Brazilian Challenge Day 53: Pico Do Jaragua

I continue to be amazed at the national parks in Brazil. So far, every one I’ve seen has had well maintained facilities and fabulous hikes.

Today, with a bunch of other Brazilians and some Peruvians, we went to Parque Estadual do Jaraguá to hike to Pico Do Jaragua, the highest point in the city of Sao Paulo.

We had a great day to do it – sunny but not too hot. The most amazing aspect of the hike is the extreme changes in vegetation with altitude. The trail started off dark and dense, the air thick with moisture. As we rose, the our surroundings became more and more sparse with the changing plant life.

The park boats the most bio-diverse forest in the world. While it covers 14% of Sao Paulo, today only 5% of the original forest remains. The trail is rated as difficult, but wouldn’t have been so if we hadn’t had a little one tagging along and randomly complaining. Of course her presence is always appreciated, although I did threaten to get a weekend baba (nanny) at one point.

At the top, you are struck by how immense the city of Sao Paulo is. I mean, it rolls on beyond what we could even see.

The park itself is lovely and has a number of playgrounds and picnic areas. It also has a snack bar at the bottom as well as the top (both facilities really do look like… bars… although I’m guessing no alcohol is served. I can’t imagine how many bodies they would find passed out along the trail.)

After the hike, we went to get some REAL boteco grub (not the fancy stuff). Picanha, farofa, beans, couve and some fried cheese and of course cerveja… nothing more Brazilian than that!

I wonder if we consumed more or less calories than we burned… hmmm…

This entry was posted in 366 day Brazilian Challenge, Brazilliant, Daily Escapades, Expatriate Info & Advice, Foreigner Insights, Living in Sao Paulo, Tourist Info and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 53: Pico Do Jaragua

  1. The food fotos are so good. Too good, really. I’m drooling on my keyboard!

  2. Andrew says:

    That’s a really nice thing to say. A lot of times, Brazilians have this impression that things in Brazil must be second rate and that everything in the US or in Europe must be fabulously better. So it means a lot when someone like you can compare apples to apples (or parks to parks) and conclude that the ones in Brazil are quite alright.

  3. Sarah says:

    Hey, I’ve been there, too! But I didn’t do the hike up – just the drive to the top and the climb up the stairs to the look-out point. Good for your daughter for hiking! Walking more than 3 minutes on a flat surface is enough to get random complaints and demands to be carried out of my daughter! 😉

  4. Karina says:

    Have you heard about Paranapiacaba? It’s a village that belongs to Santo Andre, located in Serra do Mar. It was built by Englishmen when they were
    There is a lot of hiking there, and it’s very interesting.
    I’ve found two posts written in English about it: http://ricbrand.blogspot.com/2011/11/paranapiacaba-v-inglesa-english-village.html
    http://my-life-in-sao-paulo.blogspot.com/2010/09/parapiacaba-english-village.html
    This one is in Portuguese: http://www.guiaparanapiacaba.com.br/

    When you reach the top you can see Santos, the harbor with the ships, it is very beautiful! When you get there you’ll find some ecotourism companies, like this one: http://www.paranapiacabaecotur.com/
    Some years ago you could go wherever you want, but a LOT of people used to get lost, trying to reach the coast on feet. If I’m not wrong, you can only hike if you have a guide with the group.

    The only thing is that if you decide to go you have to get there early because by 2:00pm the mist rises.
    They also have festivals there, like Winter Festival, the Cambuci Festival. Cambuci is a fruit from the Atlantic Forest, and they prepare different food and beverages with it. My mother’s cousin use to soak them in cachaça (she has a cambuci tree).

  5. Sarah says:

    Elis LOVES Paranapiacaba….we were there for part of Carnaval, but I didn’t get around to posting about it! But I was going to say in my last comment that even walking up the hill to leave Paranapiacaba – much less hiking up the Pico do Jaraguá – involves crying until she gets carried…so it makes me feel better to hear that your situation wasn’t that much different. 😉 Your poor husband….obviously he’s in great shape!

    Here are some pictures from the trail that Karina mentioned – the Mirante:
    http://www.elisbryce.blogspot.com/2008/08/old-friends.html. The cambuci festival is coming up soon – in April, I think…and I totally agree with Karina, definitely look for cambuci cachaça or licor when you go.

    Last year, we organized a few hikes in English there, for Brazilians learning English and native speakers, but haven’t done it yet this year. We even made a blog, but it’s mostly in Portuguese – I didn’t ever get around to doing an English version of the Portuguese text my friend prepared. But here’s the link anyway:
    http://paranapiacabaenglish.wordpress.com/about-paranapiacaba/

    And one more link – to the guides’ association, AMA. Tell them I sent you. 😉
    http://www.ama-paranapiacaba.org.br/

  6. Alex says:

    It looks cool! And SP looks gigantic….

    You know, its one of my dreams to buy a fazenda somewhere in the interior of Sao Paulo and completely reforest it with native species so all the wildlife can come back. I know I sound like the worlds biggest naive geek when I say things like that, but it’s something I think needs to be done! Plus, they are already doing it and have had some major success in Minas Gerais and some parts of Sao Paulo state……

    Plus, my caipira accent will make me fit right in! HEHEHE

  7. Danielle says:

    Let’s do it, Alex! I’ll be your sócio. We can treat it like our own personal timeshare. But it should be a sítio, not a fazenda. Hurry up and get down here already, man!

  8. Alex says:

    I am sitting here wiping away (fake) tears thinking that I have to wait almost ANOTHER YEAR until I set foot in Brazil….

    And yep, still doing the exchange in SP. Still trying to figure out for how long, but if I get my way it will be a full year!

    JANUARY 2013! Blogger Meet Up!

  9. Awesome pics, Megan, and loved the description. Looks like a grand time was had by all, except, perhaps, Sophia. Hopefully she’ll only remember the positive.

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