TERRA DA LUA: A HIDDEN PARADISE BESIDE THE HIGHWAY

In Sierra da Esperança, more than 25 years ago a man bought a land lot to preserve its nature from abusive deforestation and farming. Now the land is a tiny paradise, just a couple of kilometers from the highway.

In the middle of Serra da Esperança, one of the largest forests of Paraná, there’s a little camping hidden in the woods. If you don’t know about it, you will easily miss it, as the only way to access it is an unpaved road that departs from the BR-277 highway, without any sign telling where you should take that road. But Serra da Esperança, and this little camping, in particular, have an interesting history to be heard and an amazing nature to be seen.

Waterfall in the woods, seen from above.

I WAS LOOKING FOR THIS REGION TO BE REALLY PRESERVED, FOR THE AMOUNT OF ATTRACTIONS, AMENITIES AS WATERFALLS, RIVERS WITH CLEAR WATERS.

Luiz Carlos Onofre Junior, founder and owner of Terra Da Lua

Serra da Esperança is an Área de Proteção Ambiental (Area of Environmental Protection) that covers nearly 200.000 hectares of land, and it is known for its waterfalls and clean rivers. While in theory being an environmentally protected area should preserve it from deforestation, it lacks oversight and faces continuous threats of deforestation and pollution. Luiz Carlos (but he likes more to be called Lucah) is a man who had a clear idea in his mind: doing all the possible to help preserve this uncontaminated land. That’s why 25 years ago he decided to buy a terrain in Sierra da Esperança so that he could personally take care of it.

While some of his neighbors rely on agriculture or raising cattle for their income, Lucah wanted to be able to survive causing the least possible impact on nature. This led him to the idea of creating a campsite, called Terra da Lua (Land of the Moon), to promote sustainable tourism: there he organizes climbing sessions and excursions to share the beauty of the Serra da Esperança with the visitors, showing them the uncontaminated nature with its many waterfalls and caves. Of course, I wouldn’t have written this article without going there first, so I’ll give you my impressions of this magnificent hidden paradise (I think my words already suggest that I liked it).

We went there the first time to see the Cachoeira do Elo Perdido (Waterfall of the Lost Ring): the path to arrive there starts from the camping and is very short. It takes nearly 20 minutes, but it is not an easy path, as it is steep and slippery: fortunately, it is well equipped with ropes, ladders, and bridges to keep it safe and enjoyable even for the least experienced hikers. At the beginning of the path, a wooden balcony is a perfect viewpoint to see the waterfall from the top. Then, along the path, you cross a bridge on a river just a few meters before it becomes the waterfall. But it is at the end of the trail that you get the most amazing view of the Cachoeira do Elo Perdido: the track ends in a canyon, and there you can swim right under the waterfall (bring with you a waterproof camera if you have one, taking a photo there is worth it). Another attraction of the campsite is the rappel. The camping organizes tours with professional climbers: while they will help you stay safe during the descent, you will need your own courage to look around you while you are walking down a vertical rock face hanging on a rope.

It’s an intense experience: I have never done it before, so the first time we tried I didn’t expect it to be so vertical. After a few meters of steep descent, you get to the rock face, that is perpendicular to the soil (soil which is dozens of meters beneath you). Then the fear became adrenaline and you start to walk down, following the instructions of the guides. When you put your feet on the soil, it’s immensely rewarding to look up and realize where you just walked. The second time we went rappelling, I was expecting the same. Instead, the descent on the rock was very short, just a few meters, after which you just don’t have anything under your feet: that is the beginning of a magnificent cave. Hanging only to the rope and slowly descending, you arrive at the bottom of the cave, which can be explored for several meters in depth. Along the path to go back, there are also another cave and a waterfall: the whole excursion takes about 4 hours, but considering how rewarding it is, I would suggest it to everybody, unless they have fear of heights. So if you love nature and adventure, and you are traveling across Paraná, a stop in Terra Da Lua camping is definitely suggested to enjoy the beauty of Serra da Esperança!