Highlights of Brazil

Brazil is a destination full of vibrance, colour and festivities. A trip to this huge and diverse country can include exploration of natural wonders like exotic jungles, spectacular waterfalls and white sandy beaches, as well as bustling metropolises full of history, art, culture and delicious food.

You could spend months exploring Brazil. But for those of us that don’t have the luxury of that much time, here’s an itinerary that covers some of the most exciting destinations around the country.

It’s up to you how long you’d like to stay in each place, though I’d recommend at least a couple of nights in each of these locations so you have time to get to know them.

Rio de Janeiro

Start your trip in Brazil’s most popular destination, Rio de Janeiro. Well-served by various airlines, this is one of the easiest places to enter the country.

Take a walking tour around the city to visit some of Rio’s hot spots. From almost anywhere in the city, you can’t miss the iconic art deco statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain. You can also take a van, train, or hike your way up to the statue to get amazing panoramic views of the city and its extraordinary coastline.

Explore the colourful Lapa Steps and the Rio Cathedral, ride a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain and marvel at the magnificent views of the bay, city and beaches beyond. You may even wish to visit famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema.

If you’d like to experience some of Brazil’s nightlife, Rio de Janeiro is the place to do it; you’ll find year-round parties at outdoor music jams and samba clubs in Lapa.

Ilha Grande

From Rio de Janeiro, take a bus and then a ferry to Ilha Grande, a picturesque car-free island along the Atlantic coast. This is a great opportunity for some relaxation, but if down-time’s not your thing, you can opt for some aqua activities like swimming, surfing or snorkelling. It’s also a great place for diving, boasting one of the world’s largest concentrations of shipwrecks, as well as massive underwater caves, schools of tropical fish and colourful coral reefs.

You may wish to strap on your hiking boots and go walking in search of beautiful views, natural springs and howler monkeys.

Paraty

Take the ferry back to the mainland and then a hop on a local bus to Paraty. A former Portuguese colony, this beautiful city features cobblestone streets, multi-coloured houses and some of the best examples of Portuguese colonial architecture in the world. The area has also been kept car-free to preserve the historic centre and ensure it’s easy to walk through.

Take a walking tour of the ‘Gold Path’, a historic cobblestone road that travels through dense vegetation in the Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina.

There’s plenty more to do, so you could easily spend a couple of nights here and choose from activities like horse riding, kayaking to secluded beaches, or visiting a cachaça distillery.

From Paraty you can also join an island-hopping trip on a schooner, and visit some of the more than 65 islands of Brazil’s southeastern coast.

Iguazu Falls

From Paraty take a one hour and 40 minute flight to the famous Iguazu Falls. The Brazilian side of the falls offers panoramic views of this part of the largest waterfall system in the world. The breathtaking spectacle of the falls is made even more enchanting by the surrounding lush jungle which is filled with exotic wildlife. Visit the bird park to get a taste of the colourful local fauna.

Enjoy a helicopter ride for a birds-eye view of the falls or take a boat tour to see them from below. You could even take an excursion to the Argentinian side of the falls if you’d like to see them from another angle.

Bonito

Take a local bus from Iguazu to Bonito, which calls itself the ecotourism capital of the world. Over millions of years, rainwater has eroded the limestone in the area, creating sinkholes and caves to explore as well as clear streams to snorkel in.

Given that local tour operators have a maximum number of guests they can take each day, you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself.

Pantanal

Journey into the Pantanal, a stunning place to experience the wildlife of Brazil. Search for local wildlife like monkeys, macaws, Jabiru storks, giant otters, capybara, anacondas, anteaters and caiman.

Keen for some more adventurous activities? Try your hand at piranha fishing or enjoy some horse riding.

From here, grab a bus to the airport at Campo Grande, where you can take a one hour and 40 minute flight to Sao Paulo.

São Paulo

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and one of the most populous cities in the world. It’s known for its skyscrapers and exciting cultural scene including grand museums and busy markets. But it also contains a lot of public parks and even rainforest.

Home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan, it’s a great place for foodies who want to explore Brazilian cuisine as well as food from all around the world.

Explore Brazil

Of course, there’s plenty more to see in Brazil if you have time, but this route is a great way to spend two weeks or more making the most of some of the natural wonders and cultural cities of South America’s largest country.

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Author:

SophieSophie is a travel blogger and digital nomad who shares her tips on travelling mindfully at Vuja De View. When she’s not out exploring new places, she’s earning her travel funds as a growth and content strategist.

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