(Parque Estadual Turístico Alta Ribeira)
In the south of the state São Paulo a national park was founded in the year 1958, which is nowadays part of UNESCO – world heritage. It is the largest area of Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlântica), with many waterfalls, also Quilombos (settlements of slaves that flew) and about 300 caves, of which twelve can be visited.
Some of them have rivers, and the cave Casa de Pedra has the largest entry with a height of 215m. It can be visited, but not entered.
An unique flora and fauna expects the visitor in this region: bromelias, orchidees, fruits, monkees, many other animals and birds. You have the possibility to see everything by foot (as the caves and waterfalls), but also sportive activities await you: swimming in the natural swimming pools under waterfalls, boia-cross (on a river on floating tires), descending waterfalls and tours by bike.
You may not enter the park alone, you do need a guide (called monitor) that accompanies up to eight persons. A booking in time is better as also the daily number of visitors in the caves is limited The region has cheap and rather simple guest houses, being in the nature. As not highly developed for tourism yet it is better to make a reservation in advance, especially at long weekends or during vacations. Optimal is a stay of three to four days. You need shoes for walking (tennis shoes for example), trousers and torches would be good, too.
The main attractions are at the road Iporanga – Apiai. Close to PETAR, in the city Apiai are the rests of an old gold mill, which is museum (photo above) nowadays.