians go down, rappelling down canyons either next to or completely immersed in cascading waterfalls. Called canyoning, this is one of the hottest new sports in a country newly obsessed with the outdoors. One of the spots locals favor is the Parque Nacional Chapada dos Veadeiros, located in the northern highlands of the state of Goias. Source of both the Tocantins and Parana rivers, Chapada dos Veadeiros is known for its pristine water courses and its waterfalls. Also present are armadillos, giant anteaters, and wolves.
But the chief attractions for rapellers are the waterfalls. Located in the eastern part of the park, the Cachoeira da Agua Fria is particularly popular. From the top, the views are stunning in all directions. Set your anchors, toss over the rope, and go for it. As you glide, jerk, or slowly creep your way down, you’ll have only the rush of water and the sparkle of countless quartz crystals for company.

ubatuba diving8 Scuba Dive in Ubatuba
Although snobby residents of Rio will sneer at beaches in the state of Sao Paulo, the area around Ubatuba is a scuba diver’s dream come true. (It’s also not bad for tree and beach lovers; 70 percent of the area is protected Atlantic rainforest, while the jagged coastline means the many small, sandy, difficult-to-get-to beaches remain blissfully free of people.) Diving takes place around the many small islands that dot the coast, with each island offering its own particular attraction. Ilha das Couves is known for its coral, and for the dolphins that often keep you company near the surface. Ilha de Palmas and the surrounding waters hold hundreds of intriguing rock formations, many containing sizeable caverns—the place for cave divers to practice their esoteric and dangerous craft.
And for those who missed out on their tacky tourist fix, at Ilha Anchieta there’s an underwater statue of Jacques Cousteau, sunk in 1997 in memory of the French researcher and filmmaker.

mountainbike chapada9 Multi-Sport on the Ilha Bela
Located on the rich green coast north of Sao Paolo, the steep-sided island of Ilha Bela had its closest brush with civilization in the 19th century, when coffee barons chopped plantations out of the island’s western slopes and made tracks through the forest. When coffee crashed, the island was largely abandoned, its cover of Atlantic rainforest intact save for a network of rough mountain trails, with a near-limitless number of almost inaccessible beaches on its outer Atlantic shore.
Just recently, one local operator has come up with a way to harness Ilha Bela’s unique attributes. Take the Ilha Bela adventure and you’ll travel by 4×4 to a 3,600-foot-high ridge and ride mountain bikes on a descent past waterfalls and through rainforest to a far-off beach on the Atlantic shore. And that’s just day one. On day two it’s into kayaks for a paddle from lonely beach to completely isolated beach. On day three the journey continues, with stops here and there for hikes up to an occasional lonely waterfall. After three or four days, the expedition arrives back at a beach close to town.

canyon10 Hike Itaimbezinho Canyon
The biggest canyon in Brazil lurks near the border of the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, inside the Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra. Nearly six miles long and a mile deep, the Itaimbezinho can be either spectacularly beautiful or treacherously deadly. Or both.
Most days, you walk along the lush banks of the Rio do Boi, marvelling at the countless waterfalls that plunge down from on high. Occasionally, however, an unexpected rain turns the gurgling Rio do Boi into a snarling torrent that chews its way through the canyon bottom, spitting out the corpse of anyone unlucky enough to have been caught in the chasm. Avoiding these days is a matter of timing. Hiking in the dry season (July-October) is generally safe, though it’s wise to keep an ear to the latest forecast. Even during the wet season the trip’s still possible, though the prudent may want to stick to the Cotovelo Trail, which follows along the canyon’s edge. It, too, is beautiful and spectacular, with the only real danger being a trip too close to the edge.


