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REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge

As Required

Your days in the Atlantic Rainforest take you to Guapi-Açu, and the REGUA lodge set at the bottom of the Serra dos Orgaos National Park two hours from Rio. This spectacular setting is home to birdlife galore, as well as mammals, reptiles and amphibians in various different habitat. The lodge is also your base to explore the national park above, and the forested lowlands and coastal areas below.

The Guapi-Açu Birding Lodge is the headquarters for REGUA, the ecological reserve of Atlantic Rainforest on the slopes of the Serra dos Orgaos National Park close to Rio de Janeiro. This spectacular setting is home to birdlife galore, as well as mammals, reptiles and amphibians in various different habitat. The lodge is also your base to explore the national park above, and the forested lowlands and coastal areas below.

The lodge specialises in birding, although with such high biodiversity in the region, then it is also a wonderful base for any kind of wildlife lover. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects can all be found in abundance in the variety of habitat found in the REGUA territory. This land is expanding too, as the lodge specialises in replanting native Atlantic Rainforest species, replacing natural habitats such as the lowland wetlands, and also preserving the tracts of primary rainforest on the slopes of the mountains. This is done with the help of volunteers and donations from all over the world, and thanks to REGUA, many species of birds and mammals have been observed returning to the region.

Mammals catalogued at the lodge include sloth; armadillo; collared anteater; howler, capuchin, marmoset and southern muriqui monkeys; fox, coati, tayra, kinkajou, grisson, otter, margay, jaguarundi, oncilla, ocelot and puma; peccary, paca and agouti. There is also a project at REGUA to release tapir into this reserve, a creature that has been hunted out of existence in the region. 

Avian life is especially impressive, with over 470 species catalogued in the diverse lowland and highland habitats of REGUA, more than in any other Atlantic Rainforest site. 62 species endemic to Brazil have been observed, while 118 endemic Atlantic Rainforest species have been spotted at REGUA and during trips out from the lodge. 13 of these species are given Threatened status, while 26 are Near-Threatened.

As well as these, 60 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been counted; 73 amphibian species, 9 of them being endemic to Rio de Janeiro State; 76 types of hawkmoths, with more possible at higher elevations that haven't been observed; 37 reptile species have been catalogued to date.  

REGUA is providing and protecting an excellent range of natural habitats, and also encouraging the local population to help with conservation. So visitors are guaranteed to come across a wide range of wonderful creatures!

Your stay at REGUA can be arranged in many different ways, with local guides to help tailor the details: you may prefer a general ecotourism idea, or perhaps you want to specialise in wildlife photography. Birding of course is catered for, being the staple activity of the lodge. 

Combines With: Rio de Janeiro; Paraty & Ilha Grande; Sao Paulo; Ilhabela 

Best Time to Visit: This tour can be taken all year round with December to February being the hottest, most humid and busiest months, but also with more rainfall. March to June are the quieter months on the Costa Verde and also with the best chance of clear weather

  • Destinations: Serra dos Orgaos Mountains
  • Duration: As Required
  • Trip Style: Specialist Tour
  • Activities: Wildlife Observation - Ecotourism

Brazil Adventure Tours provide you with ideas for tours of Brazil and South America, with all being completely flexible with regards to dates, duration or the tours, activities and classes that we can include. Our website tours are our recommendations based on our experience of how to make the very best of your time in South America. We can adjust these details in any way that you wish, with a little advice from us of course. We can combine any of our destinations that you wish to visit into one tour, and for however long you wish to visit them. Any of our Traditional and Adventure tours can also be combined in whichever way you prefer. We are here to organise a tour that suits you after all, not the other way around!

