Pantanal & Chapada dos Guimarães
There’s no doubt that Cuiabá is located on a strategic geographical position, what contributed to make the city a starting point to other Brazilian destinations. Known as the “Amazon’s Gate”, Cuiabá is also one of the main entrances to Pantanal and some other places in the region, equally rich in natural attractions.
Chapada dos Guimarães
Adventure sports, archaeology, esotericism, ecotourism - what's your pleasure? In Chapada dos Guimarães even the most difficult to impress will delight in the endless pleasures of the National Parks and "new-age" community. In the late 1980's rumor spread that the perfect civilization was to settle in this region, leading to a small mass exodus of new age hippies, artists and esoteric to the town. Visitors reap the benefits of the town's unique accommodations, dining options, and crafts. Subject to parochial debate, here lies the geodesic centre of South America, amidst an 80,000 acre National Park and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the Brazilian savannah. The awe-inspiring red rock cliffs and canyons are reminiscent of the desert buttes of the American Southwest. Endless trails carve out intricate patterns into the rock, and waterfalls such as the 260 foot "Véu da Noiva" cascade down the side, forming natural massage parlors surrounded by lush flora where the water meets the ground. The exquisite Red-Macaw and innumerable other exotic fauna often drop by to welcome eco-tourists respectful of their home. Protected within the confines of the spectacular red sandstone walls are 46 identified ancient cave paintings, many more undoubtedly await discovery, as well as natural cave pools. One not to be missed is the Caverna Aroe Jari. For those of you interested in the surrounding indigenous communities, Xingu National Park can be visited with a permit from Funai obtained at least one month prior to travel. Chapada dos Guimarães is an excellent side trip from the Pantanal!
Véu de Noiva, Independência, Andorinhas, 19 de Novembro, Pedra Furada, Sete de Setembro, Cachoeirinha, Salgadeira and dozens of other waterfalls wash the soul of all those seeking an escape from urban life. The transparent waters descend and form natural pools in creeks and small pebble-filled rivers, where lambaris (small fish) swim, indifferent to the company of bathers. It is recommended to hire a guide to accompany you on this outing.
Mount São Jerônimo
One of the highest points in Mato Grosso at 1020 meters, it provides a fabulous panoramic view. The difficult walk to the top passes by curious sandstone formation, such as the Jacaré de Pedra (Stone Alligator), the Pedra Furada (Hole in the Stone) and the Mesa do Sacrifício (Sacrificial Table). The trail finishes after a 30-minute steep, uphill climb – inaccessible on rainy days.
House of Stone
This is a 70-square meter cavern with a stream and a light trail from the Park’s Visitor’s Center. It also has cave pictures on the inside.
City of Stone
It is possible to walk by rocky formations, sculptured by wind and water and that formed along the cliffs of the Chapada, 350 meters high. The location is reminiscent of a city made of stone, which gave it its name. Access is made along a road that connects the Chapada dos Guimarães to the district of Água Fria, 24 km (15 mile) away.
Aroe Jari Cavern (Morada das Almas) (Home of the Souls)
The largest sandstone cavern in Brazil, Aroe Jari extends nearly 1550 meters and several pre-historic inscriptions can be found on the inside. Access is achieved over a moderate trail – 4.5 km (2.8 miles) long, an average 1 hour and 20 minute walk.
Lagoa Azul Cavern
This is a 30 minute walk from the Aroe Jari Cavern and it includes a lagoon with crystal clear waters where bathing is prohibited. Only 50 people are allowed to visit per day, and it is obligatory to hire a guide.
Paredão do Eco (Echo Wall)
This is a natural outlook formed by a huge sandstone wall at the top of the Chapada. Access is made along the road that leads to Água Fria, and then a secondary road that enters the Park.
Portão do Inferno (Gateway to Hell)
This is an 85-meter deep canyon that can be seen from the road that connect Cuiabá to Chapada (MT-251). It is possible to see the Cidade de Pedra from there.