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Wildlife
Pedra da Gávea
You might spot some wildlife while ascending Pedra da Gávea, such as opossum, monkeys, lizards, hawks and tucans. Look out for snakes, such as the colorful and and very poisonous coral snake shown in the picture.
Pedra da Gávea: Coral snake



Flora
Pedra da Gávea
Pedra da Gávea has some interesting flora. It even has an orchid only found there, namely the Laelia Lobata. Other flowers to look for are bromelias, such as the one shown in the picture.
Pedra da Gávea: Bromelia

The Gate
Pedra da Gávea
Just below the sumit of Pedra da Gávea is a formation which looks like a gate. Superstition has it that it's a portal to a vast underground world, perhaps even linked to Machu Picchu and the Bermuda Triangle.
Pedra da Gávea: The Gate

Media
Pedra da Gávea
Wikipedia
Rio de Janeiro
Prefectural site

S. America | Brazil | Rio de Janeiro | Pedra da Gávea

Pedra da Gavea: General Information

Along with Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar, Pedra da Gávea (meaning Topsail Rock) is one of Rio de Janeiro's most recognizable mountains. With its granite top at 842 meters it's also the world's largest block of stone by the seaside. Like no other mountain in Brazil it is surrounded by mysterious legends, with stories of Phoneicians, extra-terrestrial life and more.

If you're fond of trekking scaling Pedra da Gávea should be high on your itinerary while in Rio de Janeiro. The hike is not for beginners, it's strenuous and there is a small portion which involves rock climbing (though at a simple level). There are several agencies in town that can supply you with a guide, though if you are comfortable with a slightly advanced mountain trek it can be done independently.

To find the entrance to the trek take any bus going to Praça Euvaldo Lodi in Barra da Tijuca - if you're coming from Copacabana/Ipanema/Leblon/São Conrado it's just after the tunnel when reaching Barra da Tijuca. Cross the river on the bridge next to the highway, and take a right on the other side. After walking for about five minutes you'll reach Praça Desembargador Araujo Jorge. Follow Estrada do Joá for one block, and turn left onto Avenida Fleming. After three blocks follow it into Estrada do Sorimã, which takes you right up the entrance of the path, where there's also parking.

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Pedra da Gávea: View from Praça da Bandeira Pedra da Gávea: Praça da Bandeira

After an hours walking from the entrance you'll reach Praça da Bandeira, a small clearing in the forest. This is where you'll have the first close-up view of the top, and looking at the rock you can see features of a human face. Pedra da Gávea is surrounded by legends, and nothing has contributed more to this than some inscriptions found behind the face on the São Conrado side. Some claim these inscriptions are Phonecian writing, perhaps dating back to the 9th century, and that the rock is actually the tomb of the Phoenician king Badezir. When reaching the small Praça da Bandeira turn right for Pedra da Gávea. The path to the left goes to Pedra Bonita.

Barra da Tijuca: Birds-Eye View

Soon after leaving Praça da Bandeira there are some spectacular views coming up. First there's the view north of Floresta da Tijuca, with Pedra Bonita in the foreground. You can also see all the way east to Pão de Açúcar. Just afterwards you get the panorama view of the eastern part of Rio de Janeiro, and especially the 17 kilometer beach neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca. In the distance you can also see Jacarepaguá, and Cidade de Deus (featured in the 2002 movie City of God) is hidden behind a small hill.
Barra da Tijuca: View from Pedra da Gávea

Pedra da Gávea: Carrasqueira Pedra da Gávea: Carrasqueira

About 20-30 minutes after leaving Praça da Bandeira you reach Carrasqueira, which is the biggest technical challenge of the ascent. It is a wall of about 30 meters in height, and nearly vertical. If you're inexperienced in mountain climbing it is perhaps better to do this part with ropes. If you go with a tour company your guide will have brought the necessary equipment. If you go without ropes be very careful! Several people have died here.

Pedra da Gávea: Top View

It should take between two and four hours to reach the top of Pedra da Gávea. Once there the view is spectacular. You have an unhindered view of most of Zona Sul (South Zone), Zona Oeste (West Zone), Floresta da Tijuca, not to mention the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day you can see all the other major peaks of Rio de Janeiro, like Corcovado, Pão de Açúcar, Dois Irmãos and Pico da Tijuca. Beholding the natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro just below the strains of the ascent are well worth it!
Pedra da Gávea: View from top



Rich/Poor
Pedra da Gávea
Looking east from Pedra da Gávea the social issues affecting Rio de Janeiro are quite obvious. The wealthy neighborhood of São Conrado is just below, with its Fashion Mall and luxury high-rise apartment buildings. In the hills just behind is Rocinha, the largest shantytown in all of Latin America.
Pedra da Gávea: Looking down on São Conrado

Facts
Location
In Floresta da Tijuca between the neighborhoods of São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca, in the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
Height
842 meters
Dificulty
Moderate
Geology
Base of gneiss, top of granite
Ecosystem
Typical of secondary Mata Atlântica

Travel
Climb in Rio
Agency
Eco Adventure
Agency
Limite Vertical
Agency
Pedra da Gávea
Instituto Terra Brasil's page (in Portuguese)
Rio Turismo Radical
Agency

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