In this blog-post we invite you to discover the fours chapadas of Brazil, which are part of the cerrado. It is the Brazilian equivalent to the African savanna. By visiting you will discover beautiful waterfalls, crystalline pools with blue and green waters, canyons, table-mountains, beautiful flowers and birds. We care about the environmental preservation and support sustainable travel programs in Brazil. All the four chapadas offer a great choice of ecological experiences, from hiking, snorkelling, canyoning, kayaking and swimming to practicing more adventurous sports such as climbing, rapelling or mountain biking. These national parks are amazing for nature lovers and hikers.

Here we will explain more about each of the four big chapadas of Brazil, clarifying the important things while planning your trip. The chapadas are scattered around the country, in the cerrado region. Usually it takes time to get to them, as they are not close to the major Brazilian international airports such as Sao Paulo and Rio, and a domestic flight will be needed once you are in the country. That is probably one of the good reasons why these parks are still so preserved and beautiful.

Each one of the chapada is beautiful in its own way and although there are waterfalls and natural pools in all of them, they are not the same.

Feel free to get in touch with us at anytime, should you have questions not mentioned in this guide.

P.S. Don’t forget to bring a pair of good hiking shoes for the rough terrains and sun protection.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Closest Airport: Brasilia (BSB), Distito Federal

Access point: Alto Paraiso de Goias and Sao Jorge in the state of Goias. It takes around 3 hours by road from Brasilia to Chapada dos Veadeiros.

Intro: Chapada dos Veadeiros is our favourite chapada, because the energy of the place is really unique and special. By visiting, you will witness a pure paradise and one of the best reserves of pure water on the planet, situated in the heart of Brazil in the high savannah.

There is a good infrastructure, with small hotels and lodges that combine rustic constructions with luxury and comfort. The choice of good restaurants is plentiful. The crowds who come here are usually sporty, they like culture, art and they are usually very conscious about preservation and ecology. This is the chapada where you can stay in comfortable luxury accommodation as you will find here a good choice of boutique hotels, much more than in the other chapadas.

In July and August there is a very nice festival called Encontro das Culturas in Sao Jorge and it is wonderful to be there during this time.

When to Visit: year round. From September to March it is very warm and it rains a lot, filling the waterfalls up and making them perfect for rafting. From April to October it rains less, and the sky is always blue, but the temperatures tend to get a little bit cooler. Between November to March it is the high season, so there are more people in Chapada dos Veadeiros. March to May is the time when the chapada has a lot of flowers, from lilies to sempre vivas.

Highlights: Cachoeira Santa Bárbara, Vale da Lua, Mirante da Janela, Jardim Mayrea, Cachoeira do Macaquinho, Cachoeira Loquinhas, Almecegas I & II, Cahoiera Carioquinas, Cachoeira Dois Saltos, Cachoeira dos Cristais, Cachoeira do Dragão

Additional Sites: Complexo Prata, Cachoeira do Segredo, Cachoeira Raizama, Catarata dos Couros, Cachoeira Caracol, Cahcoiera do Candaru

What to do: Chapada dos Veadeiros has numerous waterfalls, spectacular canyons, 360-degree panoramic views and picturesque rock formations. This is a great place for moderate hiking to the waterfalls, natural pools and canyons. You can also practise yoga and meditation as most of the pousadas have dedicated spaces for this. Enjoy picnics in the nature, swim in crystal clear waterfalls and bask in the warmth of the sun. Most of the walking trails end up at a waterfall where you can swim and relax. Cachoeira Santa Bárbara is probably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of the four chapadas.

