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ITATIAIA

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NATIONAL PARK

ITATIAIA

The area of the Itatiaia National Park is divided into two different environments. One is the Atlantic forest with numerous centenarian trees that keep hold of the lower part, and the other which characterizes for its mountainous topography with crags and peaks on its highest part.

The mountainous place is ideal for long and amusing hikes in the midst of landscapes of singular beauty. Altitudes vary between 700 and 2787 metres.

It is considered the first national park in Brazil for the preliminary data concerning its creation goes back to the beginnings of the XX century. The Pico das Aguilhas Mountain, the fifth tallest of the country, is located in this natural reserve between the limits of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo.

After a failed project the then Biological Station of Rio de Janeiro's Botanic Garden became a National Park in July of 1937, during the mandate of president Getulio Vargas, with an area of 12 thousand hectares. Its extension was enlarged to cover 30 thousand hectares in 1982.

Flora and fauna

The ecological reserve is conformed by various layers of vegetation belonging to primitive ecosystems. Its flora is characteristic and peculiar, especially at the high plateau of Itatiaia.

There are 163 cases of endemic flora species, from which 94 grow in the highest part of the massif. The bookish distinguish three great vegetation formations in the southern and northern regions and in the higher zones.
SPANISH VERSION
AMAZON - BRAZIL RAIN FOREST
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Serra da Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
Das Emas National Park
Serra dos Orgãos National Park
Iguazu National Park
Itatiaia National Park
Lencois Maranhenses National Park
Grande Sertão Veredas National Park
Serra da Bocaina National Park
Serra da Canastra National Park
Serra da Capivara National Park
Serra do Caparao National Park
Superagüi National Park
Trims of Serra and Serra General National Park
Praia do Sul Ecological Reserve
The most representative fauna group is that of insects. It is estimated there are 5 thousand species in the Itatiaia area, near 90 of which are exclusively from the higher region of the park.

The lower region is richer in mammals, for the shrubs provide a better refuge for the mammals. The bird diversity include the black and white Humming birds, toucans, sparrow-hawks, pigeons and Peach-fronted Conure (Aratinga aurea aurea)

64 toad, frog and tree frog species are known in the park, 24 of which are distributed along the valleys, ponds and vegetation areas of the high plateau. The most notable is the Maldonado Redbelly Toad toad (Melanophryniscus moreirae) with a black back and a red belly.

Weather

The southern hemisphere's winter is rough in the high plateau region, where temperatures can descent down to 15 grades below zero thus freezing streams and small lagoons.

January is considered the hottest month with an average temperature of 13 grades, and July the coldest with an average of 8 grades. Temperatures below zero are often registered in the higher regions. The rainy season takes place in the month of January and there are intensive rains from October to April.

Attractions

Pico das Agulhas Negras Mountain - It is the highest point in the park and in the State of Rio de Janeiro as well with its 2787 metres altitude. Optimum for mountaineering and trekking.

Museum of the Visitors' Centre - Located in the lower part of the park, it has a collection of great scientific significance with flora, fauna and geological samples, mostly typical of the region.

Beautiful Cascade (Cachoeira Poranga) - Poranga means beauty in the Tupi language. The cascade is 10 metres high and has a 30 metre diameter natural pool ideal for swimming.

Blue Lake - A natural lake formed by the Campo Bello River. It is a safe place for a river bathe.

Maromba's Natural Pool - You will gain vigour to continue the hike after a freezing bathe in here.

Velo de Novia Cascade (Cachoeira Véu de Noiva) - A delicious view of the waters falling from a 40 metre height. It is one of the emblematic sights of the park.

Three Peaks - At 1662 metres of altitude, Three Peaks offers a marvellous view of the Paraiba Valley and the pre-cordilleran hills of the Sierra of Mantiqueira. The return trip can be crowned with a bathe at the Bonito River's cascade.

Massif of Prateleiras - At 2548 metres above sea level, it is formed by huge blocks of rock and offers a beautiful vista of the Paraiba valley.

How to get there

Take the Dutra road up to Itatiaia if coming from Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Continue for five more kilometres up to the park's entrance through an asphalted road. The access for Estanterías or Agujas Negras will be through Ingeniero Passos, continuing for 48 kilometres through the BR-354 road bound to Itamonte, and then another 17 kilometres through dirt roads.
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