Updated on March 23, 2014
Toca da Raposa (The Fox Den) is a cultural and leisure center in Juquitiba, 36 miles from São Paulo. It's a popular destination for São Paulo school groups throughout the year, thanks to curriculum enrichment programs in environmental education and Brazilian folklore and also to the leisure activities, lodging and restaurants available at the center, which spreads over 30 square miles.
Another attraction is a conservation center that harbors native animal species rescued by the Brazilian Environmental Police from illegal traffic and animal abuse. Toca da Raposa is also available for corporate events.
For international travelers and the general public, however, the main attraction at Toca da Raposa is the annual visit by about 50 members of the Kuikuro ethnic group from Xingu National Park, in Mato Grosso State.
The Kuikuro (pronounced koo-ee-KOO-ro) stay at Toca da Raposa during the fall (March and part of May.
On weekends and holidays during that period, you can enjoy the Kuikuro culture at a replica of a Xingu village. Groups from schools and other organizations can schedule visits during weekdays also.
Kuikuro Traditions and Everyday Customs:
The Kuikuro cultural program at Toca da Raposa has taken place every year since 1998. It all started when educator Regina Fonseca was introduced to three young members of the Kuikuro group, who stayed at Toca da Raposa for a week in 1995. That visit highlighted the importance of the group's permanence on their reservation if their cultural heritage were to be preserved.
Regina Fonseca was invited to visit the Kuikuro village in Alto Xingu, by authorization of chiefs Afukaka and Yakalo Kuikuros and FUNAI; there she was able to share in the group's celebrations as well as their plights. Chief Afukaka Kuikuro requested her help in the sale of their art without the interference of city people within the boundaries of their village, and the idea for the regular visit to Toca da Raposa was born.
At the Toca da Raposa village, the Kuikuro introduce visitors to their culture through dance, body art, culinary arts, bow and arrow demonstrations, and the exhibit and sale of their art. It's a great time to shop for authentic indigenous pieces, such as hammocks made of buriti fiber, benches, ceramics, toys and necklaces.
Some famous Xingu traditions the Kuikuro bring to Sao Paulo are the huka-huka, a form of wrestling, and the giant uruá flutes, played during ritual dances of intense rhythm and great beauty.
The Kuikuro Language:
The Kuikuro speak a variant of the Upper Xingu Carib (or Karib) language.
According to Indigenous People of Brazil – ISA, Kuikuro is how non-Indians refer to current day Ipatse ótomo, Ahukugi ótomo or Lahatuá ótomo, meaning "the masters of Ipatse, of Ahukugi or of Lahatuá", the names of the villages inhabited by the group in Xingu National Park.
The Kuikuro Visit - 2014:
In 2014, the visit is from March 27 to May 18, weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For updated prices, check out Toca da Raposa on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tocadaraposalazerecultura
Ticket prices usually include some other activities, such as a trail in a stretch of Atlantic Rainforest or a visit to the wild animal preservation unit. Other activities - zip lining, a climbing wall - are usually available for an extra fee.
Free parking is available. The park has a restaurant, a cafeteria and a cafe (not included in ticket prices).
Toca da Raposa Information:
Address: Rodovia Régis Bittencourt Km 323
Phones: 11-4681-2854 / 11-3813-8773
Photo and Film Rules:
Photos of the indigenous group are allowed during special prosentations.
Filming is not allowed under any circumstances.
How to Get to Toca da Raposa:
The best way to get to Toca da Raposa is by car. If you'd rather not rent a car and drive, your hotel can help you contact a reliable taxi company - many taxi drivers in Brazil routinely set a price for day trips.