The mysteries of Lajedo de Pai Mateus in Brazil

Gabriela Soutello

Érico Hiller, Raul Aragão, Publicity

In the backlands of Paraíba, the giant rocks at Lajedo de Pai Mateus compose an enigmatic scenery


Immersing yourself in the arid, breathing the caatinga air, and renewing dormant energies are limited notions to explain what it’s like to be at Lajedo de Pai Mateus. Located in Sertão do Cariri, the archaeological site is comprised of over 100 giant rocks (some are 13 feet [4 m] tall) perched on a rocky base. An amazing sight in a dry land that has many stories to tell.


The boulders, a technical term for the round blocks, have been there for over 500 million years. Once buried, they surfaced due to the movements of nature, creating a path of mysticism that attracts curious visitors to this day, from esoteric hippies to people looking for the beauty of a virtually untouched place.



Skeptical or not, travelers find the ruggedness of the rocks as well as their subtle beauty, a peculiar contradiction of rough that’s also light. The marks of time tell stories and help to understand the Lajedo’s spiritual meaning. Some boulders have inscriptions attributed to Cariri indians, who inhabited the area some 12,000 years ago. Legend has it that Pai Mateus was a hermit healer who lived under one of the rocks – an alleged stone table is still there in his “home.”


The port of entry to the archaeological site is Cabaceiras, roughly 125 miles [200 km] from João Pessoa. A sign at the entrance to the city reads “Roliúde Nordestina” – a reference to Hollywood, as it served as a location for over 30 Brazilian movies, like A Dog’s Will (2000) and the Rede Globo telenovela Onde Nascem os Fortes (2018). Lajedo is 12.5 miles [20 km] from there. There’s an admission fee and you can only explore the locale accompanied by a guide from Hotel Fazenda Pai Mateus, which belongs to the same people who own the property where the attraction is located. The hotel, 2.5 miles [4 km] from Lajedo, is a good option in the area, providing travelers with a way to spend more time in a place where wild nature meets magic.




Raul Aragão

Photographer and video maker

“Exploring Lajedo is an almost alien experience. I’ve never seen anything like it in Brazil.”



Carol Moreira

TV host for the Warner Channel

“Lajedo’s characteristics are quite different from what we are used to. I felt like I was in contact with something bigger.”