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Brazil Travel

Serra de Paranapiacaba

Brazil Tours / Trekking – Serra de Paranapiacaba, which in the indigenous language Tupi - Guarani means "mountains that hold back the sea", is the local name for a portion of the Serra do Mar mountain chain, in the southeast of São Paulo State, close to the border with Paraná. This mountain range is inserted between the drainage basins of the Paranapanema river in the north and the Ribeira do Iguape river in the south (see map).

The so - called Ecological Continuum of Paranapiacaba which is part of the South-East Reserves World Heritage Site, comprising the state parks Petar, Intervales and Carlos Botelho, contains the largest examples of continguous Atlantic Rainforest / (Mata Atlântica), in Brazil.

Geologically, Serra de Paranapiacaba is located in the Apiaí - terrain, in the southern Ribeira belt (Mantiqueira Province). This ancient fragment of supercontinent Rodinia is composed of sedimentary rocks of the so-called Açungui supergroup, which, during the Brasiliano - Pan African cycle were intruded by three enormous Neoproterozoic granites (Cunhaporanga, Três Córregos and Agudos Grandes).

Of particular interest is the so-called Lajeado subgroup, which is composed of carbonate rocks, particularly limestone. They were formed about more than one billion years ago by deposition of organic material of microorganisms on the sea floor of a Precambrian ocean which was probably closed during the fusion of Gondwana.

The contact of carbonic acid (rainwater enriched by carbon dioxide from the air) with the limestone transformed large areas of the Paranapiacaba mountain range in a fantastic karst landscape with countless limestone caves, subterranean rivers and abysses. Petar and Intervales are part of the region's Speleological Province.

Currently, the ecotouristic possibilities of Paranapiacaba are limited to the trails in the proximities of the headquarters of each park. There is a study about the feasibility of a 240 km long trail (Trilha do Continuum) which would connect the tree conservation units. Unfortunately, the conclusion of this project isn´t easy, among others due to the conflict with armed groups who, due to the absence of other economic options, continue to explore palm heart (Euterpe edulis) within the park boundaries – Ecotravel & Tours / Brazil.

See also: Trails / Tours / Climate / Photos