Watching Wildlife

Brazil contains an astounding variety of fauna and flora with incomparable settings for spying wildlife. Winter (June to September) is probably the best time to go.

Despite its urban facade, Rio boasts enticing natural attractions such as Parque Nacional da Tijuca home to coatis, ocelots, three-toed sloths and various species of monkeys. Yet more simians (including howler monkeys) can be spotted on Ilha Grande.

Sea turtles are making a comeback in Brazil, and you might see hatchlings in places such as Praia do Forte and Mangue Seco. Whale watching is unrivalled in certain parts of Brazil, including the offshore reef of Parque Nacional Marinho de Abrolhos and Praia do Rosa, though by far the best place to see aquatic life is Fernando de Noronha. Bonito, with its crystal-clear rivers, makes for some great snorkeling among river fish, including meter-long catfish. Nearby canyons are home to numerous scarlet macaws.

High on any naturalist’s list should be the Pantanal, where river otters, caimans, monkeys, jaguars, anacondas and capybara, plus numerous bird species are all part of the mix. The Amazon region, of course, has many places to see Brazil’s wild side, from spotting river dolphins around Santarém to glimpsing toucans outside of Manaus.