Just got back from a spontaneous trip to Paranapiacaba – yeah, so spontaneous, i just jumped into a new friend’s car in nike tights and dance shoes.
If you’re looking for real nature – and yeah, i do not mean Ibirapuera’s crowded urban space or Parque Estadual da Cantareira’s concrete paved path to top of the hill, then you must head to Serra do Mar.
None of the Brazilians I’ve ever talked to in the past 4 months have ever mentioned Serra de Paranapiacaba. It doesn’t have a wiki page.
Fun fact: town’s design is modeled after Jeremy Bentham’s prison-style.
You only gotta know 3 things:
- It’s an hour’s drive out of Sampa, and there’s a direct train from Luz.
- It was cold, foggy, yet still beautiful.
- There were locals crawling all over the place, on foot & on heavy-duty mountain bikes.
And that’s all you need to know.
We hiked for an hour, zig-zagged down some slippery slopes, took our shoes off and slithered through mossy rocks to get to some gorgeous waterfalls.
Half the time, my head was screaming ‘one wrong move, and you’re busted, kid’. The other half was spent with my head floating on happy endorphins.
After that, pop by this cute cafe just because it’s the inspiration for my distant future life in the mountains somewhere, painting coffee tables and selling cakes on my art.
If you do a 3 hr hike (we did the Formoso trail! it’s not listed anywhere – you gotta ask for it!) and stay for 8 hrs, that gives you more than enough to have a chill lunch, knock off all 15 attractions listed on tripadvisor, and have a coffee perk-me-up too.