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Itaimbezinho, the Brazilian canyon

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Located in Aparatos da Serra National Park, near Cambará do Sul (Serra Gaúcha), the Itaimbezinho Canyon is one of the largest in Brazil. The canyon and the park, in general, is very beautiful and worth visiting, its greatness is unquestionable, you feel so tiny in the middle of that brutality (in a good way). Nature is amazing, but when you find yourself facing landscapes like this, with 130 million-year-old rock formations, is that you realize that. The walls and crevices, which have up to 700 meters deep, are covered by a low vegetation, which transforms the landscape into a green paradise to behold. And what is not green, is rock! I know, amazing, right?

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It’s possible to do two different types of trails, the Vértice Trail, and the Cotovelo Trail. The Vértice trail lasts approximately 1 hour (in total) and departs from the visitor center, this one is the fastest, you go to the edge of the canyon. The Cotovelo one is a little bit longer and takes more time; it has panoramic views. The two tracks are above the canyon and need no guide to be done, you can make them by yourself, the trails are pretty obvious and well signed, don’t worry you’ll not get lost. Walking through the park, beyond the crevices of the canyon and the waterfall, you’ll see many native pines and araucarias.

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We (my family and I) made the Vértice trail because we arrived at the park a little late and it was the only one allowed at that time. You can only make the Cotovelo trail if you begin until 3 pm since this one is longer and there’s no time to come back before the park closes. Although we’ve made the shortest one, it was enough to realize the grandiosity of that place; the landscapes are breathtaking.

We took about 1h to complete the trail, walking calmly, stopping to take pictures, sitting to rest and observe the scenery for a few minutes, just to record the views in our memories. If you want to visit the canyon from below, there is another track, the Rio do Boi Trail, this one doesn’t depart from there, you have to go to Praia Grande. It must be done with a guide; it’s longer than the first one and more tiring, but it passes through natural pools and amazing sceneries. I say that based on pictures because, unfortunately, I haven’t done this one yet.

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Regardless of the trail you choose to do, bring water to hydrate and wear comfortable shoes, although the first trail (the one that we did) is easier and faster, sometimes you have to walk over rocks and bushes, then water and appropriate footwear are essential. At the end we entered at the visitor center, where you can find restrooms, snack bar and a cultural space with the history, pictures, samples and a 3D model of the whole park, showing the size of the canyon. It was looking to that model that I realized how little we saw; the place is huge. There are other canyons in the area, but we chose to visit Itaimbezinho because, besides being the most famous, the access is relatively easy and it’s close to Cambará do Sul. Which has a good structure to receive tourists, at least in theory.

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To get from the city to the park, just follow the signs, the road to get to the park (18 km) is bumpy and with stones, a little uncomfortable. The place has an incredible potential, but the access is sloppy. I have the impression that despite being naturally beautiful, the canyon doesn’t receive a large number of tourists yet. We found some people along the trail, but it was just a few if you consider that we went on a sunny and beautiful Sunday. It might be only my impression, maybe in another day of the week, the park is crowded. Besides the canyon, which is the main attraction, I saw many ads about adventure sports and outdoor activities in the hotel we stayed, the strongest thing in the city (and in the entire region) is for sure the eco-tourism.

Practical Information

How much? The ticket to get into the park is R$ 6 per person, and the parking lot is R$ 5 per car.

When? From Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Where? Aparatos da Serra National Park, Cambará do Sul – RS, Brazil (18 km from the city) | Official Website

Be aware that prices change, the values presented here are from June of 2016

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