São Paulo is a huge city of 11.3 million people about 80km inland from the coastal city and major port of Santos.
The two cities are connected by a large highway, like most cities these days.
Of course that wasn’t always the case, and one can take an organised guided walk on a 9km stretch of the old paved road that linked São Paulo with Santos. This section has been closed to cars since 1997 and is now under the care of a preservation foundation.
It’s called ‘Caminho do Mar’ or ‘Sea Way’ and it goes from the top of a mountain on the route to the bottom. It can be walked in either direction. Important to note walking the route has to be pre-arranged as there are strict controls on numbers, and don’t stray off the route as getting lost in the dense forest (with snakes, etc!) is very likely!
Tania recently went on this organised walk and thoroughly enjoyed it. As before, she arranged the trip through Ultreya Viagens & Turismo in São Paulo.
A little history: the original unpaved Caminho do Mar was carved out in 1912 – 1913 and was paved in about 1930 when cars and trucks appeared on the scene!
There was a trail between São Paulo and Santos back as far as 1780 – 1790 called Calçada de Lorena for horseback travellers. That was later transformed into a route with 70 bridges that could be used by horse-drawn wagons. The trail later became Caminho do Mar.
The route was a key link between the two cities principally for Brazil’s main export of the time, coffee.
One of the photos shows a view down onto the industrial city of Cubatão. The first hydro-electric scheme in the world was built there, commencing in 1920. Three beautiful houses as shown in the photos were build along the Caminho do Mar and the biggest house was used for accommodating visiting consulting engineers during the construction of the scheme. Today that house is a museum for the old route. The other two smaller houses were stage stopping points along that section of the route.