NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION The Mata Atlântica lies along Brazil’s eastern coast, and extends inland as far as Paraguay and Argentina
VISITORS PER YEAR Fewer than 10,000
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 70°F (21°C); Apr: 66°F (19°C); Jul: 61°F (16°C); Oct: 73°F (23°C)
Taken as a whole, Brazil’s once-gigantic Mata Atlântica (or Atlantic Forest) formerly represented the world’s largest tree-covered region. This UN- mandated World Biosphere Reserve holds within more than 40 percent of the world’s known tree species. It also boasts thousands upon thousands of different kinds of flowers, plants, and, of course, wildlife, many of them found nowhere else in the world.
However, the deforestation of much of the country and unregulated development have put this forest – now estimated to be only a tenth of its original size – at great risk. Fortunately, reforestation efforts are underway and an increasing number of ecologically minded tourists are coming to see Mata Atlântica’s great mangrove stands.
Getting There and Around Most travelers drive to the Mata Atlântica, located along eastern Brazil from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. Alternatively, visitors fly in from Manaus.
When to Go Nov–Mar is the best time to visit, as the days are generally warm and sunny (although it can rain in the western and southern forests).