Top 10 Brazil Classic Adventures

1 Hike Rio’s Hunchback
Rio’s most famous landmark is without a doubt the statue of Christ the Redeemer, standing with arms outstretched looking down from the Corcovado at the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The statue dates only from 1931 (which is curiously enough about the time that Rio natives began taking to the beaches in ever-greater numbers, in ever-skimpier clothing). A visit to Christ’s feet is deservedly a part of every Rio itinerary, if only for the view alone. And while it’s certainly possible to take the 20-minute tram ride, a much better option is to hoof it. The trail—not well maintained, but clearly visible—wends its way over 2,300 vertical feet through the lush forest of the Parque Nacional de Tijuca. Along the way you can admire the wildflowers, look for monkeys, birds, and butterflies, and gawk at the ever-more-stunning views. Waiting at the top is a refreshment stand, a panoramic view of Rio, and of course, a chance to meet your maker.

2 Bike Iguazu Falls
Anyone who’s seen The Mission will instantly recognize the falls of Iguazu. The Iguazu River—which here forms the border between Brazil and Argentina—roars over a sheer precipice three miles wide and 270 feet high, vaporizing enough of the river to create a thick warm mist and permanently glowing rainbow.
It’s the mists that create the great hidden secret of the Iguazu area—mostly missed by tourists eager to click the perfect shot and move on—a pocket microclimate of near-rainforest lushness. Mountain bikes are the best way to explore this tiny Eden, particularly on the Argentinean side where there are numerous trails leading from small riverside swimming pools all the way back up to the top of the gorge. The forest is home to monkeys and peccaries and tapirs and over 400 species of tropical birds. Many of these creatures can be hard to spot, of course, but the same can’t be said of the abundant population of glorious tropical butterflies. Count yourself unlucky if—at some point during the day—you don’t find yourself pedaling through a colorful cloud of insects, many of them shaded iridescent blue.

3 Explore the Amazon
The last great wilderness on earth, and larger than all of Western Europe combined, the Amazon is truly a place of marvels: more biodiversity and more free-flowing freshwater than anywhere else on earth. And on what a scale: The river itself stretches for 4,000 miles from Brazil far into Peru, and the Amazon Basin covers 2.3 million square miles.
Visitors to the Amazon rainforest can expect to see trees in a mind-numbing variety of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations, vines weaving themselves amongst the trees, creepers hanging from the vines, and orchids and bromeliads by the bushel basket. For wildlife, there are monkeys crashing over the treetops, snakes and tortoise on the forest floor, and sloths, toucans, and bright red macaws in amongst the tree trunks.
You’ll find all these things and more, but given the Amazon’s vastness, it can take a little time. Jungle lodges—not far from Manaus—are one option. Excursions take you bird watching, piranha fishing, caiman spotting, or to an Amazonian village. Another option: Live aboard a boat. Some cruise lines, like Royal Olympic, make an excursion into the basin. Other companies, like Abercrombie & Kent, can take you on a first-class, multi-day trip from Manaus to Iquitos, Peru, with excursions on tiny Zodiacs. For the truly adventurous, a number of Manaus operators offer two-week (or longer) expeditions, first by plane and speedboat up the narrowing Rio Negro, then by kayak or canoe through far-off tributaries north to the peaks of Pico de Neblina, or south to the villages and territory of seldom-met tribes of the Yanomani Indians.
Go in the dry season, when you’ll be able to walk around, or the wet, when the forest floods and lifts boaters some 20 feet closer to the canopy.

4 Hike the Royal Road
It’s one of the last stands of Atlantic rainforest—a nature reserve boasting jaguars, wolves, and stunning coastal views. And this 25-mile trek through the Parque Nacional Serra dos Orgaos, which usually takes three days to complete, is also a way to take in the royal cities of Petropolis and Teresopolis (which once served the Emperor Pedro and Empress Teresa as summer capitals).
Starting from the park headquarters just outside of Teresopolis, the trail winds through the Mata Atlantica, giving you a glimpse of what the hills and the coast looked like before the axe-wielding Portuguese arrived. As the trail rises, the forest gradually makes way for alpine meadows, which continue until you reach the Pedra do Sino (7,419 feet). From its peak, you can see all the way to the coast and Rio de Janeiro. The trail then continues along the ridgeline, past sheer dropoffs, to a high point at the Pedra do Agu (7,331 feet) before winding back down into Petropolis.

