At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that Brazil is a vast and diverse country and EcoQuest Travel offers many different itineraries to Brazil – the trip listed below is just one example. If you are interested in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforests, or in Brazil, as a destination please contact us for further information.
WILDLIFE OF THE ATLANTIC RAINFOREST
A Journey to Brazil’s Most Endangered Ecosystem
11 Days from September 25 through October 5
The Atlantic rainforests of Brazil represent one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world with less than 5% of the original forest remaining. These remaining forests drape the Serro do Mar mountain range that runs parallel to the southeast coast. Tucked away in the reserves protecting the last remnants of these forests is a spectacular diversity of birds, many of them endemic to both Brazil and to these special forests. Although birds will be the main focus of this trip, we will be on the lookout for some of the endemic reptiles, amphibians and mammals as well. We should see the incredible golden lion tamarin in the wild and if lucky could spot another endemic primate – the muriqui or woolly spider monkey. During the majority of this trip we will stay at Guapi Assu Bird Lodge. Located in the heart of an Atlantic rainforest reserve, this lodge is home to 435 species of birds including 111 Atlantic forest endemics and 63 Brazilian endemics. EcoQuest Travel is proud to invite you to join us as we explore the birds and other wildlife of the Atlantic rainforests – Brazil’s most endangered ecosystem.
Day 1 – Sunday, September 25: Home City to US Gateway and on to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Our adventure begins early this morning as we depart from our home cities to our US gateway city for our flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Please make sure that you arrive at your home airport no later than two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. For those of you traveling from Raleigh/Durham, Dave Davenport will meet you at the airport to help you get checked in. For those of you arriving from cities other than Raleigh/Durham, once you arrive at our gateway city please go directly to our departure gate for Rio de Janeiro. We will arrive in Rio late in the evening and, after clearing immigration and customs, we will transfer to the Orla Copacabana Hotel for a night of much needed rest.
Day 2 – Monday, September 26: Rio de Janeiro
After a good night’s sleep we will have breakfast before we begin to explore Rio – one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This beauty comes from the sun drenched beaches, forest cloaked mountains and azure blue seas that surround this vibrant city. Our first stop is the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain via a two-stage cable car ride. The panoramic views of the city and Guanabara Bay are spectacular. We will have lunch at a typical Brazilian restaurant before continuing our tour. In the afternoon we will continue our city tour passing Maracana Stadium, Parque do Flamengo and Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon on the way to the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. This statue is perched high on a mountain top overlooking the city and will provide incredible views and a lofty spot to watch the city below. After our tour we will transfer back to the Orla Copacabana Hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 3 – Tuesday, September 27: Poco das Antas Golden Lion Tamarin Reserve
After an early breakfast we will travel from Rio to Silva Jardim and Poco das Antas Biological Reserve. The Atlantic forests of Brazil are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. As a result many of the species from these forests are also imperiled including its most famous denizen the golden lion tamarin. This strikingly beautiful squirrel-sized primate draped in bright orange fur is found only in these lowland rainforests. All of the approximately 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild are found in Poco das Antas Biological Reserve and the surrounding private land. We will visit the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Project where tamarins bred in captivity are being reintroduced to their natural habitat. We will hike some of the trails to observe golden lion tamarins in the wild and then visit the Environmental Education Center to learn more about this extraordinary conservation effort. While searching for tamarins we should also see plenty of birds which could include scarlet-shouldered macaw, planalto hermit, rufous-throated sapphire, white-eared puffbird, variable antshrike and magpie tanager. In the afternoon we will head to Bom Retiro Private Reserve for further explorations of the Atlantic forests, our first hummingbird feeders and a regionally inspired lunch. In the late afternoon we will travel to Guapi Assu Bird Lodge for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 4 – Wednesday, September 28: Guapi Assu Bird Lodge
