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ISHPSSB & ABFHiB 2017 Meeting

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Tourism in Brazil

Your travel to Brazil may be pricy and tiring. It will be worthwhile to combine your academic journey with some nice tourism in Brazil. We provide some suggestions and links to travel offices that may help you to benefit the most from your trip.

Another page of this web site suggests some tourism packages provided by commercial agencies.

The more you learn about Brazil and São Paulo before your trip, the more you will be prepared to enjoy your stay in this country. The same rule applies to any other country, of course, as all travelers know.

We strongly suggest the acquisition of a travel guide of Brazil, such as: Fodor's Brazil; Lonely Planet Brazil; National Geographic Traveler: Brazil; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Brazil; and many others. Those are just a few suggestions, in English. There are also excellent guides published in other languages.

You may download a free Brazilian tourist guide at this link.

If you browse the Wikipedia pages about Brazil you will also obtain a lot of useful information.

It is completly impossible to present here a detailed view of the Brazilian touristic and cultural diversity. A huge site would be needed to describe the pecular music, dance, literature, theatre, folklore, crafts, foods, buildings, fauna, flora, and other features of the thousands of cities and micro-regions in Brazil. This page presents just an overview of the best known Brazilian natural touristic attractions.

São Paulo City

In São Paulo city there are many interesting places to visit. Some of them are described in a set of pages of this web site, called Enjoy São Paulo.

São Paulo State

São Paulo State has about 248,000 km² with a population of nearly 44 million people. Its size is slightly larger than the United Kingdom and 8% smaller than New Zealand.

São Paulo State, in red

Except skiing and snowboarding, São Paulo state pretty much has it all. Without leaving its borders, you can practice your favorite outdoor activity: canoeing, canyoning, horseback riding, caving, rock climbing, scuba diving, mountain biking, rafting, rappel, trekking, hang-gliding, paragliding, photography safaris, surfing, bird watching, cross-country bicycling, rowing, golf, swimming and fishing.

Rafting in Brotas, São Paulo State

The coast of São Paulo has 622 km of beaches of all kinds and sizes. Favorite beaches along the northern coast include Bertioga, Caraguatatuba, Maresias, São Sebastião, and Ubatuba; also popular are islands like Ilha Bela, considered a paradise by sailing buffs. Some of São Paulo’s most popular dance clubs have opened beachside affiliates that operate during the vacation months. A bit further north, just across the border in Rio de Janeiro state, is Paraty – a coastal colonial town overlooking a calm bay dotted with islands.

Ilha Bela beaches, São Paulo State

Skirting the coast is a mountain range. Its rough terrain has helped preserve a chunk of the Atlantic Rainforest. Once covering an area as large as the Amazon, the tropical forest has been reduced to about 7% of what existed when the Portuguese first landed over 500 years ago. Dotting the region are lodges that cater to ecotourists. Farther from the big city, the southern coast features nature preserves like the Juréia-Itatins Ecological Station, Ilha do Cardoso, and the Lagunar Estuary Complex.

Dragon Cave (Caverna do Dragão), PETAR, São Paulo State

In the countryside, it is possible to find resorts, rural tourism, eco-municipalities with a European like climate, waterfalls, caves, rivers, mountains, spas, parks, historical buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, archaeological sites such as the Alto Ribeira State and Tourist Park (PETAR). Those looking for intense entertainment can browse the Hopi Hari, a major theme park in Brazil, in the Metropolitan Region of Campinas. As regards ecotourism, Sprout Juquitiba has a fine infrastructure. In winter, the city of Campos do Jordão emerges as the main tourist reference state, with the Winter Festival and several other attractions in an environment where the temperature can drop down below 0 Celsius.

Ranch Hotel Pitangueiras, São Paulo State

To the north and west, the interior offers a smattering of cities known for their thermal spas (like Águas de Lindóia), ranch-hotels (São Pedro) and colonial architecture (like Itu). Brotas boasts some of Brazil’s best white water rafting and other outdoor activities. Other cities offer a glimpse into the pioneer and immigrant experiences. Old coffee plantations have been converted into “ranch hotels.” Hot springs attract visitors to a half-dozen rural towns. Some 67 municipalities have received designation as “estâncias” in recognition of their special leisure attractions.

Outside São Paulo State

Brazilians often say they live in a continent rather than a country. It’s an excusable exaggeration. The landmass is bigger than the United States if you exclude Alaska; the journey from Recife in the east to the western border with Peru is longer than that from London to Moscow, and the distance between the northern and southern borders is about the same as that between New York and Los Angeles.

