Waterfalls in Brazil – Sao Paulo countryside (the 12 Falls Hike)

waterfall with many falls in the forest

This post is also available in: Português

Looking for a day trip around Sao Paulo countryside? So check this post about the Oysters Valley’s Hike (Vale das Ostras), a trekking path through 12 waterfalls which finishes in an incredibly beautiful fall known as the My God Waterfall (Cachoeira de Meu Deus). This waterfall has been awarded the most beautiful in the State and is surely one of the best attractions in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

small waterfall at PETAR

The Riverside Valley region, one of the best preserved in the country

The Riverside Valley, south of Sao Paulo countryside, almost at the border with Parana, stands out for its natural richness. We all know about deforestation in Brazil, and it’s right over there where you find the largest piece of Atlantic Forest in the whole country. There are miles of caves, trails, waterfalls, indigenous protected areas and quilombola lands to get to know and see, which is a must for ecotourism lovers and the best of Sao Paulo.

Quilombolas are the inhabitants of rural communities formed by descendants of enslaved Africans for a long time, who mostly live by agriculture subsistence on donated, bought or occupied land.
dirty way to the waterfall in the forest
The end of the trekking, outside the dense forest

Tiago’s family is all from this region and on our last visit over there, we went to explore the Oysters Valley (Vale das Ostras), which is formed by the Oysters Riverside (Ribeirão das Ostras), the same river that crosses the Devil’s Cavern. The trekking path is within the Sapatu Quilombola community and has 6km distance, taking the visitor to 11 waterfalls, passing through the dense Atlantic Forest until it ends on the highlight and so-awaited part of the trail, the My God Fall (Cachoeira de Meu Deus). It’s a 53m high fall and it has been awarded as one of the best falls of beautiful Sao Paulo.

two waterfalls in Brazil
A small waterfall in the front and the My God Fall behind it

The Oysters Valley’s 12 falls trekking

As the Oysters Valley lies within the Quilombola community, you can only visit it together with a local guide from there. Our guide was Cauã, an 18 y.o. young man, very open to share his stories with us as well as all the curiosities and information about the region.

a hidden iguana among twigs
The surprises of the way: a hidden iguana!

There were four us, Tiago and Fernanda, Marcos (Tiago’s uncle) and Pietro (an Italian friend visiting Brasil). The fare is R$35 each, paid directly to the guide. We ought to say that the guide was essential for a more immersive day trip, particularly because the trekking is not the easiest and you can get lost. There are many parts of the trekking where you have to cross the rivers or through slippery areas, without proper signs. So, yes, you will get wet!

Fe walking over the river
Following the path towards the My God Fall!

The 12 falls are formed by the Oysters Riverside (Ribeirão das Ostras) and you can swim in basically all of them. If a waterfall bath is what you are looking for, here is definitely your place. On one of the falls, you can even jump from a 4 meter high rock.

The Oysters Valley history

small mushrooms on top of a tree branch

Beyond its overflowing nature, the Oysters Valley also reveals a piece of the tragic history of the colonisation of the Riverside Valley. Right over there, at the Oysters Riverside, that slaves worked day and night on gold alluvium mining. In fact, the place has its name because it was from this shellfish, abundant in the rivers, that the slaves fed while mining.

The difficulty of the Oysters Valley’s trail

man going down the slippery earthy slope with a rope

This is a moderate option of trekking with a waterfall in the capital Sao Paulo. At some points of the course, there will be river crossings – by foot, no bridge! – with water up to your knees maximum and use of ropes and steps to climb rocks. For this reason, this trail is not recommended for children or people with movement disorders. However, there is an alternative route. You can visit only the My God Fall, a less than an hour trail and a lot easier.

A not expensive tourism option in the countryside of Sao Paulo – prices

a waterfall in brazil
  • 12 waterfalls trekking – R$35 per person
  • 15 waterfalls trekking – R$55 per person
  • My God Fall only – R$15 per person

To arrange your visit, get in touch with Toto (+55 13 99728 7361) Portuguese only.

waterfall with many falls in the forest

To make your trip to the Riverside Valley worthwhile, you can also visit:

The Devil’s Cavern

Not more than 10km away from the Oysters Valley, lies another wonder of this region, the Devil’s Cavern. It is the largest cavern in the state of Sao Paulo and you can arrange both the Oysters Valley’s trail and the Devil’s Cavern trip for one single day.

The Devil’s Cavern State Park demands accompany of an environmental monitor together paid at the entrance (R$12 per person) plus the entrance fee of R$14 per person. You will have access to the Devil’s Cavern, trails of medium and short length, an area for leisure and a centre for environmental interpretation and visit. Note, flip-flops are not allowed.

Where is the 12 falls trekking

people walking in the forest with a river

The nearest city from the Oysters Valley is Eldorado, in Sao Paulo countryside, 280km away from the city of Sao Paulo and 220km away from Curitiba. The easiest way to get there is driving.

You can also go by public transportation operated by Cia Valle Sul. We haven’t done and haven’t heard about the quality and efficiency of it. Also, we are not sure whether there is a bus – or any other way – that takes you from Eldorado to the entrance of the trekking.

Where to stay in the Oysters Valley

In the city of Eldorado, there are around 10 hotels and guest houses. You can check further information plus availability in here.

Tips for a stress-free trip

sign saying food and drinks are prohibited in portuguese
“Attention: Forbid foods and drinks from this point onward”
  • Don’t forget your mosquito repellent;
  • Have your yellow fever vaccination up to date. There has recently been cases of the illness;
  • Take appropriate shoes and proper clothes;
  • Take a spare changing clothes as you will get yourself wet.