Saturday, June 14, 2014

Goiás State: Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

1. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is an ancient plateau with an estimated age of 1.8 billion years. Located 2 ½ hours north of Brasilia, it has crystal clear rivers, waterfalls over 100 feet, trails and rocks walls. Based in the Brazilian State of Goias, the Park was created on January 11, 1961 by President Juscelino Kubitscheck, and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. It occupies an area of 655 square kilometres and is maintained by Instituto Chico Mendez, of the Biodiversidade - ICMBIO. With altitudes between 600 and 1650 meters, it's the highest plain in Central Brazil. The highest point of the park and of the State of Goiás is Serra da Santana, at 1691 meters above sea level.

Its rock formations are one of the oldest on the planet. There are quartz with outcrops of crystals. These rocks are exported and appreciated in Japan and England, where for some decades they were used for industrial work. Nowadays therapists and nature lovers seek energies and the power to cure from the crystals. The Chapada dos Veadeiros is called "Magnetic Heart" by standing on one of the largest concentrations of quartz crystals in the world! As if that were not enough, there's the fact that the Parallel 14, the same that runs through the city of Machu Pichu in Peru, also passes by, attracting fantastic stories about extraterrestrials and UFOs. Mystical, esoteric, historians, adventurers and ecotourists live in perfect harmony in these cities, all attracted by the natural magic that surrounds the Chapada dos Veadeiros.

Rumor has it that, according to NASA, the Chapada is Earth's brightest point as seen from space. Lying on a quartz crystal bed, it's said to reflect light like a mirror.

There are basically two places where you can stay when travelling to Chapada dos Veadeiros: Alto Paraíso and São Jorge. There are no regular flights to the Chapada region. Flyers usually land in Brasilia (frequent flights from everywhere in Brazil) then travel overland to one of the gateway towns.There are buses departing from Brasília to Alto Paraíso.

São Jorge is a small village right in front of the National Park's entrance. It lacks infrastructure like asphalt roads and public illumination, the intent is to leave the region around the park pretty much as it is, in order not to disturb it's fauna and flora. Even though it might sound uncomfortable for some, that's what makes the small village special. There you really feel you're somewhere mankind hasn't dominated yet, and there you can really experience Chapada.

Alto Paraíso is a small city which is about 20km (12.4 miles) from the National Park's entrance. Differently from São Jorge, it is a city with normal public illumination, asphalt roads and so on. You will find there more options for sleeping and eating.The city of Alto Paraiso de Goias, the main gateway to the Chapada, is 230km (143 miles) from Brasilia and it is also fairly close to Goiania (capital of the Goiás state).

For every attraction there will be an admission fee of around R$ 10,00. For visiting the park you also have to pay the guide, which will take you through the park and explain you interesting things about the fauna and flora.

Whatever the purpose of the trip, in your backpack can not miss: repellent, sunscreen, light clothing (for the day) and warm (for night), water, light food, flashlight, swimwear, shoes, cap, rain coat, first aid kit, camera and great disposition.

The walk and waterfall baths are the main attractions of the National Park of Chapada. There are only two trails that are open to visitors at the National Park: Roadmap of the hikes (capacity 250 people) and the Roadmap of the Canyons (200 people). It must accompany by a guide, which costs about R$ 100, equivalent to US$45.00 (this value is the group of up to 10 people).

Get Around: There are two options to get around Chapada dos Veadeiros: get a car, or hitchhike (not recommendable, but an option). The attractions are not close to each other, which makes it impossible to just walk, so, don't go there without a car, unless you're okay with hitchhiking. From São Jorge it is very easy to get around, as the park and the main waterfalls are close (10-20 minutes by car). From Alto Paraíso it is a little bit more distant, but still very easy and well indicated. Note down the names of the waterfalls you wish to see and take it with you (it will be difficult to find English speakers there). People there are very friendly and will be very happy to help you find the place.

The Chapada region is also a magnet for mystics attracted by the alleged properties of the its crystal soil and rumored UFO appearances.

Rumor has it that, according to NASA, the Chapada is Earth's brightest point as seen from space. Lying on a quartz crystal bed, it's said to reflect light like a mirror.

WHEN TO GO: All year. During the dry season, from April to September, the volume of water in the waterfalls decreases. May is the most colorful and July, the busiest time.

(some sources: wikipedia and wikitravel). Most images: from Google

Photo flickr by Adilson Moralez

Photo flickr by Selma J

Photo flickr by daniellepereira

Photo flickr by raizdedois

Photo flickr by ricarjones

Indian Reservation. Photo flickr by Mario C Bucci

Photo flickr by Freela Comunicação

Photo flickr by Eduardo Peixoto

Chapada dos Veadeiros natural pool, it's called beach.

Valley of The Moon: the formations resemble a lunar landscape with caves and craters permeated with pools carved by the Rio San Miguel. The trail is about 900 meters and is easy to level, but look up a guide.The Moon Valley is one of the most unusual postcards of the region. Its stones, gray, were carved by water forming a mysterious and beautiful canyon.
Valey of the Moon


  1. Uilmara Machado de Melo GonçalvesSeptember 12, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Fotos maravilhosas!!! É uma pena sabermos que somos tão ricos em recursos naturais e nem todos os brasileiros podem usufruir disto e, o pior: muitos destroem o que temos!...

    1. Muito grata Uilmara por ter passado aqui e deixado seu comentário! Sim, é uma pena mesmo que muitos destroem a nossa beleza natural e que a maioria nem conhece a terça parte das belezas do nosso Brasil!