The Atlantic Rainforest has one of the highest biodiversity indexes in the planet. Unfortunately, only 7% of its original territory remains, and the largest protection area of this biome is within the 315 hectares in State Park of Serra do Mar (Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar).
Fresh air, the sound of running water, humidity and a pleasant feeling from the good energy of the place. A path surrounded by lots of green, brown and sunbeams invading the forest, revealing vibrant details. By the amount of cobwebs and leaves on the ground, you can tell it is not common to have people there, what made the experience even more interesting.
Garcez Trail is 6 km long and passes by the waterfalls of Garcez, Pocinho and Jacu River. Along Grande River, there are several natural pools where you can go for a swim and remains of native forest. We trekked for 5 hours during the brightest part of the day, although it seemed to be getting dark because of the dense vegetation. As we went up or down, there was hot or cold air. It had not rained for a while, so we could reach places that are usually flooded – especially in the summer, when there is more water in the waterfalls and the number of swimming areas increase.
We did not find any animal, we just heard them. It must be easy to run into one if you are in a small and quiet group, which was not our case.
It is pretty easy to get lost, a good reason to stay close to the guide – there are few signs and they only indicate near waterfalls. In some parts, the trail was hidden by nature and the cell phone does not work. Mine lost its signal on the road, and the GPS only showed a blinking spot on a white map.
Trails are monitored and limited to 40 people/day in the same group. Schedule your visit by phone 55 12.3671.9159 e 3671.926 or [email protected]
The Park is open from 8AM to 5PM and the trails begin at 9AM.
Take everything you need to protect from the sun, mosquitoes and sudden rain, common at Serra do mar. Water-repellent trekking boots is the most suitable type of foot wear. The last place to buy food is in Vargem Grande.
How to get there: on Oswaldo Cruz highway, towards Ubatuba, turn right after the bridge over Paraibuna River. Attention! There are no road signs; when you see the sign of Km 66, go over the bridge and turn right on the dirt road. Go ahead for 15 km until Vargem Grande and 2 km until Núcleo Santa Virgínia. It feels like a rally, buses and long vehicles can not reach the last 2 km. We were in a van that went through a lot and would not have made it if it had rained.
Read about the 40 trails of São Paulo with Nação Trilheira group.
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Translated by Lúcia Maciel