Brazil Travel

EcoTourism Regions in Brazil

The Amazon forest, when collected in its total occupying space from all the different countries it spills out into, takes up a whopping 6 million square kilometers. Three and a half of those million kilometers are located within Brazil's borders: about half of the total forest area and almost half of Brazil's total territory.

For all its vastness, the forest is surprisingly unvaried in terms of the different ecosystems that are found within it. This is in part due to its equatorial location that allows for there to be a constant supply of humid, hot air, with average temperatures between 24 to 27 degrees Celsius. To oppose the "monotony" in temperature, the Amazon makes up with the unique ecosystems within the forest itself in the amount of flora, fauna and birds and their staggering variations in colors. Even the Amazonian rivers have different colors: there are the white rivers, such as Solimoes, that carry a lot of clay sediments, the black rivers that consist largely out of the organic decomposing sediments and remains of leaves and animal remains, and the green rivers, such as the Tapajos River, that have their common origin usually in the area between the Savannah and the forest beginnings. (This accounts for the beautiful sight that is the Meeting of the Waters) Igarapes are small water channels that stream off from the main rivers; these are the streams that form the network to explore the Amazon, and are also used as roads by locals. The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world (after the Nile) and the widest: accounting for approximately 20 percent of all river waters that pour into the world's oceans!
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Divided between Mato Grasso and Mato Grasso de Sul, the Pantanal is the world's largest wetland. Its topography is extremely flat: at its highest it is only 200 meters above sea level, and the enclosure by the Andes Mountains prevent water drainage. The Southern Pantanal (Cuiaba) has flooded grass fields, while the Northern Pantanal(Bonito) has a large influence on the Amazon and has denser forests. There are two distinct seasons in the Pantanal: the wet and dry season, and the water levels rise and drop significantly depending on the season. The best bird watching- as the Pantanal is famous for its diversity of birds- can be done during the dry season as the waters dry up, fish get trapped in small pools, and birds flock to feast their hearts out. Bonito is one of the top ecotourist attractions in all of Brazil, holding fascinating diving, snorkeling, and exploring opportunities. The tourism boards in the region are very developed for this area and all precautions are taken for the flood of tourists to not affect the environment harshly.
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Savanna and Plateau
The Savannah is located in the central area of Brazil that holds a large plateau connecting with the Mato Grosso and Goias states, the states where it is concentrated.The Savanna also spills to the Bahia, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states. The capital city of Brasilia is located in this region.

The greenery of the savannah holds small (3 to 6 meter) and extremely twisted trees whose roots are often planted very deep in the ground, nearly reaching the underground water reserve of the area. Areas that are heavily tree-populated are referred to as the cerradao (high savannah) while the more barren regions are referred to as cerradinho. Forest fires account for the difference. Animal watching in the Savannah is fascinating and highly rewarding due to the large open spaces, with chances to spot the amazing anteaters and the large Armadillo.

Atlantic Forest and Mountain Regions
This region is located in the mountainous regions on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Originally the forest spanned from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, but human deforestation has greatly decreased this land area. The Serra do Mar and the Mantinquiera Mountains hold the largest preserved areas due largely to their inaccessibility to humans because of rugged terrain. The deforested areas are located within Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais states.

Over half of the Atlantic Forest's trees can be found only here, and nowhere else in the world, making this area even more diverse then the Amazon. The ecosystems and climate found within the forest vary greatly and the topography is conducive to rain.

Beginning at the coast, sand dunes and salt water do not provide the best areas for vegetation, and any plants or trees found here are small and are called pioneering plants as they had to have adapted to the environment. The next layer inland is the sandbank, right after the dunes, and it has lazy rivers and slightly bigger vegetation. Further in lay the hillside forests that hold significantly larger trees, and due to high humidity and cycles of strong cool winds, erosion is high. Here one can find the areas referred to as the "rocky coast." The last area is the "manguezal"- the coastal swamp. From the mixture of sea and fresh water one can find very interesting, though not widely varied vegetation, with the soil usually very muddy and the sparse flora and fauna adopting in interesting ways to the high level of salt and low levels of oxygenation.

Found mostly in Northeastern Brazil and slightly north of Minas Gerais State, the area has irregular rains and a semi-arid climate, with officially demarcated seasons hard to define. When the rains come, the Caatinga turns into a leafy green habitat, yet when the rains cease the Caatinga is very brown and dry. Agriculture is made difficult by the shallow and stony soil, though soil correction and a complex irrigation system allows for the harvesting of coffee (especially west of Sao Paulo state), sleeve and other fruits very successfully. Reptile species are very diverse and abundant: many lizards and snakes can be found here, and there are large numbers of insects, rodents and arachnids. Due to the scarcity of water larger mammals are not well represented.

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