Day 1 : Atlantic Rainforest Lodge Arrival
Rio de Janeiro to REGUA
On arrival in Rio de Janeiro, you will be picked up for immediate transfer around Guanabara Bay and below the jagged peaks of the Serra dos Orgaos National Park. After two hours and 120km you find the Guapi-Açu Atlantic Rainforest Lodge nestling on the lower slopes. The Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA) will be your base for the next few days exploring the Atlantic Rainforest and mountains. The wetlands close to the lodge will be the first visit after lunch, an area recreated from previous pasturelands, where caiman and capybara make their home along with many birds such as grebe, heron, ducks, and colourful tropical species such as the Brazilian tanager. Dusk brings leaf-nosed bats to visit the feeders.
Day 2 : Rainforest Trails & Waterfalls
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
A full day hike takes you along the Trilha Verde, the Green Trail, through lowland Atlantic Rainforest still recovering its natural state 60 years of being allowed to grow back. In the primary forest around the falls, you can learn the principles of forest dynamics. The trail also has many birds with over 80 species recorded so far including toucanets, Brazilian ruby and various types of antwren and manakin. A picnic lunch is included. After dinner back at the lodge, an evening slide show explains the history of the REGUA project, its mission and its accomplishments to date. Night-time visitors to the gardens can be heard outside including the enigmatic tawny-browed owl.
Day 3 : Pico da Caledonia
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
You leave REGUA for another full day excursion for the Tres Picos (Three Peaks) State Park, with Pico da Caledonia, one of the highest peaks in the Serra dos Órgãos Mountains reaching 2,219 m above sea level. After driving up the Cascatinha valley, a short hike and a 630 steps take you to the summit, where the views are truly spectacular on a clear day. The high elevation forest here is one of only two known sites (and by far the most accessible and reliable) where the extremely rare and elusive Grey-winged Cotinga may be found, amongst many other birds. Another picnic lunch keeps you going until returning to the lodge in the late afternoon.
Day 4 : Atlantic Rainforest Wildlife
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
A morning 4x4 trip takes you to the mid-elevation forests close to the lodge, with colourful species such as Saffron Toucanet, Frilled Coquette, Maroon-Bellied Parrot and Channel-Billed Toucan in the area. As well as the avian life, the REGUA rainforest is also home to many mammals and you may come across some of them during your days at the lodge. Ocelot and puma have been caught on camera-traps. Sloth, collared anteaters, tayra, possum and porcupine climb the trees, while grisson, paca, armadillo and the crab-eating fox roam beneath. Otters can be found in the lowland rivers too. Colour is added by butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, lizards, snakes and frogs.
Day 5 : Atlantic Rainforest Orchid Reserve
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
An early start for another trip out of REGUA up to Macaé de Cima, an area of montane forest reaching an altitude of 1,400m close to the city of Novo Friburgo. The day involves visiting several areas at different altitudes, including a private mountain-top orchid reserve, owned by renowned orchid expert David Miller. As well as a wide variety of the colourful plants, the reserve has hummingbird feeders that provide excellent photographic opportunities. After returning to the lodge, evening can bring hikes out into the forest to search for the wonderful potoo, both common and great species. Nightjars and owls are also active, and your guide can help you to spot them.
Day 6 : Rainforest Primates
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
The most popular mammal to observe in the Atlantic Rainforest are the New World primates. Monkeys are often spotted around REGUA, or at least heard in the case of the brown howler monkeys. Tufted marmosets and capuchins are often encountered, while the endangered muriqui or southern woolly spider monkey is a welcome occasional sight. This area of Rio State though has a more famous resident. The golden lion tamarin is endemic to the region below the mountains, and the Primate Centre close by is one of the places that is helping to preserve this beautiful creature. A visit there helps you to learn more about the projects and the various simian species themselves.
Day 7 : Down to the Cape
REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge
A day out to the coast has you visiting another ecosystem of Brazil. Restinga is the vegetation of the beaches and dunes, and around the many shallow coastal lagoons of this region between Rio and Buzios, with rare birds such as the restinga antwren bringing many visitors to search for them. Cabo Frio and Arraial do Cabo are the main towns, with rich marine life in the area following the nutrients of the cold current that gives the area its name. If you want to explore the area then boat trips take you out onto turquoise waters, with white-sand beaches ringing the peninsula. Dolphins, rays, turtles and occasional penguins and southern right whales are spotted in the ocean.
Day 8 : Leaving the Atlantic Rainforest
REGUA to Rio de Janeiro & Away
The time comes to leave Guapi-Açu and return to Rio and your transfer will be timed to match your flight away from the city. REGUA is principally a Birding Lodge but stays can be adapted to your requirements, including the number of nights and the excursions and activities included. We can also combine your stay with visits to other parts of Brazil and South America. Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls are obvious options, while the Pantanal Wetlands and the Amazon Rainforest are two ecotourism marvels, both of which have jaguar and birding specials. However you prefer to organise your stay in the REGUA Atlantic Rainforest Lodge, you will return home having learned so much about this wonderful biosphere.
PRICES Simple 3 Star 4 Star Luxury
Per Adult * On Request On Request On Request On Request
Domestic Flights ** N/A

Suggested Hotels Simple 3 Star 4 Star Luxury
Serra dos Orgaos Mountains


* Prices vary depending on travel dates and flight availability. Peak periods in Brazil including Carnaval, public holidays and Christmas/New Year usually require a minimum number of nights, so in these cases itineraries may need to be changes. ** Domestic flight prices are estimated on typical values when reserved 6 months before travel. Prices can never be guaranteed until reservations are made though, and do usually become more expensive closer to the travel period.

Do I require a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil and other countries visited during this tour?

Citizens of many countries require a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil, organised in advance at your nearest Brazil Consulate.
Please check details for visa requirements for your country on our Brazil Tourist Visa page.
Also, for details of your nearest Brazil Consulate in case you do require a Tourist Visa, please visit our Brazil Consulates page.

Do I need any special vaccinations for the areas visited during this tour?

Visitors to Brazil and South America are advised to always check the latest health information from your local doctors or travel clinic.
You may be advised to take a course of Malaria tablets. Yellow Fever Vaccine is highly recommended/essential for the Pantanal & Amazon region, plus the certificate to prove it, and possibly Hepatitis A and B Vaccines.
Please check our Brazil Vaccinations for further information.

What is the best time of year for this tour?

All Year Round