Brazil is the biggest country of Latin America with a surface area of over 8 1/2 million square kilometres. With the exception of Ecuador and Chile all other South American countries share a border with Brazil. Geographically, the country can be divided into four parts. You will find magnificent beaches along almost the entire 7500 km coastal strip. Behind this strip, in the southern half of the country lays the great central tableland, the Planalto Brasileiro, with a height of between 500 to 1000 metres. On the plateau are several smaller mountain chains, some reaching a height of 3000 metres. In the northern, largest part of Brazil, the immense Amazon lowlands stretch as far as Peru. In the South East, the Paraná-Paranaqua lowlands include Pantanal.
The area around the world’s longest river, the Amazon, contains the world’s largest rain forest. From the Peruvian border the river flows a further 3100 kms through Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean. 10% of all plant and animal species in the world live here. This vast jungle is the habitat of many kinds of monkeys, parrots, songbirds, snakes, tapirs and the mountain lion. The rain forest is responsible for 20% of the world’s oxygen supply.
The Pantanal, Brazil’s best kept secret, is south of the Amazon in the centre of the continent. The world’s largest ‘wetlands’, the Pantanal is home to the largest concentration of fauna in South America. When the water level starts to go down in March, the area becomes a playground for ornithologists, with over 200 kinds of birds. There are many birds of prey and water birds, as well as caymen, capybaras and many kinds of fish, including the bloodthirsty piranha.
The Foz do Iguaçu, where Brazil meets Argentina and Paraguay, is perhaps the most sensational spectacle in the country. These mighty waterfalls are listed as natural wonders of the world and are superior to Niagara Falls and the Victoria Falls in both size and grandeur.