Visiting Rio 2016? 5 amazing places to extend your Olympic stay


Are you planning a visit to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics? Thinking of extending your stay but not sure where to go? The sheer size of Brazil can make it overwhelming to pick one or two places to extend your stay, but I’m here to help with 5 places that top my list.

1. Salvador, Bahia

Salvador, Bahia
One of my all-time favourite places in Brazil and somewhere I’d love to return to. Vibrant, musical, vital heart of Bahia. By night it may be a little sketchy, but by day the jewel-box colours of the Pelourinho lure you in. Don’t miss the chance to hear some live samba, watch capoeira, visit some amazing churches and soak up the history and culture of lively Salvador.

2. Itacare, Bahia

Itacare surfers
Discover beautiful, semi-deserted coves where tiny streams and small waterfalls cascade directly onto the beach. Surrounded by rainforest, a lone snack stall sells fresh acaraje and tapioca pancakes. One by one surfers arrive to ride some of the best waves in Brazil.

Itacare is one of those places that’s so relaxed you don’t want to leave. Follow beautiful rainforest trails, canoe along little-explored rivers and relax in the bars and cafes. (Like a lot of beach towns Itacare is busier during the school holidays)

3. Chapada dos Guimaraes, Mato Grosso


Discover the spectacular mountain scenery in this lesser-known part of Brazil, watch the sunset over the red rocks or go ziplining. A popular weekend escape from the baking heat of Cuiaba which is an hour away.

4. Manaus + Mamiraua reserve, Tefe, Amazonas

Manaus opera house

Manaus is an intriguing jungle metropolis, hot and very sticky due to the 90%+ humidity it swelters under for most of the year. Refresh yourself with a delicious local fruit juice or coconut, take in the opera house and visit the Meeting of the Waters where two rivers, one black, one toffee-coloured, flow alongside each other, not mixing, for 6km.

The Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve near Tefe  remains one of my happiest memories of Brazil.

‘Tefe looks pretty relaxed after Manaus, or maybe it’s just the illusion of all the boats tied up in the afternoon sunshine. In any  case we don’t really get time to find out as we’re sped away with eight others in a speedboat towards the isolated Mamiraua reserve. The hour and a half ride is amazing as we head further into the jungle. Finally you get a sense of the huge expanses of land where only a few small communities exist. It’s difficult to quite comprehend that there is no bigger town just over the horizon.’

Boat rides and guided walks (in the dry season) allow you to spot parrots, toucans, uakari monkeys and if you’re lucky, sloths, plus many more. Consistently mentioned as one of the best jungle lodges in Brazil for its environmental programme working with local villages but don’t expect 5 star luxury!
5.Iguassu Falls, Parana


Iguacu/Iguassu Falls is truly one of the wonders of the world, a spectacular series of falls that build towards the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo). If you only have time to visit one side I would actually pick the Argentinian side which has more falls and more trails, but aim to spend two days here so you can get up close to the Devil’s Throat on the Brazilian side.

Have you been to Brazil? Any favourite destinations you’d like to share?


I’m linking this post up with a new travel blog hop, #wanderfulwednesday. Find the hosts of this at the sites below and join in every Wednesday at 8am GMT. 

Marcella :

Lauren :

Van :

Isabel :

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    Great recommendations! The stay to Brazil can also be extended to places like Ilha Grande and Parati (or Buzios and Arraial do Cabo). They are close to Rio but oh, so different.

    1. Claire says:

      Thanks Ruth. I have heard great things about those places too!

  2. I have yet to visit Brazil, and when I do I’ll take this list into consideration!

  3. I haven’t been to Brazil but Manaus sounds so interesting! Not sure how I would cope with the climate but those waterfalls definitely seem to be worth it!

    1. Claire says:

      It’s definitely a different climate to Tromso!

  4. Great post! I spent some time in Brazil in 2010 and loved both Manaus and Iguazu, they are amazing! I am so excited for the Olympics, I think it’ll be here before we know it!!

  5. SO I’m not exactly planning on going to see the Olympics, but I would LOVE to get over to Brazil before leaving South America! These are awesome suggestions as I was just talking to a friend about how I want to see more of Brazil than just Rio!! But I didn’t know where to start! Bookmarking this post :D Thanks for sharing and linking up with #WanderfulWednesday

    1. Claire says:

      Brazil is incredible, definitely worth a visit!

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