Welcome to Serra Geral
Bom Jardim da Serra, founded in the 1870s by gaúchos (cowboys), is known as the ‘capital of the water’ and does indeed boast many lakes and waterfalls. About 45km south of São Joaquim, it also serves as the start of the hair-raising and spectacular winding road known as the Estrada da Serrado Rio Rastro, which switchbacks through high-mountain scenery toward the Parque Nacional de São Joaquim. The park boasts a breathtaking landscape of grassy highlands, thick araucária (Paraná pine) forests and Santa Catarina’s highest peak, Morro da Igreja (1822m). The park lacks infrastructure, but hiking trails lead to panoramic lookouts and free-falling waterfalls. Nevatur has one 3:30pm bus to Bom Jardim da Serra (R$66, five hours, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).
The nicest town is Urubici, 60km northeast of São Joaquim, famous for being near Morro da Igreja, where you'll find Pedra Furada, a large, naturally carved stone 30m in circumference. The area is a hotbed of adventure sports (hang-gliding, rappelling) and cold weather – it recorded Brazil's chilliest day on historical record: -17.8°C in 1996! Reunidas also services Urubici once daily from Floripa (R$48, four hours, 6:30pm).