Recommended Tour: Chapada dos Veadeiros by Boutique Travel Experts

Where to Stay: Hidden Treasure Glamping, Casa da Lua, Pousada Maya, Vila Toa, Chalés Taipa de Pilão, Vila Gaia, Villa Anapurna, Pousada Bambu, Baguá Pousada, Pousada Casa de Shiva, Fazenda Iluminada, Mariri Jungle Lodge, Pousada Casa Rosa, Pousada Alfa e Ômega, Toca do Guará, Casas Gengibre, Pousada Chalés Recanto Paraíso, Chalé Sossego, Alquimia da Vila Paraíso, Pousada Caminho de Santiago, Cerrado Ville, Paprika Pousada, Cerrado Soul Hospedagem, Pousada Caminho Das Cachoeiras, Pousada Recanto da Grande Paz, Espaco Naves LunaZen, Pousada Meu Talento, Pousada Casa das Flores

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Closest Airport: Lencois (LEC) or Salvador (SSA), Bahia

Access point: Lencois and Vale do Capao. It takes 6 hours by road from Salvador to Lencois.

Intro: Chapada Diamantina is the jewel of Bahia and probably the chapada with the most beautiful table mountains. Once a gold and diamond mining region, it has a unique history and culture. The area is still sparsely populated, and the people are very hospitable. Diamantina is one of Brazil’s top hiking destinations and it is much more known compared to Chapada dos Veadeiros. It is a huge park and sites are scattered all around, so getting around in a car is advisable as the transport in the park is practically non-existent.

Apart from the main access points, there are a few small villages in the chapada such as Mucuge, Andarai and Igatu which have colonial architecture and are really interesting to visit for lunch while getting from one site to another.

There is a good infrastructure and luxury boutique hotels are available, although not so many as in Chapada dos Veadeiros. You can find good restaurants and live music in Lencois.

The famous festas juninas which happen throughout Brazil is June are very special in Igatu.

When to Visit: year round, but best from April to October. November to March is the wet season with frequent showers and the waterfalls are the most impressive and the flowers are blooming.

Highlights: Pai Inácio, Poco Azul, Poço Encantado, Cachoeira do Buracão, Cachoeira do Mosquito, Rio Mucugezinho, Gruta Azul, Gruta da Pratinha, Gruta Lapa Doce, Cachoiera da Fumaça, Cachoeira Fumacinha, Serrano

Additional Sites: Vale do Pati, Cacheoira do Sossego, Poço do Diabo

What to do: Chapada Diamantina is a wonderful backdrop to outdoor activities like mountain biking, swimming, rafting, caving, horse riding or rappel. You will experience spectacular canyons and plateaus, flowing grasslands and forested valleys, extensive cave systems, plentiful of waterfalls and deep swimming pools. Swim in underground pools with crystal clear blue waters, marvel at the immense waterfalls and hike along scenic trails blooming with wild flowers. Also, Chapada Diamantina is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Bahia. You can also taste local wine here at Morro do Chapeu and learn about coffee production in Cascavel. Pai Inácio is probably one of the best table mountain in all of the four chapadas and Poco Encantado has the most intense colour of the water.

Recommended Tour: Chapada Diamantina by Boutique Travel Experts

Where to Stay: Canto das Aguas, Vila Pugliesi Hotel Boutique, Pousada Amanhecer, Pousada Flor de Acucena, Hotel de Lencois, Vila Serrano, Pousada Canto No Bosque, Castelar da Alvorada, Lendas do Capão Pousada, Pousada Villa Lagoa das Cores, Pousada Monte Azul Mucuge, Casa Abaeté Mucuge, Pousada Pedras de Igatu, Portal Lencois, Terra dos Diamantes Hotel   

Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park

Closest Airport: Cuiaba (CGB), Mato Grosso

Access point: Chapada dos Guimaraes. It takes about 1 hour drive from Cuiaba.

Intro: Chapada dos Guimarães is literally the center of South America. It is much less known than Chapada Diamantina and Chapada dos Veadeiros, but nevertheless it hosts plenty of unique and beautiful sites. It is very easy to get here from the nearest airport. There are many breathtaking viewpoints over the cerrado and impressive rock formations. It is a red soil place, and a very very hot place (expect temperatures around 40°C). Chapada dos Guimaraes also present an interest from the archeological point of view, as it used to be the bottom of the sea millions of years ago and it is now standing on a very old plateau.

