PETAR, which stands for 'Parque Estadual Turístico do Alta Ribeira', is located about 350km South West of the city São Paulo. The drive can easily be done within a day. I'm almost certain there is some form of public transport to take you there from the city. There's a few towns in the area that will have accommodation but I would recommend the town of Apiaí. It's very close to everything, has basic shops and a few tour shops for booking up some activities.
The plan for my partner and I was to spend two nights here and take in the sights. She is Brazilian and did a cracking job at planning all this before I got out there. We arrived late in the day and got to our hotel. Fantastic location and lovely people who owned it. The only noise were from the jungle that surrounded the region. You could hear the birds and the monkey's in the distance. It was great and a welcome relief from the noise of São Paulo.
We met our guide Kisuco from a company called Parque Aventuras first thing in the morning. These guys are based in town with a little hut on the side of the road for their reception. Luckily I was with someone that could speak Portuguese because our guide couldn't speak any English. I've travelled enough now to be able to still communicate with people. Lots of hand actions and strange grunts.
What followed the next two days was just brilliant. The scenery was fantastic walking through this dense jungle. The path was fairly well trodden but you still got a great feeling of adventure and we were definitely grateful for the blue skies while hiking out.
And let's not forget the stunning waterfalls that lay along the trail.
For me the biggest highlight were the caverns in the area. The region has a vast network of caverns, with new discoveries still happening. They're truly epic! You can't access them on your own and need to get permission beforehand or like us you go with a guide. I highly recommend using the company that we used. We kept the same guide for the two days and he really showed us what this region has to offer.
You see the pictures of these fantastic looking caverns in magazines but, when you're inside them wading through water up to your chest it really gets the juices flowing. Amazing experience and I cannot recommend this place enough.
If you're in this region of Brazil get PETAR on your to do list. Two nights would be more than enough. Close proximity to São Paulo makes it easy to get to but still retaining that sense of adventure.
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