Top photo: Susan Hortas
2100 meters – or 40 minutes of easy trail – separate the highway from Quatinga Waterfall, whose waters pour down over a rock, and then fall into a wide natural pool.
360 meters from the waterfall, at the foot of the Serra do Mar range, in the middle of the Atlantic Forest, can be found six thick columns made of shells, stones and whale oil, and a huge ditch with an exit for a drainage channel. These are the ruins of a flour mill, a sugar-cane mill or a stopping place for tropeiros (mule drivers), according to researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP).
The Ruina Trail is the same track that leads to Quatinga Waterfall. The first stretch passes along coastal plain, where the Atlantic forest vegetation can be seen in recovery. The second stretch is home to original forest, with ferns, bromeliads, orchids, creepers, palms and lilies, with streams and large trees. If luck is with them, visitors can spot species of local fauna.
Photo: Susan Hortas