By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in April shows that from a list of 136 countries, Brazil appears first in potential natural resources, and a large part of that is the amazing terrain and diverse parks that the South American giant has to offer.
From Rio de Janeiro to the Northeastern state of Bahia, as well as the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, nearby Minas Gerais and Goiás, here are five amazing hiking trails in no particular order.
Pico do Pião – Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca, MG:
The Ibitipoca State Park is a forested state park is the state of Minas Gerais and is full of caves, canyons and waterfalls. Pico do Pião is the highlight but the area is full of trails like Prainha, Ponte de Pedra and Cachoeira dos Macacos.
American-Brazilian Evan Farr, of the Jinga Experience adventure tourism company based in Rio de Janeiro shares, “The summit of Pico do Pião is unquestionably the best part [of the park]. An unobstructed 360 degree view of vast untouched mountain range of Ibitipoca. Extremely rewarding!”
Vale da Lua – Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros, GO:
In English Vale da Lua translates to “Moon Valley”, and the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is in the central Brazilian state of Goiás. Travelers from all over the world are astounded by its beauty per square meter. According to the official website of Chapada dos Veadeiros, the walk to the Vale da Lua is short, but the rocky terrain is challenging. Other popular trails include Cachoeira do Rio Preto and Cachoeira dos Cariocas.
Trilha do Vértice – Parque Nacional de Aparados da Serra , RS/SC:
The Aparados da Serra National Park is a national park located in the Serra Geral range of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states in the south of Brazil. The Vértice Trail leads to the beautiful view of the Itaimbezinho Canyon and several waterfalls. Along the complex are 36 canyons, with only 25 Canyons recognized and named, there is plenty to explore.
Vale do Pati, BA:
Vale do Pati in the state of Bahia is considered by some to be the most beautiful place for trekking in Brazil. The Pati Valley is located in the Chapada da Diamantina National Park in Bahia. The terrain, fauna, flora, and waterfalls of the place form a perfect combination for hiking that is usually carried out in 3 to 6 day excursions.
Pico Dedo de Deus – Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos, RJ:
Pico Dedo de Deus is one of the main attractions of the Serra dos Órgãos National Park in Teresópolis. Created in 1939, it is one of Brazil’s oldest national parks, its name derived from the dramatic set of peaks located on the Teresópolis side, which was thought by early settlers to resemble pipe ‘organs’ (orgãos).
The WEF report shows that Brazil has the richest natural heritage and biodiversity on the planet, but its tourist potential is limited by deficiencies in safety, infrastructure, labor and other factors. These should not keep anyone away from these amazing parks though.
Evan Farr explains, “The parks in Brazil can range from extremely well signed and well maintained, like the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros close to Brasilia, to very limited in signage and average trail maintenance, [like] Serra dos Orgãos in Rio de Janeiro.”
Adding, “A lot of the parks are not very easy to get to, often at least 3-4 hours from airports and cities, yet that should not deter anyone from making the effort to visit. The nature and landscape of the National Parks all around the country are breathtaking, extremely diverse, and are always worth the trip.”