Brazilian regions

About 5 million foreigners visit Brazil each year. The country offers an ample gamut of options, with natural areas being its most popular tourism product, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as historic and cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural and historic tourism in Minas Gerais… and business trips to São Paulo city.

Southeast Region

The Brazilian Southeast Region includes the following states: São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Espírito Santo. This region contains several of the most visited touristic attractions of Brazil. Air tickets from São Paulo to those States are cheap.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is widely known because of its beaches and Carnival. It also has strong cultural tourism. Rio, which really is as beautiful as it seems in pictures, is one essential destination. Some of its main attractions are the statue of "Cristo Redentor" (Christ the Redeemer) on Corcovado Mountain, riding the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain ("Pão de Açúcar") mountain with its famous cable car, the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca, and the Tijuca forest.

The state of Rio de Janeiro, surrounding the city, is fairly small by Brazilian standards. It is both beautiful and accessible, with easy trips either northeast along the Costa do Sol or southwest along the Costa Verde, taking in unspoilt beaches, washed by a relatively unpolluted ocean. Inland routes make a welcome change from the sands, especially the trip to Petrópolis, a nineteenth-century mountain retreat where the Brazilian emperor, Dom Pedro II, used to spend the summer season.

Espírito Santo mountains

Espírito Santo is also known for its beaches (Vitória, Vila Velha, Guarapari, Marataízes, Itaúnas). This state also has small cities founded by Italian and German immigrants, in the mountains. The best way to view the region is to make the round of the towns that began as German and Italian colonies: Santa Teresa, Santa Leopoldina, Santa Maria, Domingos Martins and Venda Nova – the last near the remarkable sheer granite face of Pedra Azul, one of the least-known but most spectacular sights in the country.

Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais State

Minas Gerais has some of the most important Brazilian cities of the colonial period, such as Tiradentes, São João del-Rei, Diamantina, and Ouro Preto. Minas Gerais’ “historic cities” represent some of the finest examples of Portuguese colonial architecture, and are repositories of a great flowering of eighteenth-century Baroque religious art; it was the finest work of its time in the Americas, with a special role played by the mulatto leper sculptor, Aleijadinho, whose magnificent work is scattered throughout the state’s wonderfully preserved historic cities. In the southwest of the state, in fine mountainous scenery near the border with São Paulo, are a number of spa towns built around mineral-water springs including the small and quiet resorts of São Lourenço and Caxambu.

Southern Region

The Brazilian South Region includes the following states: Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. 

Praia de Bombinhas, Santa Catarina State

The coast has a subtropical climate that in the summer months (November to March) draws people who want to avoid the oppressive heat of the northern resorts, and a vegetation and atmosphere that feel more Mediterranean than Brazilian. Much of the Paraná’s coast is still unspoilt by the ravages of mass tourism, and building development is essentially forbidden on the beautiful islands of Paranaguá Bay. By way of contrast, tourists have encroached along Santa Catarina’s coast, but only a few places, such as Balneário Camburiú, have been allowed to develop into a concrete jungle. Otherwise, resorts such as most of those on the Ilha de Santa Catarina around Florianópolis remain fairly small and do not seriously detract from the region’s natural beauty.

Frozen waterfall, Santa Catarina State

The interior is less frequently visited. Much of it is mountainous, the home of people whose way of life seems to have altered little since the arrival of the European pioneers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cities in the interior that were founded by Germans (such as Blumenau in Santa Catarina), Italians (Bento Gonçalves in Rio Grande do Sul) and Ukrainians (Prudentópolis in Paraná) have lost much of their former ethnic character, but only short distances from them are villages and hamlets where time appears to have stood still. Santa Catarina boasts the coldest city in Brazil: São Joaquim (with an altitude of 1360 meters), where there is snowfall during winter.

Iguaçu Waterfalls, Paraná State

The highland areas between Lages and Vacaria, and the grasslands of southern and western Rio Grande do Sul, are largely given over to vast cattle ranches, where the modern gaúchos keep many of the skills of their forebears alive. The region also boasts some spectacular natural features, the best known being the Iguaçu Waterfalls on the Brazilian–Argentine frontier and the incredible canyons of the Aparados da Serra. The spectacular Iguaçu Falls, in Paraná state, is one of the great natural wonders of South America.

