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December 6, 2008

Jalapao Brazil is Pure Adventure and Nature


Jalapão Brazil is Pure Adventure and Nature

Jalapão: a main route for people who practice eco-tourism and adventure tourism. It is impossible to find equal scenario anywhere in the world.

Jalapão has cinematographic scenery. It has abundant waterfalls, rivers and lakes. And all of this is punctuated by fine, reddish sand dunes in the midst of sparse backwoods vegetation. It is no doubt the perfect background for tourism and radical sports such as rafting, canyoning and vertical modalities.

Jalapao Tocantins

It is a place that is attractive and rustic, ready to be conquered. It derived its name from a common habit in the region. Jalapa-do-Brasil is a native plant used to cure stomach ailments. Because of its bitter flavor, local inhabitants normally eat it with a piece of bread. That is where the juxtaposition comes from: jalapa-pão (pão is bread in Portuguese).

No matter what, Jalapão impresses with its pure size: it occupies approximately 20% of the State of Tocantins. Sandstone plateaus that reach one thousand meters in height dominate the landscape. They say that here is where the sea became the hinterland. It would be a desert, if Jalapão were not also a paradise of waters and a place where the presence of flowers and exotic animals jumps to the eye. A call for contemplation and adventure. Despite being considered a desert, the fauna abound: the maned wolf, the pampas deer, the rhea, the great anteater, the jaguar and other regional species hide in the typical hinterland vegetation to escape the punishing sun that accentuates the dry climate with its constant 30ºC temperature. The biggest surprise for all those who venture here is to find an abundance of perennial rivers with transparent and still pure water.

Brejo da Cama Waterfalls
This is in the middle of the plateau, in a hole. The road to Chiquinho Farm, 50 km.

Cachoeira da Velha Falls
Fed by the Rio Novo River, the Cachoeira da Velha waterfall is the largest of Jalapão and one of its main attractions. There, the waters run in great quantity, falling into two separate falls in the shape of a horseshoe, each of more than 20 meters wide. The falls are an imposing spectacle in which nature shows its exuberance and all its strength.

Right next to the waterfall there is a small beach, of calm freshwater and surrounded by gallery forest. The trail to reach the small beach is an attraction in itself, easy to walk through, with stops on the way for sightseeing and resting.

Cachoeira da Formiga Waterfall
The Cachoeira do Formiga is a small water fall surrounded by lush vegetation, with tall trees, and native palm trees. But the true spectacle is the pool that forms at the foot of the waterfall, where enchanting emerald-green waters invite for a dive. It is a jewel where you can bathe and see all the way to the ground, with calcareous sand.

The most observed animals are the wildcats, deer, capybaras, foxes, monkeys and small mammals. Besides the common types of fauna found in the hinterland, several endangered species can be found in the Jalapão region, such as the maned wolf, puma, pampas deer and tapir. The regional bird fauna has species such as the macaw, parrot, toucan, rhea, crested seriema, and lapwing. Among the reptiles, one finds the anaconda, boa, rattlesnake, chameleon, tegu lizard and many more.

It seems like an oasis. Amidst closed vegetation, swamps and streams, there is a place of rare beauty surrounded by banana trees. In its center is a large pool of transparent blue water - in reality, the spring of an underground river. The water that springs from clear sand creates the phenomenon of upwelling, which makes it impossible for the most persistent swimmer to submerge. In Fervedouro, you'll have fun and get to know the real feeling of lightness.

Lajeado Waterfalls
There are a series of steps over which the water runs until forming a 10m high waterfall and natural pool. It is necessary to climb down a stairway of stones, some of which are very slippery. The road to Chiquinho Farm, 45 km.

Mumbuca Village
In your tour through the Jalapão valley it is worth reserving time to visit a traditional village, Mumbuca, 35 km away from the city of Mateiros. It was in this place, formed in majority by slave descendants, that the much popular handcraft in golden grass emerged.

Follow the skillful hands of women of working Mumbuca the golden grass, producing craft pieces that will be distributed throughout Brazil and in several countries.

Mumbuca has less than 200 residents. There, men and women have very definite roles. Men plant for family consumption, while women reap the production and prepare meals, in addition of course to working as artisans.

Prainha of the Cachoeira da Velha Falls
After enjoying the exuberance of the Cachoeira da Velha falls, it is time to take the trail of approximately one hour that leads to the small beach, a very pleasant place, with shade, calm freshwater, and lush gallery forest.

Some of Jalapão’ tourists find at “prainha” an ideal place for camping, spending more time in contact with nature. Others are content swimming in its waters, enjoying the beauty of the scenery.

Pedra Furada Hill
An opening in the rock, carved by erosion and the wind. The road to Pindorama do Tocantins, 31 km.

Every adventurer who goes to Jalapão has a certain destination: rafting on the Rio Novo rapids. But you need not be experienced or even able to swim to face the sometimes turbulent, sometimes calm waters. You should only be equipped with safety accessories supplied by the tourist agencies.

Jalapao Brazil

There are two options. The first is the long distances that take up to four days, where you get to experience high level difficulty waterfalls and make stops in small beaches of white sand that build up on the banks of the river. The second option, which is much faster and chosen by most tourists, is a descent that lasts three hours (six kilometers).

The best season to practice rafting is from May to September, the period of drought in Tocantins State. It is at this time also that the roads with access to Jalapão offer better traffic conditions.

Rio Novo River
One of the last rivers of drinking water in the world, Rio Novo has fully crystalline appearance, making vivid the wilderness that surrounds it and the beautiful beaches that are formed along its banks.

Rafting is common in the waters of Rio Novo River. But there is room for other sports such as canoeing, rappelling, cross-buoy (downhill by river’s rapids in individual buoys) and acquaride (where the player is prone on top of the buoy).

Sand Dunes
A scenario both unexpected as unforgettable, formed by huge dunes of golden sand (of quartz sand), up to 30 meters in height. Imagine the feeling of walking on the sand contemplating the sunset in the center of a landscape like this!

The dunes of Jalapão are in constant motion, driven by winds. Around it is the Espírito Santo Mountain with sandy formation, which the wind gust causes erosion, thus, creating the dunes.

Serra do Espírito Santo Mountain
Postcard of the region, Espírito Santo Mountain is an imposing rise, which through the process of erosion (rain and winds), creates the dunes that are formed at its feet.

There is also a gazebo in the mountain, where after an hour of walking toward the summit, you can get a privileged view of the entire region. The top of the mountain is a large flat area, which resembles an immense elevated table. It's the perfect place to enjoy the landscapes and horizons of Jalapão.

Suçuapara Canyon
This canyon is 60m long and 15m high. It was opened by the water running over the sandstone, thus forming the small canyon and the waterfall. Moss and hundreds of ferns grow along the steep slopes. The road to Mateiros, 15 km.

Basic information:
State: Tocantins
Region: North

The region’s climate is called sub-humid (AW), with maximum annual temperatures between 30°C and 32°C from August to November, partly due to the end of the dry season when smoke from the burning brush in the hinterland contributes to higher temperatures, and lows of between 18º and 19ºC, in June and July.

There are two well-defined seasons during the year: the rainy season, between October and April and the dry season, between May and September.

There is no support structure in the park. The cities of Mateiros and Ponte Alta serve as support stations for visitors. Both have hotels, restaurants, tourism agencies and guides that take visitors on excursions.

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