Top Ten Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Hike Itaimbezinho Canyon
By Shawn Blore

The biggest canyon in Brazil lurks near the border of the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, inside the Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra. Nearly six miles long and a mile deep, the Itaimbezinho can be either spectacularly beautiful or treacherously deadly. Or both.

Most days, you walk along the lush banks of the Rio do Boi, marvelling at the countless waterfalls that plunge down from on high. Occasionally, however, an unexpected rain turns the gurgling Rio do Boi into a snarling torrent that chews its way through the canyon bottom, spitting out the corpse of anyone unlucky enough to have been caught in the chasm. Avoiding these days is a matter of timing. Hiking in the dry season (July-October) is generally safe, though it's wise to keep an ear to the latest forecast. Even during the wet season the trip's still possible, though the prudent may want to stick to the Cotovelo Trail, which follows along the canyon's edge. It, too, is beautiful and spectacular, with the only real danger being a trip too close to the edge.


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