Nature has designed an amusement park with more attractions than you can visit, it is a true paradise on earth and the name of this place is Chapada dos Veadeiros.
The Brazilian state of Goiás is divided into eighteen geographic microregions, my favorite is the Chapada dos Veadeiros, mainly due to the numerous waterfalls and natural experiences available.
In March of this year (2018) my cousin Luccas Oliveira, a journalist from Rio de Janeiro, invited me to travel to the Chapada dos Veadeiros with him and another friend. We bought tickets from Azul Linhas Aéreas in a promotion announced by ViajaNet, we shared an Uber from São Paulo-SP to Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) and from there we flew straight to Brasília International Airport (BSB). Still at the airport, we rented a car at Movida, we had a 20% discount on the rent using Km de Vantagens (points from a popular loyalty program in Brazil) given by the Ipiranga gas stations. I drove for about 230km along the GO-118 highway until…
The Sky above the Paradise
It rained a lot when we left Brasilia, but when arriving in Alto Paraíso de Goiás we came across this sky that was miraculously as in the photograph above.
I know I already said this about Florence, but I have to repeat: there is something magical about the Chapada‘s sky.
Loquinhas Waterfall + Valley of the Moon
Loquinhas Waterfall (Cachoeira Loquinhas) is located in Alto Paraíso de Goiás and is easily accessible. Its waters are crystal clear and like most of the region’s waterfalls, it is located inside a private property. The place has 2 main tracks, the Loquinhas with seven wells and the Violeta with six more. Despite the ease of access, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have been to.
📍 Just go down the main street of Alto Paraiso and turn left at the end of the street, past the Bambu Square, turn first right and then left. Follow the dirt road to the entrance of the farm. The place is only 4 km from the center of Alto Paraíso de Goiás and it is possible to get the by feet. The parking lot is next to the reception and the whole trail is a long wooden walkway. Someone said that “compared to the other trails, Loquinhas trail feels like a mall escalator,” I had to agree.
⏰ Open from 08h to 18h (I recommend going between 11h and 13h when the sun beats).
🎟 R$ 30,00.
The Valley of the Moon (Vale da Lua) is a group of rock formations (that look more like lunar craters) dug in the rocks by the waters of the São Miguel river.
📍 It is 30 km from Alto Paraíso and 9 km from the village of São Jorge on the GO-239 road, the sign of the place is well in sight, you must enter with the car, walk along a dirt road and park in the indicated area. It is about a 15-minute easy trail to get to the rock formations of the photo above.
⏰ Open from 07h to 17h.
🎟 R$ 20,00.
St. Bárbara Waterfall + Capivara Waterfall
The Santa Bárbara Waterfall (Cachoeira Santa Bárbara) is one of the most known places of the Chapada, the natural pool formed by the waterfall is large and has a blue-green tone. She also has a younger sister (or daughter, I do not know), the Santa Barbarazinha, you have to go through it to reach the original, she has the same coloration, but the well and the waterfall are smaller, which makes it more cozy for some.
📍 It is not so easy to reach from Alto Paraiso you must travel 90 km along the GO-118 to the town of Cavalcante. There I recommend going to the Tourist Assistance Center (CAT) and hire a guide, this way you are guided along the 25 km road to the Kalunga community, there is another CAT also with guides available. From the community to the waterfall there are more 6 km away by an extremely bumpy road, it may be that your car gets bogged a few times and is unable to reach the parking lot, then consider hiring the shuttle service offered on the spot. After the parking has more 1 km of easy trail, surrounded by mountains and vegetation typical of the cerrado.
⏰ I suggest you go between 09h and 11h.
🎟 R$ 20,00.
The Capivara Waterfall (Cachoeira da Capivara) is overshadowed by the nearby waterfall, Santa Bárbara, which is the focus of most tourists, but it is included in the daily fee paid to the guides and we went without knowing that this preciousness of nature awaited us.
📍 From the Kalunga community, follow the sign indicating the waterfall and walk along the dirt road for about 1 km. Park, the following trail is 800 meters and almost all the route is easy, however, a part between stones has medium difficulty.
⏰ Open from 08h to 17h.
🎟 R$ 10,00.
EXTRA: I asked the guide where there were wild macaws (araras) to photograph and she told me about the Helia Diner (Lanchonete da Hélia) in the town of Cavalcante. Dona Hélia has a square full of palm trees right in front of her establishment, she also cultivates friendship with dozens of macaws that visit her every day, some like tourists and even land on them, great for taking photographs, especially during sunset.
Almécegas Waterfalls 1 and 2
The Almécegas Waterfalls 1 and 2 (Cachoeiras Almécegas 1 e 2) are part of the attractions of Fazenda São Bento, a place that, in addition to waterfalls, has a number of interesting experiences such as abseiling, ziplining, horseback riding and others.
