Chapada dos Guimarães: the Grand Canyon of Brasil

The word ´´chapada´´ in Brazilian Portuguese means: a region of steep cliffs at the edge of a plateau.

Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is certainly that.  The plateaus are a strange mix of desert plants and lush tangles of brush that lead to waterfalls, which plummet down to serene swimming holes.

Oh, and the GEOGRAPHICAL CENTER OF SOUTH AMERICA lies within the park!
(In case you didn´t know, I go crazy for geographical focal points:  Equator, Tropic of Cancer, Four Corners National Park…I know.  I am a dork.)

Our two days in the park were relaxing, breathtaking and loads of fun.

The first day we joined a guided tour for a 7km (3.5 mile) hike through the canyon to several waterfalls and swimming holes.  Each was different from the last; a unique, mysterious oasis and welcome respite from the scorching heat.  We then got to scramble around in a cave that is being cracked apart by slowly spreading tree roots, some of which are from plants located miles away.

Our guide, Rosan, was suggested to us by Luis from our Poconé pousada.  Rosan is a former high school biology teacher who started his own tour company, Chapada Off Road. His enthusiasm for the wildlife and landscape is contagious, inspiring and proof that anyone can follow their dream and live the life they really want!

Chapada dos Guimarães wasn´t the animal wonderland that Poconé was … although we did see a tatu (armadillo):

a tatu (armdillo) crosses our paths

Oh, and this frog that used my head as a jumping off point on his way to the floor:

After shrieking like a girl, I managed to snap his picture

As well as a quartet of colorful macaw parrots flying by the Bridal Veil Waterfall:

Come along and take a look at our hike:

One of our many beautiful views of the canyon

Our first refreshing pit stop

Taking another dip

So peaceful

Strange plant

Check out how it grows in 2s

Fuzzy

Day 2 we took the bus to Bridal Veil Waterfall and then hired a taxi to take us to two lookout points:

Bridal Veil Waterfall

I somehow captured these macaws flying past the waterfall

Standing at the geographical center of South America

The sign could use some work…

The other side of the canyon

Catching up with the macaws

HOW WE DID IT:

Pousada Boa Esperança, R$455 for 3 nights:
http://www.boaesperancachapada.com/ 
NOTE:  This hotel is located about 15km outside of town.  We were the only people staying here at the time, and the manager, Paulo, treated us like kings and cooked all of our meals.  He was friendly, helpful, had a huge smile and came to meet us at the top of the hill with a flashlight when the bus dropped us off after dark.  We would definitely stay here again.  You can read more about our experience in choosing accommodations and transportation HERE. 

Chapada dos Guimaraes: http://chapadadosguimaraes.com/

Chapada Off Road: R$140 for 7km hike tour (for 2 people): http://www.chapadaoffroad.com/

Click HERE for more information about how we traveled to Chapada dos Guimarães


Comments

Chapada dos Guimarães: the Grand Canyon of Brasil — 4 Comments

  1. This is a beautiful area. You will have to travel to Southern Brazil to Itaimbezinho, Fortaleza Canyon and Aparados da Serra National Park. 3000′ deep canyons and waterfalls that blow the mind. All very close together and while in the area visit Gramado and Canella, two German / Swiss looking mountain communities. Very nice area.

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