5 Ride a Rio Airwave
If ever a place was made for hang gliding, it is surely Rio. The weather’s warm year-round, the sun and ocean make for constant rising thermals, and thanks to the extreme geography, there are launch sites throughout the city. Solo flying’s fine, if you’ve brought your kite; if not, there are tandem flights for hire. Perhaps the most scenic flight is the one that starts from the peak of the Pedra Bonita in Gavea. Launching from a site 1,705 feet above sea level, you soar above Rio’s Floresta da Tijuca—the largest urban forest in the world—observing for as long as wind and loft allow. When the time finally comes to set down, head for the beach at Sco Conrado (two beaches east of Ipanema). After touchdown, mosey up to a beachside bar—likely full of other fliers—sit back with a cold Brazilian beer, and boast about your accomplishments.

6 Scuba Dive a Brazilian Island
It’s isolation, of course, that makes an island special, and Fernando de Noronha has solitude in spades. To reach this 21-island archipelago, you travel to the far northern city of Recife, then turn right and fly for an hour and a half straight out into the Atlantic. Adding to the solitude are the strict rules imposed by the Brazilian environment ministry: 70 percent of the archipelago is national park, and the number of visitors may never exceed 420 at any given time. Most times, the island’s full; around Christmas and New Year’s, would-be islanders have been known to wait for days for a spot to open up.
So what’s luring people out there to all that splendid isolation? A fully intact ecosystem in all its tropical glory. Verdant green mountainsides roll down to sheer rocky cliffs which fall onto wide sandy beaches that have known neither condo nor cabana. And beneath the waves floats a paradise of coral, fish, manta rays, and lemon sharks. Each new dive site offers new possibilities. Laje dos dois Irmcos is known for its coral. Ilha do Frade is the place to see rock formations and manta rays. Early in the morning, if you’re looking for something scenic above the surface, wander over to the Baia dos Golfinhos just after dawn to watch 2,000 spinner dolphins gather in pods to feed and frolic in the morning sunsine.

7 Boogie the Rio Grande Beaches
Make sure your sun hat has a string: The Brazilian dune buggy makes for a ferociously fast and furious ride. Motorsports are an obsession here, and in the far northern state of Rio Grande do Norte, this love of things with four wheels and an engine has been melded with the Nordeste love of the beach. The result: the boogie, as it’s called in Portuguese. The best beaches for boogieing, located just to the north of the city of Natal, boast monstrous dunes of shifting sands, some of them hundreds of feet high.
Though it is occasionally possible to do it yourself, it’s more exciting to hire a driver. Among the stunts the drivers will treat you to are the Wall of Death, the Roller Coaster, and the Vertical Descent. True, none of this is exactly ecologically correct (though there is an informal arrangement whereby bugeiros use only the beaches closest to Natal; farther north the coast remains dune-bug free). On the other hand, it is outrageously fun.

8 See Wildlife in the Pantanal
It’s a secret that until very recently was known only to film crews: the best place in South America to see wildlife is not the Amazon but the Pantanal. Now the word’s out, and this France-sized wetland on the far western edge of Brazil is fast becoming a must-see. And with good reason: The Pantanal is bursting with animals—capybaras, caimans, jaguars, anacondas, giant otters, scarlet macaws, and flocks of storks and herons. Unlike in the Amazon, where the dense green foliage makes the creatures harder to see, the Pantanal is tailor-made for eco-touring. In the wet season, the Pantanal becomes one vast lake, so most mammals congregate on the few remaining dry bits. In the dry season, everything draws in to the few remaining waterholes. The only problem is getting around.
Few roads exist in the Pantanal; the best way to explore the area is make like the locals and head out on horseback. Brazilian cattle ranchers have grazed their livestock here for decades. Nowadays, many of these fazendas offer places to sleep and horses to rent: Tag along after the ranch hands on their daily rides to pick up cattle, or set out on your own to explore.

