Only 180 km away from Rio de Janeiro you can find the main spot for trekkings in Brazil, being the first National Park ever set in the country visited by mountaineers and enthusiasts like me and you.
To mention a few things you can do camping, bird watching, cycling, rafting, climbing, trekking and so much more, for all level of experience. The park takes 280 km2 from both Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states.
From steep long paths, walls to climb and big rocks to flat and beautiful bush walks, waterfalls and trails for beginners can be easily found. A suitable trek for any kind of outdoor adventures without discussion. Afterall, Rio de Janeiro is not only bikinis, beaches and “Girls from Ipanema” but not less than an outdoor paradise.
I went there on June’16 with a group of friends for a getaway weekend from Sao Paulo, which we divided in two parts: trekking day and waterfall day. That was optional and there are plenty of choices to whatever you want to do, including camping out on one of the mountains or on the way to a traverse route.
The entrance to the park costs R$ 25,00 however when staying more than 1 day, ask to include the extra day in the same ticket, which gives you a minimum of 50% discount each extra day (depending on the day of the week).
“Pico das Prateleiras”
Day 1: Hiking and climbing “Pico das Prateleiras”
A full day hiking to the rock formation that resembles shelves on a kitchen, keeping the condiments for the dinner. The hike is 8 km long return way to complete the whole sight, devided in two parts:
1. Flat walk (about 3km) – nice and smooth hike which requires no experience or phisical training whatsoever and takes about 1,5h to complete.
2. Steep climb (1 km) – big rocks that requires minimum climbing and, sometimes, lack of fear of heigth. The good part is that it doesn’t matter in which group you fit in, you can definately enjoy either way.
My girlfriend took the 3km hike with us but did not go to the end, kindly waiting me for 2 hours to get down from the summit, that requires a fair amount of climbing efforts and some courage to walk past the gaps between the rocks near the summit (although no professional climb skill is needed there is a 4 meter high gap that is done with ropes – a guide should take care of that – apart from that you’ll only need hands, elbows and bums.
The amount of time required for the whole course really depending on the pace of the group and it can be completed from 4 hours up to 6 hours (return way).
Day 2: “Parte Baixa” – Lower part – Waterfalls
Second day started a litlle later and with some aches around the body and sore muscles, however a big smile on everyone’s face. After a lazy breakfast we packed up and hit the road to get the Lower Part of the park (“Parte Baixa” oficially spoken), know for its waterfalls and small hikes. No more than half hour car ride and you reach the entry point for the complex of waterfalls, plus 15 minutes easy walk through the bushes, rock steps and trees will get you to “Complexo do Maromba”, housing “Veu da Noiva” waterfall and “Maromba” natural pool.
Once there, we took our time to eat some sandwiches on the rocks staring at the waterfall and chatting ramdomsly. Well, this not the best place to get undressed and take a plunge for a swim however a chilled place to spend some time doing the good old fashioned nothing.
Another 15 minute walk and you hit the place called “Maromba” hosting a nice dark green natural pool with plenty of space to swim and enjoy the small drop from the water.