Brazil is a vast country – it is larger than the continental United States. And yet, many visitors to Brazil only see its main highlights, such as Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, and the Iguassu Falls. There are so many more unique and interesting places to visit and things to do in Brazil. Here are 10 unique Brazil tours to pique your interest and inspire you to plan a unique, custom-made trip to Brazil that suits your interests.
The Santuario do Caraca in Minas Gerais
Want to explore the off-the-beaten track in Brazil? The Santuario do Caraca seminary is nestled in the isolated mountains of the Parque Natural do Caraça. Located about 68 miles (110 km) from Belo Horizonte, near the town of Santa Barbara, the seminary and its surrounding park is one of the best places to see wildlife in Brazil, especially guara, maned wolves. The seminary was built in the 17th century, and was rebuilt in the 1980s as a hotel, managed by the monks. In the 1980s, the monks took to leaving seed on the steps for birds, and this attracted wolves, which soon became habituated to looking for food at the steps. Other animals you may spot include puma, ocelot, Southern-masked titi monkeys. There are several hikes and walking trails that will give you a sense of the Atantic Rainforest as well as the Cerrado vegetation. In Santa Barbara, there are restaurant where you can have a typical Brazilian lunch.
Insider’s Tip: Inquire about availability well in advance, because it can be difficult to get rooms at the Sanctuary.
Sighteeing in the Atlantic Rainforest – Curitiba, Morretes & Antonina
This full-day tour of Curitiba, Morretes, and Antonina in the Serra do Mar region includes a scenic train ride through the Atlantic Rainforest. First, enjoy a morning tour of Curitiba, passing the Tiradentes Square, the Guaira Theater, and the Museum of Oscar Niemeyer. Stop to visit the Wire Opera House, Tangua Park, Tingui Park and the Botanical Garden. Also visit Antonina, a lovely and historic port town. Then transfer to Morretes, stopping there for a delicious lunch by the river, and free time to explore this quiet colonial town. The lunch (included) is a typical barreado, with slow-boiled beef and seafood. Return to Curitiba via the executive class 3-hour train ride through the Serra do Mar. The route was built in the late 19th century, and crosses through lush rainforest, mountains, and bridges.
View the Tango, Samba, Waterfalls Tour, which includes the Atlantic Rainforest.
Salvador Bahia Markets Tour
Visits the markets of Salvador and get to know the people, goods and produce that fill these open-air markets. First visit the Feira de Sao Joaquim, where you’ll find handicrafts, vegetables, fruits, meat, herbs, leather items, and images of candomble gods. Next visit the Bairro da Liberdade, which has the largest African-Brazilian population in Bahia. As an additional option, you may also want to visit the Creche Beu Machado day care center, which is a social venture project entirely run by volunteers.
View all Salvador Bahia Tours.
Jesuit Ruins of San Ignacio & the Wanda Gem Mines
Though this tour is technically over the border in Argentina, it is an excellent day trip to add on to your tour of Iguassu Falls. Visit two of thirty missions, which the Jesuits established in Spanish territory in the 17th and 18th centuries. These missions were made famous in the Robert De Niro movie The Mission. The missions have decayed over the centuries, but the remaining artwork and architectural details hint at the grandeur of these missions in the jungle. Further on this trip, visit the Wanda Gem Mines, where amethyst, topaz, and agate and other precious stones are quarried. Visit the stonecutter’s factory, where you’ll have the opportunity to purchase stones directly from the mines before returning to Foz do Iguacu.
View all Iguassu Falls Tours.
Flying Trike Itaipu, Iguassu Falls
See another perspective of the Iguassu Falls on this exciting tour. Fly on a “trike,” a motorized buggy with a paraglide. Set sail with your professional guide, and enjoy aerial views of the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the Parana River, and the lush subtropical region surrounding the Iguassu Falls. The flight lasts 10-30 minutes, depending on how long you would like to fly.
View all Iguassu Falls Tours.
Walk through the Rocinha Favela, one of the largest slums in South America, and learn about how these friendly cariocas, residents of Rio de Janeiro, live. Your guide will be with you at all times to introduce you to the community. You can help the community financially by purchasing handicrafts and goods at the open-air market.
Since the 1970s, many poor cariocas have lived in these favelas. Interestingly enough, the unemployment rate in the favelas is close to zero – most are of the working class but are struggling to keep up with rising rent prices and the high cost of transportation to and from their jobs.
View all Rio de Janeiro Tours.
Lencois Maranhenses Tour
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located on the northern coast of Brazil. This national park is home to unique landscapes of bright white sand dunes interspersed with blue-green lagoons. Starting in Barreirinhas, the town just inland from the coast, your guide will take you on the walking paths through the park or take you on a short 4×4 excursion to the trailhead. Explore the dunes and go swimming in the freshwater lagoons of Lagoa Bonita, Lagoa Azul, and Lagoa Paraiso.
Insider’s Tip: This tour would be even greater if you make time to go on along the beaches to Fortaleza. There are some really nice places on the way. One is the delta of the Parnaiba River, and the other is the little village of Jericoacoara.
View all Brazil Tours that include Lençóis Maranhenses.
Poco Encantado & Poco Azul, Chapada Diamantina
In the morning, head out from your hotel in Lençois for a day of exploration around Chapada Diamantina. The first stop is at the diamond mining ghost town Igatu, where you can look around at the abandoned shacks and see where diamonds were extracted and shipped to the Old World. Continue to Poco Encantado and the Poco Azul in Chapada Diamantina National Park. The Poco Azul (the Blue Cave) and the Poco Encantado (The Enchanted Cave) are subterranean caves with crystal clear waters. From April to August, a shaft of sunlight penetrates the caves and the waters disperse the light into a rainbow of colors. Lunch at Poco Encantado and dinner in Lençois are included.
Visit the underground caves on the Rhythm & Diamonds Tour.
Nobres Snorkeling Tour in the Pantanal
Nobres is a city in Mato Grosso, about 140 km (87 mi) from Cuiabá, which is the jumping off point for tours to the Pantanal wetlands. Nobres is known for its clear waters, perfect for snorkeling, as well as its limestone caves. Many tourists travel to Bonito for snorkeling in the Pantanal, but Nobres offers much better snorkeling and swimming, and its is much less visited. Go wildlife watching, looking for macaws, tapirs, giant anteaters, and caiman as well.
Insider’s Tip: if you go to Nobres, you really should include a tour of the Pantanal and/or the Chapada dos Guimarães, all around Cuiabá.
View all Pantanal Tours.
Quilombo dos Palmares, Maceio
Visit a quilombo, a community of escaped slaves who hid out during the colonial era. The Quilombo dos Palmares was the largest of these communities, and it existed from 1605 to 1694 as an independent republic. Today it is a community that commemorates African resistance to slavery. Transfers to and from Maceio, plus lunch, are included.
Interested in any of these 10 unique Brazil tours? We can add any of these tours to our Brazil Travel Packages. Just let us know where you would like to travel in Brazil, and we’ll make it happen!
Download a Brazil Travel Guide!10 Unique Brazil Tours - From Snorkeling in Nobres to Desert Beaches by Kaitlin McMichael