9 Bask on Brigitte Bardot’s Beaches
Want a little beach? Located on the Atlantic Coast north of Rio, the little town of Buzios was “discovered” by Brigite Bardot and—despite the influx of Brazilian beautiful people—has managed in the years since to retain the laid-back atmosphere of its fishing-village past. A good deal of its charm is due to the sheer beauty of the surroundings: The town sits on the tip of a long peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. Just offshore there are many tiny islands, the perfect place to sail for one day or several, diving and snorkelling along the way. In the countryside nearby, waterfalls spill down forested hillsides in warm freshwater cascades.
Closer to town, experience all the wonderful combinations and permutations of Brazilian beach culture. Geriba Beach is the place for surfing. Quiet and calm and very deep, Ferruda Beach is perfect for a lazy afternoon snorkel. Far from town are more isolated spots to steal a quiet moment with a special beach friend, while right in town on Ossos beach you can sip a caipirinha at a beachside cafe and pretend for a moment you’re young and rich and beautiful. Everyone else is.

10 Hike 18th Century Cities
It’s an outdoor walk through some of Brazil’s most brilliant past: The inland state of Minas Gerais struck it rich on gold just about the time the Baroque was reaching its elaborate architectural heights. The newly wealthy citizens needed something to blow their money on, and having exhausted the joys of women and booze, they turned to architecture. The result is six small cities that rival St. Petersburg or Prague, boasting cobblestone streets, soaring palaces, and elaborate churches.
Largest of the six is the hilltop town of Ouro Preto; its cobblestone streets wander up and down hills crowned with more than a dozen ornately carved and elaborately decorated Baroque churches. Each corner turns on new surprises: mansions, fountains, ruins, beautiful terraced gardens, and towers glowing with colored tiles. Close by, the smaller cities of Mariana and Congonhas and Sabara offer similar delights though on a smaller scale, exquisite desserts to Ouro Preto’s rich architectural feast. All four cities lie within a 12-mile radius, but it’s still best to use transit to move between cities and save your shoe leather for in town.


Top 10 best snorkeling locations in Brazil

If you bring a mask and snorkel to Brazil, there are always calm coves worth poking around. The warm waters of the Northeast have the best snorkeling. The Coral Coast, which extends from northern Alagaos into southern Pernambuco, offers a 135-kilometer (84-mile) stretch of protected reefs that are ideal for snorkeling. The beaches surrounding São Miguel dos Milagres and Maragogi, in Alagoas, and Tamandaré and Porto de Galinhas, in Pernambuco, are all terrific snorkeling destinations.
Waters tend to have best visibility in the summer months (between November and February). All of these destinations have diving operators that offer excursions, rental equipment, and lessons for beginners.

Locations (from north to south)

