Escape from São Paulo: hikes outside of the city

Posted: March 3, 2012 by Ben Weber in English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Bugio monkey at the Jardim Botanico, Sao Paulo

São Paulo is such a huge metropolis, it is difficult when living here to really imagine there being much green countryside out beyond the mass concrete jungle. Hiking here is something that well, we haven’t really done much at all in the past four and half years since I moved here. What we have been doing are things like walking the 9km back from work, though there are so many cars around, our lungs feel like screaming by the end of it.

There are also some pretty nice parks such as the Jardim Botânico, which enters into the edge of tropical rain forest and is home to animals like the Bugio (or Howler) Monkeys, and Parque Ibirapuera which is home to well… thousands of city dwellers who pass through it every weekend (okay okay, I will try and be nice: it is an enormously popular and massive park in the Southern Zone of the city, which has some nice walks by the lakes and through the trees, with plenty of flora and fauna to see when the crowds let you. Like Hyde Park in London, concerts are often held there as well).

When you do a bit of research into it, however, there are actually quite a few such trails just outside the city, and it will be nice on Sunday when we get out of the city to do a good 10km hike up in the mountains.

Okay, many of the best hikes in the state are a couple of hundred kilometres away: learning to drive is high up on our agenda so we will be able to rent a car and get to these places rather than depending on busses. However, just half an hour or so outside the city limits there are the Serra de Cantareira mountains – apparently the home to the largest urban forest in the world (remnants of the once massive Mata Atlântica rainforest) – and also home to plenty of hiking trails; then there is a good hike down the old road to Santos.

The contrast between the city and the forest (Trilhas de São Paulo - http://www.ambiente.sp.gov.br)

This is where we will be doing the Pedra Grande hike.

It isn’t the longest hike in the world, but apparently it is quite tricky with some steep inclines and difficult terrain. It is a start, and we will be doing a hike pretty much every weekend now as we need to get into good shape for the Bolivian mountaineering expedition. We need to carry pretty heavy loads in order to get used to the backpacks we will need to wear in Bolivia.

The São Paulo state government has actually got quite a decent site showing good hikes in the state, and the Pedra Grande trail is just one of these.

Eventually after doing a few of these hikes in the next few weeks, we want to go to Pedra do Sino in Teresopolis (Rio de Janeiro state) which has a good 18 hour trek and spectacular views – it will be great to get the tent out! And also treks in the Parque Nacional de Itatiaia, there are some good mountains taller than 2,000 metres, including the Agulhos Negras peak which reaches up to 2,791 metres. Again, it will all be good and essential training as being in the city and the gym is quite limited.

We will probably save these treks for long weekends though: Easter is coming up so that will be a good opportunity, as getting there would be an adventure in its own right, with a good six or seven hour bus ride just to the town. But ah well! Needs must!

Little lizard at Jardim Botanico - not an uncommon site in the city in general

Top down at Ibirapuera

Across the lake at Jardim Botanico

Comments
  1. Lesley Weber says:

    Good to see you using the weekends for hiking. Best past time in the world and a welcome relief from the city 🙂 looking forward to pics! Next time you’re back over here we should go either to Scotland or over to the alps for some trekking and wild camping!

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