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Outdoor Activities in São Paulo
Information on the facilities in São Paulo for outdoors activities: including facilities available in the city parks, along the São Paulo coast and the interior of São Paulo for ecological tourism and radical outdoor sports...
Did you know?
- São Paulo has more than ten large parks with lakes, running tracks, courts and bike tracks
- São Paulo countryside is vast, with conservation areas, forests, tracks, waterfalls, rivers, and spas
- The São Paulo Atlantic coastline has stunning beaches, islands, ecological sanctuaries and tropical forests
- The Tietê-Paraná Waterway and other large lakes provide navigable waterways
There is an endless supply of activities for the adventurous and much useful information available. Tourist offices often have brochures in English and some have websites with details on activities in each area.
Below find information on:
- National Parks
- Climbing, Abseiling, Caving and Hiking
- Cycling and Biking
- Horse Riding
The Brazilian government has set aside certain areas for recreation and leisure within the city of São Paulo.
The Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park) occupies 1.6 million square meters. There are fountains, children's play grounds, a roller skating rink, museums, a planetarium, Japanese gardens and lakes. Bicycles can be rented and maps of the park are provided. Map information is well displayed throughout the park.
The Ibirapuera Park is on a bus route: take bus number 5100 or 5131 from the Metrô Brigadeiro station.
- Parque do Ibirapuera
At: Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral s/n
Tel: (11) 5574 5177
Open: from 05:00 to midnight
- For a list of parks and information from the São Paulo Tourist Board: Click here
São Paulo's climate makes it ideal for watersports all year round.
The tropical beaches of the North and South coast of São Paulo are good for surfing and kite-surfing: lessons can be arranged. Diving trips and courses are available on the islands, such as Ilhabela. The Brazilian Professional Diving Instructors Corporation (PDIC) has a website with information on diving courses, diving centres and diving instructors.
To reach the coast, head South-East from São Paulo on the SP-160 road. To reach Ilhabela, take the road SP 170 and Rodovia Carvalho Pinto up to the city of São José dos Campos; SP99 up to the city of Caraguatatuba; or Rio-Santos (BR 101) up to São Sebastião, which is the small ferry port and gateway to the Ilhabela island.
Inland lakes and reservoirs
Further inland there are large lakes and waterways open to yachting and boating, with yacht clubs, boat races and sailing courses. The Parque Ecológico do Guarapiranga in São Paulo has a reservoir with several yacht clubs; there are regular sailing events (sailing lessons are available).
The São Paulo Yacht Club, founded in 1917, organises sailing activities, regattas, races and social events throughout the year.
- At: Rua Francisco de Seixas 225, 04770-060 Santo Amaro
Tel: (11) 5523 8366
The São Paulo town of Brotas, 170 Km from São Paulo City is the adventure tourism centre of São Paulo and rivals the Chapada Diamantina National Park in Bahia for the top outdoor adventure tourist destination in Brazil. Tour operators arrange trips to white-water rivers, caves and cascading fountains. Canoeing, kayaking, rafting and canyoning are possible.
Access to Brotas is via bus from the Tietê bus station (Rodoviaria Tietê) in São Paulo, or by car via the Bandeirantes Highway or the Anhanguera Highway.
The 2,792 metre high Serra da Mantiqueira, situated on the border between the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, provides expert climbing locations including the famous Baú Rock (Chest Stone) in São Bento do Sapucaí. The Bragança Paulista region is another popular climbing area for Paulistanos (Visual das Águas, Guaraiúva, Pedra Bela, Maria Antonia).
The Brazilian Confederation of Mountaineering & Climbing (Confederação Brasileira de Montanhismo e Escaladha - CBME) is the overseeing body for these sports in Brazil. The website has information on mountain safety and upcoming events.
The São Paulo Mountaineering Federation (Federação de Montanhismo do Estado de São Paulo - FEMESP) can provide information on clubs in the region, mountains safety and mountaineering competitions.
The São Paulo Alpine Club (Clube Alpino Paulista - CAP) organises basic mountaineering courses for those interested in climbing and mountaineering. They also provide mountain security and ethics advice for the Brazilian climbing community.
- São Paulo Alpine Club (in Portuguese)
Abseiling, the radical extreme sport of descending a rope from high points, can be done on the Island of Ilhabela, just off the São Paulo coast. The Three Falls fountain (Tres Tombos) is a popular location with several private tour companies giving guided trips. Other locations include Visual das Águas in Bragança Paulista (in Serra da Mantiqueira).
The tourist park Alto Ribeira (Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira - PETAR) is situated in São Paulo State, 320 Km from the City and near the border with Paraná State. The park has one of the largest cave concentrations in Brazil, and is a caver's paradise.
The park has three tourist visitor centres, which provide specialist guides, camping facilities and aid resource. The Santana centre is 3 Km from the Bairro Serra (Serra Village) in Iporanga.
Access to the tourist park is via the asphalt highway Regis Bitencourt (Rodovia Régis Bitencourt) for 320 Km to Iporanga. To reach the Santana tourist visitor centre, take a dirt road for 14 Km sign-posted Bairo da Serra.
- For information on PETAR from the Brazilian Geology Institute website: Click here (in Portuguese)
Trekking and hiking
São Paulo's National Parks have many hiking routes with varying degrees of difficulty to suit all levels.
- For further information see the São Paulo Tourist Board website: Click here
The Centro Excursionista Brasileiro organisation provides trekking and hiking information.
- Centro Excursionista Brasileiro (in Portuguese)
At: Av. Alm. Barroso 2, 8th floor, Centro, 20031-000 Rio de Janeiro
Tel: (21) 2252 9844
São Paulo Trails (Trilhas de São Paulo) provides information on 40 nature trails in 19 protected areas in the state of São Paulo.
- A list of trails is available by level of difficulty: Click here and select listas de Todos as Trilhas
A booklet (Passaporte) listing all the trails is available with maps and information on reaching the start of the trails, local attractions along the trail and local infrastructure. The Passaporte is available from Forest Foundation Offices (Fundaçao Florestal) or from the address below.
- Secretaira de Estado do Meio Ambiente - CETESB
At: Avenida Frederico Hermann Junior 345, Alto de Pinheiros, building 1, ground floor
Tel: (11) 3133 3396
- For a list of Forest Foundation Offices: Click here and select Passaporte and then Como Adquirir
The Clube de Cicloturismo do Brasil (in Portuguese) is a non-profit organisation which aims to promote cyclotourism in Brazil. It organises trips and events.
Sampa Bikers cycling association hires bikes and organises night and day bike rides on gravel tracks in and around São Paulo.
São Paulo has many high quality and exclusive golf clubs; some are open to visiting golfers who can pay and play on the day.
The Brazilian Golf Federation (Confederação Brasileira de Golfe) can provide information on clubs, driving ranges and tournaments in Brazil.
- Brazilian Golf Federation (in Portuguese)
At: Rua Paes de Araújo, 29 conj. 42, 04531 090 São Paulo
Tel: (11) 3168 4366
In the metropolitan region area of São Paulo, horse riding takes place almost exclusively in one of the riding schools or country clubs. Outside of the city, Brotas is a popular area for horse-riding.
Other Outdoor Sports
Ballooning and paragliding are also popular in São Paulo, paragliding takes place from the highest point of the Atibaia region of São Paulo. This location is called Pedra Grande, meaning big rock, and is 1,450 metres above sea level with a 580 metre vertical drop.
To access the Atibaia region travel North West from São Paulo on the road BR 381. Buses can be caught from Tietê bus station.
- São Paulo Environment Agency (Secretaria de Meia Ambiente)