I have been lucky enough to visit Brazil for work on several occasions. I often visited Sao Paulo and was lucky enough to gain access to Serra Da Cantareira, a National Park on the outskirts of the city. Normally I visited immediately on arriving in Sao Paulo from Europe generally arriving at the forest by 07.00am and leaving by 11.30am – although on a couple of occasions I had longer in the park.
The brilliant thing about this place is that it is safe and during the week closed to the public. Nevertheless I managed to gain access by telephoning prior to arrival and arranging access – the number I used was +55 11 22033266, the contact was a Mr William Mendes. Luckily I had some colleagues in Brazil who could speak Portuguese – Mr Mendes does not, so this may be a challenge. If you get access then the park access is controlled and is surrounded by fences and gates and I have on more than one occasion had this entire park virtually to myself – brilliant. The attached PDF details the species I have seen on the various visits. If you would like any more information (other than access – what is above is what I have) then please contact me on email@example.com
This place is superb and if you spend any time in here you will see birds. From the top of the rock (Nucleo Pedro Grande) you get amazing views over the forest and Sao Paulo. Charlie Moores on his website has a nice trip report which has some nice photos. There are wide roads in the park which vehicles travel down and some side branches. Due to my relatively limited time, I only explored some bits of it but it is certainly worth a look if you have some time to kill in Sao Paulo. It is only about 1-1.5 hours from Guarulhos so handy on arrival (bearing in mind most continental flights arrive very early in the morning) or as you depart (on the way from Sao Paulo).
Click here for recent sightings between October 2007 and March 2010