📍 It is 9 km from Alto Paraíso de Goiás on the road GO-239, the sign that indicates the Fazenda São Bento is well in sight, you must drive by a dirt road to the parking lot Almécegas 1. It is about 20 minutes walking along an easy trail to a viewpoint where the waterfall is viewed from above (and where I lost my tripod, who accompanied by the Instagram knows), within a few more minutes walking you will reach the fall of Almécegas Waterfall 1. After enjoying the waterfall, return to the car and drive to the parking lot of Almecegas II (it’s all very well signposted). From there it is necessary to walk an easy 300 meters trail to get where the photograph above was taken.
⏰ Open from 08h to 17h.
🎟 R$ 40,00.
National Park of Chapada dos Veadeiros
The hiking and waterfall baths are the main activities in the National Park of Chapada dos Veadeiros (Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros), besides the public visitation has as objectives the scientific research and conservation of an environmental reserve that brings together unique plant formations, hundreds of springs and watercourses, rocks over a billion years old, as well as stunning landscapes.
📍 The only entrance to the park is through the São Jorge district. In the park, there are three other options of trails to choose from, each with a different natural beauty. We chose the Trilha dos Saltos, it has 9 km (round trip) and is considered difficult because it has steep terrain in large part, however, all the effort is compensated with the beautiful landscape view and the refreshing waterfall bath.
⏰ Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Entry between 8h and 12h. Departure until 18h.
EXTRA: During the trip, we received suggestions from our followers, one of them was Risoteria Santo Cerrado. Although it is hidden in the last street of the district of São Jorge, it is the Nº1 in the whole area of Alto Paraíso de Goiás in the ranking of Trip Advisor.
⏰ Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 17h to 01h.
Waldomiro Ranch + Hot Springs
We went to lunch the famous matula, main dish at Waldomiro Ranch (Rancho do Waldomiro). The typical dish of the cerrado is similar to the feijoada, however, made with white or mulatto beans, sausages, pork, served with rice, hen, and cassava. To make the digestion, bet on the tasting of homemade liqueurs with exotic flavors (IT’S OPEN BAR!) like buriti, açaí and pequi (I recommend ginger flavor).
📍 Take the GO-239, the Waldomiro Ranch is exactly in the middle of the way, 18 km from São Jorge and the exact 18 km from Alto Paraiso.
⏰ Open from 06h to 19h.
🍽 R$ 40,00 you can eat as much as you can!
The Red Hill Farm (Fazenda Morro Vermelho) has three pools of just over one meter deep with Hot Springs (Águas Termais) at almost 33 degrees Celsius. After eating until we couldn’t take it any longer in the Waldomiro Ranch, we decided to do digestion in the comfort of the natural and warm pools of the Red Hill.
📍 The farm is 14 km after São Jorge on GO-239, opposite direction from Alto Paraiso.
⏰ Open from 07h to 22h.
🎟 R$ 20,00.
Window Lookout and Waterfall of the Abyss
The Window Lookout (Mirante da Janela) is one of the most famous views of the Chapada dos Veadeiros, is a natural formation overlooking the waterfalls of the Saltos do Rio Preto, which are inside the National Park.
📍Drive to the Flying Disc Airport (Aeroporto de Discos Voadores), it is very close to the village of São Jorge, on the same road that leads to the National Park. The trail is difficult and has a distance of 8 km (round trip), it ends with the Mirante da Janela. The Waterfall of the Abyss (photo below) is in the middle of the trail but is best enjoyed on the way back, during the sunset.
🎟 R$ 15,00
The Waterfall of the Abyss (Cachoeira do Abismo) is in the middle of the trail to the Mirante da Janela, I recommend that you go directly to the Mirante, so you have more light time in the second part (more difficult) of the trail. On the way back you can enjoy the sunset calmly in the waterfall, which in full season forms an infinity pool overlooking the Chapada, perfect for photographing.
📍 It is located in the middle of the trail to Mirante da Janela, which starts at the Flying Disc Airport, near the village of São Jorge. I leave one last tip for you: “Watch out for the jaguar (onça)!”
The Chapada dos Veadeiros is a destination with an inexhaustible amount of trails and waterfalls, so many attractions are not yet cataloged, it is impossible to know all of them if you stay many days or even months in the region. It is truly impossible to say which are the best, to facilitate your planning for the Chapada, I listed in this publication all the points I visited in the 6 days I was there. If I had a few more days, I would also like to visit Cachoeira do Segredo, Cachoeira do Macaquinho, Catarata dos Couros, Complexo do Prata, and dozens more of other natural treasures.