Brazil is a verdant, thriving, massive country with so many exciting cities and gorgeous natural wonders to visit that it is hard to decide where to start.
Let me give you a tip about a little-visited gem called Parque Nacional do Itatiaia in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
This is a park you should not miss. Though small, it is a perfect slice of mata Atlantica--the dense, dripping Atlantic rainforest that blesses the eastern coast of Brazil from the state of Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul.
Driving up into the jungle-covered mountains from the highway is like re-discovering a forgotten world pulsing with life. You leave the roar of cars and trucks behind and immerse yourself in the sounds of waterfalls and the wind in the trees. Just look at the stupendous scenery as you drive deep into the jungle:
To add to the magical environment, you can stay in quaint Swiss style chalets, like this:
From my balcony I enjoyed this gorgeous view of the Atlantic rainforest and the foothills beyond:
The Atlantic Rainforest has been designated as a World Biosphere Reserve which holds various endangered and endemic species like the woolly spider monkey and lion tamarins. In Parque Nacional do Itatiaia, you, too will be close to nature. You will undoubtedly see colorful birds and other forest creatures like these:
Itatiaia means "many-pointed rock" in the Tupi language. And for good reason. The Agulhas Negras or Black Needles (2787 meters at the highest peak) are a challenge for any hiker.
Other activities in the park can include a visit to Lago Azul, the Blue Lake; Veu da Noiva, Bridal Veil Falls; Itaporani Falls and a guided walk through the jungle to learn about local plants and animals.
If you are looking for a quiet retreat into a lush and lively jungle in Brazil, then Parque Nacional do Itatiaia is the place for you!
For even more stunning natural attractions, the nearby town of Maringa has loads more rivers and waterfalls like these:
Do you want to watch a video of these gorgeous places? Just click below:
Or visit my youtube channel by clicking here: "Kolin's Youtube Channel"
For more photos of Itatiaia and Maringa, click here: "Kolin's Travels Facebook"
Below are some helpful links to get you to Brazil and Parque Nacional do Itatiaia:
1. Visit Brasil Practical tips for travel from Brazil's Official Tourism Site
If purchased outside of Brazil, you can get domestic flights at a discount.
3. GOL Airlines
4. TAM Airlines
Parque Nacional do Itatiaia:
1. Official Site The park's official page in Portuguese.
2. Lonely Planet's Info Things to do and see aswell as how to get to the park on public transport.
3. Hotel do Ype The hotel I stayed in with the beautiful views and animals all around.