The beaches along the 187 kilometers of the Pernambuco coastline are already quite frequented by tourists, but, far from the coast, there is a lesser-known way to refresh the body in dives throughout the year: the waterfalls.
The Mata Sul Territory – PE covers an area of 4,003.40 Km² and is composed of 19 municipalities: Barreiros, Bonito, Jaqueira, Rio Formoso, São José da Coroa Grande, Tamandaré, Água Preta, Amaraji, Belém de Maria, Catende, Cortês, Gameleira, Joaquim Nabuco, Maraial, Palmares, Primavera, Ribeirão, São Benedito do Sul and Xexéu.
Municipalities in Mata Sul gather some of the best of them, and the fact that the itinerary is little publicized makes the place emptier, and the visit is almost unraveling.
The trails without signage, support points and information can even make the tour difficult.
To begin the escape from the beaches, the water potential of São Benedito do Sul is represented by 20 waterfalls distributed in small reserves of Atlantic forest, which share space with sugar cane fields and pastures. Currently, only four are open to the public.
The circuit starts at the Poço do Caboclo waterfall, in Engenho Paraíso, eight kilometers from the center, following PE-126. Entrance is free. The water is crystal clear, composing a beautiful look between stones, natural pools and lots of green.
Three kilometers further on, the visitor arrives at the Peri-Peri Waterfall, in the mill of the same name. Vehicle entry is prohibited, but the walk is only 500 meters. The 27-meter-high wall is popular for abseiling.
After another nine kilometers, tourists come to the Poço do Soldado waterfall, the greatest asset of a humble village that lives nearby.
When the trail is open, it is also possible to enjoy the Laje Waterfall. The other option is the Véu da Noiva Waterfall, which is inside the Paraíso do Sul Park. The entrance ticket costs between R$5 and 10.
Primavera, a town of almost 14,000 inhabitants, is still recovering from the floods of 2010 and 2011, when the level of the Ipojuca River rose and destroyed everything on its banks.
The region has three famous waterfalls, all very close. You can reach them by car or on foot, along a dirt road in the middle of the cane field. The tour begins at the Cachoeira do Urubu Ecotourism Park, three kilometers from the center of Primavera.
The waterfall is 77 meters high, but bathing there is not recommended. For this reason, there are natural water pools in the Park, as well as restaurants, picnic area and camping.
Abseiling and canoeing are allowed. On weekdays, admission costs R$ 6; on weekends and holidays, R$ 8 to 10. From there, the visit continues to Cachoeira do Convento, with at least three falls up to 18 meters high and with service available at Restaurante do Moquém. Finally, the Pedra Branca Waterfall, with water coming straight from the spring. Access to these two waterfalls is free.
More in Agreste de Pernambuco
It is not only Mata Sul that offers waterfalls as entertainment. In Gravatá, in Agreste, this type of tourism is also available.
Through Serra das Russas, visitors arrive in the city, which has a pleasant tropical climate, but on hot days they can take refuge in the Tio and Palmeira waterfalls. Both are open to visitors daily and you must pay a preservation fee.
Cachoeira do Tio is 19 kilometers from the center of Gravatá, in the Rural Zone of the municipality. The access road is signposted, but there is no sidewalk.
The waterfall is approximately 27 meters high divided into two stages, in the course of the Uruçu-Mirim Creek. The site is used for cascading (progressive exploration).
The Palmeira Waterfall, on the other hand, has a stepped waterfall about 23 meters high. You can bathe in the pools formed by the Uruçu-Mirim Creek. Sítio Palmeira also has restrooms and a support area, in addition to the practice of rural tourism with the harvesting of seasonal vegetables in cultivable places.
Also in Agreste, by roads and trails, visitors reach rivers, springs, dams, streams and waterfalls of varying sizes and intensities located in the municipality of Bonito.
The visitation circuit carried out by the guides of the region includes seven waterfalls, all very close, starting with Véu da Noiva and Pedra Redonda, where it is possible to bathe inside a cave.
The tour continues through the Cachoeira do Engenho Barra Azul, with a 15-meter-high fall of the Verdinho River and natural pools.
Then, the tourist continues through the Paraíso Mágico Waterfall (part of Bonito Ecoparque), Corrente and Véu da Noiva.
Access to the sites is by paved and dirt road. The first stop is 12 kilometers from the city center. To enter the waterfalls, it is necessary to pay a preservation fee, which varies from R$ 2 to 10. Bonito offers a good structure of inns and farm hotels, as well as camping areas, with daily rates starting at R$ 30. If you are traveling at the weekend, it is good to book. Daily rates also increase.