Where to Find Hidden Brazil

Explore Brazil’s rich culture, the islands most travelers miss, the beachside lunch shacks, and magnificent lush countryside.

Av. Vereador Benedito Adelino, 3185 - Praia Grande, Angra dos Reis - RJ, 23900-000, Brazil
Two hours from Rio de Janeiro, off the coast of Angra Dos Reis, Ilha Grande makes for a spacious retreat for two or an epic group vacation. The private island’s six-bedroom house comes with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, plus a staff ready to whip up caipirinhas at all hours of the day.
Chapada Diamantina, Morro do Chapéu - State of Bahia, 44850-000, Brazil
If you ever find yourself in Lencois, Brazil, make your way about 40 miles west for one spectacular view. Located in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Pai Inacio Hill is just off BR-242 and can easily be seen from the road. The striking white stone and the majestic appearance of this natural rock formation is compelling enough to make anyone want to stop and explore. It is a relatively easy 20 minute hike to the summit, and once you arrive you will see that it is worth every step. Standing atop Pai Inacio, with the sun and wind greeting your face, you will bear witness to the valley that unfolds below you. It appears to go on forever, and that is about how long you will want to stay and take in the awe-inspiring view.
At one time venturing away from major cities into unguarded countryside terrain would have been a risk not worth taking. Nowadays though improvements in security has opened up many natural reserves—Rio Claro being one of the finest. A three hour drive from Medellin will take you to this secluded canyon where extreme sports are the definite highlight. As well as hiking and zip lining, visitors can tackle the gushing waters in a raft or kayak. One activity not to miss is venturing through the eerie, animal laden depths of the caves. Tours require people to have good stamina and swimming abilities and certain parts will be navigated by the aid of a flashlight. Those wanting to stay overnight can snuggle up in the wooden rooms overlooking the crystal-clear river.
Praça Benedito Calixto - Pinheiros, São Paulo - SP, 05413, Brazil
Anyone who has been to Brazil knows that the country has fantastic open-air markets, known as feiras in Portuguese. They often feature a combination of handicrafts, antiques, live music, dancing, and street food. The market on Saturdays at Praça Benedito Calixto in São Paulo is no exception, but this one is almost unknown to tourists. Older Paulistanos (as Sao Paulo residents are called) sell beautiful antiques that reflect the city’s cultural ties to Europe. Artisans sell colorful woven clothing, handmade leather shoes, jewelry made from açaí seeds, baskets and mobiles made from recycled magazines, and much more. In the center of the market is a square of food and drink vendors, selling food from Northeastern Brazil, dried fruits, coconut water, and other typical Brazilian street food. In the early afternoon, live chorinho music begins and the square soon fills with people dancing. This outdoor market is much more than a place for people to shop—it’s a place for people to relax and have fun. The market runs every Saturday 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. The streets surrounding the market have many good restaurants, and the neighboring street of Teodoro Sampaio is known for its shops selling traditional Brazilian musical instruments. There are parking garages nearby; the market can also be reached by bus or by subway (Clinicas station).
Praça São João Batista, 298 - Quadrado, Porto Seguro - BA, 45818-000, Brazil
The beach may be the magnet that draws crowds to Trancoso but its the Quadrado that is the heart of the town. The town square sits atop a hilltop offering stunning views of the mangrove forest and sea below. The 1,050-feet-long green park is anchored by the town’s iconic white church and bordered by 50 or so Crayola-colored old fisherman houses. During the day most of the homes stay shuttered due to the heat. But by 5pm, particularly during the peak summer season, they open their doors to reveal chic boutiques and art galleries, restaurants, and pousadas like Uxua and El Gordo. At sunset wild horses graze in the square sometimes interrupt the local kids’ soccer game. The square is filled with crowds after sunset, and artists and artisans come out to sells their goods while musicians come to play music and capoiera dancers come entertain passersby.
Gruta da Pratinha near Chapada Diamantina National Park is simply beautiful. The crystal clear waters allow you to see quite a bit of the rock formations, and small fish that inhabit the grotto but if caves don’t strike your fancy you can always take a dip in the attached pool ans simply relax (pictured here). The grotto is just northwest of the Chapada Diamantina National Parkand can be reached on Route 122. Most trek organizers leaving from Lencois will visit the Gruta da Pratinha.
Baia dos Porcos, Fernando de Noronha - PE, 53990-000, Brazil
Baia dos Porcos is a small rocky cove that is only accessible by trail from Cacimba do Padre. Perch on the black rocks in the turquoise water for close-up views of the Morros Dois Irmãos, or “Two Brothers Hills.” The hills are also known as “Fafá de Belém,” after a Brazilian singer with large breasts. On the Cacimba side, play (or surf) in the powerful waves breaking off the rock formations and enjoy the spray as they crash on the beach.
The lush rocky cliffs cradling Baia do Sancho are a natural obstacle for humans to conquer before enjoying the pristine beach below. The initial leisurely stroll along a dirt trail with breathtaking overlooks is deceiving; it abruptly ends with a ladder that drops into a dark, narrow, cave-like crevasse. Shimmying down between the damp rocks is worth the reward of being one of a few, if not the only one, to reach the sand and take in the panorama of emerald forests and turquoise waters. Take a closer look at the clusters of shiny black reef rock to find bright red patterned crabs clinging on as the white surf washes over them with the tide. Take an even closer look and swim to the right flank to snorkel with a variety of species of sea turtles, sharks, rays, and fish. Get there early (9–10 a.m.) for a more private experience before the guided snorkel groups and boat tours start to arrive. Don’t forget your Fernando De Noronha Marine Park pass for access to this protected area.
Fernando de Noronha - State of Pernambuco, Brazil
This 21-island archipelago off the northeast coast of Brazil is a dream destination for Brazilians and international visitors alike—especially surfers, who find reef and point breaks as well as hard-hitting beach breaks. From December to March, the wind blows every day, ensuring constant waves that come in bigger than just about anywhere else in the country.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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