When German explorer Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied arrived in southeast Brazil in 1815, he stumbled upon one of the richest, tallest, and most impressive forests on Earth—and it wasn’t the Amazon. A haven for blue-chested parakeets, golden-headed lion tamarins, and other endemic species, the Atlantic Forest survives today only in fragile pockets. From the luxury bungalows of Ponta dos Ganchos, 710 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, guests can trek into the rare woodland, whitewater raft its interior rivers, and kayak, sail, and snorkel nearby coastal lagoons (doubles from $620; pontadosganchos.com.br).
Published: March 2009World Class: Lodges + Escapes
Arboreal Encounter: Brazil
Discover Africa's cosmopolitan edge; venture into Brazil's rarest woodland; taste-test your way through India's spice country.
Photograph Courtesy of Ponta Dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort
The little Amazon on Brazil’s southern coast.