Explore this conservation area and marvel at the wonders of nature. Mata de Santa Genebra (Saint Geneva Forest) is an area of ecological interest close to Campinas.
Previously a coffee plantation owned by a baron, it's been reclaimed as a protected area which allows limited access to the public.
Sign up for one of the monthly visits to the area for free and enjoy access via a 5km tour of the unspoilt forest.
History of Mata of Santa Genebra
The area was originally owned by Baron Geraldo de Resendepart, owner of the Fazenda Santa Genebra, a coffee plantation.
The Baron was to go bankrupt after over investing in expensive new technology for the plantation. He was forced to auction his lands off and the Oliveira family bought the land the forest lies in.
Rather than using it for agriculture or industry, José Pedro de Oliveira preserved the forest, as he thought that the fresh air would help with his tuberculosis. However, he died and his widow donated the forest to the municipality in 1981.
The José Pedro de Oliveira Foundation was therefore established to use the forest for strictly scientific and cultural purposes. It was designated a National Heritage area in 1983 and an area of relevant ecological interest in 1985.
Mata de Santa Genebra is an area of 620 acres with a 9km perimeter, making it the largest forest remnant in Campinas. 92% of the area is covered by semi-deciduous upland forest.
The altitude of the district ranges from 585 to 615 meters and the terrain consists mainly of deep and mature clay soils.
The ecologically important nature of the area means that access is restricted primarily to researchers and for environmental education.
However, it opens once a month for a free educational tour, so book online if you are in the Campinas area at this time.
Learn about the history and biodiversity of the area along the 5km route, which includes a 1.2km trek through the forest and 3.8km walk along the road around the forest.
The tour takes in a nursery of native seedlings, rare butterflies and a beautiful water spring.
Temperatures range from 0 to 38 °C and average at 22 °C, so dress appropriately for the season. It's also advised to wear long trousers and closed shoes during the tour and you should always bring insect repellent, sunscreen and water.
There is also the annual Fair of the Forest event, which celebrates the anniversary of the foundation of this protected area. It brings together local and regional exhibitors, gastronomy, handicrafts, exhibitions, workshops, and cultural attractions. The butterfly area is also open for visitation and walks on the trails of the forest happens during this time.