Along the BR-364 in Brazil

Marechal Rondon Highway
, BR-364, runs 1550 km from Porto Velho to Cuiabá in Mato Grosso. The paving of this road has led to the development of farms and towns. Cattle ranches can be seen all along the road, with the lowest population density in the south between Pimenta Bueno and Vilhena.

Pousada Ecológica Rancho Grande
, is a working
about 250 km south of Porto Velho. It contains millions of rare butterflies, about 450 bird species and numerous mammals, all of which can be seen on the 20 km of trails. Owner, Harald Schmitz, speaks English, German and Spanish. Highly recommended, especially for butterfly lovers. Reservations and tours can be arranged through
Focus Tours
. The
changes money and has an ATM.

Ji Paraná

On the shores of the Rio Machado, 376 km from Porto Velho and halfway to Cuiabá is this pleasant town with a small riverside promenade and several bars, which are lively at night. There is swimming in the river, beware of the current, and a
telegraph museum
on Avenida Marechal Rondon.

Parque Nacional dos Pacaás Novos

Pacaás Novos protects some 765,800 ha of
, rainforest and tropical savannah and lies west of the BR-364. The fauna includes all the spectacular mammals such as jaguar, brocket deer, puma, tapir, peccary and maned wolf. The average annual temperature is 23°C, but this can fall as low as 5°C when the cold front known as the
blows up from the south pole.

Reserva Biológica do Guaporé

On the Rio Guaporé, the Guaporé Biological Reserve contains the
Forte Príncipe da Beira
. The fort was constructed in 1777 to defend the border with Bolivia and is currently being restored. It can be reached from Costa Marques (20 km by road), which is some 345 km by unpaved road west of
Rolim de Moura
. This unplanned town, 40 km west of Pimenta Bueno, relies on agriculture, livestock and a small furniture industry. There are a few basic hotels and guesthouses, which are easy to find and do not require reservations.

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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