Thursday, 16 October 2008

Short trips from Florianopolis II – Serra Geral Mountains

Santa Catarina is so well-known for its gorgeous coast that most people totally ignore the interior. Just a few hours away by road from the capital you can be in one of the most stunning mountain sceneries in Brazil: the Serra Geral Mountain Range.

The journey to get there is already very scenic- to reach Serra Geral, you need to drive through one of the 3 mountain roads that cut Santa Catarina East to West. Originally open as mule tracks, they are still the few connecting points between the highlands and the coast. The BR-282 is the busiest and the least dramatic, while the Serra do Rio Rastro (SC- 438) and the Serra do Corvo Branco (SC- 439) are not for faint hearts, but they are both stunning.

Once you get there, you are spoiled for choices of activities; you can go trekking, cycling, horse-riding, fly fishing or simply relax in a lodge or a resort.

Some of my favourite programs in this area are the hiking trips near Urubici. Staying in a cosy mountain lodge, you can choose between easy day treks or the more demanding 3-days crossing of the São Joaquim National Park.

We visited this area many times in the past and fell in love with its beauty. This weekend, however, we drove up the stunning Serra do Rio do Rastro mountain road, further south from Urubici to inspect another base to explore this region.

The Rio do Rastro is a small resort in a 900-acres farm in Bom Jardim da Serra. Although this hotel is larger, lacking the intimacy of Rio Canoas mountain lodge, it has excellent facilities and a wide range of activities. We took a trip to the canyons, a horse riding trip and did a short trek through Araucaria and ancient ferns forests.

For the cold or rainy days they have a heated pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and some romantic bungalows with lake views. The food was excellent as well.

The highlight for us, however, was horse riding through highland fields to the edge of the mountains. The views were absolutely incredible, helped by a gorgeous sunset over the highlands.

When visiting Santa Catarina next we really recommend you reserve a few days to explore this beautiful area.

For more information about the Serra Geral mountains click here or contact us.

Tips from Brazil Ecojourneys team:

  • You can only drive up the Serra do Corvo Branco in dry weather;
  • The best time to visit the area is autumn and winter as the weather is drier then and there is less fog, allowing for the best views;

  • Temperatures there are often below zero at night, with the occasional snow shower in winter so take enough warm clothes;

  • If you really enjoy riding, we offer a fantastic multi-day Horse riding trip, staying at mid-19th Century Farm houses, that offers a mix of culture and adventure;

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