Eastern and southern Minas Gerais, Brazil

The border area between Minas and Espírito Santo is the most rugged part of the state. Marked by the ridges of the Serra do Caparaó mountains, it is home to some of the country's highest peaks and covered with eucalyptus plantations and remnant Mata Atlântica forest. It remains an important centre for semi-precious stone processing and crystal carving. The two principal towns, Governador Valadares and Teófilo Otôni, are on the BR-116 inland Rio-Salvador road, and both have good connections with Belo Horizonte.

Caratinga Biological Station

The privately owned Caratinga Biological Station, set in 880 ha of mountainous, inland Atlantic forest, is protected by a conscientious family and
Conservation International
. The reserve is home to four rare primates: half of the world's northern muriquis (
Brachyteles hypoxanthus
), a sub-species of woolly spider monkeys, which are the largest primates in the Americas and one of the most critically endangered; the brown (or black-capped) capuchin; the brown howler monkey and the buffy-headed marmoset (a sub-species of tufted eared marmoset). Also at the station are brown-throated three-toed sloths and one of the largest inventories of birds outside the Andean regions of the Amazon - 217 species at last count. The primates and many of the birds are easily seen.

Parque Estadual do Rio Doce

The Parque Estadual do Rio Eoce is 248 km east of Belo Horizonte in the municipalities of Dionísio, Timóteo and Marliéria. Between 230 m and 515 m above sea level and covering almost 36,000 ha, this is one of the largest tracts of
Mata Atlântica
in southeast Brazil. As well as forest there are a number of lakes, on which boat trips are possible, besides swimming and fishing. The park is home to a great many birds and animals. There is an information centre, a campsite 6 km into the park and trails that have been marked out for hiking.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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