Maracajaú is located about 50km from Natal, and it takes one hour to go there. This region is considered to be the best area for snorkeling and diving, near Natal.
There is a big area of reefs named Parrachos de Maracajaú (7km from the coast), an area of 13km2, with a deep varying between 1,8m and 3,2m, during low tide. The water temperature is in average 26°C, and the development of corals contribute to a rich marine fauna and flora, turning the region to an enormous, natural aquarium.
This scenery is idealistic of practicing Snorkeling and also Scuba Diving for beginners. Also more experienced scuba divers can enjoy the region’s very pleasant diving, with reference to the rich marine life, and the waters temperature and visibility.
Fernando de Noronha
200 miles off the northeastern coast lies a mountainous archipelago made up of 21 islands which are sparsely populated and still the much the way it was when the Portuguese settled here in the 1500s. This National Marine Sanctuary is a heavenly retreat for divers and snorkelers.
Due to its open ocean location, it provides pelagic fish and ocean mammals a wonderful refuge. The dive sites include shipwrecks, canyons, amazing volcanic rock and coral formations, a permanent wild dolphin colony, reef sharks, turtles, schooling barracudas and all kinds of rays and colorful fish. Cavort with 600 dolphins, the largest and oldest residential school of spinner dolphins in the world. Dive with juvenile sharks at Lage Dois Irmaos, a breeding and nursery area for fourteen species of reef sharks. The sharks come into this protected area to have their young and the newborn stay to play with divers until they are big enough to venture into the open ocean. You may also witness turtles being released into the wild. Explore the Ipiranga, a Brazilian Navy Corvete, a sunken Portuguese frigate and much, much more. The rock formations are brilliantly colored with encrusting sponges and provide a beautiful backdrop for each of your dives.
The Recife-Olinda region offers excellent all year round sites for scuba diving and snorkelling. Marine life is very abundant in this region, but sharks are common and the sea is often rough (there are many ancient shipwrecks, waiting for divers to explore them…)
If you aren’t an experienced diver, you may prefer other alternatives, some of which not far from Recife, as Porto Galinhas.
Porto Galinhas
Porto de Galinhas is a very friendly diving site, excellent both for scuba beginners and advanced divers. Here, in Porto Galinhas, you will find diving courses and all year round conditions for diving.
Maragogi Beaches have calm waters, without strong waves, with coral reefs and fine sands. During low tide, sand banks emerge forming natural pools, known as Croas (5 km away from the coast) and Galés (6 km away). “Jangadas” (sailing boats typical of Northern Brazil) and boats can take tourists to these pools. On the beach’s southern tip, between Vila de Japaratinga and Pontal, visitors find the less urbanized beaches with 20-m high sea cliffs. Visitors can also go on a boat ride to coral reefs 6 km away from the coast. Maragogi beach is near Maragogi River, with calm waves, fine and flat sands and coral reefs.
Ilha de Boipeba
Although only the Rio do Inferno (River of Hell) separates Ilha de Boipeba from the Ilha do Tinharé, where Morro de São Paulo is located, Boipeba is Morro de São Paulo as it was 20 years ago before an influx of tourism blew everything out of proportion. Its beautiful unspoiled beaches are framed by lush jungle and crisscrossed by warm rivers that are ideal for bathing.
Although Boipeba is becoming a hip beach resort for those in the know, it has managed to retain a bucolic tranquility along with some 20 kilometers (12 miles) of stunning white-sand beaches protected by coral reefs. The most “developed”—which, thankfully, isn’t saying much—is Boca da Barra. Here you’ll find lots of barracas where you can dig into fresh fish and seafood.
A half-hour walk brings you to the dazzling white sands of Tassimirim, followed by the blissfully deserted Praia de Cueira—both of which are ideal for snorkeling.
Ideal for diving, the Archipelago of Abrolhos, a collection of volcanic islands and coral reefs located 45 miles off the southern coast of the state of Bahia, is the largest and most biologically diverse reef system in the South Atlantic.
Diving at the Abrolhos Bank is characterized by large, mushroom-shaped coral formations called chapeirões (big hats) found nowhere else in the world. The structures start in about 100 feet of water and reach almost to the surface, and nearly 50 percent of these corals are endemic.
Divers can visit the park and its surrounding reefs via the town of Caravelas–about 575 miles from Rio de Janeiro–on day or overnight trips.
Along with endemic marine life and unique coral structures, three popular wrecks–the Rosalinda, Santa Catharina and Guadiana–attract divers here, and from July to December, humpback whales from the Antarctic gather at the bank to mate and nurse their young.
Buzios, a luxury beach resort destination just two hours drive north Rio de Janeiro, offers excellent places for diving. But the true regional pearl for diving in this region is Arraial do Cabo, less than 90 miles south of Rio de Janeiro.
Arraial do Cabo is in fact the best place for diving in Brazil’s south. With turquoise waters, teeming with marine life (turtles, moray eels, queen angelfish, sea horses…) and some dozens of lakes and old ship-wrecks, Arraial do Cabo is a truly world-class place for scuba diving.
Arraial do Cabo is an all year round. Many hotels in Rio de Janeiro and Buzios can arrange transportation and tours to Arraial do Cabo.
Ilha Grande
Near Sao Paulo you may enjoy some of the best scuba diving sites in Brazil, namely in Ilha Grande (Angra dos Reis region). Angra dos Reis – a luxury travel destinations – is a delightful destination with amazing forests, waterfalls, lakes, small fishing villages, secret coves, small beaches… and exceptional conditions for diving, namely in Ilha Grande, one of the many local small islands.
Here, in Ilha Grande, you may explore its local rich marine life, and also dozens of old ship-wrecks (european galleons sunken some hundred years ago as a result of battles involving pirates and colonial forces).
Ilha Grande is an all year round place for diving.
Despite lying in the very heartland of Brazil, many miles from the coast, Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the country`s best diving destinations.
The towns of Bonito and Jardim boast the clearest waters in all of Brazil, with an enormous range of aquatic life and geographical features to atracct divers, from absolute beginners to the techinical level.
Cave diving experts have nothing to complain about either: Bonito and Jardim`s underwater caves are unique and unforgettable among the finest in the world.
Snorkeling is one of Bonito and Jardim`s major attractions. The best thing is to go with the flow along the riverbeds, observing the underwater fauna and flora, pretending to be a part of this fabulous ecosystem.



