The 8 Most Adventurous Things to Do in Brazil

Wild jaguar (Panthera onca) on the move in a beach. Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Carlos A Carreno/Getty Images

Need a break from the glitz and glamour of Rio? There are astoundingly diverse activities for travelers to do in Brazil, and adventure travelers, in particular, can find plenty to love in the country's more remote regions. Destinations like the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal wetlands may require more travel time, but for those seeking true adventure in one of the world's most beautiful places, your efforts will be rewarded.

In a country so large, travelers can have their pick of mountains, land or sea, as well as the opportunity to get up close to some of South America's most amazing flora, fauna, and wildlife. These adventurous excursions are perfect for adventurous travelers looking for authentic experiences off the beaten path. Just don't forget your bug spray.

01 of 08

Explore the Pantanal Wetlands

A crocodile with a butterfly on it's head in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil

 Chris VR / TripSavvy

While the Amazon gets most of the attention for adventure destinations in Brazil, there are other areas that offer a stunning level of biodiversity as well. The Pantanal is one of the largest wetland regions in the entire world, featuring a dizzying array of flora, fauna, and wildlife. Covering more than 55,000 square miles, the region is home to more than 1000 species of birds, over 400 fish and reptiles, as well as 300 different mammals, such as the puma and the tapir. The region has seen a sudden rise in interest in Brazil thanks to the 2022 revival of the '90s telenovela "Pantanal," following the trials and tribulations of a Brazilian family living in the wetlands. If you visit, you'll have plenty of family-owned eco-lodges to choose from, like the beloved Hotel Fazenda Baía das Pedras, which allows visitors to explore the surrounding wetlands, savanna, and rainforest that all come together to create the Pantanal. 

02 of 08

Visit the Amazon

The Amazon River in Brazil
Kraig Becker

There are few destinations on the planet that conjure up clearer images of adventure than the Amazon rainforest—and it's a classic for a reason. Both a massive river and jungle, the Amazon is home to some of the most unique and distinct plant and animal life on the planet, making it an easy destination to recommend to travelers. Brazil provides some of the best access to the rainforest with the city of Manaus serving as a gateway to the region itself. Take a boat or canoe out onto the Amazon River to spot the legendary river dolphins that frequent the area or spend a night at a local eco-lodge to experience the forest first hand. Of course, no visit to Manus is complete without dropping by the legendary Opera House as well. 

03 of 08

Go Hiking in Serra da Canastra National Park

Casca d-Anta waterfall
Marcio Virtual via WikiMedia

Located in the southeastern region of Brazil, the Serra da Canastra National Park is radically different from the wetlands of the Amazon or the Pantanal. Huddled in the Canastra Mountains, the park is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to an array of beautiful waterfalls. Hiking trails wander across the remote landscapes, with plenty of small streams and rivers flowing nearby. The treks can actually be quite strenuous with lots of climbing and descending, with some beautiful views to be taken in along the way. The best part is that the park is seldom visited, even by locals, so chances are you might have trail completely to yourself depending on when you visit. 

04 of 08

Go Diving on Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha Brazil
pantai via WikiMedia

Just off the northeast coast of Brazil is an archipelago by the name of Fernando de Noronha. Made up of 21 small islands, this beautiful destination is a national marine sanctuary and one of the best places to go diving and snorkeling in Brazil. Highlights include deep canyons, several shipwrecks, and a wild dolphin colony that stays permanently rooted to the area. You'll also spot rays, turtles, reef sharks, and countless other colorful tropical fish that call the region home. The pristine waters often offer visibility to more than 50 meters in depth, which only helps to enhance the experience even further. 

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Snorkel in Bonito

Bonito, Brazil

Giordano Cipriani / Getty Images

Bonito is tucked away in the corner of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, a three hour drive from the largest city of Campo Grande. Yet despite being so far from the coast, some of the country's most incredible underwater activities can be found in this eco-minded community. That's because this region takes its commitment to sustainability seriously, mandating that its highly regulated excursions to natural features be limited to small numbers of travelers at a time, even before the pandemic. If you're visiting, snorkeling in the Rio da Prata ecological center is a must—but be sure to book in advance.

06 of 08

Surf Florianópolis

Florianópolis, Brazil
Alexandre Machado via WikiMedia

Blessed with an abundance of coastline, Brazil is an excellent place to go surfing for both experts and beginners alike. Few places can compare to the town of Florianópolis however, where you'll find excellent swells all year round. The region offers 42 different beaches, each with its own distinct culture and feel, allowing you to find the place that best suits your level of experience and vibe. Beginners will find plenty of places to rent gear and get lessons, while the more advanced surfers should head to Joaquina Beach to test their skills. Either way, the results will be the same. A wholly fulfilling surf experience paired with excellent restaurants and a thriving nightlife. This is Brazil after all. 

07 of 08

Explore the Caves of Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

jeilson / Getty Images

One of the most beautiful and expansive national parks in Brazil, Chapada Diamantina offers challenging hiking and rock climbing opportunities for those chasing otherworldly vistas—there's a reason it's known as Brazil's "Lost World." If you're planning a trip, you will certainly need several days to explore all it has to offer. Dedicate at least one of those days to the national park's enchanting blue water caves, like Gruta Azul. Formed by underground rivers and erosion, the water here get its intense sapphire blue color from mineral deposits. To explore these caves you’ll need a guide, so it's best to research a few tours in advance, such as Amazon Adventures.

08 of 08

Kiteboard in Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara, Brazil

Fred Cardoso / Getty Images

This tiny village's pristine coastline and steady wind have made it a must-visit for kiteboarding lovers around the world. Adventure seekers fill its shores during prime wind season, July through January. The winds here are suitable for both beginner and advanced kiteboarders, with lighter wind conditions easily found in the morning and towards the end of the day. The winds blow until the sun goes down, and the water is just as welcoming as the weather. After a day spent catching waves, kick back and enjoy a stunning sunset at the top of the 200 foot sand dune that overlooks the town. You deserve it.