On behalf of Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board, I want to share with you some of the Brazil’s most stunning National Parks.
We invite you to explore those unspoiled and diverse ecosystems, and to discover the beauty of its rainforests, mountains, seas, deserts, rivers and animals.
Everything that you have come to know about Brazil after the World Cup and Olympics will be challenged as you dig deeper into these untouched, and sometimes off the beaten path destinations.
Chapado dos Veadeiros, Iguazu Park, Pantanal, Jalapão, Lençois Maranhenses and the Amazonas Forest are destinations for the adventure traveler interested in ecotourism and local culture, desiring to go deep into the wild heart of the country
Below I’ve included information on these destinations. Please take a look and let me know if you have any questions or would like more information and photos.
Into the Wild: Brazilian National Parks
Brazil occupies almost half of South America and is the country with the greatest diversity of species in the world; spread over six terrestrial biomes and three large marine ecosystems. It provides Brazil with one of the best climates in the world, pure water aplenty, fertile land, hundreds of thousands animals and plants, and paradisiacal landscapes.
To protect this great biodiversity Brazil has created a very intricate and sophisticated system of conservation. Over 16 percent of the territory, and 1,5 percent of the maritime territory, approximately 579 thousand square miles (equal the total area of the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon put together), are currently protected for their scenic landscapes, diverse wildlife, and cultural heritage
Brazil offers endless opportunities for visitors to explore its fantastic nature experiences with 273 parks peppered across its terrain. Bellow you will find some of them.
Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
Located in the Center-West region of Brazil, in the State of Goiás, and close to Brasilia, the National Park of Chapada dos Veadeiros is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The park has more than 65,000 hectares, with many trails for visitors to explore the unique vegetation of Brazilian Cerrado (savanna), hundreds of springs, canyons, and streams, rocks more than a billion years old, and landscapes of rare beauty with features that change throughout the year.
Walks, observing flora and fauna, and bathing in waterfall are the main activities in the Park. Chapada dos Veadeiros has a visitation limit per day, and people are allowed to circulate only in the company of guides accredited by the park administration. The best time to visit is during the dry season from May to August.
National Park of Iguazu Falls
The Foz do Iguaçu National Park is located on the border of Brazil with Paraguay and Argentina. Made up of many cascades, it is one the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, with 2,700 meters wide and 72 meters high. The Iguaçu falls are surrounded by subtropical rainforest with over 2,000 species of plants and several species of fish, birds, mammals, and butterflies. There is not a bad time to visit the falls. The high season are during the Brazilian summer (December-February) when the weather is warmer and the water is in its highest. Some prefer the months of May and July, because of the rainy season and the force of the water. But spring and fall are also great options with nice weather and fewer crowds.
The park is plain of sightseeing options, and visitors can enjoy many exciting activities like rappel, climbing, Tyrolese and rafting on the Iguaçu river. UNESCO declared the National Park of Iguazu Falls a World Natural Heritage, and the Iguazu Falls are considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of South America.
Pantanal National Park
Declared by Unesco as a World Natural Heritage site and World Biosphere Reserve, the Pantanal National Park is recognized worldwide as an ecological sanctuary. The Park is part of the most extensive wetland in the world – the Pantanal – which covers approximately 35 miles, and is about the size of Portugal). Oppose to the Amazon, Pantanal has open landscapes without a dense forest obstructing the view of the wild animals; therefore, it is the ideal setting for bird watching more than 600 different species and observing a plethora of wild animals in their natural habitat.
The Pantanal Park is located in the Midwest of Brazil, and can be accessed from the city of Cuiabá. The best time to visit is from May to September, during the dry season, when the place becomes a stage for capivaras, anteaters, caiman, jaguars, monkeys, and flocks of birds.
Jalapăo State Park
Jalapăo is a destination intended for the adventure and eco-tourism traveler looking to go off the beaten path and escape to acres of preserved terrain. The State Park of Jalapăo (Parque Estadual do Jalapăo) is considered one of the biggest attractions in the sate of Tocantins with a magnificent display of sand dunes that extend up to 100 feet, giving visitors the impression that they are in a desert. Visitors can even book tours, camp out on the sand dunes and four-wheel drive on dirt roads as they make their way through the sand dunes.
At the outskirts of the sand dunes, there are crystal clear waterfalls and rivers, savannahs, plateaus and green hills 2,000 feet high. A popular excursion to appreciate the natural beauty is river rafting the Rio Novo, which can be done for three hours or four days depending on the rapids and skill level.
In Jalapăo, the crop known as Capin Dourado or “Golden Grass” is preserved and used by artisans to create one of a kind, handcrafted bracelets, earrings, bags, belts, vase and other decorative souvenirs. The Golden Grass is indigenous to Jalapăo and radiates a spectacular bronzed-gold color.
The Amazon Rainforest, known as the “lung of the world,” has an extraordinary long list of offerings to satisfy any adventure traveler’s bucket list, With about 441 new species of animals and plants discovered in the last five years and home to one in ten known species on Earth, tour guides go deep into the heart of the Amazon to educate travellers on survival skills and to point out many different species that inhabit the forest.
From December to May, the Amazon’s rainy, summer season presents visitors with the optimal opportunity to thoroughly enjoy Aqua Expeditions and explore the high capacity of rich wildlife in the waterways of the Amazon. A recommended trip is for visitors to take a night boat tour into the Rainforest and observe crocodiles from a safe distance with flashlights, or to spot Botos, a species of freshwater dolphin native to the Amazon River.
National Park of Lençóis Maranhenses
One of the most spectacular landscapes in Brazil, Lencois Maranheses provide visitors with the opportunity to be in the midst of a completely different ecosystem, where lake lagoons and sand dunes form a scenery of unique beauty. The National Park of Lencois Maranhenses borders the Rio Preguiças and occupies an area of 155,000 hectares covered with sand formations up to 50 meters tall, with freshwater lagoons in shades ranging from blue to emerald green.
Despite the desert-like appearance due to the immense sand dunes, the lagoon are formed by heavy rains in the region during the summer. The best time to visit is therfore in winter (between June and Mid Sptember).