Tourism in Brazil: 20 Reasons to Visit

Tourism in Brazil is a massive industry that has been growing steadily for the past 20 years. The country’s gorgeous beaches, impressive biodiversity, a rich variety of cultures, Carnaval festivals, and much more are responsible for attracting millions of tourists each year.

As is the case with just about every tourist destination in the world, the industry in Brazil was heavily affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and tourism numbers actually peaked in 2018 with some 6.6 million foreign tourist arrivals. Brazil is poised for a rebound, however, as the first four months of 2022 saw a 60% increase in foreign tourist arrivals over the previous year.

The ten countries with the most visitors traveling to Brazil in 2020 were: Argentina, the United States, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, France, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Tourism in Brazil FAQs

When is the best time to visit Brazil?

The best time to visit Brazil depends on the region of the country you’ll travel to and what you want to do there. One of the most popular seasons to visit the country is between November and March, as temperatures are warm across the country. If you’re interested in kitesurfing, you’ll want to avoid March and April.

Since most of Brazil is located south of the equator, it’s good to remember that seasons in Brazil are the opposites of what the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing.

Is Brazil safe?

The level of safety for travelers in Brazil varies by region. It’s important to exercise normal safety precautions like avoiding unlit areas alone at night and remaining aware of your surroundings. The US Department of State keeps an updated travel notice for Brazil with more specific information.

What are the best beaches in Brazil?

Brazil has so many astonishing beaches that choosing the best is no easy task. The most famous beach in Brazil is Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. Other incredible beaches in Brazil include Ipanema, Florianopolis, Jericoacoara, and Praia do Espelho.

What language do they speak in Brazil?

The official languages of Brazil are Portuguese and Brazilian Sign Language. There are also numerous minority and indigenous languages spoken in the country, and many people in Brazil can understand spoken Spanish.

20 Reasons Why You Should Visit Brazil

1. Río de Janeiro

The statue of Christ the Redeemer towers over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro is a city unlike any other, and it’s no wonder why it’s the most visited city by foreign tourists in Brazil. One of the country’s most iconic landmarks, the Christ the Redeemer Statue, is located here, as are several incredible beaches and a wide range of amenities.

Sugarloaf mountain offers incredible views of the city and the bay, and Copacabana Beach is one of the most famous in the world.

2. Diving in the Bonito River

Two people with snorkel gear dive in the Bonito River in Brazil.

Just south of the Pantanal Wetlands in Mato Grosso do Sul, one of Brazil’s 26 states, flows the Bonito River through its caves. The river is amazingly clear thanks to the abundant presence of limestone.

Diving is a popular activity in the river near the town of Bonito, thanks to the river’s immaculate visibility and impressive flora and fauna. Divers can expect to see many exotic species, including anacondas.

3. Dance

Two people practice Capoeira at sunset in Brazil.

Music and dance are two important parts of Brazilian culture, and the country is home to many different kinds. Anyone who is interested in dance will have plenty to learn about and experience in Brazil. One of the most famous and unique aspects of Brazilian culture is Capoeira, a combination of dance, music, and Brazilian martial arts.

Other styles of dance in Brazil include Samba, Carimbo, Forro, Coco, and Jongo.

4. The Blue Lake Grotto

Crystal clear blue waters reflect stalactites in Blue Lake Grotto in Brazil.

The Blue Lake Grotto, Gruta do Lago Azul in Portuguese, is an impressive underground lake in Bonito, Brazil. The lake gets its name for the incredible blue color of the water that becomes downright magical when the sun’s rays hit it just right. There are also captivating stalactites to take in that make this place a popular tourist sport.

5. Iguazu Falls

A boat approaches Iguazu Falls.

Considered one of the greatest waterfalls in the world, Iguaza Falls forms part of the border between Argentina and Brazil and connect the Upper Iguazu River with the Lower Iguazu River. Tourists from all over the world come to see this famous waterfall; most of the falls are on the Argentinian side, but there are some fantastic views to be had from the Brazilian side.

Accessing the falls is most easily done by flying to Foz do Iguaçu Airport from any major Brazilian city. The falls are then a short drive away.

6. Jericoacoara

A wide stretch of white sand at Jericoacoara Beach.

If an unspoiled, remote-feeling beach is what you’re after, you may want to check out Brazil’s Jericoacoara Beach in Ceará. It’s been rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for its long stretches of sand, dunes, and lagoons.

There’s a fairly developed tourism infrastructure here, as it’s a popular spot among backpackers and locals, but it still hasn’t lost the feeling of being a small fishing village.

7. The Amazon

A parrot soars over the Amazon Rainforest in Amazonas, Brazil.

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest in the world, and it boasts almost unbelievable biodiversity. 60% of the forest is inside Brazil’s borders, and visiting national parks in the state of Amazonas is sure to provide some unforgettable experiences.

The capital of Amazonas is Manaus, which is in the middle of the rainforest and at the confluence of the Amazon and Black Rivers. This is a fantastic place to stay and use as a base for adventures in the rainforest and on the river.

8. Pantanal

Great Water Lilys float in Pantanal in Brazil.

Another natural attraction located in Mato Grosso do Sul is Pantanal, a region that includes the world’s largest tropical wetland. It also extends into the state of Mato Grosso, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

Pantanal includes a variety of stunning ecosystems in the world with very high numbers of plant and animal species. It has one of the largest and healthiest populations of jaguars on the planet and is home to millions of caimans.

