Beyond the big metropolis of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the beautiful coast line near them is one of the biggest nature treasures in Brazil: Mata Atlântica, or the Atlantic Rain Forest. This biome that covered most of Southeast Brazil when the country was discovered has being reduced to only 8% of its original area: still, there are large tracts of continuous forest, most of it protected by national and state parks and open to the visitors. The habitat varies from lush rainforest at sea level to shorter trees up on the mountains, holding a great biodiversity and a high degree of endemism, and offering the visitors a chance of seeing a huge variety of plants and animals, many colorful birds, endemic rarities and breathtaking landscapes. But the cities can also be a reason to visit this part of the country: São Paulo is an important business center and has many famous restaurants and diverse cultural attractions; Rio de Janeiro for its beauty, the charming lifestyle and local culture.
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