This 250-sq-km national park contains southern Brazil’s highest mountains, including Pico da Cristal (2798m), Pico do Calçado (2766m) and the third-highest peak in the country, Pico da Bandeira (2892m). Popular with climbers and hikers from all over Brazil, it affords panoramic views of the Caparaó Valley that divides Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The wide-open, rocky highlands that predominate here are complemented by a few lush remnants of Mata Atlântica (Atlantic rainforest) at lower elevations.
The park entrance is 2km steeply uphill from the nearest town, Alto do Caparaó. Between November and January there’s lots of rain. The best time for clear weather is between June and August – although these are the coldest months. Bring warm clothes!