9. Oscar Niemeyer Museum

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil.

Undoubtedly, one of the most well-known architects to come from Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer helped design the country’s capital of Brasília and was a leading figure in Modern architecture in Latin America.

Naturally, Niemeyer himself designed the museum, completing it when he was 95 years old. The museum focuses on the visual arts, architecture, and design. It is located in the city of Curitiba in the state of Paraná.

10. Carnaval

Man plays trumpet in a crowd of people during Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Carnaval is one of the largest festivals in Brazil and in the world. It’s celebrated for several days starting on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and takes place in cities all over Brazil. The cities with the grandest Carnaval festivals are Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, and Olinda.

While taking part in Carnaval celebrations in any of these cities will be an experience to remember, the Carnaval at Rio is considered to be the largest festival in the world. The two main aspects of this festival are the Sambodrome events — dance competitions in a huge amphitheater — and the street parades that take place all around the city.

11. Fernando de Noronha

A sandy beach is seen through the trees in  Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

The Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park is visited by thousands of tourists each year. Natural swimming pools and plenty of ecological trails make an enticing location for nature lovers. It’s also considered one of the best diving locations in the world.

This UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is also perfect for beach lovers, as it is home to several. It’s also a great spot to see sea turtles and dolphins.

12. Ilha Grande

People swim in the water at a beach on Ilha Grande, Brazil.

This is a hot spot for domestic and international tourists alike. Ilha Grande is an island just off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and is a great escape from the city and mainland. The island boasts white sandy beaches, forest trails, clear waters, and no cars.

It only takes about an hour to get to the island from Rio, and it’s not necessary to go with a guide. A popular weekend getaway, the island does get busy, but that doesn’t detract too much from its natural beauty.

13. São Paulo

People walk across a street in São Paulo, Brazil.

São Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil, and it’s like no other on Earth. The city is a major economic hub in Latin America and is one of the most diverse in Brazil. It has the largest Portuguese, Arab, Italian, and Japanese diasporas, and natives of over 200 different countries inhabit the city.

Excellent nightlife, a diverse group of cultures, and a variety of international events are all major tourist draws in São Paulo.

14. São Miguel das Missões

Aerial view of the Archaeological Site of São Miguel Arcanjo
Aerial view of the Archaeological Site of São Miguel Arcanjo

This is an interesting spot to visit in Brazil for the 17th-century Spanish Jesuit Ruins found here. They’ve been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the nearby museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of the site. The museum holds statues that were created by the missionaries that lived here and were placed throughout the region.

The ruins are located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and can be reached from Porto Alegre. There are a variety of tour options available in multiple languages.

15. Tiradentes

A street with cobblestones and colonial-style buildings overlooks the jungle in Tiradentes, Brazil.

The small town of Tiradentes is an ideal place for tourists looking to experience a laidback way of life and some beautiful colonial architecture and cobbled streets. The municipality is located in the state of Minas Gerais and became a city in 1718.

It’s off the well beaten tourist track in Brazil, which makes it a fantastic place to get away from the crowds and see a different side of the country.

16. Salvador

An aerial view of the beach in the Barra neighborhood of Salvador, Brazil.
Barra in Salvador, Brazil

Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia and is an important cultural city in the country. It served as the first capital of Brazil for over 200 years until 1763 and is the third largest city in Brazil today.

The historic center of Salvador is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the excellent examples of Rennaisance buildings it features. It’s also the center of Afro-Brazilian culture in the country and is even referred to as the “Black Mecca of Brazil.” Unique food, culture, and art are found in Salvador, making it a special place to visit.

17. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Almecegas I Waterfall in Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park.
Almecegas I Waterfall

This national park is in the state of Goias in Brazil, and it’s a fantastic location to visit for its natural beauty. There are a mind-blowing 300 waterfalls in this park and tons of trails that are perfect for trekking. It’s possible to visit the park with a guide or to go on a solo adventure.

Some of the most popular spots to visit in the park are Vale da Lua, accessible by a short hike and featuring natural swimming pools; Santa Barbara Waterfall, one of the best waterfalls in the park but requires the help of a guide; and Couros Falls, several falls and swimming pools located along the Couros River.

18. See Whales in Praia do Rosa

Sunrise at Praia do Rosa, Brazil
Sunrise at Praia do Rosa, Brazil

Praia do Rosa is one of the best places to see whales in Brazil. It’s a crescent-shaped bay located in the state of Santa Catarina in the southern part of the country and includes an outstanding beach as well as sand dunes.

While the weather is nice enough to enjoy a visit at any time of year, the best time to see whales is during the winter months from July to October.

19. The World’s Largest Cashew Tree

World's Largest Cashew Tree - Pirangi, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
World’s Largest Cashew Tree

For something a little bit different, visitors to Brazil can check out the Cashew of Pirangi, located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in the northeastern part of the country. It is the world’s largest cashew tree, taking up roughly two acres! That’s the size of 70 normal-sized cashew trees.

The actual age of the tree isn’t known, but it still produces plenty of fruits and nuts. It was entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 1994.

20. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfers at dusk in Brazil.

Brazil is an ideal spot to try out kite surfing. In fact, it’s one of the most popular places to do the sport. One of the reasons this is true is because the Atlantic coast of Brazil gets reliable wind for most of the year.

Most of the best kitesurfing spots in the country are in the northeast, but it’s possible to find wind and waves all along the coastline. Some of the best destinations are Jericoacoara, Barra Grande, Barra da Tijuca, and Icaraizinho.