São Miguel das Missões, Rio Grande do Sul State

Travelling around the South is generally easy, and there’s a fine road network. Most north–south buses stick to the road running near the coast, but it’s easy to devise routes passing through the interior, perhaps taking in the Jesuit ruins of São Miguel das Missões.

Center-West Region

The Brazilian Central-West Region includes the following states: Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, and the Federal District (with Brasília, the capital of Brazil).

The Brazilian Congress, in Brasília, Federal District

Central Brazil is dominated by an enormous plateau of savanna and rock escarpments, the Planalto Central. In the middle stands Brasília, the country’s space-age capital, built from scratch in the late 1950s and still developing today. It has a peculiar architecture, authored by Oscar Niemeyer.

Pantanal, Mato Grosso State

The capital is the gateway to a vast interior, Mato Grosso, only fully charted and settled over the last fifty years; it includes the Pantanal, the largest wetlands in the world and the richest wildlife reserve anywhere in the Americas. Mato Grosso also holds the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau, containing beautiful waterfalls. 

Chapada dos Veadeiros, Goiás State

Goiás is famous for its natural attractions, such as the National Park of "Chapada dos Veadeiros". This UNESCO-listed, breathtakingly scenic national park is located in the centre of Brazil in the state of Goiás. The dramatic plateaux on which it sits is one of the oldest rock formations in the world; about 1.8 billion years. It has an extraordinarily rich biodiversity: over half of the world’s species of flora and fauna lives here. It has many waterfalls, and famous crystals. Thermal waters are found especially in Caldas Novas.

Bonito cave, Mato Grosso do Sul State

Mato Grosso do Sul state is also famous for its natural beauty, and is a major destination for domestic and international tourism. The Pantanal lowlands cover 12 municipalities and present an enormous variety of flora and fauna, with forests, natural sand banks, savannahs, open pasture, fields and bushes. The city Bonito, in the mountain of Bodoquena, has prehistoric caves, rivers, waterfalls, natural swimming pools and the Blue Lake cave. The great concentration of lime in the soil around the area where Bonito is located is responsible for the transparency of the waters and for the existence of a wide variety of geological formations.

Caiman (jacaré) at Pantanal, Mato Grosso State

The Pantanal is an ecological paradise right in the heart of Brazil. It is the largest flooded lowland on the planet and the third largest environmental reserve in the world. Its ecological importance is immense, since it is home to one of the richest ecosystems ever found to date, with periodically flooded seasonal forests. It displays the largest concentration of neo-tropical fauna, including several endangered species – mammals, reptiles and fish – and it also serves as habitat for an enormous variety of native birds, as well as those migrating from other areas in the Americas. The Pantanal is one of the best places in Brazil for flora and fauna observation and for fishing – permitted only between March and October – due to its abundance of animals.

Northeast Region

The Brazilian Northeast Region includes the following states: Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Piauí and Maranhão. Travel from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro to the Northeast Region may be expensive.

Olinda, Pernambuco State

The Northeast is the part of the country that curves out into the Atlantic Ocean. It is chiefly known as Nordeste ("Northeast") by Brazilians. The region was the first part of Brazil to be discovered and colonized by the Portuguese and other European peoples, playing a crucial role in the the country's history. Colonial remains are thicker on the ground here than anywhere else in the country – notably in the cities of Salvador and São Luís and the lovely town of Olinda.

Historic center, São Luís, Maranhão State

Nordeste's dialects and rich culture, including its folklore, cuisines, music and literature, became the most easily distinguishable across the country. To this day, Nordeste is widely recognized for its history and culture, as well as for its nature beauties and hot weather.

Afro-Brazilian religious cult, Bahia State

It is a region of dramatic contrasts: a lush tropical coastline with the best beaches in Brazil quickly gives way to the sertão, a semi-arid interior plagued by drought and grinding poverty. All the major cities of the Northeast are on the coast; the two largest are sprawling Recife and Salvador, Brazil’s most heavily Afro-Brazilian city and a fascinating place to visit.

Porto Seguro, Bahia State

Besides the capitals, most coastal cities of the Northeast Region have many natural beauties, such as the Abrolhos Marine National Park, Itacaré, Comandatuba Island, Costa do Sauípe, Canasvieiras and Porto Seguro, in the State of Bahia; the Marine National Park of Fernando de Noronha, Porto de Galinhas beach in the State of Pernambuco; tropical paradises, such as Canoa Quebrada and Jericoacoara, on the coast of Ceará, as well as the places to practice free flight, as Quixadá and Sobral; and Lençóis Maranhenses, embellishing the coast of Maranhão State, among many others. In the interior area, National Parks of Serra da Capivara and Sete Cidades, both in the State of Piauí; Chapada Diamantina, in the State of Bahia; and many other attractions.

