PETAR - Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeira

PETAR - Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeira

PETAR - Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeira
5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Created in 1958, with its 35,750 ha, it is located in the south of the state of Sao Paulo, covers part of the municipalities of Iporanga and Apiai and has territorial continuity with the EP Intervales. In addition to the value as a remnant forest area, the importance is emphasized by the association of the forest with the so-called “relief relief”, with cave systems that house unique underground landscapes, with a great morphological variety of speleothems and paleontological sites. Due to the number - more than 400, beauty and complexity of its caves, PETAR is an internationally recognized park. Due to the high level of preservation of the region, PETAR shelters species of the Atlantic Forest typical of primary forests (vegetation with high degree of preservation, almost without human intervention, with trees between 25 and 30 meters high), such as cinnamon, cedar and palm heart. -jucara. In addition to this important geological matrix, PETAR presents species of animals from large te
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Top ways to experience PETAR - Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeira and nearby attractions

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles926 reviews
Excellent
780
Very good
125
Average
18
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3

Luciana Sagrillo
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Friends
Wonderful experience in nature across clear rivers, beaultiful caves and waterfalls.
4 days in Petar energized me a lot before coming back to the agitated life in São Paulo.
I enjoyed so much with Petar Adventure agency.
I recommend a lot!
Written June 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

R_TheReader
Rio de Janeiro, RJ504 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
Short evaluation: if you are serious about travelling, put PETAR in your list.

Now, elaborating on that. PETAR is a state park created to protect an area with multiple caves and a rich fauna within a preserve of the "mata atlântica". Reaching PETAR requires some planning since there is not much of an infrastructure around the park: you will have to reach either Apiaí to the East or Iporanga to the West and drive some miles of dirt road. There are some hotels, one restaurant, a pizza parlor and a quite busy place with Brazil's favorite appetizer, the "pastel". You will not be allowed in the park unless you are with a monitor, a local guide that can be hired by small groups - most hotels will make the arrangements. Also, don't forget to bring food and water. PETAR has many restrooms in convenient places but there is no food available there.

The park is quite extensive and has many centers ("núcleos"). Unless you have many days available or are an expert speleologist, you will want to go to the Santana Center, close to the Serra neighbourhood where most of the hotels are located. There are five caves that can be reached from there - each with different features, waterfalls, rivers, and natural pools.

The Santana cave is the main attraction, a complex cave with beatiful formations that requires about two hours to visit. Morro Preto is impressive because of its size and has a few archeological items. Couto, where the river feeding the main waterfall cames from, is a delight to visit - I will not spoil by telling why.

The other two caves require a bit of walking in a fascinating trail. Be ready to wade across the river and to climb a little bit. Cafezal, at the end of the trail, is a dry cave with some interesting features such as aragonite flowers. For me, the best part was to enter the Água Suja cave. Getting your shoes and trousers competely wet is just part of the fun, the cave provides you with unforgettable memories of beauty. The cave name may be misleading: "agua suja" means dirty water, but the water inside is crystal-clear. The reason for the name is that the cave was discovered when the river that crosses the park (the Bethary) became muddy one day - looking for the source of the mud researcher found the cave opening, where rain water forced the mud into the Bethary.

I spent two days in the park, and this was just right so I could visit all the caves and still have time to enjoy the park. In addition to the park, you may enjoy some time away from the noise of daily life - cell phones will not work around the area.

The park has a site, http://www.ambiente.sp.gov.br/petar, but it seems to be in Portuguese only.

One comment: the famous Caverna do Diabo (devil's cave) is not part of the park. It is located 36km away - look for the twon of Eldorado for information. It is a good idea to visit both PETAR and the Caverna do Diabo in a single trip.

Caverna do Diabo has walkways and illumination. The caves in PETAR are just there, with few handrails just where they are required for safety, you need to wear helmets with flashlights which are provided by the monitors.
Written November 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Herbert H
State of Sao Paulo10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Family
This place should be compared with Iguaçu waterfalls as places you must see in Brazil in your lifetime. The PETAR has more than 400 caves but just a few are open for public visiting, and experience inside caves may depend on group size and fitness condition. I took my family (three adults and two kids - 12 and 4yrs) on a four days trip (2,5 days at PETAR). Infrastructure is basic with bathrooms at every nucleos entrance and natural water fountains.

Trails to the caves, despite described as basic and intermediary in terms of difficulty, are good and exciting with narrow pathways, river crossing (ankle deep), ladders, and steep up and downhills. Caves have different levels of difficulty with most of them up to 600 m deep for tourists (some caves mapped were 11km deep).

All visits to PETAR must be with a registered guide (I suggest Parque Aventuras) because, at least our guide, knew which pathway and stone to step on (some stones are slippery inside and outside caves), and was very knowledgeable of the location history, geology, fauna and flora and risk assessment.

First day in PETAR nucleo Santana, we went to Caves Cafezal and Agua Suja (the water is actually clean). The trail back and forth was around 5km + almost 1k inside both caves. Cafezal is a "dry cave"and Agua Suja is a "wet cave" which can go waist deep and there is a waterfalll inside where you can refresh (water is freezing but you get used quickly).

