If you go to Brazil it is almost impossible not to go the National Park of São Joaquim, located in the south of the country, in the mountain region of Santa Catarina state. To access the wondrous and mysterious highlands, you need to travel to either Urubici or Bom Jardim da Serra.
Extending over acres of land, São Joaquim National Park also communicates with Orleans, Grão Pará and Lauro Muller cities, which are located in the lower region of Serra do Mar. Created in 1961 in an effort to protect the remnants of what once was the Araucaria Forest spreading across 49,800 hectares. The park is an integral part of the Mata Atlântica biome. In addition to preserving the existing ecosystems in the Conservation Unit, this natural park was created with the main objective to raise environmental awareness, support environmental education, research and public visitation.
The region offers a magnificent landscape, with mind-blowing sites like Pedra Furada and Morro da Igreja. The northeastern part of the green reservation boasts the highest altitudes in the region, with the highest peak being above 1,650 metres. This region of the park is called Campos de Santa Bárbara. The uniqueness of the Unit is represented by its geological structure consisting of volcanic rocks (aka Basalto), which together with sandstone formations trigger the recharge and discharge of the Guarani Aquifer. Geological research suggests that these formations date back to 133 million years.
When to visit The National Park of São Joaquim can be visited all year round. There is no entrance fee or preferred visitation hours. If you wish to visit the Church of Mirante do Morro, you will be required to obtain a visitation pass (authorisation). This church is located in the Urubici area, and access to the Church Hill is open between 8am to 5pm. Visitation pass can be obtained from the ICMBio’s headquarters in Urubici.