Explore Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo
Some 30km north of the industrial town of Linhares is the Reserva Natural da Vale do Rio Doce (Tues–Sun 7am–4pm; t 27/3371-9702, w www.vale.com; R$8), home to forty percent of Espírito Santo’s remaining portion of Mata Atlântica. All but a tiny fraction of the 22,000-hectare reserve is open to the public, but you’ll need a couple of days to appreciate the area, which encompasses five different ecosystems ranging from tablelands forest to mangrove swamp. Although there’s a wealth of flora and fauna, it’s the four-hundred-odd species of bird that are the biggest draw; the best time for birdwatching is between September and November, when the forests are most abundant with fruit. Parrots and parakeets are easily spotted, while you may see a rare cherry-throated tanager if you’re very lucky.