Originally Posted by BrzGSAdv
Decision made: I am doing th Estrada Real either late June or early July...
Still undecided if we'll go from Paraty to Diamantina via the ER then back on tarmac or do the opposite... most likely the latter.
I did it last june; the trip is amazing! Although there is not a very clear ER route (everywhere people call their routes ER, because it is good for tourism, of course), but the track I did –without extensive planning, must admit– was mainly tarmac. Maybe because when leaving home I only knew about the cities I must go thru to keep myself into ER, but didn't knew the precise routes. So I searched in place... But I'm not complaining at all: all tarmac roads where very nice to ride!
About your intention to downhill the Cunha-Paraty road, I wouldn't. The road has no maintenance at all and the situation is truly bad. If you don't have great skills and lots of experience (like I don't), you probably will have problems. I did it from Paraty to Cunha and it was not easy... but worth it!
One thing outside ER but worthy is the “volta dos 80”, a circuit around the “Parque Nacional de Itatiaia”. Very tricky roads, lots of absolutely amazing water falls and great landscapes. I did it in my way from Itamonte - MG to Visconde de Mauá.
UPDATE: remembering more precisely the routes I did, I can't really say that I truly rode the Estrada Real. :)
I stopped in Tiradentes and made 2 main deviations: Itamonte and Visconde de Mauá. The trip was awesome, anyway. But maybe I should do the true ER anytime again... hehehe!!