South America’s largest country is a cultural melting pot, bursting with vibrant cities, festivals, and diverse delicacies. On the other hand, it’s a biodiversity haven; home to the world’s largest jungle and to some of the world’s most untouched beaches.
It’s no secret that Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are exquisite destinations all on their own, and especially popular for travellers during the hot summer months. However, for those willing to venture somewhere less conspicuous, there are three less talked about Brazilian wonders waiting to be discovered and explored.
Silvio Nascimento, President of Embratur, Brazil’s Tourist Board commented: “Brazil is a distinctive destination with an unparalleled array of choices for travellers. One of the most rewarding aspects of visiting Brazil is that holidaymakers can curate a really unique itinerary, which can include adventure, culture, nature, cities, and food. Alongside the must-see attractions, we’re encouraging tourists to explore alternative regions which offer some indescribable scenery and nature and amazing architecture.”
Ethereal Bonito – State of Mato Grosso do Sul
Bonito is Brazil’s hidden treasure. Famous for its ecotourism, and hiding in the hemline of the wetlands Pantanal, Bonito tempts visitors with its magical waterways. Made up of rivers, lakes and waterfalls with crystalline water, this area is a freshwater paradise that beckons the keenest of water enthusiasts.
Local attractions in Bonito include Lago Azul Cave (blue lake cave), Mimoso Cave, the Natural Aquarium, and the Sucuri River (anaconda river). Exciting water activities include snorkelling, rafting, visiting waterfalls and caves, scuba diving, as well as hiking local trails.
Manaus: the heart of the Amazon – State of Amazonas
In the heart of the Amazon Forest, lies Manaus. A cultural city which serves as a major departure point for the surrounding Amazon. Serving as the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Manaus is home to the National Institute of Amazonian Research — which makes it one of the most important centres for scientific studies of the Amazon and international sustainability. Aside from that, the city offers atypical local food, renaissance architecture, and warm hospitality.
The downtown area offers insight into local history, and Largo de São Sebastião Square — a popular spot where the famous Amazonas Theatre is located — is well worth a visit. Be sure to explore the various handicraft shops and art galleries along the way.
One shouldn’t miss the striking visual phenomenon called the “Meeting of the Waters”, where the dark Negro River converges with the brown, muddy Solimões River.
Modernist Brasília – State of the Federal District
Unlike any other city in the world, Brasília is an architectural marvel. Home to more than 3 million people and inaugurated in 1960 by president Juscelino Kubitschek, Brasilia’s exceptional architecture is characteristic, bold, and artistic. It is the first and only modern city in the world to receive the title of cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Its reputation as a modernist icon means there is much to explore around the city. Most noteworthy are the city’s outdoor leisure centres, and one in particular: the Dona Sarah Kubitschek City Park, known as the ‘City Park’, which is one of the world’s largest urban parks with sports courts, barbecue areas, an equestrian centre, as well as walk and cycling lanes.
Another must-see is the iconic buildings that amaze architects from all over the world. One of them is the Cathedral of Brasília — a crown-like structure designed by Brazilian famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.