The 5 most beautiful national parks of Brazil

Iguaçu Falls National Park Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to some of the world’s most buzzling cities. The Portuguese heritage and African influences make this country stand out from the rest of South America. Brazil is colorful and full of energy. That goes for the population and its nature!

Nature lovers can indulge in Brazil. It is home to the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Amazon; the largest wetland in the world, known as the Pantanal; and other exceptional natural phenomena such as the Savana Tablelands in Chapada dos Guimaraes, the gorgeous canyons of Chapada Diamantina, and the mighty Iguaçu Falls.

When going on a trip to Brazil, the lesser known (but oh so gorgeous) interior of the country should not be missed! From araras, toucans and jaguars, to brilliant blue lagoons and waterfalls, we encourage you to escape from the chaos of the busy coastal cities and discover these five Brazilian natural wonders!

1. Searching for wildlife in The Pantanal

The Pantanal is the largest wetland and one of the largest game reserves in the world. The beautiful marsh area extends over Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. The abundance and diversity of wildlife makes this the perfect place to go on a Brazilian safari. Safaris in the Pantanal are often compared to the best safaris in Africa. Just like Africa, Brazil has its own Big Five: the Brazilian Lowland Tapir, Giant Anteater, Maned Wolf, Giant River Otter and Jaguar. A visit to the Pantanal should definitely not be missed during your journey through Brazil!

What to do:

it basically depends on the activities that are offered by the Fazenda in which you are staying but in general the Pantanal can be explored by motorboat, kayak, on foot by hiking through the forests, by horse while exploring the pampa and of course by truck for an overland safari. Some accommodations offer the opportunity to go piraña fishing.

How to get there:

a distinction is made between the Northern and the Southern Pantanal. In the North (point of access: Cuiaba) you have a good chance of spotting the jaguar (during the right season of course). You can easily combine the Northern Pantanal with the Chapada dos Guimarães tabelmountain area. The Southern Pantanal (access point: Campo Grande) offers a wider choice of lodges and is easily combined with a tour to the caves and lagoons of Bonito.

Read: Starting your trip in Rio de Janeiro? Check out the best viewpoints over Rio’s skyline!

2. Chasing waterfalls in Chapada dos Guimarães

Situated in the heart of Brazil, Chapada dos Guimarães offers the visitor a variety of wildlife and landscapes. The red sandstone cliffs at the edge of the plateau give the landscape its characteristic appearance with hills, canyons, caves and waterfalls. The park is part of the World Heritage by UNESCO.

What to do:

the Véu de Noiva (Bridal Veil) waterfall is the Chapada do Guimarães greeting card, where the Red-and-Green Macaw nests. The wonderful Cidade de Pedras (Stone City) is one of the points that best characterizes Chapada dos Guimarães. Located within the National Park at the top the region of Vale do Rio Claro, is the best place to observe the great sandstone cliffs and the gigantic hills. If you love hiking, this place is definitely worth your visit! One of the most beautiful vistas of the chapada and nearby Pantanal can be enjoyed from the centro geodésico, the geographical centre of the Latin American continent.

How to get there:

you can visit Chapada dos Guimarães from Cuiaba or combine with a visit of the Northern Pantanal. You can discover its surroundings on your own, the roads are in excellent condition, or get a transfer from the airport to the town Chapada dos Guimarães. If you wish to enter the park , you need to be accompanied by a local guide. In the center of the town you can hop inside one of the several tour agencies that organize daily trips.


Mountains that rise steeply out of the green jungle below, caves as big as cities and filled with the bluest water you have ever seen and waterfalls waiting to be dived into after you conquered the Brazilian heat to find them. Chapada Diamantina is a phenomenal national park in the heart of the State of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil. If you’re looking for something different, this is the place to go!

What to do:

the national park is a hiker’s paradise. Day walks or multi-day treks through the gorgeous valleys will be the highlight of your trip to Brazil! In the town of Lençois, many tour agencies are available to offer guided tours. If you’re in the market of an english speaking guide, you may want to check a few days in advance if there is one available or you may end up with a portuguese speaking guide.

How to get there:

the national park is located about 300 km (186 miles) west of Salvador da Bahia. From Salvador da Bahia you can get a bus that takes you in about 7 hours to Lençois. For your return trip, you can catch the same bus back. You can book your tickets here.The roads to Lençois are in good condition so you could drive there if you wish to. Chapada Diamantina deserves a few days for you to really explore the area so we would recomend to spend at least 2 nights.

Read: That time we hiked one of South-Africa’s most spectacular gorges

4. Getting drenched by the roaring Cataratas do Iguaçu

On the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil lie 270 waterfalls that make up the Iguaçu Falls. These mesmerizing falls are as picturesque as it gets! No wonder they were voted onto the new list of 7 Wonders of Nature! Whether you see them from the walking trails, from one of the speedboats or from the sky, these falls will never stop overwhelming you.

What to do:

the park can be visited from the Brazilian side for a picture perfect panorama view over the falls. You can also visit the Argentinian side in order to get up and close with the falls. Both sides are equipped with hiking trails so you can get that perfect photo from any angle you like. If you’re lokking for an up and close experince, you can hop in one of the speedboats that take you up to the Garganta del Diabblo and get seriously drenched. Other activites in the neibourhood envolve kayaking in the calmer waters of the river below the falls, visit nearby Parque das Aves (bird park) or hop over to Paraguay to visit the Itaipu Dam.

How to get there:

many hotels offer free shuttle services from and to Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport. Most hotels are situated quite close to the entrance of the Brazilian side of the falls so you could choose to go there on foot. Other options are public transport or a taxi. You can visit the Argentinian side of the falls on your own quite easily, however, try to schedule a full day for the Argentinian side in your itinerary as the border crossing can take up some time and doing both sides in one day can be quite challenging without taking an orginzed tour.

Read: Need your waterfalls fix? Check out the Victoria Falls in Africa!

5. Finding hidden beaches on Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande, famous for its jaw-dropping gorgeous beaches, is located 150 kilometres south of Rio de Janeiro, on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Imagine secluded white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, friendly fishingmen, thatched beach bar and the green hills. Heaven right? Well, Ilha Grande sure comes close!

What to do:

You’ll probably wake up in the cute little village of Vila do Abraão, and when you do, open the doors of your balcony and look out over an amzing blue glittering sea. There are several ways to explore the island. You can hire a boat to explore the 106 beaches on the island or you could discover the island and its treasures on your own two feet. One of the most beautiful beaches on Ilha Grande is Praia Lopes Mendes. If your feet are meant to roam, you could hike all the way up to the Pico do Papagaio for incredible 360° views over Ilha Granda or hike your way to Dois Rios and its abandoned prison, where you have a pretty good chance to get an entire beach all to yourself!

How to get there:

A ferry from Mangaratiba or Angra dos Reis will drop you off at the only significant settlement on the island, Vila do Abraão. On the island itself, you get aroand on foot or by boat.

Have you one of these National Parks in Brazil?

Which one did you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below!

    1. Hi Peter, glad you like the info we provide!
      You’ll have a blast in Brazil, for sure. It’s been one of the destinations that was the hardest for us to create an itinerary for; there is soooo much to do!
      Enjoy your trip and let us know what you liked most about it when you get back 😉

      Hugs, Marlo & Kristof


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