In a country as vast as Brazil, it shouldn’t be hard to wander off the beaten path and find something unique and genuinely Brazilian along the way. However, it can be hard to abandon a large city full of life and excitement to traverse a relatively quiet and isolated path through the smaller and less-touted spots in Brazil. Here is a list of experiences that will take you off the tourist’s path and on trips that reveal just a few of Brazil’s hidden gems.
The Amazon Rainforest usually steals the show. It’s known around the world as incredibly diverse in its flora and fauna and tourists flock there in hopes of experiencing the promised magic and beauty of the Amazon. While the Amazon doesn’t disappoint, there is something to be said about Brazil’s other bio-diverse place, the Pantanal. Here, where the landscape is broader and more open, you will be able to spot wildlife from a much broader distance than you could in the dense foliage of the Amazon.
Over 210,000km of wetlands make up the Pantanal, and it has no towns and very few people who call it home. In fact, the only modes of transportation to get around the Pantanal is via small aircraft, motorboats and by 4WD only a few times of the year, when waters are low. Exotic, colourful and beautiful animals will catch your eye, and you’ll forget about the glitz and glam of Rio, wondering how anyone could pass up an experience like travelling through the Pantanal’s wildlife wonderland.
If you prefer stark natural wonders to the dense wetlands of the Pantanal, be sure to add Bonito to your destinations. It is a small coastal town in south-western Brazil. While the city itself has limited attractions, the natural beauty of the space steals the show. There are caves with lakes, clear rivers surrounded by never-ending forests, fantastic stalactite formations, show-stopping waterfalls and countless opportunities for divers to get up close and personal with hundreds of fish. If you decide to stop in this quiet town, you’ll likely stay on the main stretch, Coronel Pilad Rebuá where you’ll find everything you need for a restful stay in the naturally beautiful Bonito, Brazil.
Lençóis Maranhenses is one of the more unusual places in the world. It looks like the African desert, yet it receives triple the amount of rain as the infamous Sahara. There are dunes upon dunes of white, wavy sand that tower over calm pools of the bluest water you have ever seen. There is life among the relative emptiness of a desert, and the combination of colours found at Lençóis Maranhenses is incomparable.
Located in north-eastern Brazil, the meadows of white and gold sand in this National Park are continually moving and shifting in response to the winds. These small oases are everywhere, and the surreal landscape only adds to the drama of the sun slowly moving towards and then dipping below the horizon. Pick an evening, pack a blanket and enjoy the truly unique sunset found in Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil.
There are close to 8,000km of coastline in Brazil, but perhaps the most incredible pieces of coastline can be found 354km offshore from the Brazilian coast. Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you can expect the most spectacular beaches in all of Brazil, where gorgeous views of the glinting turquoise waters and pristine sand beaches greet you from the air. The islands are a constant collision of wealth versus environmental protection, romance and relaxation versus eco-paradise, and modern versus traditional.
Leave your guidebooks at home and uncover the hidden gems of Brazil that they won’t tell you about. Horseback riding through the Pantanal, gazing at the natural wonders of Bonito, unwinding as the sun dips below the horizon in Lancois Maranhenses, or sunning in Fernando de Noronha. Choose an adventure travel insurance plan from Cover-More Australia to protect your trip, your investment and your health as you step off the beaten path and into the real Brazil. Brazil has much more to offer than its most prominent cities, and as you check these adventures off your list, you’ll fall in love with prideful, passionate, and fun-loving Brazil that will keep you coming back year after year.
Disclaimer: Please exercise caution while travelling in Brazil and always be sure to check Smartraveller’s website for the most up-to-date precautions and travel advice.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Otavio Noguiera.