This morning we will begin our explorations of the Atlantic rainforests that surround Guapi Assu Bird Lodge. This excellent birding lodge will be our accommodation for the next six nights as we explore one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet – the Brazilian Atlantic forests. These forests are home to many unique plants and animals and are especially rich in endemic birdlife. We will begin by exploring the area around the lodge including its many fruit and hummingbird feeders. Some of the birds we hope to see in the gardens or at the feeders are (the Atlantic forest endemics are italicized): maroon-bellied parakeet; spot-billed toucanet; blond-crested woodpecker; gray-hooded attila; ruby-crowned, Brazilian, golden-chevroned, burnished-buff and green-headed tanagers; chestnut-bellied euphonia; blue-naped chlorophonia; and green honeycreeper. The hummingbird feeders should also be busy and could include: saw-billed and rufous-bellied hermits, somber hummingbird, swallow-tailed hummingbird, black jacobin, versicolored emerald, Brazilian ruby, white-bellied hummingbird and amethyst woodstar. This afternoon, after lunch, we will hike the Waterfalls Trail. This is a fairly easy trail even though it starts at 170 meters and climbs to 1300 meters. There are hummingbird feeders at the trail head so we hope reddish hermits, violet-capped wood-nymphs and glittering-throated emeralds will get us off to a great start. The trail itself passes through primarily humid evergreen forest and ends at a beautiful waterfall. Some of the birds we hope to see along this trail are buff-bellied puffbird, yellow-throated woodpecker, spot-backed antshrike, streak-capped antwren, scaled antbird, white-shouldered fire-eye, variegated antpitta, white-throated and lesser woodcreepers, pale-browed treehunter, streaked xenops, southern antpipit, pin-tailed and blue manakins, shrike-like cotinga, chestnut-crowned and crested becards, white-necked thrush, olive-green and white-bellied tanagers, yellow-green grosbeak and chestnut-bellied euphonia. After a full day of exploring we will have dinner and overnight at the lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 5 – Thursday, September 29: Guapi Assu Bird Lodge
This morning we will explore more of the area surrounding Guapi Assu by visiting a wetland area close to the lodge. This wetland, and the surrounding forest, is home to some fantastic specialty birds including white-faced whistling-duck, masked duck, black-and-white hawk-eagle, gray-headed kite, blackish rail, giant snipe, slaty-breasted wood-rail, biscutate swift, crescent-chested puffbird, rufous-capped motmot, chestnut-backed antshrike, yellowish pipit and chestnut-capped blackbird. The rest of the day will see us hiking the trail from the small wetlands to Casa Anibal – a derelict house. This trail cuts through well established secondary forest and is the best place to look for eastern striped manakin and frilled coquette frequent the overgrown gardens at Casa Anibal. We also hope to see many other species including: white-necked hawk, plain parakeet, surucua and black-throated trogons, channel-billed toucan, white-barred piculet, yellow-eared woodpecker, spot-breasted antvireo, star-throated antwren, black-capped foliage-gleaner, sepia-capped flycatcher, long-tailed tyrant, bare-throated bellbird and black-goggled, flame-crested, azure-shouldered, red-necked, brassy-breasted and rufous-headed tanagers. After a full day of birding we will have dinner and overnight at Guapi Assu. After dinner we will have the chance to do some night birding searching for tropical screech-owl, tawny-browed owl, common potoo, short-tailed nighthawk and spot-tailed nightjar. We could also see mammals at night and some commonly encountered species include grey four-eyed opossum, fishing bats, nine-banded armadillo, paca and crab-eating fox. If our night walk takes place down by the wetland we could also see black-crowned night-heron, giant snipe, striped owl, capybara, broad-nosed caiman and a variety of frogs. (B,L,D)
Day 6 – Friday, September 30: Serra dos Orgaos National Park
We will be up early today as we make a two hour journey to Brazil’s third oldest national park. This park is blanketed in Atlantic tropical forest and includes both lowland and highland forest. We will spend the majority of the day birding part of the Pedra do Sino Trail – a high altitude long distance trail that reaches 2,263 meters above sea level. Our pace will be slow and deliberate as we search for birds found at these high elevations. Some of the species we hope to find are mantled hawk, plovercrest, rufous gnateater, rufous-backed antvireo, pallid spinetail, sharp-tailed streamcreeper, blue-billed black-tyrant, shear-tailed gray tyrant, swallow-tailed cotinga, hooded berryeater, black-and-gold cotinga, rufous-crowned greenlet, diademed tanager and bay-chested warbling-finch. After a full day of birding we will travel back to Guapi Assu for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 7 – Saturday, October 1: Guapi Assu Bird Lodge
