Pedra Azul State Park
But the original touch is due to a natural sculpture on its right slope, known as the Pedra do Lagarto (the Lizard Rock), because depending from which angle the sun is, it really resembles a gigantic reptile climbing up the slope. Seen from the bottom, it's really impressive.
The Pedra Azul State Park was created in the decade of 1990, in an attempt to preserve its rich group of natural treasures.
Most prominent is the Pedra Azul (Blue Rock), which can be seen from the BR-262 highway, and of the Lagarto Rock (Lizard Rock), a granite and gneissic formation that reaches the height of 1,882 meters (6,174.54 feet).
For those who are 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 a one-hour hike, you´ll be able to refresh and admire the idyllic view while taking a rewarding dip in the icy waters.
Flora and fauna
Were the exotic rocky formations not enough, the park also has a great variety of vegetable and animal species, which fill the eyes of the more observing visitors. 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).
In the local fauna, species that stand out are the Brown Capuchin Monkey, the armadillo, the Collared (lesser) Anteater, the Ocelot, the Toucan, the Bellbird, the Gray (Brown) Brocket Deer, the Crab-eating Raccoon, the Grand Tanager and the Song-thrush. Endangered animal species are also preserved in the park, such as the Buffy-Headed Marmoset, the Jaguar, and the Barbado (fresh-water fish of the Siluridae family).
The predominant flora in the area of the park includes the rupestral vegetation – which grows underneath the rocks and stones – and the Ombrophylous Anti-mountainous (Anti-alpine) Forest – which is a forest influenced by the high regime of located rain above 1,500 meters (4,921.26 ft.) of altitude. Worth noticing are the orchids, the bromeliads (plants from the Bromeliaceae family, which includes tropical American plants with deeply cleft calyx), the ingas, the cedars, the cassias, the ipes (trees and shrubs such as Caesalpina, Bignonia, and Boraginaceae, Tecoma spp and Tabebuia spp), the Canjeranas (Cabralea canjerana spp), and several types of plants of the laurel family (especially the Ocotea spp and the Nectandra spp).
The area presents altitude tropical weather. The annual average temperature is around 18°C (64.4°F), with average highs around 28°C (82.4°F), and average lows around 8°C (46.4°F).
46 km from Domingos Martins city center.
The access to the park is controlled by the IDAF – Instituto de Defesa Agropecuária e Florestal (Institute of Agricultural and Forest Defense) of the state of Espírito Santo. Visitation is done as escorted group visits, in which guides and the forest guards of the Park themselves accompany the visitors.
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.
The park has trails that are open to public visitation:
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.
The telephone area code for Pedra Azul is 27 (as well as in central and northern parts of Espírito Santo).