Brazil is famous for many beautiful destinations such as Rio de Janiero, Arraial do Cabo, Lencois Maranhenses and Iguazu Falls – but perhaps the most beautiful place (and very much underexplored with tourists) is a national park in central Brazil called Chapada dos Veadeiros.
In this article, I would like to introduce you to Chapada dos Veadeiros and tell you about my experiences there. But first, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Victor Fernandes – 27 years old from Sao Paulo.
I have a degree in Information Systems from the University of Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo and have always worked with audiovisuals. My passion for travel started after my exchange in Dublin, Ireland in the middle of 2015.
After seeing the world from a new perspective, I realized that life was too short to wake up every day in the same place. So I decided to gain some knowledge and spark up my creativity – working with different brands around the world as a photographer/filmmaker. Every trip has inspired me!
8 Days in Chapada dos Veadeiros
Chapada dos Veadeiros is easily one of the most spectacular national parks in Brazil, located in the central state of Goias. For a long time, I marked this place on my bucket list of dreams. It wasn’t until early 2020 that I got the chance to visit and wow – Chapada dos Veadeiros did not disappoint!
In addition to surreal landscapes and a huge concentration of waterfalls, the park has also built a reputation for being a mystical place. The people of Chapada are made up of travelers from different parts of Brazil who ended up staying. So the traveling spirit makes them super welcoming.
We visited this natural paradise for eight days during the Carnival dates in 2020. Our trip was characterized by lots of hiking trails, finding the best waterfalls, taking epic little road trips and watching the sunset every night.
Why Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is so Mystical
Chapada dos Veadeiros really is mystical. The calm of nature combined with the people is just surreal. It’s a destination that will leave you with such a good feeling. Cruising the roads upon your exit, you will end the trip feeling renewed and rejuvenated, wishing for more days in Chapada.
The mysticism that surrounds the park is not for nothing. It’s believed that under the earth here lies a massive quartz formation – crystals that raise consciousness to higher levels of enlightenment. Indeed, some believe it to be the largest quartz plate in the world, making it an enlightened land.
For those interested in extraterrestrials, Chapada is the place for you! The national park has more than 40 mystical groups that preach extraterrestrial life. You can hear many stories about aliens and unidentified flying objects.
Another interesting fact is “Paralelo 14” – a line that runs through earth crossing Alto Paraiso de Goias (one of the main cities of Chapada) and Machu Picchu. This makes people believe that there are underground tunnels going from Brazil to Peru and that the exact location of Paralelo 14 can take people to another dimension through a portal. Crazy, right?!
Apart from all these curiosities, Chapada is a place with endless waterfalls, hiking trails and unreal natural landscapes – not only within the national park but also in the surrounding areas. It’s one of the most amazing places I have ever visited and I recommend it to anyone coming to Brazil.
The energy of the place is incredible, the people are friendly and the vibe of the small towns is wonderful. As well as ticking off all the main attractions, we also stopped several times on the side of the road to climb hills at dawn and dusk. Seeing the stars at night was another highlight of our trip.
Top 5 Things To Do in Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
One of my favorite places in Chapada dos Veadeiros was a place called Mirante da Janela. Here you have a panoramic view of the vast green immensity of the forest surrounding Salto do Rio Preto. But this wasn’t the only place I loved in Chapada. Below are four more epic places!
1. Swim in the Waters of Santa Barbara Waterfall
This waterfall is located in Cavalcante and is regarded as being one of the most famous falls near Chapada. It has crystal clear waters just waiting for you to jump in and swim! Although the Santa Barbara Waterfall is farther away from other attractions in Chapada, it’s absolutely worth visiting.
2. Take Incredible Photos at Mirante da Janela
As just mentioned, Mirante de Janela offers the best postcard photo location in Chapada. The hike takes on average around six hours (round trip) and even has a waterfall (Abyss Waterfall) for you to cool off and enjoy the sensational views there along the way. Mirante de Janela forms a frame of the view with stones which is why it’s called “viewpoint of the window”.
3. Explore the Epic Rock Formations of Vale da Lua
Vale da Lua is a different kind of place to the other attractions in Chapada. The rock formations here look like the moon! They give you this feeling of being in an unusual yet unique place. And to top it off – Vale da Lua has two “lakes” formed by the waterfall for you to go swimming. It’s well worth the visit and the photos you can take here are pretty amazing!
4. Hike to the Beautiful Almecegas Waterfall
The hike to Almecegas Waterfall is quite long but along the way you will discover an epic view of a waterfall. Upon arrival, you can enter this paradise to swim and also walk a smaller trail to reach the top of the waterfall and enjoy a view from above. After visiting this waterfall, you can take other trails to see more waterfalls like Almecegas I and Sao Bento Waterfall.
5. Watch the Sunset from the Garden of Maytrea
You can’t visit Chapada dos Veadeiros without watching the sunrise and sunset everyday. A great spot, for example, is the Garden of Maytrea. It’s a free place by the road with a beautiful landscape. You will even hear the sound of several macaw birds chirping as the sun sets over the landscape.
The roads in Chapada have such awesome views that parking on the side of the road is enough to enjoy a classic sunrise or sunset. We missed out on Macaquinho and Loquinhas waterfalls on our trip to Chapada but we hope to return one day soon to enjoy this paradisiacal destination even more.
Where to Stay in Chapada dos Veadeiros
Travelers can stay in the following cities and towns while exploring Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park: Alto Paraiso de Goias, Sao Jorge, Cavalcante and Colinas do Sul. The attractions are spread throughout this region and many of them are outside the national park. So my recommendation is to divide your stay between two main cities.
We did this and stayed for the first three days in Colinas do Sul and explored the attractions and then the other five days we stayed in Alto Paraiso de Goias. We also took a day tour to Cavalcante to see the Santa Barbara Waterfall. The trip took two hours across 30 kilometers of dirt road!
Attractions Located Outside of the National Park
Some of the attractions that we experienced were not actually inside Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park. So don’t limit yourself to what is technically inside the park. There are many beautiful areas near Alto Paraiso de Goias, Cavalcante and Sao Jorge that have waterfalls and trails just as spectacular as the ones inside Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park.
Examples include Almecegas Waterfall, Cordovil Waterfall and even one of the main waterfalls: Santa Barbara Waterfall, located in Cavalcante, in a Kalunga Community. You can plan your trip to include these places.
Need to Know Before you Go
The main tip I can give is be prepared to walk! Due to the number of trails, you will be doing a lot of hiking. But by your side will be epic landscapes for you to enjoy. Ultimately, this is a destination for adventure-lovers. There are trails for everyone – from beginner to advanced. Be sure to visit Alto Paraiso and Sao Jorge at night to experience cool shops and cozy restaurants!