Brazil’s Best Kept Secrets: 5 Incredible Destinations You’ve Never Heard Of

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The largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world, Brazil is a dream destination for travelers seeking wild natural beauty, rich culture, and unusual journeys.

Thanks to its incredible size, there are many awe-inspiring places that are overlooked by the vast majority of travelers, in favor of more well-known and easier to reach locations.

The few intrepid travelers who venture to these off-the-beaten-path destinations in Brazil will be rewarded with breathtaking landscapes, authentic experiences and unforgettable adventures.

1. Itacaré, Bahia

Nestled between the rainforest and the sea on the northern coast of Bahia, Itacaré is one of Brazil’s best kept secrets.

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Itacaré has long been considered a sacred place, where travelers come to awaken their senses and engage their spiritual side through yoga, meditation, and traditional healing. Shamans help eager visitors connect with nature and the sacred land through ayahuasca, temescal (sweat lodges), aromatherapy, and music.

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This region of Brazil is often referred to as the “cacau coast,” named for the traditional cocoa plantations that dot the landscape. Learn how cocoa beans are cultivated, attend hands-on culinary workshops, or engage in a long list of exotic outdoor activities: surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and more.

For a one-of-a-kind local experience, book a stay at beautiful Fazenda Caranha.

Project Kaif is currently planning trips to Itacaré - for more information about our Itacaré itineraries and other off-the-beaten-path trips to Brazil, contact us here.

2. Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão

Imagine a vast desert of pure white sand dunes stretching on as far as the eye can see, with crystal clear lagoons scattered among the hills. Welcome to Lençóis Maranhenses!

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This national park located in northeastern Brazil is known for its unique blue-green rainwater pools, which form between the valleys of the massive white sand dunes. Visitors can swim in the lagoons, sunbathe, and admire the crystal-clear water.

Fly into São Luís, the capital of Maranhão, then hop into a 4x4 vehicle and head for the breathtaking dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses. Trek across the dunes, learn about the unique ecosystems, and be dazzled by the beauty of this remote and unusual landscape.

3. Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul

Craving a bit of European flair during your South American adventure? Plan a visit to the mountain resort town of Gramado, located in Brazil’s southernmost state.

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Heavily influenced by 19th-century German settlers, Gramado appears to have jumped out of the pages of a Bavarian fairytale. Charming alpine chalets, cozy inns, colorful wildflowers, and traditional chocolatiers line the streets of this gorgeous mountain town.

Enjoy authentic Bavarian cuisine, hike through the scenic Serra Gaúcha mountains, and explore the forest trails near beautiful Lago Negro. Saint Andrews Hotel Gramado, which overlooks the breathtaking Quilombo Valley, is an elegant and intimate choice of accommodation.

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4. Belém, Pará

The largest city in the state of Pará, Belém is a modern and lively city that is often used as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest.

Thanks to its strategic location near the Amazon, Belém has become a major gastronomy hub of Brazil - moreso even than well-known favorites like Belo Horizonte and São Paulo. An endless supply of exotic herbs, spices, fruits, fish, and other ingredients pour into Belém from the Amazon, and the cuisine is rich in indigenous influence.

Taste regional dishes like tacacá (an intoxicating stew made with shrimp, wild manioc broth and jambi leaves) and pato no tucupi (similar to tacacá, but made with duck and served with rice and pepper). Or, visit the open-air market Ver-o-Peso and shop for handmade crafts and fresh Amazonian fruits like açai.

5. Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha - a volcanic archipelago of 21 islands located 220 miles off the northeastern shores of Brazil - is the remote tropical paradise you’ve always dreamed of.

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Jagged coastlines, uninhabited beaches, well-preserved ecosystems, turquoise seas and diverse marine life are among the many benefits of reaching this far-flung chain of islands.

Enjoy world-renowned snorkeling and scuba diving in the warm, clear waters alongside more than 200 species of tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and dolphins. Swim, sunbathe, hike, and explore tiny cobblestoned villages.

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Feel like the king or queen of your own island paradise at Pousada Maravilha, a boutique hotel featuring five private bungalows and three apartments - all ocean-facing with incredible views.

Having lived in Brazil herself, Project Kaif founder Olga has carefully vetted these and other hidden destinations in Brazil. Get in touch here to start planning your own off-the-beaten-path Brazilian adventure