You won´t find the name of Pedra Azul ( Blue Rock) by itself in a common guide book. That´s because this place is best known for being the landmark of the Parque Florestal of Pedra Azul, a state park located in the county of Domingos Martins, 88 quilometres away from Vitória´s airport.
And if you think that the state of Espírito Santo is only about its coastline, here´s the surprise: there´s much more than sea and beach to look forward to, and you should definitely check this mountain range close to the capital.
The landmark Pedra Azul and its famous "Lizzard "rock
Although off-the-beaten path and not so popular as many other fancy spots of this southeastern state, the region is worth visiting, specially for its great surroundings, fresh air and preserved natural beauty. The main attraction is the 12km2 park, of course, and its 1909 meters high peak, which got its name due to the blue tonality reflected on the rock at some moments of the day.
But the original touch is due to a natural sculpture on its right slope, known as the Pedra do Lagarto ( the Lizzard Rock), because depending from which angle the sun is, it really resembles to a gigantic reptile climbing up the slope. Seen from the bottom , it´s really impressing.
A perfect choice for those fans of ecotourism, as there are long walks around the park, in open fields, during which you can pick up wild berries and watch wild animals from the brazilian fauna, like the tamanduá and threatened species of micos ( tiny monkeys ).
For those really fit, there´s a trail to reach the upper levels of the Pedra Azul, where there are a few natural pools carved inside the rock. So, after at least one hour hike, you´ll be able to refresh and admire the idyllic view while taking a rewarding dip in the icy waters.
You can go trekking all year round, at any day of the week. But, bear in mind that it´s a state park, where it´s not allowed to hike on your own. Local guides are available to take people up the rock, and the hikes are scheduled to start every morning around 8 and finish at noon.
Lately, several hotels have opened around the park and tourism has developed pretty fast. Almost all the pousadas have sauna, swimming pool and sometimes even a tennis court. Most of the rooms have their own fireplace, as in the forthcoming months of winter, temperatures tend to drop quite heavily if compared to the ones in coastal towns. That's why it became fashionable for local restaurants to offer fondue on their menu. http://www.pedraazul.com.br