Activities in Brazilian nature

Bird watching
With almost 1800 species of catalogued birds, Brazil is one of the world’s best places for birdwatching. Either in the incredible Amazon forest, Cerrado, Chapada Diamantina or Chapada dos Guimarães, the sky is always colorful with birds of all sizes and colors.
Pantanal is another marvelous place. The region is full of water and with almost 700 species of birds, such as the famous Tuiuiú. The Atlantic Rainforest, which extends from the South to the North coast of Brazil, should also be seen.

Bóia cross
On a buoy in the shape of a tire, the Bóia cross is one of the funniest and most exciting activities that can be done on the Brazilian rivers. Places like Bonito, with its crystalline water, has perfect water flowing for this kind of activity.
The Bóia cross is usually done on rivers full of fish. The forest that surrounds this water flowing is another attraction: there are not only many species of plants, but also many birds and animals that go there to drink water.

The activity consists in rappelling down a waterfall. You can practice canyoying in almost all the regions of Brazil and especially in the area of the Chapadas. The paradisiacal Chapada Diamantina and Veadeiros are one of the most beautiful places where you can practice this kind of activity.

Canoeing and kayaking are practiced along the coast and on many rivers, and it shows the peculiar and the unmistakable natural attractions of the country. On the coast of the state of Paraná, for example, it’s possible to row next to dolphins while you see the preserved forest in each curve and islands.
In Brazil it’s possible to choose between the peaceful bays along the coast as well as awesome downhill on the voluminous rivers of the whole country.

With an ancient geologic formation – some regions are almost 600 million years old – Brazil is just like a dream for the ones who like to go caving. There are caves all around the country and they can be visited in Bonito, Chapada Diamantina and many other destinations.
You can also go rappelling and scuba diving in crystalline lagoons inside the caves. The beauty of the stalagmites and stalactites is unique.

If you like climbing, Brazil is the right destination for you to have this kind of adventure. With many places around the whole territory, the activity always comes with astonishing landscapes.
The rocks, like the ones on the region of Cerrado, for example, are perfect for a complete integration between man and nature.

Kite surfing
Idealized on the 80s, Brazil is perfect for practicing kitesurfing. Along the whole Brazilian coast the wind is always favorable for the ones who love practicing it. With a board fixed to your feet and the kite arc-shaped, it’s possible to make the most extreme maneuvers.
From Jericoacoara – one of the best places for this activity in the country – as well as the other beaches of the northeast region – to the south of the country, like the Conceição Lake, in the city of Florianópolis, it’s easy to have fun on lakes and waves of the country.

You will find tracks with the most beautiful sceneries which extend for kilometers and in all states of Brazil. Largely practiced in the country, mountain biking is the perfect combination if you like adventure and astonishing landscapes.
With perfect tracks for the beginners and even for the advanced ones, the mountain biking can be done on short tracks as well as long distances through places almost never explored.