Chapada dos Guimaraes has a less developed infrastructure, compared to Chapada Diamantina and Chapada dos Veadeiros. There are only a few boutique hotels and the others are more basic. The people of the cerrado are very welcoming and warmhearted and the meals are hefty and delicious. Aroe Jari is the biggest sandstone cave in Brazil (1,5 km).

When to Visit: April to September. July and August can be cold and cloudy. From October to March it is very hot and rainy, and the waterfalls are fuller.

Highlights: Cachoeira Véu de Noivas, Cidade de Pedras, Gruta da Lagoa Azul, Aroe Jari, Morro São Jerônimo, Morro dos Ventos, Pobe Jari, Almiscar Waterfall, Cachoeira do Relógio, Mirante do Geodetica, Crista do Galo, Poço das Antas, Poço Verde, Águas do Cerrado Circuit, Kiogo Brado

Additional Sites: Bom Jardim (Cachoeira Serra Azul, Lagoa das Araras, Reino Encantado, Aquario Encantado, Salobra, Rio Triste)

What to do: Explore hiking trails, marvelous caves, numerous waterfalls, red rock cliffs, impressive canyons, breathtaking gorges and more. Cool off and take a splurge with your snorkel in crystal clear waters of natural pools. Contemplate amazing viewpoints with sweeping vistas and try yourself at some challenging hikes, if you wish. The breathtakingly scenic trails are not always marked, therefore a guide is indispensable. If you love ecotourism and wild places, this is the ideal place to visit.

Also, the entire region has so much to offer, having the Pantanal and Nobres in the vicinity.

Recommended Tour: Chapada dis Guimaraes & Nobres by Boutique Travel Experts

Where to Stay: Pousada do Parque, Vila Esperança / Pousada Aretê, Casa da Quineira, Atmã Restaurante & Pousada, Pousada Jardim da Chapada, Pousada Quinta Dos Quintais, Bosque Da Neblina, Pousada Morro dos Ventos

Chapada das Mesas National Park

Closest Airport: Imperatriz (IMP), Maranhao

Access point: Carolina

Intro: Chapada das Mesas is the least known of the four chapadas and also the smallest of them. It is located really far, therefore many have not even heard of it, not even in Brazil. The difference to the other chapadas is that the main sites are located within well organized complexes which have a very good infrastructure with dining options and well marked trails. It is less winder than the other four chapadas, per se, but the sites are very unique and beautiful.

There are only a handful of hotels in the area and only a few boutique pousadas. The people here are very welcoming and the atmosphere is cozy.

When to Visit: Best time to visit is from May to October. Avoid July because of crowds

Highlights: Portal da Chapada viewpoint, Poço do Encanto, Poço Azul, Santa Bárbara Waterfall, Cachoeira da Prata, Cachoeira São Romão, Morro do Chapéu, Cachoeira do Talho, Cachoeira do Chuveirinho e Poço Dourado, Cachoeira do Macapá, Pedra Caida (Cachoeira do Santuário, Santuário Canyon, Cachoeira da Caverna and Cachoeira do Capelão)

Additional Sites: Serra Torre da Lua, Fortaleza dos Nogueiras, Cacheoira Castanhão, Cachoeira do Esmeralda

What to do: The park is a paradise with blue waterfalls and springs, breathtaking table mountains, rocks and rivers. This region is a well kept treasure for those who love ecotourism and want to connect with nature. Here, you will have a chance to swim, snorkel and mezmerise at the beautiful views over the Brazilian savannah from splendid viewpoints. Hike along scenic trails overlooking table-mountains and visit many waterfalls. The hikes are lightly paced, but a good physical condition is desired. 

Recommended Tour: Chapada das Mesas by Boutique Travel Experts

Where to Stay: Rancho das Estrelas, Pousada dos Candeeiros