Iguazu Falls and Brazil’s National Parks
One of the great things about Brazil is its sense of endless adventure. There are countless places to explore, all beautiful but also different with their unique charms. Whilst it may be known for its amazing food, culture and nightlife, Brazil is also home to some of the world’s most breathtaking National Parks and the incomparable Iguazu Falls.
Iguazu Falls, Iguaçu National Park, Paraná
Iguaçu – which mean strong water in the Tupi-Guarani language – National Park has 275 waterfalls that have existed for 150 million years; a time when the Earth was still inhabited by dinosaurs, and man’s rise wasn’t even a speck on the horizon. Breathtaking and awe-inspiring it’s no surprise that the Iguazu Falls are considered one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
Listed as a Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the park is home to over 2,000 plant species with hiking trails and lookouts to provide direct contact with the indigenous flora and fauna. If you want to be even closer to the local nature, you can practice high-adrenaline sports, such as rafting and rappelling, facing turbulent waters and descending through unforgettable landscapes. Or you can just marvel at the natural beauty.
Tijuca National Park – Rio de Janeiro
Located in the centre of Rio de Janeiro, Tijuca National Park covers 3,200 hectares of forest. What started as just a huge area of forestland has been slowly transformed into a public area, designated as a National Park in 1961. Inside works of art, blend with the area’s natural beauty, with parts dating back to the age of the coffee empire, such as the Mayrink Chapel, the Solidão Weir and Cascatinha.
The park is divided into sectors. A great starting point is the Visitor Centre located in Sector A (Forest), where new trail groups are organised. The main lookout points are located in Sector B (Serra da Carioca), such as the Chinese View. Sector C (Pedra da Gávea/Pedra Bonita) is the best choice for the more adventurous.
Serra dos Orgãos National Park – Rio de Janeiro
For those who want to explore and go on grand adventures, Serra dos Orgãos National Park provides exactly that. Situated in Rio de Janeiro’s mountainous region, it stretches through surrounding towns. Don’t worry, the park’s name reflects its similarity stems to a church organ’s pipes.
Its mountains are simply magnificent. With its rocky cliff tops and waterfalls, the park is perfect for mountain sports, such as climbing and rappelling. It also has some of the best trekking in the country, with hiking paths at all levels stretching for 200 kilometres ability, as well as excellent rock climbing, including Dedo de Deus.
Fernando de Noronha – Pernambuco
Brazil’s natural wonders are not restricted to land. The waters of Fernando de Noronha are magical, offering great diving and snorkelling opportunities with a wide variety of coral and fish, including barracuda, turtle, octopus and numerous species of sharks. One of the best-preserved wrecks in the country, the Corveta Ipiranga, lies in these waters. Another ship found here is the Greek Eleane Stathatos.
Fernando de Noronha’s clear blue waters and golden sands are not to be missed; the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring. Other activities the island offers include boat rides and dolphin watching that helps promotes the country’s wildlife conservation.
So, why not consider Brazil for your next eco adventure.
If travelling to Brazil, why not time your trip for Rio’s wonderful New Years celebrations, the Reveillon.
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For more information on the Iguazu Falls and the country’s national parks
Mark Bibby Jackson
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