Brazil is not only remarkable for its coastline; its caves can be just as beautiful and surprising. Some also break world records, such as Gruta Casa de Pedra, the largest cave opening in the world. At about 705 feet high, the giant cave portal is impressive and majestic. It’s so huge that it could easily swallow up Trump Tower, a 58-story skyscraper.
Gruta Casa de Pedra (“House of Stone Cave) is located within Brazil’s Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira (PETAR), a world heritage site that’s simply dazzling. A visit will reveal encrusted limestone, rivers and waterfalls, dunes, curious geological formations, pristine natural pools, a biodiverse reserve of fauna and flora, and horizons playing with the infinite.
The national park was created to protect the mountainous area of the lush Atlantic rainforest. It has more than 350 caves (only a handful are open to visitors), making it one of the largest cave concentrations in the world. The caverns are a rare beauty among the luxurious green of the Atlantic rainforest, a geological gem for nature lovers and photographers as well as spelunkers.
Casa da Pedra is not the most visited cave in the park, but for those that make the trek, the spectacle is well worth it. The record-size portal lights the main hall of the cavern, which stretches over 9,500 feet long. A strong river runs through part of the cavern floor, while the steep sides are lined with large stalactites and stalagmites that are hundreds of years old.
Know Before You Go
The cave opening is located close to the Casa da Pedra núcleo (visitors center), one of four visitors centers within the national park. It’s about a 10-mile drive from the colonial village of Iporanga to the center, on a dirt road crossing several wooden bridges. From the visitors center, you can take a hiking trail (accompanied by a local guide) toward the Caboclos núcleo, which passes by the cave entrance. It's worth stay at least three or four days in the park - and investing in good walking shoes.