The 2016 Olympic Games have turned a spotlight on Rio where the world has caught a glimpse of the many attractions that travelers can look forward to both in that world-class city, and beyond. But adventure travelers, in particular, can find plenty to love in Brazil as the opportunities to explore the country's more remote regions abound.
Here are five such adventures that will leave you in awe of this amazing place.
Visit the Amazon
There are few destinations on the planet that conjure up clearer images of adventure than the Amazon Rainforest. 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.
Explore the Pantanal Wetlands
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. For instance, the Pantanal is one of the largest wetland regions in the entire world, featuring a dizzying array of both flora and fauna. 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. Eco-lodges are common in the area, allowing visitors to explore portions of the wetlands, savanna, and rainforest that all come together to create the Pantanal.
Go Hiking in Serra da Canastra National Park
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.
Go Diving and Snorkeling on Fernando de Noronha
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.
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.
As you can tell, there are a lot of diverse things for adventure travelers to see and do in Brazil. The country is large, diverse, and filled with amazing travel opportunities. So, if the glitz and glamour of Rio are too much, headed out to one of these more remote destinations for a different kind of experience.