Second day we went to Morro Preto, Santana and Couto caves. All very close to the nucleo Santana park entrance, but it has 300m of stone stairway uphill for Morro Preto. We've also enjoyed a nearby natural water pool and a waterfall.

Third day we cut short and went to Ouro grosso (the most radical cave in the region as I've been told and I agree with the first 300m of cave - you go inside a tree to get to the cave and in many places you cannot stand-up) and later to the river "boia cross" (buoy cross) in river Betari.

Adults and teenagers with some fitness can take this trip well. I carried my four years old kid almost all the time with the help of the guide for some riskier stretches.

Everybody enjoyed this experience immensely (beautifull flora and rock formations from 2 million years ago) despite we had to limit our trip to the "safer" areas for my youngest kid. Each cave brings a different experience so plan to see all of them.

Main difference with Caverna do Diabo (we stopped by before reaching PETAR) is that in PETAR you get the real deal / contact with caves (you need helmet with lanterns to enter caves in PETAR), whilst Caverna do Diabo is more Disney like tour with concrete pathways and colored lighting.

In terms of carry on, we took sandwich and small water bottles with us, and towel and dry clothes to the 4yr kid. We only needed insect repellent, pants (no shorts allowed), shirts with sleeves (sweater for the kid because caves are naturally cold - better than strong air conditioners), and closed shoes (no sandals allowed). The jungle provided enough shade so no sunblock and hats needed. For other caves such as Casa da Pedra I understood these two items are important.

We may plan a second trip to PETAR to see caves in Nucleo Caboclo and Casa de Pedra and redo the river 2K buoy cross (kids loved that). These two sites need more preparation given the distance (walking and driving).
Written January 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fabiana Franco
Sao Paulo, SP1,321 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Family
I feel sorry for those who go through life without seeing these caves! It's my second time in Petar and i had forgotten how amazing they are, what an experience it is to be inside each of these caves! You can travel abroad, travel with all the luxury you can get and still will have seen nothing!!Really.

We stayed at the best inn (pousada) in town called Pousada das Cavernas but it's nothing much. The "piscina natural" (natural pool) they have is not worth it all all, the meals are extremely expenaive for what they are (52 reais per person) and luxury rooms are humble. But it's ok if you don't consider the price. Stay here but DO eat out, it's much more charming!! Buy food for the trails in the supermarket and have dinner at Mangarito: pizzas and other stuff, beautiful caipirinhas, live music, fun! If you want to vary the othe day go to Casarao in Iporanga but it's farther and it's a plain restaurant, ok food. Iporanga is a minusculous town with no attractions. Breakfast at Pousada das Cavernas, which is included , is super good and complete!!
To go to the caves, you HAVE TO hire the guide we did: nickname TIO (name Aguinaldo) tel (15) 997988764. Insist cause there's not always someone around to answer. He's super friendly, funny and an expert!! I's recommend 2 or 3 days, there are like 300 caves but he'll show you a sample, each one very different from the other. There are kids of age 4 who enter the caves, the levels of difficulty go from 1-5 but they're not for the weak or fearful
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Written April 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RHAHJ
Nijmegen, The Netherlands1,972 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Solo
PETAR has many and diverse caverns. All have stalagmites and stalactites. In some you will go through water. Inside the park the highest water level is about waist-high. Outside, near Iporanga itself, there is a cavern where you will get your shoulders wet. Bringing swimming pants is not advised for the caverns, because long trousers are obligatory. You may want to use swimming pants near the waterfalls though. The paths inside the caverns are mostly over rocks, with occasional wooden stairs. There are no nice stairs as you would see in Europe, or also in the nearby caverna do diabo. The caverns are also not lit, and visitors get to wear helmets with torches on them. While the caverns are definitely the main attraction here, there are also some nice and high waterfalls. There is also a lot of nature. Visits must be accompanied by an approved guide. A little downside is that there are lots of other tourists, so it is hard to get pictures without other people, and most of the time you are lining up in an endless procession of tourists. Also, you don't get to see many animals. You may also have to wait for long times: With our group we arrived at the park around 9.00 I think, but got to visit the first caverna (de Santana) only at 11.30. So that makes you wonder why we had to meet at 8.00 in the morning. I noticed that most tourists leave at Sunday afternoon, or else at Monday. So if you have the opportunity to visit during work days, you will have the place to yourself. But it is hard to reach the place without your own car. There are buses between Apiai and Iporanga, and I know the ones starting from Iporanga go three times a week: At 7.00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They arrive at the bairro Serra at 7.30. I didn't notice any ATMs in Iporanga, so it is good to bring some cash besides your debit or credit card. There is a supermarket, a bar, and some places to eat in Iporanga, Serra neighbourhood.
Written September 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

