At 180 km, the Transcarioca Trail is the newest tourist attraction in Rio
On 11 February 2017, the long-awaited Transcarioca (not that one) was inaugurated, meaning tourists and residents can enjoy Rio de Janeiro in a different way: walking through its forests. Considered the longest extended trail in Brazil, the Transcarioca is the result of a group effort made up of volunteers, governments, park administrators and partner institutions. With 25 sections, the complete trail can be hiked in 12 days.
The city’s new attraction is 180 km long (111 miles) and is properly demarcated in both directions. The route connects Barra de Guaratiba, in the Zona Oeste, to Sugarloaf, in the Zona Sul, passing through the main natural, historical and cultural attractions of seven conservation units present on its route – including Tijuca National Park, managed by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and one of the most important postcards in Rio.
Conceived in 1990, the Transcarioca has been shelved for many years. It came out of the planning stage thanks to the efforts of more than a thousand volunteers, a partnership between governments, park managers and various institutions that embraced the cause.
– The implementation of this trail was not easy to do. I congratulate everyone for having achieved this goal. Such an initiative in Brazil means presenting the citizen with beautiful landscapes that need to be preserved. [I hope] the Transcarioca Trail is the first of many – emphasizes Ricardo Soavinski, president of ICMBio.
According to Brazil’s Tourism Ministry, the environmentally-protected area that covers the entire trail houses 833 vegetable species, 107 species of mammals, 53 of amphibians, 32 of reptiles and 481 bird species.
The Importance of Public Use
Of the 25 sections of the trail, 23 are already well signposted and can be traversed by visitors. The walks, most of the time, are done within the forests of the Tijuca National Park, Pedra Branca State Park, Grumari Municipal Natural Park, Municipal City Natural Park, Catacumba Municipal Natural Park, Carioca Municipal Landscape Park and Natural Monument of Sugarloaf and Urca Hills. In addition to the potential for recreation, the Transcarioca Trail is seen as a powerful environmental conservation tool.
– Public use is an important tool for the conservation of protected areas and the link between them also promotes the creation of a green corridor connecting fauna and flora, bringing a series of benefits for the biodiversity and maintenance of the Atlantic Forest – explains Horácio Ragucci, coordinator of the Movimento Trilha Transcarioca, a group composed of volunteers and trail adopters.
According to Rodrigo Medeiros, vice president of Conservação Internacional, this initiative gives Rio residents and tourists the opportunity to get to know the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the city, “and it also stimulates entrepreneurship, generating employment and income opportunities for the residents of the communities along the trail, through the conservation of nature,” says Medeiros.
– The Transcarioca launch is an important landmark for people to get to know [the locations] and visit [them]. But the work will continue on several other fronts. Not only in signposting, but also in education, training and infrastructure initiatives, says Marcelo Barros de Andrade, general coordinator of Mosaico Carioca, a forum that brings together all conservation units in the city of Rio de Janeiro and public and private partner institutions.