Rondonia is on the northwest of Brazil, west of the state of Mato Grosso and south of the state of Amazonas, sharing a border with Bolivia. The relentless advance of the timber merchant, the cattle ranchers and the plantations over the rainforest has had devastating effects. In spite of that, the state of Rondonia still mantains wide expanses of Amazon jungle. Rondonia has a population of 1 million and a half and its territory includes 28 different Indian ethnic groups.
Unsurprisingly, Rondonia has a tropical climate, with a rainy season from November to April and a dry season from May to October.
The capital of Rondonia is Porto Velho, on the banks of the Madeira river. A few miles from Porto Velho, upstream, construction work is taking place for the gigantic and controversial Santo Antônio dam – one of the largest engineering projects in the planet.
As it is the case for the remaining states we are presenting on this series, one of the main obstacles to the development of a tourist industry are the high transportation costs. A flight from the southern regions of Brazil to Rondonia can cost as much as a ticket to the States. Airlines Gol, Ocean Air and Tam fly to Porto Velho.
The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism has included a tourist route in the state of Rondonia, called Aventura e Charme na Pérola do Mamoré. Pedra do Mamoré is found between the cities of Porto Velho and Guarujá-Mirim, near the border with Bolivia. The route includes river trips, hikes at the Parque Natural dos Parecis and visits to local Indian communities. There is accommodation at a jungle hotel near the meeting of the rivers Pacaás Novos and Mamoré. Among future plans for the region, the reactivation of the mythical railway Madeira-Mamoré, that will allow visitors to get close to the Santo Antônio dam.
Rondonia is home to one of the most remote national parks in Brazil, the Parque Nacional de Pacaás Novos. The park is under constant threat from timer merchants. It is not opened to visitation and there are no roads leading to the park. It is a rich biodiversity lab but completely devoid of any meaning for the tourism industry.
The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism hasn’t elaborated any videos to popularize the tourist attractions of the state of Rondonia (videos were preparaded for most Brazilian states). In the Ministry’s tool for travel professionals, Brasil Network, there is no information on Rondonia. It would seem that there is no intention whatsoever of selling Rondonia as a tourist destination.