Fernando de Noronha islands, Rio Grande do Norte State

Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, 354 km (220 mi) offshore from the Brazilian coast, close to Rio Grande do Norte and Pernambuco. The islands of this archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains. It consists of 21 islands, islets and rocks of volcanic origin. In 2001 UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site because of the importance of its environment. The life above and below sea is the main attraction of the island. Sea turtles, dolphins, albatrosses and many other species are frequently observed. The beaches of Fernando de Noronha are promoted for tourism and recreational diving. The visibility underwater can reach up to 50 meters.

Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão State

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located in Maranhão state.  It is an area of low, flat, occasionally flooded land, overlaid with large, discrete sand dunes. It encompasses roughly 1,500 km² (580 sq mi), and despite abundant rain, supports almost no vegetation. Composed of large, white, sweeping dunes, at first glance Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert, but in fact it is not an actual desert. Lying just outside the Amazon Basin, the region is subject to a regular rain season during the beginning of the year. The rains cause a peculiar phenomenon: fresh water collects in the valleys between sand dunes and is prevented from percolating down by a layer of impermeable rock which lies underneath the sand. The resulting blue, green and black "lagoons" are surrounded by the desert-like sand, and reach their fullest between July and September. The lagoons have large numbers of fish that arrive when the lagoons are at their fullest after July, when they are interconnected to rivers such as the Rio Negro.

Cachoeira da Fumaça, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia State

The Chapada Diamantina National Park is a 1,520 km² natural reserve in the State of Bahia. Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau. Diamantina refers to the diamonds found there in the mid-19th century. The breathtaking landscape, its huge canyons with rivers of brownish waters, the high altitude grasslands, innumerous waterfalls and a great extent of trails, once used by miners in their search for diamonds, makes it one of the best destinations in the country for the practice of outdoor activities. Many cave systems (up to 85 km long) were formed by the rivers that run through the region. Several of these rivers run red due to tannin in the water. One of the attractions of the Park is Cachoeira da Fumaça, one of the world's highest waterfalls (340 m). The flora and fauna are highly varied. Although there are few large mammals, there is a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and small mammals. The flora mainly consists of small scrubland bushes, orchids and cactus.

North Region

The Brazilian North Region includes the following states: Tocantins, Pará, Amapá, Amazonas, Roraima, Acre and Rondônia.  Notice that travel from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro to the North Region is expensive.

Amazonian rainforest region, with the Amazon river at its centre

Amazon is the world’s largest river basin and a mosaic of jungle, rivers, savanna and marshland that also contains two major cities – Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon itself, and Manaus, some 1600 km upstream. The tributaries of the Amazon, rivers like the Tapajós, the Xingú, the Negro, the Araguaia or the Tocantins, are virtually unknown outside Brazil, but each is a huge river system in its own right.

Amazon rainforest

The North Region of Brazil is the largest Region of Brazil, corresponding to 45.27% of the national territory. It is the least inhabited of the country. Its demographic density is the lowest in Brazil, with only 3.8 inhabitants per km². Most of the population is centered in urban areas. The two largest states in the North Region are Amazonas and Pará; their capital cities (Manaus and Belém) have international airports.

Some Amazon rainforest animals

The Amazon (also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle) represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. A perpetually warm, wet climate promotes more explosive plant growth than in any other environment on Earth. Wet tropical forests are the most species-rich biome, and tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia. 

As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. More than 1/3 of all species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, 40,000 plants species, 3,000 fishes, 1,300 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians and 378 reptile species. One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. A square kilometer may be home to more than 1,000 tree species and 90,000 tones of living plants.

A tree here may grow over 75 feet in height in just 5 years. From above, the forest appears as an unending sea of green, broken only by occasional, taller "emergent" trees. These towering emergent trees are the realm of hornbills, macaws, toucans, and the harpy eagle. The canopy is home to many of the forest's animals, including apes and monkeys. Below the canopy, a lower understory hosts to snakes and big cats. The forest floor, relatively clear of undergrowth due to the thick canopy above, is prowled by other animals.

ISHPSSB & ABFHiB 2017 Meeting   
International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB)   
Associação Brasileira de Filosofia e História da Biologia (ABFHiB)   
São Paulo, Brazil, 16 to 21 July, 2017   

São Paulo, Brazil
16 to 21 July, 2017

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