10 Wild and Wonderful Things to do in Brazil

by Travelbag on 11 August 2015, 17:08PM

Brazil is best known for its pristine beaches, wild rainforest and colourful carnivals. To go 'wild and wonderful' in Brazil is within your reach if you adopt the attitude to try anything and explore everywhere. Not hard if you’re setting out to have an adventure, after all isn’t that the best way to see the world?

As well as the coastal action, Brazil hosts a wild interior where many towns remain relatively untouched by tourism, perfect if you’re on the hunt for a more authentic experience. Parts of the Amazon rainforest remain unmapped and it’s hard to escape the feeling you're the first to step inside the thick jungle, when you stop off randomly to explore parts of the land around you.

Friendly Locals and Fantastic Foods

Brazil is home to all the tropical produce one expects from an equatorial climate. Papayas, mangos, melons and pineapples drip with juicy freshness and adorn the tables of every restaurant you find as you travel around. Head towards the smaller local restaurants, and away from the big name-chains, to find food that is truly authentic.

Wonderful smells greet you from family-run eating establishments where an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch (including a glass or two of wine) will set you back the price of a McDonalds meal (now that’s what we call a bargain). The local people are incredibly friendly and helpful - though a smattering of Portuguese language skills helps break the ice. 

So once you’ve filled up on the local food, what then? We’ll here are some amazing wild and wonderful things to keep you busy until your next meal time…


1. The Amazon

Travel to the Amazon basin by boat and tour the waterways that are world famous. There are a choice of guided and non-guided itineraries with maps and camping grounds signposted for you. It is easy to go as a pair, or even solo, canoeing down the Amazon River to your camping ground destination. Take lazy walks along marked trails, camera in hand, ready to snap yourself a picture of the local wildlife and hopefully Brazil's national symbol - the Toucan bird.


2. Rio de Janeiro

The capital, Rio de Janeiro, is home to the world famous Copacabana Beach. Pristine white sand, bathers wearing not much else apart from a thong (make like the locals if you’re brave enough!), and plenty of seaside surfing action means you can find plenty to do here. There's surfboard hire, body-board hire, kite surfing, windsurfing and water-skiing on offer, as well as the infamous banana boat operators who love taking tourists out to the deep. The currents are pretty wild though, so make sure you are a confident and strong swimmer if you want to go out. To keep the memories safe afterwards, why not rent a waterproof camera too? You’ll be in fits of giggles when you watch the footage back later on.


3. Gruta do Lago Azul

Cave fans will love Gruta do Lago Azul, also known as the Blue Lake Cave. True to its name the waters sparkle a deep, indigo blue making this cave experience one for the photography fans. Water levels are perfect during November to February and you can find tours taking you to the cave from the town of Bonito.


4. Belem Marketplace

You might have heard health pundits raving about the acai berry? This super food berry is harvested in Belem, at the Point do Acai, where you can get a juice direct from the markets. For a supercharged health boost, Belem marketplace is the best spot to see huge displays of the berry as this is where in the world the majority of acai is harvested.


5. Iguazu Falls

One of the biggest waterfalls in the world, and one of the most beautiful, resides at Iguazu Falls, and it’d be a trip wasted if you didn’t go and marvel at it. The width of the cascading cliff of water is just under 3 km, making the vista an incredible view, and pretty awe-inspiring. The falls themselves are 269 feet high and are best viewed from several pedestrian viewing platforms running across the Iguazu River. The falls are located on the northern border of Brazil, and the Argentinian province of Misiones. There are several viewing points including The Devil's Throat, a U-shaped cataract that is taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide.


6. Pantanal wetland

Visit the Pantanal wetland area which is a 130km drive from Cuiaba airport (by domestic transfer from Rio if need be). The world heritage wetlands can be explored by boat, foot, horseback, canoe or 4WD vehicle. Offering better wildlife viewing than the Amazon, you will see alligators, otters, monkeys, macaws, cormorants, ibis, parrots, toucans and capybaras. In addition to the organised tour trail, there is plenty of opportunities to walk the forest, or hire a motorboat to explore on your own.


7. Costa Verde Islands

Take a day trip or more to explore the Costa Verde Islands and Beaches and dance the night away in chic Ibiza-style resorts such as Buzios and Morro de Sao Paulo in Bahai. The islands lie in a cluster between Rio and Sau Paulo with tour operators offering regular ferry trips from both cities. There are fantastic beaches to explore on whatever island you choose, with everything best discovered on a bicycle or bus route once there.


8. Fortaleza

Northern Brazil offers outdoor fun at the sand dunes of Fortaleza, where you can hire quad bikes and beach buggies. Adventure awaits you, as you set out in your vehicle to travel to the town of Jericoacoara (4 hours away), hopping off-road to explore the dune adventure driving courses. If you love a bit of adrenaline then this is something you absolutely need to put on your list! Arrive in the coastal village of Jericoacoara and take in the pristine beaches for a well-deserved dip and afternoon feast of fresh caught local seafood. Sounds like paradise? It is.


9. Fernando de Noronha

Brazil has some famous diving spots for scuba enthusiasts and dive pros alike. It doesn’t matter what your experience level either – as most tours will cater for beginners, or experts. Take a trip to Fernando de Noronha in the north, an island sheltering thousands of underground grottos home to fish and coral you won't see anywhere else in the world. Nearby reefs include Recife, where shipwrecks attract some bigger predators. But don’t be alarmed – it’s actually a huge honour to spot the bigger fish (such as sharks) and you shouldn’t be afraid as long as you have a guide nearby. Travel south to dive in Brazil's world-famous spots including Arraial do Cabo, Buzios, Ubatuba, Laje de Santos, and stop at the lively resort, nightlife and dive-town Santa Catarina.


10. Mountain Ranges

Head to the outskirts of the capital and take in the breath-taking view from the mountain ranges surrounding Rio de Janeiro. From the vista overlooking the city, you can appreciate the terrain in all its wild beauty, not to mention snap an amazing photo (or two!). Not all make if off the stunning beaches, preferring to hang around Ipanema beach humming tunes and sipping cocktails. However, if you manage to venture to the volcanic-like viewpoints surrounding Rio, why not take in a spot of hang-gliding, bungee jumping or paragliding for the ultimate adventure-seeking thrill? If that's not for you, there are always donkeys for hire, and you can plod around enjoying the view from up high, with your mount!


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