PETAR – Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira
If you love adventure, trekking, rivers, caves and exploring new places, you have just found the perfect place for your vacation. PETAR is a State Park situated in the south of São Paulo State in a region that is the largest and best preserved area of the remaining 7% of the original Atlantic Rain Forest. The region is also famous for its caverns. There are almost 300 fantastic caves hidden in the forest, each one different from the other. About 10% of these caves are opened for visitation.
Two things are indispensable to get into a cave: to hire a local guide and light. Imagine yourself in a dark labyrinth full of rocks with irregular walls, ceiling and floor. That would be a cave without a guide and a torch. The local guides know very well all the grottos opened for visit, they were mostly born there, so they know the ways inside the caves like the back of their hands. Without lights, you wont be able to see anything, and it’s cheaper to purchase a torch or a headlamp for yourself, but don’t forget to take extra batteries with you.
The tourist caves are divided in four nucleons: Santana, Ouro Grosso, Caboclo and Casa de Pedra.
The nucleon of Santana is the easiest of them to explore. The main cave, Santana, has good infrastructure to receive the tourists and it’s also very close to the hotels and inns in the region.
Ouro Grosso is a fantastic nucleon. The cave that gives the name to the nucleon has an entrance a little bit tight for the old-aged people but it is really worth to face this adventure because its saloons are really gorgeous. In the end of the tourist portion of the cave, there is a cascade about 5 meters high. It’s an impressive view. Besides this cave, the nucleon also counts with Alambari cave, where you can rappel inside, the Endless Cascade and the Betary River where you can practice bóia-cross (a light individual version of rafting).
If you were made for adventure the Caboclo Nucleon has been made for you. There you won’t find the luxury of electricity. Camping is the only way to stay there. The caves are more difficult to get, this place is indicated only for experienced explorers.
The Casa de Pedra nucleon is a little pushier the Ouro Grosso and Santana. The hiking is longer but is the view compensates all the effort. The first cave is the 140 meters high Laje Branca (White Flagstone). Then, there comes the protagonist of the tour, Casa de Pedra, (Stone House), the highest cave in Brasil, about 210m high. An unbelievable structure made by the God’s hands that attracts speleologists, biologists, climbers and many tourists from the worldwide.
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