Waterfalls, canyons, wells filled with crystalline water, engraved in trails surrounded by vegetation. Explore everything that makes the national parks in Brazil so appealing. Environmental preservation areas incepted to prevent the degradation of ecosystems, the national parks are jam-packed with attractions that suit tourists who love nature and adventure. Tourism-review.com presents the best Brazilian national parks.
Iguacu National Park
If so many people from abroad come here just to appreciate Cataratas do Iguaçu, why would you pass on it? The whole scenery, comprised of a canyon and 275 waterfalls, is jaw-dropping. The park’s structure is very good, with a 1.2-kilometer walkway, which takes you to a point where you can have a view from top to bottom of its main waterfall, Garganta do Diabo. All this encircled by extensive patches of green, as the park has the widest area of Mata Atlântica of Southern Brazil. The attraction can be visited all year long, but the water volume is higher during the summer.
Tijuca National Park
Right in the heart of the fast-paced city of Rio de Janeiro, this national park can be compared to an oasis of peacefulness. It has four centers: Floresta da Tijuca, Serra da Carioca, Pedra da Gávea and Pretos Forros/Covanca. In Serra da Carioca you fill find some of the city’s main tourist attractions such as Mirante Dona Marta, Vista Chinesa and Cristo Redentor. Those who prefer a stronger interaction with nature must go to Floresta, which has more than 100 trails – hiring a guide is recommended to most of them.
National Marine Park of Fernando de Noronha
The park covers 70% of the archipelago and includes some of the most beautiful Brazilian beaches, such as Leão and Atalaia, as well as the bays of Porcos, Sancho and Golfinhos. There’s a limit of 450 visitors per day in this paradise made of clear waters, which are great for diving. Furthermore, a daily conservation fee is required (R$ 44,40, with a gradual increase). Besides having the chance to swim alongside fish, morays, turtles and other marine species, the visitor can walk along the trails and enjoy boat tours – which often provide the chance to spot dolphins.
Jericoacoara National Park
The renowned Pedra Furada is one of the several tourist attractions found in this national park. The park was established in 2002 in order to protect coastal ecosystems and foster scientific research, environmental education and ecologic tourism. The famous Duna do Pôr do Sol, the place where visitors and local people come together late in the afternoon, is also included within the park’s area. To reach the village of Jericoacoara, you need to take a buggy or a 4x4 car or even a jardineira bus from Jijoa de Jericoacoara – the bumpy sand roads are worth the effort, as soon as you get to your destination, the peaceful Jeri.
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Dozens of trails, caves and waterfalls. This is one of the most popular national parks in Brazil, it is the Disney of adventure tourism. There is a total of five locations that serve as entrances to these highlands, with Lençóis having the best structure overall, with an airport included. No one should pass up on the chance to contemplate the 380-meter-high Cachoeira da Fumaça. Those who have the stamina to do it, can take a 5-day journey through Vale do Paty, with overnight accommodation in the native homes.
Lençois Maranhenses National Park
Take sunscreen with you, as well as sunglasses, a hat, a bathing suit and lots of space in your digital camera. At Lençóis Maranhenses you will be able to take breathtaking photographs that will make your friends envy you. This area alone comprises 155 thousand hectares of dunes, rivers, lakes and mangroves. It is a surreal landscape, made of sky-high and curvilinear dunes, intermingled with clear water lakes. But you need to choose the right moment to contemplate the best scenery, between May and August, when the lakes are already filled with rainwater. Barreirinhas is the city that serves as a tourist base.
Itatiaia National Park
The first national park in Brazil, the Itaiaia was inaugurated in 1937 by Getúilo Vargas. There are two entrances: one of them provides access to the park’s “lower part”, while the other (Engenheiro Passos) gives access to the “upper part”, where you can find the Maciço das Prateleiras and Pico das Agulhas Negras. It is advisable to hire a guide to explore the upper part of Itatiaia.
Serra do Cipo National Park
While strolling, you can look at ornamental flowers such as orchids and bromeliads. Then, you can dive into natural pools made of crystalline water. These are the pleasures provided to those who visit this national park, 100 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte. One of the most famous tours is the trekking through the Canyon of Bandeirinhas, which is worth the effort due to its sightseeing and water wells, surrounded by rocks. To catch its dry season, go there between April and November.
Serra da Capivara National Park
Here you can find the world’s biggest concentration of archaeological sites. There’s a total of more than 1000 sites, of which 150 are open to the public. They can be found in an area spreading over 918 km2. What is truly incredible about the park is the 30,000 rock paintings spread throughout the park many of which are over 25,000 years old. You will have to hire a certified guide to explore the park. Preferably, do the visit between May and December, the region’s dry season.
Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
Chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Chapada dos Veadeiros is about a 150-minute drive away from Brasília. The village of São Jorge is the national park’s entry gate, which hosts beautiful waterfalls and rock formations. To take the park’s two available trails, one needs to be guided by a local. One of those trails, with 10 kilometers (round trip), takes you to Cachoeira de Garimpão (an 80-meter waterfall), which has some fine wells to swim in. The other trail, with good spots to dive into its wells, takes you to Canyons 1 and 2 of Rio Preto, a route that takes more than 3 hours. An additional 40-minute walk takes you to Cachoeira das Cariocas, a 30-meter waterfall.
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