Unique Activities in Brazil – From Snorkeling to Desert Beaches
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Unique Activities in Brazil – From Snorkeling to Desert Beaches

5 min read

Jul 12, 2013


By Kaitlin McMichael

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Last updated on December 28th, 2020 at 02:25 pm

Unique Activities in Brazil

With a multitude of cultural wonders, natural beauty, and exciting locals, there’s plenty of unique activities in Brazil to make your trip unforgettable. From the depths of the Atlantic Rainforest to tucked away ancient ruins, travelers have all sorts of experiences ahead of them on a trip to Brazil. Whether you’re on a Brazil tour or a an all-round South America vacation, here are nine must-do activities in Brazil.

1. Train  ride through the Atlantic Rainforest – Activities in Brazil

activities in brazil: views of atlantic rainforest mountains

First on our list of the best activities in Brazil is a train ride through the lush Atlantic rainforest. The train stops include visits to Curitiba, Morretes, and Antonina in the Serra do Mar region. In Curitiba, visit the Tiradentes Square, the Guaira Theater, and the Museum of Oscar Niemeyer. Later, explore the Wire Opera House, Tangua Park, Tingui Park, and the Botanical Garden. You will also visit Antonina, a lovely and historic port town.

Next, transfer to Morretes and enjoy a delicious lunch by the river. Then spend some free time exploring this quiet colonial town. The lunch (included) is a typical Barreado, with slow-boiled beef and seafood.

Finally, return to Curitiba via the executive class 3-hour train ride through the Serra do Mar. The route was built in the late 19th century and crosses through lush rainforest, mountains, and bridges. View our Tango, Samba, Waterfalls Tour, which includes the Atlantic Rainforest.

2. Tour the Salvador Bahia Markets

activities in brazil: View of Salvador historic street

On a tour of Salvador da Bahia, you must visit the local markets. Meet the local people, and see the goods and produce that fill these open-air markets. Later, explore the Feira de Sao Joaquim. Here, there are handicrafts, vegetables, fruits, meat, herbs, leather items, and images of candomble gods.

After exploring the markets, transfer to the Bairro da Liberdade, which has the largest African-Brazilian population in Bahia. As an additional option to this Brazil activity is visiting the Creche Beu Machado daycare center. This is a social venture project entirely run by volunteers.

3. Visit the Jesuit Ruins of San Ignacio & the Wanda Gem Mines

activities in brazil: San Ignacio Ruins

Third, on our list of Brazil activities is a visit to the Jesuit Missions. See two of thirty missions, which the Jesuits established in Spanish territory in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were also made famous in the Robert De Niro movie The Mission. The missions have decayed over the centuries, but the remaining artwork and architectural details hint at the grandeur of these missions in the jungle. This is an excellent day trip to add on to your tour of Iguassu Falls.

Extend this activity with a Wanda Gem Mines visit. See amethyst, topaz, and agate, and other precious stones here. Later transfer to the stonecutter’s factory. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase stones directly from the mines before returning to Foz do Iguacu.

4. See Iguassu Falls from the sky

Aerial view over beautiful Iguazu Falls

One of our favorite activities in Brazil is to see the country and its natural wonders from another perspective. This is something you can do at Iguassu! Fly on a “trike,” a motorized buggy with a paraglide. Set sail with your professional guide, and enjoy aerial views of the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the Parana River, and the lush subtropical region surrounding the Iguassu Falls. The flight lasts 10-30 minutes, depending on how long you would like to fly.

5. Sunbathe at Lençois Maranhenses

activities in brazil: Lencois' unique sand dune pools in desert

You have to admit, you cannot think about an activity in Brazil better than lounging on the beach. The Lençóis Maranhenses National is home to unique landscapes of bright white sand dunes interspersed with blue-green lagoons. Starting in Barreirinhas, the town just inland from the coast, your guide will take you on the walking paths through the park.

For a Brazil adventure, opt for a short 4×4 excursion to the trailhead. Explore the dunes and go swimming in the freshwater lagoons of Lagoa Bonita, Lagoa Azul, and Lagoa Paraiso.

Extend this trip to include the Brazil beaches of Fortaleza. There are some really nice hotels and resorts on the way. One is the delta of the Parnaiba River, and the other is the little village of Jericoacoara.

6. Cave dive at Poço Encantado & Poço Azul

man floating in blue cave

In the morning, head out from your hotel in Lençois for a day of exploration around Chapada Diamantina. When you stop at the diamond mining ghost town Igatu, you can look around at the abandoned shacks. These diamonds were extracted and shipped to the Old World. Continue to Poco Encantado and the Poco Azul in Chapada Diamantina National Park.

The Poco Azul (the Blue Cave) and the Poco Encantado (The Enchanted Cave) are subterranean caves with crystal clear waters. From April to August, a shaft of sunlight penetrates the caves and the waters disperse the light into a rainbow of colors. Visit the underground caves on the Rhythm & Diamonds Tour.

7. Snorkle in the Pantanal

activities in brazil: snorkeling in the pantanal

Nobres, about 140 km (87 mi) from Cuiabá, is the jumping-off point for tours to the Pantanal wetlands. Known for its clear waters, Nobres is perfect for snorkeling and known for its limestone caves. Many tourists travel to Bonito for snorkeling in the Pantanal.

Alternatively, Nobres offers much better snorkeling and swimming, and it is much less visited. Go wildlife watching, looking for macaws, tapirs, giant anteaters, and caiman as well. Insider’s Tip: if you go to Nobres, include a tour of the nearby Pantanal and/or Chapada dos Guimarães.

8. Discover Quilombo dos Palmares, Maceio

statue at Quilombo dos Palmares

Visit a quilombo, a community of escaped slaves who hid out during the colonial era. Existing from 1605 to 1694 as an independent republic, the Quilombo dos Palmares was the largest of these communities. Today it is a community that commemorates African resistance to slavery.

What unique activities in Brazil will you experience? Contact an expert travel consultant today to start planning your day-to-day adventure in Brazil!

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Last updated on December 28th, 2020 at 02:25 pm

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