josemont
Rio de Janeiro, RJ39 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Couples
PETAR consists of 4 nuclei (Santana, Caboclos, Ouro Grosso and Casa de Pedra). Casa de Pedra is rated as the cave with the largest "mouth" in the world but tourists are no longer allowed in; so, you should consider visiting it only if you have spare time and/or really love trails. It is at about 8km from Iporanga and the trail itself has about 4 km. Caboclos nucleus demands a 2h drive from Iporanga and a 9km trail along which you can find small waterfalls. Teminina cave is there and is rated as beautiful (I have not been there). Ouro Grosso nucleus is the closest (about 12km from Iporanga and next to Bairro da Serra); the trail has just a few hundred meters.It has two main caves: Ouro Grosso and Alambari de Baixo. Ouro Grosso cave has nothing special but a small waterfall/pool inside where you can bathe. The access is quite narrow and you should take this into account if you have limited mobility or if you are fat. Alambari de Baixo is a "wet" cave and this means you have to cross it with water up to your chest (be careful if heavy showers are expected, specially in summer, because the cave may get flooded). Santana nucleus is the one with the better structure (although this does not mean much....). It is close to Bairro da Serra and about 15 km from Iporanga. It has five main caves. Santana, Morro Preto and Couto caves are close to the entrance. Santana is by far the most beautiful cave in Petar and the only one in the park where you can see really nice stalactites and stalagmites (the guides say that they are also present in some other caves, but in spots tourists are not allowed in.....). Morro Preto has a nice entrance....and that is all. Couto is just a tunnel with no particular attraction. You can visit those three caves in sequence (allow about 1-1,5h for Santana and about 20min for each of the other two). You can go on along a trail of about 6km to the other two caves: Agua Suja and Cafezal (the first one is a "wet" cave and none of them is particularly attractive). Along the trail you will find some beautiful waterfalls.
So, if you are looking for beautiful limestone formations go to Santana (but in any case, Devil's cave between Eldorado and Iporanga is by far much more beautiful although elevated pathways done of concrete are disgusting.....!). If trails are what you are after, then Petar will be rewarding to you. Also if you enjoy bathing in waterfalls/ponds/rivers. Take into account that all the nuclei are opened in the morning but they close sequentially between noon an 4pm. And you have to pay for a new ticket to get in each of them (but do not worry - they are very cheap). As to accomodation, those at Bairro da Serra ( Pousada das cavernas, Pousada da Diva) are closer to most of the nucei but the best one is Gamboa Eco Refugio, in Iporanga. You should also take into account that there are not many/good options either in Iporanga or Bairro da Serra for eating out. And last but not least you cannot visit the caves without a guide, but there is no need to hire an agency because the agencies themselves hire local guides and you can do this directly (your hotel will help you to get in touch with the guides at a lower rate).
Written July 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Victor V
Sorocaba, SP78 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Friends
I always wanted to go there! Had this opportunity and didn't think twice. Everything was great since the time we got there.

Guide tourists well-prepared, we learned a lot. The park is simply amazing, we stayed in the Nucleo Santana. Visited 3 caves and many waterfall. Also, we did boia-cross by the river Betary, almost 1 hour going down that.
I wanna go back again soon.

I totally recommend go to Petar.
Written April 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul J
Holly, MI22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Family
If you are in Brazil and like hiking, enjoying nature, seeing beautiful waterfalls and exploring caves then PETAR is your place! My family and I spent 4 days exploring the park and had a great time. We contracted with Parque Aventuras who provided the itinerary and guide (monitor). We had Wagner as our guide and he was very friendly and knowledgeable and great with our 6 year son. I highly recommend!
Written January 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

João Pedro Noman
Santana de Parnaiba, SP3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
My trip to Petar was very cool, going with my school and with friends, and the places we visited were extraordinary and beautiful. Before I went to petar, I went to a quilombo that taught me a lot about how the slaves in Brazil trapped animals, both aquatic and on land, and things about a banana plantation that the inspector had. I also learned how to shoot a bow and rock from the time. But when we finally got to the hotel we were staying, I was disappointed in the size of our room. I was staying in a room with my friends and we were missing space. And when I was going to take a shower, I took longer than normal because I was trying to get the hot water! And my friends all got mad at me, and for the rest of the trip I was the last to take a shower. And our room was the third to last room, and everyday there was a long walk to our room, and my roommates also hated having the walk all of that. But the food they served was REALLY good! Everybody ate, and even my friends that don’t eat that much loved the food.
The next day, we started to go to the caves and we went to 2 of them, the Santana, and the água suja. They were also very cool, and for these caves I recommend going with clothes that can go into water, because they were all very wet, and dirty. Then we went back to the hotel and we stayed there for the rest of the day.
The next and final day, we went to two caves and then back home.
Overall, our trip was good and fun, the hotel was more or less, the food was really good, and I would say I give it a 7 out of 10.
Written November 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RodrigoMonteiroTeixe
Sao Paulo, SP30 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Friends
Just nice park to hike, take a lot of photos, see the caverns and enjoy one nice weekend outside the big city.
Written November 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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PETAR - Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeira - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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