Mirror, mirror on the wall, which lake is the most beautiful in the world? Well,…
As a motorcycle traveler, “a place” for me is not so much a city or a village, but a region through which I travel.
I rarely have a set route plan when I travel, just a general idea of where to go and what places to visit along the way.
Most of the time, I get tons of information about interesting things or places to see along the way from locals, and that’s how you come across some of the most amazing places.
Since moving to Brazil two years ago, I’ve traveled tens of thousands of kilometers across the country, mainly in the southeast but also parts of the south and northeast, to find interesting routes for my motorcycle tour company. During the many days on the road, on which I traveled as much as possible on small back roads instead of the big highways, I saw many different regions in Brazil.
The extravagance of Rio de Janeiro or „Gringo Paradise” Búzios, the mountains and lush coastal forests of the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, pristine beaches, tropical islands, the banana, pine and coffee plantations in Espirito Santo, the countless waterfalls that Chada Diamantina gorges in the interior of Bahia …
Brazil has so much to offer if you just take the less traveled road.
Not only does using a motorcycle to travel has the most fun way to marvel in a country like Brazil, it also has a number of benefits. You are in control, you always have a front row seat, you are one with the surrounding landscape and thanks to the fact that you HAVE to stop every 150-200 km to take gasoline, to eat, to go to the bathroom etc. You get to know places and people that are still clean or not “contaminated” by tourism.
At almost every gas station, people will ask where you are from, where to go, and give you tips on where to go or whether to avoid it. This way you will learn very quickly that while Brazil is sometimes classified as a dangerous place, it is no more dangerous than your average European country.
The people are incredibly friendly and hospitable and always ready to help wherever they can. They offer you accommodation or invite you to share their food with them.
So here is one Selection of five places or regions in Brazil that I would recommend to everyone Visit this great country. That’s just the way it is, of course The tip of the eisberg…
Best regions in Brazil for motorcycling
1. Serra da Mantiqueira – Itatiaia National Park
The Itatiaia National Park in the Serra da Mantiqueira is a beautiful mountain region with lush forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, alpine meadows and the primary and secondary Atlantic rainforest in southeastern Brazil.
Itatiaia is located about 200 km west of Rio de Janeiro on the border of the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais and was the first Brazilian national park, which was created in 1937 by President Getúlio Vargas. This 300 km² large park is from the much larger „Serra da Mantiqueira Environmental Protection Area”, which is almost 4,800 km² and is considered the green lung of southeast Brazil.
The park and the surrounding Serra da Mantiqueira are home to the third highest mountain in Brazil (Pico das Agulhas Negras – 2878 m) and are a popular destination for backpackers, trekkers and climbers, but also for mountain bikers. With around 250 different bird species, it’s no surprise that bird watchers are also drawn to this beautiful park.
For me as a motorcyclist, it’s about riding on dirt roads that are scattered across the Serra da Mantiqueira, connecting small picturesque villages like Visconde de Maua, Maromba or Pedra Selada, many of which see freezing temperatures and even snow in the winter months ( July to September).
A two-hour hike to Pedra Selada, a 1700 m high rock formation, rewards you with a great view of the surroundings.
2. Costa Verde – Serra da Bocaina
The „Costa Verde” (green coast) is a 300 km long stretch of coast between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo from Sepetiba to São Sebastiõ and offers all kinds of activities for active and less active visitors.
This region is in Brazil A real paradise for lovers of ecotourism and extreme sports.
If you take the BR101 (also known locally as „Rio – Santos”) along the coast towards São Paulo, you will have the most beautiful views of the Atlantic and the many islands while having the Serra do Mar ( a 1500 km long mountain range that stretches from Espirito Santo to the Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil) on your right.
In some places the mountains almost reach the ocean. Many people consider this to be the most scenic route in Brazil.
There are many natural and cultural treasures to discover over the 300 km. You can hop on a boat at Angra dos Reis Bay and cross to the Ilha Grande Nature Reserve, where cars are not allowed. A little further in the direction of São Paulo is the small port town of Paraty, a jewel of Brazilian colonial architecture and a world heritage site. This place is definitely worth a visit.
Further down the road is the quiet, laid-back town of Trindade with its beautiful bays and natural swimming pool. The city of Ubatuba is located just across the state border with São Paulo and is famous for its great surfing beaches …
3. Chada Diamantina – Central Bahia
Everyone has probably heard of Bahia’s beautiful beaches and coastlines, but few know that one of Bahia’s main attractions is hidden inside. The region called „Chada Diamantina”, also known as Brazil’s Lost World. It is one of the most hidden regions in Brazil.
With its strange and fantastic rock formations, a system of quartzite caves with crystal clear lakes and underground rivers, mountains and valleys with hundreds of waterfalls, this 152,000 acre park is the perfect place for some of the wildest eco-adventures in Brazil.
4. Iguaçu Falls – Paraná
The only place that I personally think is a bit too touristy – it is the second most popular travel destination in Brazil – but which cannot be rejected are the Iguaçu Falls or „Foz do Iguaçu”. This is the place where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay come together and nature shows its most beautiful side.
A total of 275 waterfalls, some of which are over 80 m high and 2700 m away, form one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The falls can be visited and seen from the Brazilian or Argentine side, and opinions differ as to which side offers the most beautiful views.
One thing is certain, whichever site you visit, this is a spectacle that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Around the falls is a preserved jungle area of 156.235 hectares: the Iguaçu National Park. The park’s history begins in 1916 when Alberto Santos Dumont, the father of aviation, visited the region. At the time, the land was privately owned by an Uruguayan named Jesus Val.
Dumont asked the President of Paraná State that Jesus Val be expropriated and that the area be made public. Later that year 1,008 hectares were declared public property and later, in 1939, by decree of President Getulio Vargas, the area was enlarged to its current size of 156,235.77 hectares.
5. Estrada Real – Minas Gerais
If you want to go on a trip to one of the most important and interesting regions of Brazil, you cannot miss the region „Estrada Real” (one of the colonial regions in Brazil).
Whether on sand, asphalt or gravel, adventure is always guaranteed on the Estrada Real. Every other road has new discoveries.
Colonial villages with their typical colorful churches, waterfalls, mountains, caves and rivers form one of the most important cultural and natural heritages in the world. Those who look closely enough can see the stone bridges, ruins, and fountains that are scattered across the country. Each a memory left behind by the colonial settlers.
The Royal Street (Royal Road) is now a collection of several streets, a total of about 1512 km, in the triangle Rio de Janeiro – Paraty – Diamantina, which was built in colonial Brazil, especially in the 17th century, to transport the wealth of the Brazilian interior to the Coast of Rio de Janeiro, from where it was shipped to Portugal.
The entire transport of goods, machines, gold and diamonds, but also slaves, tools and other goods was only legally possible through the Estrada Real. The opening of new roads was considered a crime of majesty.
Traveling through this unique region in Brazil provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to relive the experiences of the ancient pioneers, ranchers, officers and other travelers who once roamed these parts. The great importance of this road gave birth to countless cities, some of which, such as Ouro Preto or Diamantina, are now world heritage sites.
Check out our guide to backpacking a motorcycle!