Off road
Travelling on a four-wheel vehicle to visit the beauties of Brazil is one of the most pleasurable activities. Going along inhospitable places and visiting small communities and the exuberating nature, the off-road is for the ones who like adventure.
Dry places like the Brazilian northeast and also destination like Jalapão, Itacaré and the Estrada Real provide adventure for the ones who want to travel around the most extraordinary landscapes of the country.

Rafting in Brazil is simply amazing. You can practice rafting over the huge Cataratas do Iguaçu, a place considered one of the most beautiful places of the world.
In Jalapão, that mixes red dunes and an untouched landscape, there are rafting expeditions that take you to completely wild places. The activity can also be done in beautiful coastal regions, like Itacaré, and in many other destinations of the country.

Going down big rock walls surrounded by native forest and other amazing landscapes is one of the most practiced activities throughout the country. It’s possible to go rappelling in hallucinating sceneries like Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadeiros and Chapada dos Guimarães.

Boat trips
Travelling by boat   in a typical embarkation is one of the most interesting ways of getting in contact with the local culture and the natural beauties of different regions.
Pantanal, with its wetlands, and Amazon, a paradise of rivers and forests, are some of the destinations where this kind of activity is practiced. Coastal regions, such as Paraty, Ilha Grande, Ilhabela or the paradisiacal Fernando de Noronha, also have boat trips.

The amazing sandbording is one of the most popular activities of the northeast region and also in many other parts of the country. On a board similar to the snowboard, the activity consists of going down along dunes, which mixes a bit of surfing and skating.
In many places the attraction has one more thing: huge mountains of sand that goes along refreshing lakes of clean water.

Scuba diving
In Brazil there are many destinations for scuba diving both in salt and fresh water. The most famous for salt water diving are the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha and the beaches of Recife.
In the southeast region you will find incredible destinations for this activity such as Ubatuba, Ilhabela, Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Rio de Janeiro.  A unique destination for flotation (snorkeling) in fresh water is Bonito. You can also scuba dive in crystalline rivers and lagoons in Chapada Diamantina.

Headquarters of many international competitions of surf, Brazil has perfect beaches from North to South. You can find good waves in different regions: Ubatuba, on the coast of São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha in Pernanbuco and Itacaré in Bahia. In Brazil you will have the chance to surf on beaches completely paradisiacal and some of them were never touched by man.

Tree climbing
The tree climbing, also called in Brazil arvorismo, is a recent activity, but it’s becoming more popular each day. The activity, which was created by the researchers that needed to move from tree to tree, consists of walking through huge and green trees, maintaining in equilibrium on suspense tracks and also bridges.
The mixture of concentration and contact with nature is one of the most interesting things of this activity that provides you with a unique view of the forest. Today the tree climbing can be done in lots of places, like Florianópolis, in Santa Catarina, and in Bonito, in Mato Grosso do Sul.

Any destination in Brazil is perfect for trekking. With hallucinating landscapes (always different from each other), the country is becoming one of the best places in the world for practicing this kind of activity.
In Brazil, the choice is yours: you can go trekking on one of the most beautiful beaches in Fernando de Noronha, in trails surrounded by huge mountains with the shape of a table in Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadieros or Chapada dos Guimarães, through the rich diversity of Atlantic Rainforest or along the 850 km of the historical Estrada Real.
The options are so many that it becomes impossible to describe. Consult our operators for more information about all the tour options.

With beautiful landscapes and a rich fauna and flora, the Brazilian safaris show you a unique diversity only seen here. With trips that take only a few days and some other that are longer, this activity is practiced on inhospitable regions like Jalapão, which astonishes the visitors with its huge red dunes and transparent rivers.

With a diversity that astonishes even the most experienced adventurer, Brazil is the ideal place for the ones who want to visit different places and also see the exotic species of animals.
The interesting thing is that you can always combine the animal watching with other activities, such as trekking and canoying. You can always see big animals – such as Capivaras, jaguars, alligators – in Amazônia, in the Chapadas, in the beautiful coast or in the only desert of the country.

Source: abeta