Brazil Pictures

Sunset on Lebnon beach in Rio de janeiro, Brazil

Sunset on Lebnon beach in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Doug88888

Brazil Tourism

South America’s largest country, offers the tourist kaleidoscopic carnivals, spectacular cities and towns – Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Curitiba for example – lively friendly people, superb beaches and the massive Iguaçu Falls in the south, but naturally many visitors come to Brazil looking for wildlife.
The Amazon, however, can raise false expectations as it is not an African wildlife experience with teeming herds of animals.
Visitors should go there for the ambience, the river and rainforest views, the chugging life and the best jungle experience  – as well as the creatures that make themselves available. Forget animal head counts, go to feel, hear and see the world’s greatest rainforest in all its monstrous, sweaty, buzzing, uncomfortable glory. While it lasts. . .

Dowtown Manaus, Brazil

Manaus downtown and the Amazon River. Photo by Pontanegra.

It’s easy to be overconscious of the crime situation in Brazil and spoil your trip – or not go at all for that matter, but things are not as bad as that; obey some basic rules and you’ll have a wonderful time.

• Don’t walk lonely back-streets at night, especially after too many drinks; take a taxi home.
• Keep a close eye on your baggage on buses or trains, particularly at night. In fact, try to avoid night moves completely.
• Stay in as expensive hotel as you can afford, and use the safe.
• Don’t take valuables to the beach and preferably don’t wear any jewellery or pricey watches.
• Don’t do drugs.
• Don’t resist if someone does rob you. In fact locals often carry a small roll of throwaway cash in a pocket and more serious cash hidden elsewhere.
• Don’t automatically run to the police if you do get robbed, they’re sadly corrupt and useless.

Amazon River tributary, Brazil

An Amazon River tributary, with local village. Photo by Jim

Amazon jungle trips are more about the boating upriver into the damp, buzzing, oppressive ambience than seeing animals, since most of the bigger critters only appear at night when you least want to be there.
Floating about on a dugout canoe at night in search of caiman by torchlight, freaking at odd splashes and squawks and beating mozzies off would not be untypical
You may well see caiman (crocs), monkeys, sloths, pink dolphins, tarantulas, electric eels and parrots galore, but don’t think of this as a massed-animal experience such as you may see in East Africa or Namibia. Best July-Oct for the dry season.

See Amazon Travel Tips

Wildlife is possibly more visible in the Pantanal (see below) to the south, though it’s a swamp, not a jungle, so offers less ambience, romance or name-dropping.
Note that one of Brazil’s South America neighbours, Peru, also offers great Amazon experiences starting from the grubby town of Iquitos.

*Belem. A not unattractive Amazon city and starting point for Amazon river journeys. A riverboat up to Manaus takes about five days. Second-class on these boats is distinctly hot and uncomfortable.
If you can afford it tourist boats will not only give you a good night’s sleep and protect your valuables, but they may give you lessons on the environment too.

*Manaus. A historically interesting city, but now overbuilt and unattractive, though a necessary evil for starting Brazilian Amazon exploration.

***The Pantanal (way south of the Amazon). A massive wetland and ranch area in central-west Brazil (NW of Rio) alive with wild things, including iguanas, tapir, capybara, caiman (crocodiles), giant snakes and anteaters, but in particular birds (parrots, macaws and so on). It’s best July – Oct (the dry season, so less humidity, less mosquitoes, more life visible).

Tarantula on Jim's arm, Peru, South America

An Amazonian tarantula in north Brazil, one of the critters you might expect to meet during a night stroll in the forest. Photo by Jim

Amazon Rainforest vegetation is so dense that you’d be lucky to see an anteater at ten paces, even if it ventured out in the daytime.
But most Amazon creatures hunt at night, and that’s not an especially good time for nervous tourists to be thrusting their way through dark, dense undergrowth, accompanied by squadrons of thirsty mosquitoes, spooky noises and slithering things that are possibly hyper tense black mambas.
Not forgetting the tarantulas that like to drop onto the insects that will be hovering over your torch beam or dinner candle – and they’re sometimes not very accurate, which makes them irritable.

We exaggerate of course. You can find interesting little animals and birds in the rainforest, but you really need a good, knowledgeable guide with great eyesight!

If you really want to see clear cut Brazilian wildlife consider heading for The Pantanal further south instead. We have no experience of this massive swampland but some visitors say it’s the bees knees.

Iguacu Falls at sunset, Brazil

Iguaçu Falls in south Brasil, an awesome destination but a long way south, so it’s a plane ride or a very long road trip. Photo by SFBrit

Brazil Weather

The best time to go to coastal areas is from April-September but for the Amazon or Pantanal it’s best from July-October, the dry season.
Worst: December – February (hot, humid and local holidays)