Brazil is the largest country in South America and spans an immense 3.3 million square miles. It has incredibly diverse topography which includes stunning mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, and numerous cliffs, hills, rivers, and forests. With such a rich landscape, it’s not surprising that Brazil is home to thousands of different plants and animals, including many rare and endangered species. Some of the best places to experience the amazing sights that Brazil has to offer are its national parks. There are 69 national parks in the country, so in this article, we’ve highlighted some of the most beautiful national parks in Brazil for you to explore.
1. Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park
The first national park on our list is Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park which lies in the heart of the state of Mato Grosso. It spans a vast 80,600 acres and has a tropical climate with an annual rainfall of up to 79 inches. Chapada dos Guimaraes has a wide range of stunning features, such as mountains, caves, and waterfalls. However, its best-known characteristic is the huge red sandstone cliffs which stand around 2,500 feet high. There are also countless numbers of animals for you to encounter in the park – including maned wolves, tapirs, jaguars, monkeys, and even parrots.
2. Aparados da Serra National Park
Located in the southern region of Brazil near the Atlantic coast, Aparados da Serra is one of Brazil’s oldest national parks. It was formed in 1959 specifically to protect the magnificent Itaimbezinho Canyon. It has a rich landscape that is home to a diverse group of animals which include howling monkeys, ocelots, and otters. Great care is taken to protect the flora and fauna in Aparados da Serra National Park and there are only 1,500 visitors allowed in it per day.
3. Iguaçu National Park
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful national parks in Brazil, Iguaçu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It spans an immense 457,794 acres and is located in the state of Paraná. Along its border with Argentina is the stunning Iguaçu Falls which is one of the largest waterfall systems in the world. Iguaçu is also home to many rare and endangered species — including giant anteaters and giant otters. There are many ways to explore Iguaçu, and you can either explore it on your own or take a guided tour by boat, 4×4, or even by helicopter.
4. Chapada Diamantina National Park
Located in Batia state, Chapada Diamantina National Park is home to some of the highest waterfalls in Brazil as well as some of the most stunning mountains and rock formations. It also has a fascinating underground cave system which can be explored with an expert guide. Many stunning lagoons are perfect for a spot of swimming. There are various guided hiking and 4×4 tours available in Chapada Diamantina and many also offer a visit to the nearby town of Lençóis which was the site of large diamond finds in the 19th century.
5. Serra da Capivara National Park
If you’re a history buff then you should check out the Serra da Capivara National Park which is home to some of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in the country. Here you can see some of the most stunning cave paintings — some of which are more than 25,000 years old — as well as many prehistoric stone artifacts. In total, there are 1,300 different archaeological sites in the park and most are open to the public. Serra da Capivara is located in the northeastern region of Brazil and the state of Piauí.
6. Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park
Another beautiful national park in Brazil is Fernando de Noronha which consists of several islands on the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. Fernando de Noronha truly is one of the most scenic places to visit as it boasts crystal clear waters, five-star rated beaches, and fascinating marine life. Fernando de Noronha National Park is the perfect place to try out snorkeling or scuba diving. You can also explore the islands by boat. There are dolphin-watching tours available so you can view the largest resident population of dolphins in the world in Dolphin Bay. However, to preserve the island’s natural ecosystems there are only 450 to 500 visitors permitted in the park per day, so it’s worth planning your trip to avoid disappointment.
7. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
If you’re looking for a national park that has ancient rock formations and dramatic waterfalls then you should check out Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park. Chapada dos Veadeiros is located only 150 miles from Brasília and is easy to access for both day trips and extended visits. It features some of the highest waterfalls in the country which range between 130 and 400 feet high, as well as some of the oldest rock formations. Many of its rocks are quartz crystals and are exported all around the world. The national park is also the native home of many threatened species — such as marsh deer and pampas deer.
8. Pantanal Matogrossense National Park
For any nature lover, Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is the place to be. Located in the state of Mato Grosso, this stunning place has one of the largest wetlands around. It is home to a vast and diverse range of animals, including more than 450 species of birds, 260 species of fish, and 124 species of mammals. The park offers some of the best wildlife-watching experiences around and you can see stunning animals such as jaguars, howler monkeys, caimans, anteaters, and armadillos.
9. Serra dos Órgãos National Park
Another beautiful national park in Brazil is Serra dos Órgãos which is located only an hour’s drive from Rio de Janeiro. This national park is famous for its breathtaking and rugged mountains. 10 peaks are standing more than 6,600 feet high and the tallest is Pedra do Sino (Bell Rock) which is 7,425 feet. However, arguably the most famous peak is Dedo de Deus (God’s Finger) which looks like a hand with the index finger pointing to the sky. The best way to experience Serra dos Órgãos is by hiking, although the terrain can be challenging in places.
10. Itatiaia National Park
Finally, we come to Itatiaia National Park which is the oldest national park in Brazil. Itatiaia is located in the Mantiqueira Mountains in Rio de Janeiro and was created in 1937. Itatiaia offers something for everyone to enjoy — whether you want to see the stunning fauna which includes more than 350 species of birds, or whether you fancy taking on a challenge and climbing one of its many peaks. The park also features numerous waterfalls and natural pools where you can take a refreshing dip. Itatiaia National Park is best experienced with the help of an expert guide, and there are many hiking, trekking, and ecological tours available, as well as the opportunity to try your hand at paragliding or para-sailing if you’re more adventurous.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexandree/Shutterstock.com
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