Brazil – Botucatu: Natural Beauty in the High Plateaus


Today we will explore a small but beautiful part of Brazil, the region near the city of Botucatu in the southeastern part of the country. The city gets its name from the winds blowing over the high São Paulo plateaus which keep the region cool in the otherwise humid subtropical weather. Danielle, a local resident of 10+ years and a nature enthusiast, took some time to write about what the area has to offer visitors.

Posing with view of Gigante Adormecido
Author photo - Danielle Barberini

Years Lived in the Area: 10
Hobbies/Interests: Gathering with friends. Country music. Dancing. Movies. Exploring nature.
Restaurant Pick: VinteDois

Table of Contents

    Waterfalls, Nature, and Extreme Sports

    Botucatu features over 70 waterfalls in the region, some easily accessible, others extremely difficult to get to. The municipality located at the top of the Cuesta is also a spot famous for extreme sports competitions of all types, from paragliding to rally. For those who like extreme sports (either watching or participating), this is the right place to venture to! It also features some wonderful natural features for a sightseeing expedition, which I’ll talk a little more about below.

    Pavuna Waterfalls

    There are actually five waterfalls in total to visit here. I like this area because each of the falls has a different difficulty – whether you like hiking and adrenaline or just want an easy walk with a beautiful waterfall at the end, you have it all in one destination!

    Waterfall at Pavuna's Park in Botucatu
    In front of a waterfall at Pavuna.
    In front of a waterfall at Pavuna
    Enjoying the falls at Pavuna.
    Group photo next to waterfall at Pavuna
    Next to a waterfall.

    The falls are located at Cachoeira da Pedreira (Pavuna).

    Base da Nuvem (Base of the Cloud)

    Visitors come to this scenic location to observe the Cuesta (steep-faced ridge). At the Base of the Cloud, you can find free paragliding flight courses and double flight tours. This is a beautiful spot for sightseeing if you enjoy mountains and nature. You can take a paragliding course or just sit and watch people flying. At times, there will also be on-site paragliding competitions, which are also fun to watch.

    Gigante Adormecido (The Sleeping Giant)

    The hill formation on the border between the cities of Botucatu, Bofete, and Pardinho received its name because it resembles a giant in repose, complete with head, belly, and feet. The part of land corresponding to the giant’s belly contains a preserved native forest and is home to Botucatu “saci,” according to urban legend. The giant’s feet are a set of features also known as Três Pedras.

    View of Gigante Adormecido (The Sleeping Giant)
    The Sleeping Giant is visible in the distance.

    A great way to take in views of the Sleeping Giant and surrounding area is by zip line! Tirolesa Do Gigante operates a three-segment, 800 meter long, sequential zip line. You’ll have unobstructed views of the Sleeping Giant in the distance on the way down. The return is either on foot or by buggy ride.

    Visit the website for directions, operating hours, and contact information.

    Mirante das Tres Pedras (Viewpoint of the Three Stones)

    The Tres Pedras are a rock formation that can be viewed from many places. But there is a particular place that is called Viewpoint of the Three Stones from where you can enjoy both a great view and an amazing hike if you feel like it. You can also find some caves to explore in the area. This spot also has a restaurant where you can have breakfast, other meals, or just a beer!

    At Mirante das Tres Pedras
    At Mirante das Tres Pedras.
    View from Mirante das Tres Pedras
    Looking out from Mirante das Tres Pedras.
    Inside cave near Tres Pedras
    Exploring caves near Tres Pedras.

    UNESP and the CEVAP Serpent Museum

    UNESP Campuses in Botucatu

    Administração Faculdade de Medicina de Botucatu
    UNESP Medical School.1

    Botucatu enjoys a significant role in the Brazilian higher education system, with two campuses in the city belonging to Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP), one of Latin America’s top universities. Notable departments include the Botucatu Faculty of Medicine, Botucatu Biosciences Institute, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, Faculty of Sciences Agronomic, and a campus of the Faculty of Technological Education (FATEC).

    CEVAP Museum – UNESP (São Paulo State University)

    The Venom and Venomous Animals Study Center (CEVAP) offers an up-close and visual experience for anyone interested in venomous animals and their study. The center is involved with the maintenance of snakes in captivity, in addition to aspects related to snake biology and environmental education. Through monitored and scheduled visits, it stimulates environmental knowledge/education about venomous animals. For specific groups, the monitors will also address the manipulation and biology of these animals.

    CEVAP maintains a serpentarium with around one thousand venomous snakes, as well as scorpions and poisonous spiders. In the space designated to receive public visitors, around 100 snakes and other venomous animals are exhibited, as well as lizards, iguanas, and tortoises. Educational posters and images are also on display for those wishing to learn more. Guided tours for all levels and ages are available. This is a fantastic place if you are curious about venomous animals and want some up-close (and maybe even hands-on) experience!

    At the time of this writing, the CEVAP website is down for a redesign, but you can check out the Facebook page for contact information and visiting hours. More information is also available on Google Maps.

    Danielle’s Restaurant Pick: VinteDois


    Street Address:
    Rod Antonio Butgnoli, Km 01, Chácara Recreio Vista Alegre, Botucatu
    Google Maps | Facebook

    What makes this place great or special?
    The restaurant offers unique Brazilian food originating from all parts of of the country.

    What should I order there?
    Everything is amazing. It depends what type of food you like, as they serve a wide variety of dishes. I love pork, so I would recommend ordering the Baião de dois com file suíno.

    1 Photo by Raphael Henrique Figueira / CC BY-SA 4.0
    Featured image photo by Eduardo Gorghetto on Unsplash

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