Hard to believe. But only 30 km from the centre of São Paulo, at the southern end of the city, we find one of the greenest areas of the state. With only 200,000 residents and several parks and Environmental Preservation Areas, Parelheiros district gathers an outskirts environment and activities for all ages.
In 2014, the city hall of São Paulo created Parelheiros Ecotourism Site, with the objective of promoting and encouraging infrastructure and tourism initiatives in the region that covers the neighbourhoods of Parelheiros, Grajaú and Marsilac. Since then, the area has been emerging as a unique and differentiated place, which brings the surprise of a rural and up-to-date São Paulo.
Contrasts and the active cultural production of São Paulo periphery make the visit to Parelheiros even more interesting. In addition to waterfalls, trails and contemplation of nature, we discovered in Parelheiros Ecotourism Pole the creativity and artistic diversity, social engagement and environmental awareness.
Vivejar, responsible tour operator, has an incredible itinerary that takes you to visit the region: https://vivejar.com.br/pt/roteiro/grajau-e-ilha-do-borore/
5 unmissable activities in Parelheiros Ecoturism Site
A 150,000 m2 green area on the banks of the Billings dam on Bororé Island houses this delightful open site, geared towards leisure and sustainability. There you can enjoy nature, swimming pools, hiking trails and even visit the nymph of the herons where new-borns show up between March and October. The Paiquerê grange also has an incredible organic garden, from where they take fresh vegetables for a delicious natural lunch offered on site.
Located within the APA – Bororé-Colônia, in Bororé Island, Casa Ecoativa is an eco-cultural center that for 20 years has been promoting cultural and agro ecology activities with the aim of encouraging the preservation of local culture and biodiversity. The initiative, conceived by the residents of Parelheiros, is sheltered in a beautiful house built in 1904 and listed by the historic patrimony of the city of São Paulo. Music gigs, exhibitions, experiences, lectures and workshops happen all the time.
A hotel with a sustainable focus welcomes guests and groups that visit the region. Surrounded by the green of the Atlantic Forest, next to the Itaim Natural Park, Centro Paulis is more than a lodging, but also an invitation for relaxation and integration with nature. Created in 1981 for capacitation courses based on Anthroposophy, Centro Paulos was transformed into a hotel, hostel and an art gallery, which today has the local residents as partners.
Since 2009, the social project Meninos da Billings has offered various educational and cultural activities for young people in the region, with the aim of promoting employment, income generation and sustainable development. Recently, they have started to work with nautical activities and with community-based tourism. Local guides take you to walking tours or visits in canoes and boats through the Billings dam. Handicraft with recyclable products is also one of the interesting design initiatives of the project.
For those who love hiking and trekking, the Núcleo Curutu offers three options for hiking trails in Serra do Mar State Park. They range from 600 m to 8.2 km and they have to be previously booked. The trails lead to waterfalls and to some incredible landscapes of the park, which is the largest Conservation Unit in the entire Atlantic Forest.