The Amazon — with its 1.4 billion acres — may get all the glory when it comes to Brazilian rain forests, but visitors to Rio and the southern part of the country have just as good of access to a rain forest, without having to travel the several hours to the north. We’re talking about the Atlantic rain forest, or Mata, a long stretch of tropical wonder that extends from Sao Paulo and past Rio to the south, and which offers ample opportunities for travelers to experience all that a South American rain forest has to offer, and be back in the urban jungle all in the same day, as the San Fran Chronicle discovered.
For example, visitors to Rio can experience Mata by hiking the trail at Sugarloaf Mountain (where most tourists stick to the cable cars to reach the top). “Choose your trails right, and you can start the day tramping through protected Mata in the company of toucans and howler monkeys and finish it sipping caipirinhas on the beach with Brazil’s buff and beautiful.”
Or, about three hours south of Rio is the Bay of Paraty, “a network of jungle, inlets and secluded beaches,” where high-end restaurants and hotels are surrounded by, literally, miles and miles of untouched rain forest, home to countless species of wildlife. Here, one trail through the forest leads you from the city and to Praia do Sono (Sleepy Beach), a beach that will make you forget all about returning back to the city.
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