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Rainforest Trails

Origin and History

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Rainforest Trails / Brazil – The vast mayority of the actual hiking & mountain bike trails of Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest / (Mata Atlântica) were installed by the indigenous people during or before the 15th century (see Peabiru and Tupiniquins trail).

After the Portuguese colonization in the 16th century, these trails were used by adventurers, jesuits, slave fugitives (see also quilombos) and Bandeirantes expeditions who expanded these trails to Brazil's interior, the so-called sertão or hinterland.

During the 17th and 18th century, they served to transport gold, diamonds and later coffee from the inland to the shipping locations along the coast. One of the most important trails of this epoch was the Velho Caminho do Rio de Janeiro, nowadays known as Estrada Real, which connected Vila Rica (actual Ouro Preto) in Minas Gerais with Paraty in Rio de Janeiro.

Prior to the construction of the coastal road between Santos and Rio de Janeiro, in 1970, the local communities used these trails for religious or commercial purposes and as hunting trails. Despite the risks, it was sometimes shorter and faster to cross the mountains than to walk around them.

With the increase of roads and boat traffic in the 21th century the trails became abandoned and are nowadays rarely used by local communities, catholic pilgrims (romeiros) and some ecotourists – Brazil / Travel & Tours.