- 1 Introduction to Aparados da Serra National Park
- 2 Geographical Features
- 3 Biodiversity
- 4 Tourist Activities and Attractions for Visitors
- 4.1 Itaimbezinho Canyon (Cânion Itaimbezinho)
- 4.2 Fortaleza Canyon (Cânion Fortaleza)
- 4.3 Cotovelo Trail (Trilha do Cotovelo)
- 4.4 Vertice Trail (Trilha do Vértice)
- 4.5 Boi Trail (Trilha do Boi)
- 4.6 Pedra do Segredo Trail
- 4.7 Mirante Trail
- 4.8 Borda Sul Trail
- 4.9 Tigre Preto Trail
- 4.10 Malacara Pools
- 4.11 Viewpoints and Points of Interest
- 4.12 Handicrafts and Local Products
- 5 Conservation and Ecotourism
- 6 Local Culture and Indigenous Influence
- 7 Practical Information
- 8 References
Welcome to the natural wonder of Brazil, the Aparados da Serra National Park. A dream destination for nature lovers, this article will guide you through the wonders of this park, from its breathtaking views to its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover this hidden gem of Brazil.
Introduction to Aparados da Serra National Park
History and Establishment of the Park
Founded by Federal Decree No. 47,446 on December 17, 1959, Aparados da Serra National Park was created to preserve biodiversity in the plateau of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Later, in the 1970s, its boundaries were extended to the territory of Santa Catarina, reaching an approximate area of 10,250 hectares.
This park’s primary objective is the conservation of the Mata Atlântica ecosystems, renowned for its scenic beauty, and it allows for scientific research, educational activities, environmental interpretation, nature-based recreation, and eco-tourism.
The administration and management of Aparados da Serra National Park are under the responsibility of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), a federal agency linked to the Ministry of the Environment.
The Management Plan for Aparados da Serra National Park and Serra Geral National Park was approved by IBAMA Ordinance No. 46 in 2004 and modified by ICMBio Ordinance No. 405 in 2019. This plan establishes the vision and strategy for Aparados da Serra National Park, aiming to conserve biodiversity and landscape attributes while promoting socio-economic processes compatible with the unit’s objectives and its surroundings.
Located in southern Brazil, on the border between the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. It is situated in the division of Rio Grande do Sul, specifically in Cambará do Sul, and extends into the territory of Santa Catarina. Its coordinates are 29°11′30″S 50°05′52″W / -29.19173, -50.09766.
To reach the park, visitors can easily access it by car from the cities of Porto Alegre or Florianópolis. The exact address of the park is Rodovia RS 429, s/n – Zona Rural, Cambará do Sul – RS, 95480-000, Brazil.
Landscape and Geological Features
The park is known for its rivers, waterfalls, and rock formations that create a breathtaking view for visitors. The Itaimbezinho Canyon is one of the highlights of the park.
The Grand Itaimbezinho Canyon
Itaimbezinho, one of the largest canyons in South America, stretches for 5.8 kilometers with a depth of up to 720 meters, offering spectacular views and opportunities for stunning photographs.
Climate and Best Time to Visit
The park has a temperate climate with an average annual temperature of around 16°C. The hottest month is January, while June and July are the coldest months of the year.
Precipitation in the park averages from 1500 to 2250 mm of rain annually. This climate pattern contributes to the lush vegetation and the presence of impressive waterfalls and rivers in the area. If you plan to visit the park, the best time to do so is during the drier months, from April to September, when rains are less frequent, and temperatures are more pleasant for enjoying the natural wonders that this magnificent place offers.
Flora and Fauna
Despite its relatively small size, the park is characterized by rich biodiversity, a result of its diverse terrain and its location at the interface between coastal forests, grasslands, and humid Araucaria forests. At least 143 species of birds, 48 mammals, and 39 amphibians have been recorded in the park.
Among the endangered fauna in the park’s plateaus are the red-spectacled amazon parrot, the maned wolf, and the puma. On the slopes, you can find the neotropical otter, the ocelot, and the brown howler monkey. The List of Threatened Species in Aparados da Serra protected in this Conservation Unit includes:
- Red-spectacled Amazon (Amazona vinacea).
- Red-tailed Amazon (Amazona pretrei).
- Lambari (Mimagoniates rheocharis).
- Black-capped Piprites (Piprites pileata).
- Puma (Puma concolor capricornensis).
- Yellow Cardinal (Xanthopsar flavus).
Tourist Activities and Attractions for Visitors
The park offers several hiking trails that vary in difficulty and duration, including the Trilha do Vértice and Trilha do Cotovelo, which lead to stunning views of the canyon.
Itaimbezinho Canyon (Cânion Itaimbezinho)
With a depth of up to 700 meters, towering vertical walls, and a narrow opening, it is one of the largest canyons in the Americas. Furthermore, the rocky walls are adorned by the lush greenery of the Atlantic Forest.
Fortaleza Canyon (Cânion Fortaleza)
It stretches for 7.5 km and features walls that can reach up to 800 meters in height. It is another impressive canyon that captivates visitors with its majesty and natural beauty.
Cotovelo Trail (Trilha do Cotovelo)
The Cotovelo Trail is an exciting hiking route in Aparados da Serra National Park. With approximately 3 km in length, this trail offers breathtaking views of Cânion Itaimbezinho and the majestic Véu de Noiva Waterfall. Visitors can enjoy hikes surrounded by lush vegetation and experience the incomparable beauty of this breathtaking natural scenery.
It is available from 08:00 a.m. to 03:00 p.m. in Cambará do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. Having a guide is optional, and the estimated duration of the tour is 3 hours. It is also located in Borda – Planalto, offering beautiful panoramic views.
