Chapada dos Veadeiros is one of the most beautiful and ancient places of Brazil. In its National Park, with more than 65000 protected hectares, it is possible to find rare plant formations, hundreds of springs and even very old rocks, some more than a billion years old!
Its most well known destination is the city of Alto Paraíso, but during this tour you will also be invited to visit the surroundings of the small village of São Jorge, a place that seems to have stopped in time, like the nature around it.
You can spend years there and continue discovering new places, but in a long, 3-day weekend, it is possible to get to know a portion of this amazing location, embedded in the heart of Brazil.
The best way to get to Alto Paraíso is by car, from Brasília. The 240 km of the road are traversed in about 3 hours, through the BR-020 highway and, after Planaltina/DF, through the GO-181 highway. Leave early, to best enjoy the afternoon period. An important note: most of the attractions have entrance fees.
Start the adventure with the Almécegas Waterfalls (there are two of them!), which are located at the São Bento farm. To get to Almécegas I, the trail is short, just over 1.5 km, but steep. So, pay attention! Stop at the viewing spots and behold all the beauty of the 50-meter waterfall. Continue the descent and reach the swimming hole. The water is cold, but it's worth it. To get to Almécegas II, you may go by car, through the 7-km trail. You may also park close to it, 200m from the waterfall.
It is not time to rest yet. Now, the destination is Loquinhas, a complex with waterfalls and 7 wells with emerald-colored waters! In addition to being beautiful, the location is ideal to go with children and elders, because the trail is short and easy.
Hit the road to São Jorge and take the rest of the day for walking around the village, which was created by prospectors who arrived in search of quartz. Its dirt roads, simple buildings and few hundreds of inhabitants (a population which multiplies during the holidays) are an invite to contemplation and unhurried conversations.
Today is the day to visit Canyon 2 and Cachoeira da Carioquinha, which are within the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, entering through São Jorge. The trail is fairly easy, but longer than yesterday’s. The round trip has over 10 km, across fields, streams and breathtaking scenery.
The first stop is Canyon 2, which has two wells in which visitors may swim, and, for the brave, a high spot for jumping. After unhurriedly enjoying it, continue the hike to Cachoeira da Carioquinha, being careful during the descent to it, for it is the most slippery stretch of the entire trail. The scenery, composed of dozens of small waterfalls, is rewarding. And diving into the natural swimming hole, after so much effort (and before facing the way back), is almost mandatory!
At night, the best thing is to have a relaxing bath in a hot spring. There are two establishments that offer it: Éden and Morro Vermelho, which are close to each other and that remain open until 11 p.m. Choose your favorite and relax in the water at 33°C.
On the last day, the biggest highlight is the unforgettable Vale da Lua (Moon Valley), with rock formations, carved by water during dozens of millions (that's right, dozens of millions!) of years, which resemble lunar landscapes. With its wells, swimming holes, waterfalls, pits and caves, the place is stunning. However, avoid going during the rainy season, when flash flooding may occur.
If you still have time, be sure to visit Cataratas dos Couros. The path is a little long, an about 1-hour drive from São Jorge, on a dirt road, followed by a 3-km trail of medium difficulty, which must be done on foot. But the effort is worth it: the place has an impressive set of waterfalls, rapids and wells. It's a little hard to get there, true. However, at the end of the trip, you will find that it is much harder to leave behind this paradise called Chapada dos Veadeiros.