Published January 2020
Chapada dos Veadeiros, 155 miles [250 km] from Brasília Airport, is an invitation to disconnect from the mundane. There you’ll find a touch of mystery: some people say the region is connected to Machu Picchu, in Peru, by an imaginary line known as Parallel 14; others believe the place lies over tons of quartz, responsible for emanating positive energy; and yet others affirm the existence of aliens in the surroundings. The fact is this trip will take you to some of the most beautiful places in Brazil – and here you can check out some of them.
Considered one of the loveliest waterfalls in Brazil, Santa Bárbara doesn’t need any filter. Its pool is breathtakingly emerald-green. More isolated than the others, its access is in Cavalcante, in the quilombo community of Kalunga Engenho II.
While not everyone can conquer space just yet, you can pretend to set foot on the Moon a few miles from Alto Paraíso de Goiás, after taking on an easily accessible trail that leads to Vale da Lua – but make sure to wear sneakers to prevent accidents while walking on the uneven terrain! The rock formations present in three natural pools resemble the lunar soil, sculpted over millions of years by the São Miguel River.
With a drop of approximately 165 feet [50 m], Almécegas I is inside Fazenda São Bento in Alto Paraíso de Goiás and one of the most visited waterfalls in the region. The trail that leads to its base is easy, but it’s made up of steep hills and slopes.
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park protects an area of over 65,000 hectares, with hundreds of springs and watercourses, ancient rocks, and several animal species, many of which are endangered.
One of the attractions at Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is the Cachoeira do Garimpão waterfall with its 262-foot [80 m] drop. Get ready to take on around 5.5 miles [9 km] of uphill climbs and downhill slopes (considering the way there and back). The reward? Swimming with fish in crystal-clear waters.
On the road that connects the city of Alto Paraíso de Goiás to the village of São Jorge is one of Chapada dos Veadeiros’s main postcard attractions: Jardim de Maitreya, a garden filled with rows of buriti trees that adorn hills and are the perfect complement to the blue skies so characteristic of the Brazilian cerrado.
The closest airport is in Brasília. From there, you can take a bus, but it’s a good idea to rent a car to have more mobility on the tours – at the airport, you’ll find companies offering this service.
Alto Paraíso de Goiás and Cavalcante are the communities with the best infrastructure. There you’ll find inns, banks, shops, gas stations, and restaurants. If you’re looking to disconnect completely, stay in São Jorge, which usually welcomes backpackers and campers.
Before your flight, get vaccinated for yellow fever and withdraw some cash for guides and tickets to the waterfalls, as phone and internet reception there is very limited. In Santa Bárbara, try the great simple food in the community of Quilombo Kalunga Engenho II.