Vertice Trail (Trilha do Vértice)
The Trilha do Vértice is a hiking trail of approximately 2 km that takes visitors to a stunning viewpoint, from where they can contemplate the imposing rock formations of Cânion Itaimbezinho. During the hike, visitors can appreciate the rich flora and fauna of the park and feel a unique connection with nature in this experience. It can be walked from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. in Cambará do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. Having a guide is optional, and the estimated duration of the tour is 1 hour. It offers impressive panoramic views in Borda – Planalto.
Boi Trail (Trilha do Boi)
The Trilha do Boi is an exciting and challenging hiking trail that covers around 7 km along the base of Cânion Itaimbezinho. It is an incredible adventure for nature lovers who want to explore the grandeur of the canyon up close. However, it is important to remember that, due to its difficulty, it is recommended to have the guidance of a professional guide to ensure safety during this unforgettable adventure. It is available from 08:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. in Praia Grande, Santa Catarina. Currently, having a guide is mandatory for this trail, which has an estimated duration of 7 hours. This route ventures into the interior of the park, following the course of the river.
Pedra do Segredo Trail
This trail is located in Serra Geral National Park and is available from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. in Cambará do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. Having a guide is optional, and the duration of the tour is approximately 1 hour. It is located in Borda – Planalto, offering impressive views.
Located in Serra Geral National Park, this trail is available from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. in Cambará do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. Having a guide is optional, and the estimated duration of the tour is 1 hour. It is also located in Borda – Planalto, offering stunning panoramic views.
Borda Sul Trail
In Serra Geral National Park, this trail is available from 08:00 a.m. to 03:00 p.m. in Cambará do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul. Having a guide is optional, and the estimated duration of the tour is 3 hours. It is also located in Borda – Planalto, offering beautiful panoramic views.
Tigre Preto Trail
In Serra Geral National Park, this trail is available from 08:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. in Jacinto Machado, Santa Catarina. Currently, having a guide is mandatory, and the estimated duration of the tour is 6 hours. This route also ventures into the interior of the park, following the course of the river.
Located in Serra Geral National Park, this trail is available from 08:00 a.m. to 03:00 p.m. in Praia Grande, Santa Catarina. Having a guide is optional, and the estimated duration of the tour is 4 hours. This route leads to the natural pools of the river, within the park.
Viewpoints and Points of Interest
The park has several viewpoints, such as the Mirante da Ferradura and Mirante da Fortaleza, which offer impressive panoramic views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape.
Handicrafts and Local Products
Inside Aparados da Serra National Park, just 300 meters from the Vértice Path (Trilha do Vértice), tourists can find a variety of rich woolen handicrafts characteristic of the region, as well as delicious colonial products. It’s an opportunity worth taking advantage of! Enjoying these local traditions and acquiring some special souvenirs is a unique experience that will enrich your trip even more.
Conservation and Ecotourism
Importance of Conservation in Aparados da Serra
Conservation is key in Aparados da Serra to protect its rich biodiversity and stunning geological landscape. The park plays a crucial role in the conservation of Brazil’s biodiversity.
Impact of Ecotourism
Ecotourism in the park helps support the local economy and promotes nature conservation. Visitors can contribute to this effort by respecting the park’s rules and considering local accommodation and dining options.
Ongoing Conservation Projects
The park is involved in several conservation projects, from wildlife monitoring to reforestation and the fight against invasive species.
Local Culture and Indigenous Influence
History of Local Indigenous Groups
Local indigenous groups, such as the Guaraní and Kaingang, have lived in this region for centuries. Their influence is visible in place names and local traditions.
Influence of Indigenous Culture in the Park
The influence of indigenous groups is reflected in the park, from place names to the interpretation of nature and spirituality.
Cultural Visits and Local Events
Visits to local communities and participation in cultural events can be a wonderful way to understand and respect local culture and its connection to nature.
How to Get There
To access the park, two main routes can be used. The first is via RS-020, while the second option is BR-101, both leading to Praia Grande/SC and then to Serra do Faxinal, where the park entrance is located.
The nearest city to Aparados da Serra National Park is Cambará do Sul, which is approximately 190 km away from the regional capital, Porto Alegre. From Cambará do Sul, visitors can head to the park and immerse themselves in the magnificent nature that this protected area offers.
- Biking on plateau trails
- River bathing (only on the Rio do Boi Trail and Malacara Pools)
- Recreation in contact with nature
- Visit the exhibition
- Contemplation, photography, or art
- Wildlife observation
- Picnicking in designated areas
- Forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku)
- Entry of pets into National Parks (dogs, cats, or others)
- Exceeding access barriers
- Swimming or walking in watercourses (except Rio do Boi Trail)
- Collecting biological (plant or animal) or mineral material without official authorization
- Use of fire
- Feeding wild animals
- Walking off marked trails
- Discarding any type of waste (including toilet paper) in containers
- Remaining in the park after 6:00 PM (without specific official authorization)
Visitors must follow the park regulations to ensure safety and conservation of the environment. This includes staying on marked trails, not making fires, and carrying out all waste.
- Management Plan – Appendix 1
- Management Plan – Appendix 2
- Management Plan – Appendix 2 Attachments
- Management Plan – Appendix 3
- Management Plan – Appendix 3 Attachments – Volume I
- Management Plan – Appendix 3 Attachments – Volume II
- Management Plan – Appendix 3 Attachments – Volume III
- Management Plan – Appendix 3 Attachments – Volume IV
- Management Plan – Appendix 3 Attachments – Volume V
- Management Plan – Appendix 4
- Executive Summary