Serra Catarinense: Where the Apples Come From

By Rob Packer

“The hills step off into whiteness” —Sylvia Plath, 1965

I’ve recently been reading a fair bit of English and German Romantic poetry and can’t work out why. The ticking clock of coming close to 30? Homesickness for a Europe that seems to be sabotaging itself? Or perhaps it was just a trip two weeks ago to the Serra Geral Catarinense.

The Serra Geral, a mountain range in the southeastern corner of Santa Catarina, looks like the kind of place the stereotyped Romantic would have written about: expansive green valleys, mountains with crags and rock arches, waterfalls, farmland and, all the while, wrapped in mist or fog. In fact, it all seemed a bit like Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.

Mountains and valleys in Urubici.

Misty mountains.

A different view in a different part of Urubici.

Perhaps the fog shouldn’t have been much of a surprise: a lot of the trees were covered with mossy epiphytes, making it look like a cloud forest. At the same time, the water for the sheer number of waterfalls the area had to come from somewhere.

The Cascada de Avencal in Urubici from a distance.

Closer to the Cascada do Avencal.

The Véu da Noiva waterfall or Bridal Veil Falls. It's supposed to be more impressive in even wetter weather.

As well as the scenery, Urubici is also known in Santa Catarina for its yerba mate (called chimarrão in Brazil, but not a patch on the bitterer Argentine variety) and its apples, which need cold weather to grow—this is also the part of Brazil where it sometimes snows.

In the end, it really did involve a fair bit of effort to appreciate the strangely un-Brazilian-looking scenery: sometimes—like at one of the region’s best-known sites—a mountaintop arch, you really could see nothing but fog. But in the brief moments when the mist did clear, the green mountain valleys and rivers were spectacular.

Road to somewhere.

In a traffic jam after a high-altitude hit-and-run.


A farmhouse.

A dry stone wall.

Moss on a post.

Cow and araucaria.

Apple tree blossom.

Rock art.

Araucarias, one of the symbols of this part of Brazil.

Araucarias and the valley.

More araucarias.


Epiphytes hanging down from a tree.

More mossy epiphytes.

The best view we had sometimes.


One Response to Serra Catarinense: Where the Apples Come From

  1. Hi, thanks for your article about Urubici – SC. The arms will always be open to visitors.


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