ITATIBA, Brazil—Brazil’s tourist attractions are far too many to try to number. There is the world famous beach of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, the Rio Carnival, Salvador Beaches, and the preparations for the upcoming soccer World Cup of 2014, and the Summer Olympic Games of the 2016, to name but just a very few.
What may have gone more unnoticed in the past—but becoming more popular now—is adventure traveling in Brazil’s many forests, wetlands, and mountains. With principles of ecotourism that promote responsible travel to natural areas and conservation, this form of travel is becoming more popular among those thirsty for thrills and an environmental conscious.
Today there are an estimated 2,000 companies connected to ecotourism and adventure traveling in Brazil, employing over 11,000 people, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism.
Rui Barbosa, 34, is an entrepreneur and owner of the tourism company Desafio Adventure—Turismo de Aventura (Adventure Challenge—Adventure Tourism). He created his company 4 years ago, but has been in the adventure tourism industry for the past 10 years.
“I invested in tourism as a leisure and saw that the business was growing. It is a good business that is growing in Brazil,” said Barbosa, who is busy preparing for the surge of tourists coming with the 2014 World Cup.
His company offers mountain climbing, rock climbing, rafting, waterfalls rappelling, parachuting, and many other adventure tourism activities. He mainly focuses his business in the São Paulo region.
“When it comes to Brazil, one thinks of ecotourism,” Barbosa says about the growing popularity of this type of tourism. He has received tourists from India, Germany, and many other countries around the world.
Compared to many other activities, adventure traveling could be very easy on the pocket as well. Barbosa says a basic rappelling trip could cost between US$23 to US$27 in São Paulo.
According to Jefferson Zanandrea, an avid mountain climber, the cost of going on one’s own, including transportation costs, supplies, and damage to equipment, could be at least US$140.
However most ecotourist companies tend to go to more famous places such as the Pantanal and Iguassu Falls, and overlook some other places that also have a lot to offer.
Zanandrea, a logistics analyst by profession, says that some other areas that are really worth seeing but go unnoticed include the Pico da Bandeira, Pico de Cristal, and the Pico do Calçado peaks in the southeast region of Brazil.
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