The hill which gives it name was first sighted by Álvares Cabral on April 22, 1500, when it came to Brazil. More than preserve history, Monte Pascoal National Park has the most important Atlantic forest reserve in southern Bahia, in the region which is known as the Discovery Coast. Created in 1961, the park features in addition to forests, sandbanks, mangrove swamps, fields and cliffs.
Century-old trees such as the nearly extinct Redwood, jequitibá, Jatoba, visgueiros, flour dry, come-açu, maçaranduba, rosewood-cabiúna, araribás, sucupiras, palmiteiros and others are part of the diverse ecosystem, as well as orchids and ferns. The fauna is very rich and can see pampas deer, giant Otter, sloth, bristle-Spined rat, Brazilian tapirs, Anteaters, Capybaras, agoutis, Jaguar, Puma, ornate hawk-eagle, black hawk-eagle, Curassows, King Vulture, macuco, curiós, thrushes-da-mata, parrots and toucans.
With only 536 m, the Monte Pascoal is the highest in the region and arrive at its Summit by a trail of only 1, 5 km, but so steep that climb is done in about 2 hours. At the top, there are many viewpoints, with views to the sea, the hills neighbors, into the Woods, visions that will be worth every metre up. With a little luck you can see the beautiful aerial ballet of King vultures, which surround the Hill in search of thermals, providing a beautiful spectacle.
For those who are not in the mood to climb the Monte Pascoal, starting from the visitor centre, you can walk through a trail of half a mile just to the top of a lookout, with views of the Monte Pascoal and into the Woods.
Region occupied initially by the tupinambás, 16 was taken by century Pataxós, which today are a bit more than 2000 and that survive from the sale of handicrafts, hunting and fishing. Already on the road it is common to find them showing his craft, which is the main source of income and that ensures the survival of many Indians of the region.
The area of the Park has acres which is 22500 shared with the Indian reserve, Pataxós territory, with 8600 hectares. The Pataxó people virtually occupied every boundaries of conservation unit and for years they claim full ownership of these lands once occupied by their ancestors.
There are around 13 villages inside the Park, some with electric light, others with generators and also some in the dark. The largest of them, the village of Barra Velha, has a good structure, with school, computers, recreation area and other facilities.
The Pataxó people inhabiting the region came to invade the Park, in retaliation to the abuse they suffer on the part of farmers and loggers in the area, besides the neglect of the Government. The Ministry of environment has already signed the first partnership with the natives for the monitoring of the Park and now is studying a project to expand the integration of indigenous communities in the conservation of parks across the country. Some benefits of this partnership are already visible, with the fire-fighting Brigade, run by a PrevFogo team, formed only by Indians. Funai should also complete the demarcation of indigenous land Monte Pascoal, already in progress.
How to reach and infrastructure
Located in the extreme south of Bahia State, in the municipality of Porto Seguro, the access to the Park is made by BR-101, after traversing 76 km from the city of Eunápolis, or 16 km from Itamaraju. At the small roundabout, take the right and scroll down more 14 km of asphalt to the Ordinance.
The Park is open for visitation every day of the week from 8:00 to 4:00 pm and is charged a small fee to enter. Features Visitor Center, but has no infrastructure for camps. In the cities of Itamaraju (30 km) and Caraíva (20 minutes by boat) you can find hostels and simple hotels.
Although the Sun is present in the whole year, it’s best to avoid the months of July and August, when there is greater likelihood of rain in the region.
It is worth taking advantage of the visit to the Park and the region as the historic cities of Porto Seguro and Santa Cruz Cabrália, in addition to Caraíva, Trancoso, Arraial d’ajuda and Corumbau, all with good options of Inns.
And for lovers of trekking, a known script for seven days walk starting in Prado and passing by Cumuruxatiba, Ponta do Corumbau, Caraívas, mirror and Trancoso.
Monte Pascoal with Trails & Directions
As the scripts within the Park are all short and is not allowed to stay overnight, we recommend the use of small backpacks, like Nimbus 30, model that has great internal space, support for hydration and sleeping cover embedded. Another recommended backpack, also, is the 35-litre Trekking.
It walks with plenty of sunshine for most of the year, it is essential to take care of hydration. The Trails & Directions has several canteensoptions, among them the new Canteen Hidrat wide mouth, more technical and functional model. Involves two liters of water and is adaptable to various models of bags. The water outlet is made by a hose that connected to the canteen, reaches the mouth of the user and allows him to drink even in motion. Most backpacks of Trails is adapted for use in conjunction with the canteen Hidrat.
Another suggestion is the 7 Hidratbackpack, hydration, or a big waist (Fanny Pack) with location to place bottle of water (Acqua Kit, for example).