Scintillating Brazil is a popular country to visit because of its lively atmosphere, exceptional game viewing, pristine coastline and all round sunny disposition. There are the well-known regions within beautiful Brazil that hold great appeal for most people. These areas include Rio, the Amazon, the Pantanal and the coast. Many of you might have scoured the shelves for books about Brazil, or armchair travelled your way through the top destinations in each region. But it should be known that there are a few pockets of paradise that aren’t well-documented. Perhaps they detract from the major areas (that are worth visiting), or perhaps people just don’t know about them. But one thing’s for certain, the deeper you dig, the more you realise just what a remarkable country Brazil actually is.
We’ve only listed 5 secrets about Brazil that you should know about before you go, but there are plenty more unique things in this sizzling country – you just have to dig a little deeper.
The Amazon has beaches
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Amazon is only a jungle-laden, heavily rain forested region with the mighty Amazon River at its epicentre. Truth is, it’s more than just a jungle paradise home to caymen, capybaras, poison dart frogs and piranhas. It’s actually a fantastic beach destination!
And the beaches are slightly different to the turquoise salty oceans lapping on the shores of sugar-white sand. One of the most remarkable river beach towns is the alluring Alter do Chão, one of the Amazon’s jungle beaches. Surrounded by impenetrable forests of green trees, and flanked by soft river sand, Alter do Chão is possibly to most chilled place to hang out. It’s paradise. There’s also the Green Lagoon region that makes for a perfect place to paddle board and hike the surrounds. Along the river coast there are also a number of little beach bars with a few locals strumming guitars to the vibe of the Amazonian sunset.
Ilha do Amor, an island surrounded by pristine beaches located in front of the town. The island only appears for 6 months of the year when the water levels are right. Life in the Amazon isn’t just about chasing the predators and critters of the jungle!
Wait – there’s more. You’ll be pleased to know that Alter do Chão is not the only beach destination in the Amazon. There are other freshwater beaches in the area, which include the busy Ponta de Negra beach in Manaus, and the laid-back picturesque jungle vibe beach of Praia da Tope.
We do recommend that you visit at least one of the Amazon’s beaches, preferably in the Alter do Chão area which is located almost mid-way between Manaus (the gateway town to the Amazon jungle) and bustling Belem (the gatekeeper of the Amazon located at the mouth of the Amazon).
There is a snorkelling spot close to the Pantanal called Bonito
Bonito is the place that nobody really knows about, except those that do know about it! Often overlooked in favour of the Pantanal because of its close proximity to the world’s largest wetlands, it certainly stands on its own as a destination.
In Bonito the two most popular activities are caving and snorkelling. It’s quite common to combine tours of the Pantanal with visits to Bonito (if you know about Bonito, which you do now). Located in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state, Bonito is most certainly an untouched paradise and nature’s aquarium.
Expect caves with lakes and looming stalactites hanging over pristine waters. There are waterfalls, and translucent rivers teeming with fish – thousands and thousands of them. Hailed as being home to the cleanest and purest water on the continent, the shallow and warm pools of Bonito are glass-like in nature. The clarity of the water is because of its high limestone concentration (limestone acts as nature’s filter). An Amazon rainforest environment mixed with the Pantanal landscapes and paired with natural springs, makes for crystalline waters and a true paradise.
Our advice? Make sure you spend a few nights in Bonito before heading into the Pantanal.
The coastal area of Trindade is where the locals hang out
Paraty is a relatively well-known area, but just outside this area is a quiet coastal place called Trindade that occupies a long stretch of picturesque coast. It delivers an epic swell for surfers and is a sought-after weekend getaway destination with locals. The unique beaches of Cepilho, Ranchos, Meio and Cachadaç each hold something unique and worth exploring. In the surrounding rainforest you’ll discover ample swimming spots shrouded in vegetation. And the main stretch there is a hive of activity, shops and cafes.
In essence, Trindade is a beach vibe located in the jungle on the coast halfway between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Paraty.
Bip Bip is Rio’s go-to Samba bar !
Samba music is at the heart of Brazil, and especially in Rio. This is a Brazilian music genre and dance style with its roots deeply entrenched in West Africa. But…Samba is no longer just about music, it brings with it an array of foods, dress, atmosphere and parties. Samba is about rhythm, movement and local style!
The best place to experience Samba? That would have to be the Bip Bip Samba Bar located close to Copacabana beach on Rio’s famous mile. Every day local musicians start their performance around 7ish and genres include anything from Choro to Bossa Nova and Rodas de Samba. Bip Bip is a tiny place with a stage, bar and intimate space for party goers.
Get there early – but do get there!
São Paulo is home to the flagship Havaianas store
Brazil and Havaianas go hand-in-hand like love and marriage! But did you know that the original flagship store is located in São Paulo? You will find all sorts of colours and designs in this huge store. Even if you don’t make a purchase, the store is well-worth a visit – just for the atmosphere and design alone.