See more of Brazil with Ker & Downey’s list of the top things to do in Brazil.
South America’s largest country is set to host the world’s largest sporting event this summer. But there’s so much more to see and do in Brazil than just the olympics.
It’s a country whose landscapes are as diverse as its culture, where everything seems larger than life. Currently the U.S. dollar is very strong to the Brazilian Real so travel to the country is incredibly affordable. Ready to start planning? Check out our suggested itineraries to Brazil and our guide for the top things to do in Brazil.
Ker & Downey’s Guide to the Top Things to Do in Brazil
Private Breakfast at Christ the Redeemer Statue | Nearly 4 million people visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue yearly. Skip the crowds when you stay at the Belmond Copacabana Palace and visit the statue on Corcovado Mountain at sunrise before it opens to the public. The excursion, exclusive to the hotel, includes a picnic breakfast at the 125-foot statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Your basket is packed by Belmond Copacabana Palace’s Executive Chef Pierre-Olivier Petit with with fresh baked breads, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and juices, and served by a waiter while you watch the sun rise over the city.
Private Amazon River Cruise | The rivers and tributaries that make up the Amazon are the lifeblood of the region and the best way to explore them is by private boat. The Zenith is the ultimate private boat experience on the Amazon River. Tailor your itinerary to do as much or as little exploring as you like as you make your way down the river. Trek through the jungle, visit local communities that depend on the river to survive, fish, and enjoy river safaris all at your own pace with your own private crew.
Trail of Tiradentes | Authentic, colonial culture can be found along the “Trail of the Tiradentes” – a string of quaint cobblestone towns scattered across blue mountain ridges. Within the small towns there is a vast collection of grand colonial churches and historical noble residences telling the story of the local gold rush, the consequential slavery, and the uprising of the Inconfidência Mineira, an important early attempt to break free from colonial rule.
Fernando de Noronha | The UNESCO World Heritage archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is renowned for its pristine beaches and the blue waters that surround a cluster of 21 islands. The area is among the world’s choice destinations for diving with a visibility of over 160 feet and an intense concentration of dolphin, sea turtles, small sharks, eels, rays, and a variety of fish inhabiting the waters.
The Pantanal | May to September is the prime time to visit the Pantanal, one of the richest wildlife areas in the world. It’s Brazil’s Okavango Delta with abundant wildlife in the world’s largest tropical wetland. It’s a bird lover’s paradise with over 600 species to keep your eyes open for and a large concentration of endemic, threatened, and endangered species call the mashes home. The best way to see the Pantanal is to experience it. Cruise through its rivers seeking out tapirs, capybaras, otters, and jungle cats. Travel between June and August, when jaguars are out in full force.
What to Eat
While in Brazil, be sure to enjoy a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. It’s made with cachaça served on the rocks and garnished with a sugar cane and lime. You should also try pão de queijo, or cheese bread, a popular snack or breakfast item in Brazil, and BBQ with picanha, the most prized cut of beef that’s been slow cooked and full of flavor.
Visit the kitchen of Fazenda Catucaba and help the local village women bake bread, make preserves, and prepare home-style meals.
In São Paulo, dine at DOM, the only restaurant in Brazil with two Michelin stars and one of the top ten restaurants in the world as ranked by Restaurant Magazine. Chef Alex Atala doesn’t import ingredients that you see in many high-end restaurants, such as caviar or truffles, but instead focuses on indigenous produce and classical techniques to showcase the cuisine of Brazil.
Similarly, Lasai Restaurant in Rio focuses on the local cuisine of Brazil as well. It opened in 2014 and is quickly becoming one of the best restaurants in Brazil, receiving a Michelin star with the guide’s first edition in Brazil. The restaurant works with small producers to source ingredients that go into the creative dishes.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Fasano Rio is located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most fashionable areas with prime shopping and dining options just steps away. The modern hotel, located on Ipanema Beach, is the brainchild of renowned designer Philippe Starck and his meticulous attention to detail can be seen in its 91 rooms. World class dining is available at Fasano Al Mare and the London-inspired lounge Baretto-Londra serves up award-winning cocktails.
Sneak away from the hustle and bustle and head to the beach. In the colonial town of Paraty, relax at Casa Turquesa, a luxurious boutique hotel in one of Brazil’s most pristine hideaways. In the beach paradise of Florianópolis. stay at the Ponta dos Ganchos Resort on a privately-owned peninsula where you are guaranteed absolute privacy, stunning ocean views, and tons of water and land-based activities.
Rainforest meets beach at the idyllic Txai Resort Itacaré, located on the beaches of Bahia’s undeveloped Cocoa Coast and surrounded by the Atlantic Forest, a UNECSO World Heritage Site. The exclusive eco-luxury resort is also the only resort in Brazil to offer a range of ancient spa treatments utilizing natural ingredients plucked from the Bahia landscape.
Heading inland, the Belmond Hotel Das Cataras is located on the Brazil/Argentina border near the world famous Iguassu Falls. It’s officially the only hotel located within the Iguassu National Park, giving it an unrivaled location just a short stroll from the sensational waterfalls.
And for a private option, consider a stay at the Matuete’s Private Villa in Trancoso. It’s located in the exclusive gated community at Nativos Beach, an area where many celebrities own second homes. The Trancoso Private Villa unites the best of Trancoso’s ultra-luxe lifestyle and rustic chic sophistication in a fully staffed, six-room luxury villa along the golden beaches and coconut palms of Trancoso.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to fly south and discover a geographically diverse country and unique cultures. Let our suggestions for the top things to do in Brazil be your guide. And as Paulo Coelho, one of Brazil’s most successful novelists puts it, “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
For more information about our top things to do in Brazil or a journey to Brazil, contact your Luxury Travel Consultant or visit us online. To stay up to date on all of our online content, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
*Photo via DOM.