Brasilia and the West Sights

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Parque Nacional Chapada dos Guimarães

Parque Nacional Chapada dos Guimarães Review

Besides the Pantanal, the areas in and around the Parque Nacional Chapada dos Guimarães are the region's most popular attractions. Traveling northeast of Cuiabá, you see the massive sandstone formations from miles away, rising 3,000 feet above the flat cerrado landscape. Since a fatal rock fall in the park in 2008, some attractions and bathing spots have been closed indefinitely, and all visitors must be accompanied by a guide. The Cachoeira Véu de Noiva (Bridal Veil Falls), with a 250-foot freefall, is the most impressive of the falls in the park. You can enjoy lunch at the nearby open-air restaurant. Beyond this point there are hills, caves, more falls, and archaeological sites. The Circuito das Cachoeiras (Waterfalls Circuit) is a set of seven waterfalls 2 mi (3.5 km) from the visitor center.

Walk about 30 minutes beyond the Caverna Aroe Jari to Gruta da Lagoa Azul (Grotto of Blue Lagoon), a crystal-clear lagoon (bathing is prohibited). You can also walk along the Vale do Rio Claro (River Claro Valley) and swim in the river's transparent waters, or climb the Morro de São Jerônimo (St. Jerome's Hill), one of the highest points of the Chapada. Entrance to the national park is permitted only with a guide, whom you can hire from an agency in town.

Caverna Aroe Jari. If you have time, arrange a guided visit to Caverna Aroe Jari. The cave's name means "home of souls" in the Bororo language. This mile-long sandstone cave (one of Brazil's largest) can only be reached after a 4.8-km (3-mi) hike through the cerrado. MT 251, 40 km from Guimarães, 78295-970. R$25.

Eco Turismo Cultural. This is a popular agency for arranging a tour guide in the park. Av. Cipriano Curvo 655a, 78195-000. 65/3301–1393 or 65/9952–1989. www.chapadadosguimaraes.com.br/ecoturis.htm.

Updated: 06-24-2013

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