Home to some of the world’s largest metropolises, Brazil balances its dynamic urban life with miles upon miles of natural wonders from deafening cascades and immense jungles to fertile wetlands and crystal clear seas. The complex ecosystems in Brazil are among both the most mysterious and most researched, bringing continuous delight to travelers, scientists, and explorers. Here are some of Brazil’s most breathtaking natural spectacles.
Foz do Iguaçu
One of South America’s most visited attractions, Foz do Iguaçu is a collection of immense waterfalls that span the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Hundreds of cascades fill the air with the deafening sound of thousands of tons of water flowing over the edge, forming a cloud of mist around the base. Peer over the edge of the Devil’s Throat from the wooden decking or take a boat trip that cuts through the falls’ spray.
Although tourism has become an important link between economy and conservation in the Amazon area, most of the rainforest remains untouched, unexplored, and utterly wild. Dense vegetation prevents easy exploration of one of the world’s most fragile and complex ecosystems which supports hundreds of species including primates, wild cats, and tree frogs, not to mention yet-to-be-discovered species.
The world famous wetlands are rich in wild landscapes peppered with the symbolic giant lilies stretched out over pools of water that harbor a unique ecosystem. Guided tours are the best way of exploring the vast land – getting lost out there can be a dangerous mistake – and the best bet for spotting wildlife such as caimans, toucans, and the rare giant river otter.
This huge collection of tabletop mountains swallows up a large chunk of the Venezuelan border and spills out into Guyana and Brazil. Even from a distance, Mount Roraima is imposing with its sheer-drop sides and extraordinarily high peak masked by low clouds, yet the possibility of exploring barely trodden paths coupled with extraordinary scenery and views is every hikers’ dream.
Fernando de Noronha
Just off the coast of Brazil from Recife is Fernando de Noronha, arguably the closest to paradise that Brazil has to offer. The collection of islands are preserved to protect the delicate ecosystems there and only a certain number of tourists are allowed per year. With spiky backdrops, soft white beaches, and warm, blue seas, the landscapes are postcard-standards and home to an abundance of marine life including dolphins, sharks, turtles, and colorful fish.
Bonito by name, bonito by nature. The freshwater pools with underwater stalagmites and an enormous diversity of freshwater fish are some of the key appeals yet undoubtedly the sheer natural beauty of the area is the main draw. From the crystal clear rivers surrounded by leafy, vivid green trees to the shoals of fish that capture every color of the rainbow, Bonito charms with its exaggerated colors and rich biodiversity. A deep cavity in the earth known as Buraco das Araras is home to hundreds of bright red macaws who come to feed, mate, and raise their young.
A landscape made up of flat-top mountains, deep, far-reaching canyons, vast plains, and underground cavities is like a natural playground for adventure-seeking travelers. Highlights include the Smoke Waterfall, a name coined from the cloud of mist that is formed before the water reaches the bottom of the falls, the volume too feeble to make the full distance of one of Brazil’s highest waterfalls, and the Poço Azul and the Poço Encantado, two underground cavities filled with totally transparent water that reflects the slither of sunlight that enters to create an electric blue glow.
The surreal landscapes of Lençóis Maranhenses comprise vast scenes of rolling white sand dunes that are marked by the contrasting midnight-blue freshwater pools that gather in the dips between them. Unlike other natural attractions in Brazil, Lençóis isn’t swamped by tourists, granting ample space to discover the less-explored environment and find a natural peace that can be hard to come by.
Chapada dos Veadeiros
This immense national park is famous for its unique quartz rock formations that bend and twist like the surface of a distant planet and its remarkable number of waterfalls, including the Pedreiras Waterfall that forms a natural swimming pool at its base. Wildlife-lovers should keep their eyes peeled for rare sightings of guara wolves, jaguars, and armadillos.
Lopes Mendes beach
In a country brimming with outstanding beaches, when one gets declared as one of Brazil’s finest, you know it’s a good one. Lopes Mendes is on Ilha Grande island just off the coast of the Rio de Janeiro state and effortlessly earned its reputation from its squeaky-clean white sand, indie blue ocean, and backdrop of palm trees and wild, untouched vegetation. All this coupled with an all-year tropical climate makes Lopes Mendes a perfect secluded beach retreat.