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Although so many countries around the world have their own beautiful national parks, it’s impossible to deny the incredible biodiversity in Brazil’s environment. In this South American country, you’ll find mountains, canyons, tropical rainforests, sand dunes, and beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored. There are dozens of national parks in Brazil to add your bucket list, but these are a few of the best ones to start with as you see this amazing country.
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Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
One of the most iconic and impressive national parks in all of Brazil is Lençóis Maranhenses National Park because of its sand dune landscape. You can take a 4×4 vehicle or go on a horseback riding tour of the park. Alternatively, walk across the dunes to experience them up close and get a great workout at the same time. Although this feels like a desert landscape, there are also lakes and rivers that run through it. Many people prefer to visit this park between July and September because this is when the lakes fill up with water.
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Cave enthusiasts will love Chapada Diamantina National Park because of the opportunities for underground exploration here. Other notable features in the park are the rock formations and waterfalls, including very tall Cachoeira da Fumaca. Poco Encantado and Poco Azul are underground holes filled with water that are also highlights of a trip to this national park. The park is located in Bahia, a northeastern province of Brazil and a fun place to take a trekking tour to the Patey Valley.
Iguacu National Park
Iguacu National Park in Brazil, along with Iguazú National Park in Argentina, is home to some of the most amazing waterfalls you’ll ever see. The waterfalls here create clouds of mist that encourage lush vegetation to grow and provide habitats for wildlife. Notable species here include the giant anteater and the giant otter. Bordering two countries, this park area is often best seen on a helicopter ride to take you above the falls and get unforgettable views of the region. You can also experience this park by hiking or taking a boat trip. The bird park is a popular tourist attraction in this national park as well.
Aparados da Serra National Park
Aparados da Serra National Park is a well-established national park in Brazil and a great place to visit if you love hiking. Here you can experience impressive canyons, waterfalls, and rainforests. It is often foggy at this part due to its location near the ocean. It is a relatively small park but one that is still home to many bird, mammal, and amphibian species. The number of visitors per day is restricted to help conserve the park and limit threats to the biodiversity. It is in the northeastern region of Rio Grande do Sul State and managed with Serra Geral National Park.
Itatiaia National Park
Itatiaia National Park is the oldest national park in Brazil, dating back to its establishment in 1937, and it is home to some of the country’s tallest mountains. You’ll need some mountaineering skills to get to the summits of some of these epic mountains, although easier hikes are available as well. This is also a prime spot for bird watchers because there are hundreds of native species here. June through August are great times to visit this park because this is the dry season and when you can really enjoy the landscape and views.
Fernando de Noronha Marine National Marine Park
Fernando de Noronha Marine National Marine Park is a marine park that is made up of several islands in the ocean and along the coast of Brazil. There are six islands that are part of this archipelago, but many people only spend time on the main island. Come to Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park to go swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. The crystal-clear waters are also ideal for scuba diving. This is a beautiful beach area of Brazil that is home to many types of fish and marine wildlife, such as turtles. The number of visitors here is limited per day to help conserve the environment.
Pantanal Matogrossense National Park
Visit Pantanal Matogrossense National Park to experience the wetlands region of Brazil, which is actually part of the largest wetland area in the world. Many species of wildlife call this park home, including exotic birds, monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars. This is a remote park that is not quickly accessible, so it’s best to dedicate several days or more to get here and see it. Many travelers choose to stay at sustainably focused eco-lodges for accommodations when visiting this region. It is in the southern province of Mato Grosso and a wonderful opportunity to really disconnect from your busy life and immerse yourself in nature.
Jericoacoara National Park
It’s also an incredible experience to visit Jericoacoara National Park for its beach and watersport opportunities. This is a popular area to come for windsurfing and sailing. In addition to the beach, you’ll also find sand dunes, swamps, and forests in this national park. Hop on a 4×4 vehicle tour to get to the park and explore the sand dunes on your way to experience the rest of the park. Jericoacoara National Park is located in the state of Ceará, and the name “Jericoacoara” is an indigenous Tupi word meaning “lair of turtles.” Sandboarding on the dunes at Jericoacoara National Park is another popular activity to try when you’re in this part of Brazil.
Chapada dos Guimarães
Chapada dos Guimarães is another beautiful national park in Brazil that’s worth spending some time in, especially if you enjoy canyons, caves, and waterfalls. There are lots of different types of trees here, ancient cave paintings, and opportunities for wildlife sightings. This part of Brazil experiences a rainy season between December and April, so the best times to visit are between June and September. In fact, the routes often become inaccessible and dangerous during the rainy season. The park is in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil in the Pantanal Biosphere Reserve and has a deep history with the native ancestral people.