Brazil's southeastern states (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Minas Gerais) offer great options for visitors interested in exploring nature, but who lack much experience with hiking.
Trekking instructor Henrique Boney, 42, from the Mountaineering Association of São Paulo, recommends five parks great for beginners.
His suggestions all offer self-guided trails with well-signalized paths. As a safety measure, Boney recommends the tourist to inform someone else when they are supposed to be back from the hike. "That way, if an emergency happens and you are delayed, someone will suspect and send for rescue," he explains.
Serra dos Órgãos
Rio de Janeiro
The trail to cross the mountain range is 20.5 miles (33 km) long, and the journey takes three days. Visitors can bring their tents or rent one in the park (US$ 8/R$ 32). There is also an option of spending the night in a cabin (US$11/R$ 43 in a bunk bed). Admission to the park costs US$4.6/R$18 per person.
São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
The park's best-known trail is the Mambucaba, also known do Ouro. It is 31 miles (50 km), and it takes three days. Along the way, there are beautiful waterfalls like Santo Isidro. Admission is free.
Serra do Mar
The state park is so large it is divided into sections. The best-known are Bertioga, Santa Virgínia, and Itutinga-Pilones. There are more than 50 trails, such as Trilha da Água (Water Trail), with 3.3 miles (5.4 km). Admission costs US$ 8/R$ 32.
Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo
The park is home to Pico da Bandeira, the third highest point of Brazil (2,892 m). Coming from Minas Gerais, the trail is 4.3 miles (7km) long; from Espírito Santo, it is 2.8 miles (4.5km) long. Admission is free.
Rio de Janeiro
There are three main trails: Serra Negra (20 miles/32 km), Rancho Caído (17 mile/27 km) and Ruy Braga (14 miles/22 km). Each one takes about three days.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV
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