If you think that Brazil consists only of sultry white sand beaches and palm trees, think again! Home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, come to Brazil and you’ll also discover majestic mountains, dense Amazonian jungles, rain forests, rivers, waterfalls, sand dunes, swamp lands and more. After all, it’s a country so large and diverse that it defies generalizations.

Narrowing down the list of Brazil’s most scenic spots is clearly an impossible task. Nonetheless, whether you are in search of jaw-dropping views, perfect waves, pristine waterfalls, surreal sand dunes, or wide open spaces, your eyes will have a feast as you discover these 5 astonishing Brazilian landscapes, all worthy of being bumped to the top of your travel bucket list.

Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão
Located in the North East of Brazil in a remote coastal region near the small, rustic fishing villages of Atins and Jericoacoara, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is guaranteed to be one of the most spectacular natural landscapes you’ll ever see. What makes it so surreal and unique is that it looks like a desert — but it’s isn’t! Magnificent white sweeping sand dunes that stretch on as far as the eye can see, interspersed with crystal-clear blue, green and black fresh water basins created by rainfall carried over from the Amazon River and inland waterways. It’s truly one of nature’s wonders. The best bet is to explore the park on foot, making your way up and down the dunes, from one pool to the next while taking refreshing dips in the water. You will literally think you are out of this world!

Morro do Pai Incio at Chapada Diamantina National Park in Northeast Brazil.

Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
If you are looking for an awe-inspiring dramatic landscape, the Chapada Diamantina National Park in eastern Brazil will truly astound you. It’s brimful of natural delights, such as the 350m Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Waterfall), which is so high that the water vaporizes before it hits the ground; the Devil’s Pool, with its black water; and the vast sandstone-and-quartz Gruta do Lapão (Lapão Grotto). There are deep canyons, brilliant blue lakes, red rock plateaus, and an endless network of trails that wind their way in and around these natural wonders. The Chapada’s geological history, filled with varied and intense natural transformations that evolved over thousands of years, resulted in one of the most ravishing and awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet.

Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul
Cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, bottomless grottos, a myriad of stalactite-covered caves, an abundance of flora and fauna, hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish: Welcome to Bonito! Situated in the southeast region of Mato Grosso do Sul, the landscape is a combination of tropical savannah and Atlantic rainforest. Bonito’s waterfalls are unique in that they are relatively small and the flux of water is constantly changing, thus the plants that grow on them give the illusion that the waterfalls are alive. The Blue Lagoon Grotto, with its crystalline lake that turns blue due to light refraction, is world renown and has served as location for films and soap operas. This prize-winning eco-tourism hub is a little piece of heaven on earth, and only seeing is believing!
Photo: Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul – Interior of the Anhumas Grotto illuminated by sun rays through a natural light shaft By Caio Vilela,_Bonito,_MS.JPG

Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro
Looming like a giant granite sentinel standing guard over Rio’s south zone, Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Hill) is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. For those of you with a more adventurous streak, a climb to its 533m above sea level peak will prove rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. The 1.5km trail, which begins in the Comunidade Vidigal and ends at the top of the higher of the two brothers, is a relatively easy 50 minute hike. Once at the summit, relax and smile down upon the Cidade Maravilhosa while basking in the breathtaking panoramic view that sweeps the entire length of Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana beaches, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Comunidade Rocinha and neighboring São Conrado. The vista is so inspiring, famed Brazilian singer Chico Buarque immortalized the peak in his song “Morro Dois Irmãos.”

Praia do Rosa, Santa Catarina
A mecca for surfers and nature lovers alike, Praia do Rosa lies 90 km from Florianópolis, or just “Floripa” to the locals. Discovered back in the 70s by surfers in search of that perfect wave far from the maddening crowds, “Rosa” is considered one of the most gorgeous, untouched beaches on Brazil’s coastline. Walks through the surrounding mountains, abundant with colorful flora, lead to completely deserted paradisiacal beaches accessible only by foot. Shrimp fishing in the Ibirapuera lagoon is a major attraction during the full moon and the perfect place to admire the varied species of birds. You might even spot whales breaching from mid July through the end of October. Praia do Rosa is a stunningly beautiful beach to visit any time of the year.

And remember: After a day of hiking and exploring, there’s nothing more relaxing than slipping on a pair of Havaianas and enjoying an estupidamente gelada!

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