Today we will have an early breakfast and an early start as we begin an all day hike on the Elfin Forest Trail. This fantastic trail with stunning scenery ranges from 400 meters to 950 meters in elevation, and winds through primary forest before giving way to stunted elfin forest. The trail is long and, in places, very steep, but the variety and abundance of birds and the slight chance of encountering a woolly spider monkey make the effort very worthwhile. Once again our pace will be slow and deliberate and we will take a packed lunch along with us. The variety of habitats along this trail should produce many birds not seen previously including solitary and brown tinamous, dusky-legged guan, spot-winged wood-quail, barred forest-falcon, blue-winged parrotlet, blue-bellied parrot, saffron toucanet, giant antshrike, black-cheeked gnateater, spotted bamboo-wren, rufous-breasted leaftosser, ochre-faced tody-flycatcher, russet-winged spadebill, sharpbill, shrike-like cotinga, blue and pin-tailed manakins, black-throated grosbeak and green-winged saltator. After a full day we will return to Guapi Assu for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 8 – Sunday, October 2: Macae de Cima
Today we will once again journey from Guapi Assu to the higher elevations of Macae de Cima. Although not as high in elevation as Serra dos Orgaos the middle elevations of Macae de Cima (1,400 meters) are home to a great variety of birds. We will visit different elevations during this trip, but the majority of time will be spent on top of the mountain at a private orchid reserve owned by renowned orchid expert David Miller. Most of our birding will be done along a dirt road so it should be an easier day then the previous two. The orchid reserve has hummingbird feeders which will hopefully attract scale-throated hermit, plovercrest, white-throated hummingbird, Brazilian ruby and amethyst woodstar. We will also be on the lookout for species we have not picked up yet like black hawk-eagle, brown-backed and golden-tailed parrotlets, yellow-browed woodpecker, tufted antshrike, black-billed scythebill, white-collared foliage-gleaner, drab-breasted bamboo-tyrant, Serra do Mar tyrant-manakin, chestnut-headed tanager and white-browed warbler. We will arrive back at Guapi Assu in the mid to late afternoon in time to do some more birding or have some free time prior to dinner. After dinner we will once again have the opportunity to do some night birding. If we haven’t seen the giant snipe yet we will concentrate our effort on finding them in the wetlands. If we have seen them we will do some more forest birding in search of owls. (B,L,D)
Day 9 – Monday, October 3: Sumidouro
Today we will depart early to travel to the degraded remnant patches of the Atlantic dry forest on the other side of the Serra dos Orgaos Mountains. This area is home to the increasingly rare three-toed jacamar which is one of our target birds for the day. This will be an all day field trip, but a fairly easy one as most of our birding will be done at roadside stops. We will take a picnic lunch with us as we explore a wide variety of habitats including remnant patches of Atlantic dry forest, open grasslands and wetlands. Some of the other birds we hope to encounter include lesser yellow-headed vulture, white-tailed hawk, bat falcon, red-legged seriema, blue-winged macaw, scaly-headed parrot, white-eared puffbird, black-necked aracari, Rio de Janeiro antbird, red-eyed thornbird, firewood-gatherer, hangnest tody-tyrant, white-rumped monjita, streamer-tailed tyrant, curl-crested jay, magpie tanager and hooded siskin. After a full day of birding we will return to Guapi Assu for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 10 – Tuesday, October 4: Guapi Assu to Rio
We will have one more full morning to bird near the lodge. After lunch we will travel back to Rio. Once in Rio we will transfer to the Orla Copacabana Hotel. The afternoon will be on our own to relax on the beach, go sightseeing or shopping. In the evening we will have our farewell dinner at Siri Mole, a distinctive Brazilian restaurant, before settling into our hotel for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 11 – Wednesday, October 5: Rio de Janeiro to our US Gateway City and Home
We will have an early transfer to the airport for our flight from Rio de Janeiro to our US gateway city. We will arrive in our gateway city late this evening and after clearing immigration and customs we will transfer to our flights home. (B)
* Please note that EcoQuest Travel will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.