Planning a Brazilian adventure all for yourself? In addition to the big cities, like Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, take advantage of the freedom of solo travel and get to know its more local side. From beach towns and islands to vibrant market towns and the Brazilian rainforest, incorporate these local experiences into your itinerary and it will be one Brazilian adventure you won’t forget.
Sitting in the Bahia State, in eastern Brazil, Salvador is one of the country’s most colorful cities. When you go, see the city’s color firsthand at Modelo Market, where you can shop for food, handicrafts and other local products that reflect the diverse cultures of the region: Bahia’s unique combination of African, European and indigenous Brazilian inhabitants. After the market, head to the Lighthouse and the Barra neighbourhood, where you can wander through the pages of Salvador’s colonial history in the preserved streets of Pelourinho.
Also located in the Bahia State, Itacaré is best known for its beaches, views and rural landscapes. Wake up early, when the tide is low, and walk along the Tiririca, Resende, Costa and Ribeira beaches; or take the opposite route and hike the 40-minute trail through Brazil’s part of the Atlantic Rainforest. At the end of the hike, you’ll be able to access the private Prainha Beach (heralded as one of the country’s most beautiful beaches). If you crave something more lively, watch live capoeira, a mix of martial arts and dance that has become popular in Brazil, on far-off Concha Beach. From Itacaré, you can even drive or hop on a bus to experience a part of Brazil that’s even more local, like the extremely wild beaches and landscapes of rural Itacarezinho, Havaizinho, Engenhoca and Jeribucaçu—making it one Brazilian adventure, indeed.
Head to Northeastern Brazil, to the small town of Porto de Galinhas, and jump in the water. It’s surrounded by beaches and natural pools. If you have an underwater camera, now would be the time to bring it out! You can dive into the pools and take stunning pictures of its colorful coral, fish, octopus and lobster, and come up for air only to try a local dish: fresh-caught fish wrapped in a banana leaf.
The island of Florianopolis is nothing if not serene. Once a local fishing village, today, that title is reserved for Costa da Lagoa, a hidden enclave on the island where the residents still practice ancient fishing techniques. Only accessible by boat, or more popularly, a 1.5-hour hike, getting to Costa da Lagoa means walking along Conceicao Lake, past towering green mountains and a small part of the lush Atlantic Forest. Arriving is an experience, too; you’ll get to see colorful fishing boats, delicately bobbing in the blue water, surrounded by postcard-perfect landscapes that photos just don’t do justice.