From Santa Catarina State (BR 101 Highway)
The city of Praia Grande is about 300 km from Florianópolis and 210 km from Porto Alegre. The Park's entrance is 23 km from Praia Grande, up a dirt road by the Serra do Faxinal (SC 290 road, then RS 427 road).
The Aparados da Serra National Park, established in 1959, is located in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. The Park covers an area of 30,360 hectares in the municipalities of Cambará do Sul (RS) and Praia Grande (SC), distributed over the foothills of the natural region commonly called Aparados da Serra, inserted in Serra Geral Geological Formation.
The highlight in the regional scenario is a very particular geographical formation, mainly characterized by vertical walls of up to 700 m high in abrupt transition with the softly rolling plateau relief, as if it had been "trimmed" (aparado, in portuguese). This particularity is responsible for both the heterogeneity of ecosystems as the tourism potential of both parks, nationally and internationally known for the famous and impressive canyons located within its boundary limits.
WHEN TO GO
The Park is open to visitors all year round. The visitation schedule of Itaimbezinho Canyon is from 8h00 to 17h00, from Tuesday to Sunday (opening on Mondays that are national holidays, Carnival, Christmas, or New Year's Eve).
The ticket price is BRL 14.00 per person. Brazilians have discount, paying BRL 7.00, and visitors under 12 and over 60 are exempt.
For vehicles, the price is:
Cars: BRL 5.00
Buses: BRL 10.00
Motorcycles: BRL 3.00
APARADOS DA SERRA
With 700m deep, vertical walls and narrow slits, it is one of the largest in the Americas. Its rocky walls are adorned by the lush green of the Atlantic Forest.
Aparados da Serra is home for the largest canyons in Brazil. With up to 900 m high, their formation began at least 130 million years ago, when an underground explosion triggered a strong eruption of basalt lava that spread in the form of crust and later split. The sharp edges that emertged from this process appeared to have been trimmed with a knife, reason for the name Aparados da Serra. Later the top of the mountain was covered by dense vegetation of Araucárias, a tree that can be seen near the edges of the canyons up to this day. Today, this heritage landscape found on Serra Geral slopes is open to visitors and represents the main touristic attraction of Aparados da Serra and Serra Geral National Parks
The Aparados da Serra National Parks consists of Atlantic and Araucaria forests, fields and cliffs, which are dwelling place for vinaceous-breasted parrots (Amazona vinacea), ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), raccoons (Procyon cancrivorus) and cougar (Puma).
There are three trails open to the public:
Vértice Trail, with entrance by Cambara do Sul and one hour long.
Cotovelo Trail, with entrance by Cambara do Sul and three hours long.
Bull River Trail (Rio do Boi), with entrance by Praia Grande and six hours long, being the access to the interior of the canyon.
From Rio Grande do Sul State (Sun Route)
The city of Cambará do Sul is about 190 km from Porto Alegre. The Park's entrance is 18 km from Cambará do Sul, through the Itaimbezinho road (RS 427).
Aparados da Serra canyon walls are covered with floresta úmida and plenty of araucárias, harboring endangered species such as veado-campeiro, loboguará and suçuarana. The vegetation of the Conservation Unit consists of fields, floresta pluvial atlântica and the nearly extinct floresta de araucária, where pinheiro-do-paraná and trees like aroeiras (Myracroduon urundeuva), carvalhos, braúnas (Melanoxylon brauna) and pinheirinhos-bravos (Podocarpus lambertii). Other mammals that inhabit the region are graxaim-do-campo, capivara, and bugio, among others monkeys. There are also different species of reptiles such as lizards, teiús and snakes, besides birds like the gavião-pato, gavião-pega-macaco, águia-cinzenta, jaó-do-litoral, urubú-rei, cuiú-cuiú and gralha-azul, a bird that plays an important role as a disseminator of Araucária seeds.
One of the main attractions of Aparados da Serra National Park is hiking the edge of the famous Cânion Itaimbezinho. With 5.8 km in length and up to 900 meters depth, Itaimbezinho is full of waterfalls. However, due to its high altitude, many of these falls fade in mist before hitting the ground. Andorinhas and Véu de Noiva falls are the most popular and flow into the bottom of the abyss where the Bull River (Rio do Boi) runs.
Trilha do Vértice is approximately 500 meters long, located near the visitor center and it can be completed without the company of qualified guides. It permits observing, not only the Andorinhas waterfall, but also the Cânion Itaimbezinho vertex. As for Cotovelo, with just over 3 km, crossing creeks and passing by observatories installed at the edge of the canyon, if ofters the visitors a privileged view.
For those who want to know Itaimbezinho deeply, the tip is to go back to Trilha do Rio do Boi, which runs into the interior of the Cânion Itaimbezinho. About 8 km long, the hike through the rocky riverbed stretches through closed jungle and some wells and waterfalls. In certain locations, it is necessary cross the river from one edge to the other. The route, which requires the visitor to have a good physical conditioning, ends near one of the curves formed by the mountain crack. Access to this specific track is at the lower part of the Park entrance on Rio do Boi gatehouse, about 12 km away from Praia Grande.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several lodging options and hotels in Cambará do Sul and Praia Grande, with varying prices and types of services.