If you’ve never been to Brazil, you’ve probably still heard of Rio de Janeiro or have heard rumors of the craziness of Carnival. And while it’s true that Brazil is an amazing place to party, there’s a lot more to the country than you’ll find in the city’s main tourist attractions. Most people don’t realize just how much there is to see and do in Brazil.
Brazil boasts some of the most incredible scenery in the world. Delicious food, wild festivals, picturesque beaches, and incredible outdoor adventures all make this country a must for your travel bucket list.
Take a look at some of our recommendations and see why Brazil is such a popular spot for tourists and adventurers alike. (And don’t forget to read below for our tips before you go!)
What to Know Before You Go
Now that you know a little bit of what Brazil has to offer, you’ll want to start booking your tickets! But don’t forget about your visas. The easiest way to get your visa sorted out is to apply for an electronic visa for Brazil before you go. This will ensure that you won’t run into any trouble once you arrive.
Your visa will allow you to spend 90 days a year in the country and is good for multiple entries for two years. So if you want to visit, leave, and then come back, you can do so on the same visa, which is great.
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Naturally, no trip to Brazil will be complete without visiting the famous Ipanema Beach. Although Brazil has heaps of prettier beaches where you can rest and relax, nothing beats the vibe of this place. Located near Copacabana and Arpoador, sit back, relax and people watch around you.
Do be warned that the waters here have a killer undertow so only swim in the areas where the locals do! This area also gets pretty crowded during the weekends so go snag a spot early in the morning if you want to get a prime spot!
Gruta Do Lago Azul (Blue Lake Grotto)
This stunning natural pool plunges down over 200 feet deep and is filled with some of the most dazzling blue water you’ll ever see. Surrounded by a rugged cave, this spot attracts visitors from all over to come gaze at its sparkling waters. It’s become a popular spot for paleontologists and lovers of history too, as many fossils have been found here, including bones of saber tooth tigers!
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Fernanda de Noronha
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this archipelago is made up of 21 islands off the Brazilian coast. The views here are truly unmatched, flaunting crystal clear blue water, rugged rock cliffs, and white sand beaches.
Because the site is protected, the extent of wildlife and natural beauty you’ll see is pretty incredible. Take a boat tour to watch dolphins, go on a hike through the volcanic islands, or check out some of the sea life while scuba diving or snorkeling.
Dancing along the border between Argentina and Brazil, this series of waterfalls come together to create the largest waterfall system in the world. And it’s every bit as impressive as it sounds! You can access views of the falls from both the Brazilian side and the Argentinean side.
The sheer size of the falls, the beautiful natural scenery surrounding it, and the ease of accessibility make this waterfall one of the country’s most popular natural sites.
This mountain looks like something out of an otherworldly art book. The tabletop mountain juts straight up out of a foggy valley below, creating the illusion at the top like you’re sitting above the clouds. There is just one non-technical route to the top, but it’s a popular trek for adventurous souls from all over the globe.
If you’re an experienced climber, you can bring your own gear and try one of the harder routes to the summit. (Note: if you’re terrified of heights like I am, you can always visit the National Park and check out the mountain views from the safety of the ground below!)
Christ the Redeemer Statue
One of Brazil’s most iconic tourist attractions, this enormous statue set high above the city of Rio de Janeiro is truly a sight to see. While most people have heard of it and seen pictures, it’s nothing compared to seeing it in person. The Christ the Redeemer monument itself is impressive, but it’s also the best place to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this national park sits on an ancient plateau thought to be 1.8 billion years old! The park is dotted with sheer canyons, impressive quartz crystal rock formations, waterfalls, and trails.
If you’re an avid hiker, this is a terrific place to explore and check out some of Brazil’s local flora and fauna. One of the most interesting spots in the park is Vale de Lua, a waterfall that has eroded the surrounding rocks, transforming them to look like lunar craters here on earth.
Nestled just below Corcovado (the mountain that houses Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro, this park used to be a mansion. The property, owned by the singer Gabriella Besanzoni and her husband Enrique Lage, has since been turned into a beautiful park. Inside the mansion, you can visit a cafe and then explore the grounds outside.
The architecture’s magnificence is matched only by the beauty of the trails that run through the property. It’s a great way to get out of the bustle of the city and relax for a couple of hours.
Rising up above the harbor of Rio de Janeiro, this rock formation offers gorgeous views of the city and surrounding water. Visitors can take a cable car to the summit to take in the views. If you’re an experienced climber and are feeling courageous, you can rock climb it, too. Sugarloaf and two other nearby mountains, Morro da Babilônia and Morro da Urca combine to create one of the largest urban climbing spots in the world. If you’re not a climber, it can still be fun to watch people climbing from the mountain. Gruta Casa de Pedra
At 705 feet tall, this “house of stone” is the largest cave opening in the world. To help you picture it, a skyscraper could easily fit inside the mouth of the cave. The cave is just one of many in the Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira, a national park and World Heritage Site. The park is a great spot for hiking and with so many caverns to check out, you could easily spend a couple of days exploring here.
Have any favorite spots in Brazil that we missed? Let us know what you’d recommend!