To get to this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, you must travel into the beating heart of the Amazon. Jaú National Park is part of the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, the largest stretch of protected forest in the Amazon Basin.
The park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it shelters a unique variety of flora and fauna, both on land and in the rivers that wind through it. For example, the tropical rainforest ecosystem is home to jaguars, sloths, armadillos and uncountable numbers of birds. In the rivers, you’ll find manatee, pink river dolphin, black caiman alligators, and the “living fossil” giant arapaima fish.
Watch out, though- Jaú National Park is also home to the widest variety of electric fish in world.
Currently, you need permission from the Brazilian government to visit the park, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible-just that you need t0 plan ahead and make sure you only deal with reputable tour operators who have the required permits to lead tours in the park. This Wikitravel article is one good source of logistical information.
Brazil visa regulations require all American tourists to have a tourist visa in hand to enter the country. Make sure to apply ahead of time, or you won’t be allowed to board your flight to Brazil.
Here’s what you need to apply
- Your US passport, which needs to have an expiration date at least 6 months in the future and also needs to have at least 2 blank pages in the back so that the Brazil embassy has room to add the tourist visa.
- One completed Brazil visa application
- 2 passport-sized photos of yourself
- A copy of your round-trip itinerary showing the dates you plan to enter and leave Brazil.
- A photocopy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID card. The copy must be clear and easy to read.
- If you will be visiting friends or relatives while in Brazil, you also need a letter from your hosts.
To enter Brazil, you may be required to get a yellow fever vaccination. Vaccines are required of travelers who have been to any of the following countries in the past 3 months (90 days): Angola, Bolivia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan or Venezuela.
You should also be aware that Brazil has a “jurisdictional” visa system. That means that you have to apply at the specific Brazilian embassy or consulate that serves your home address.
Brazil visa rules are more than a little complex. A private visa expediting company like RushMyTravelVisa can make it easier and faster to get your visa.