Once one of the largest municipalities in the world, measuring about 269 thousand km2 , Chapada dos Guimarães now hosts one of the most interesting parks in Brazil. The municipality now counts a little more than six thousand km2 ; the National Park Chapada dos Guimarães measures about 330 km2 . The park was created in 1989.
The park is located about 65 km north of Cuiabá, capital of the state of Mato Grosso. Cuiabá is considered as the geodesic center of Southern America, although a geodesic landmark also exists inside the park. From Cuiabá, conventional bus services to the park are available, lasting about one hour. The best period to visit is between June and October, when the rainfall is at its lowest. During the winter months June-August, the temperature may drop below 10 degrees.
What to see
The park hosts numerous waterfalls. The best known is the ‘Véu de Noiva’ (Bridalveil fall) with a height of 53 meters (click here for a 360° view). Other noteworthy waterfalls are ‘Sete de Setembro‘ and the ‘Salto das Andorinhas‘. The Mirante (Viewpoint), not exactly the geodesic point of Southern America however, provides the visitor a splendid overview of the park. And on a clear day even the city of Cuiabá may be visible. The park also hosts archeologic and paleontologic sites, with traces of early life and early paintings in various caverns. Even fossils of marine life are found here. The largest sandstone cavern – Caverna Aroe Jari – extends to more than 1.5 km, and contains many early paintings. Not far from this cavern is the Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) with crystalline water. Two rock formations are also worth visiting. The Morro São Gerônimo is the highest point (836 m) of the park: from there one may have another breathtaking overview of the park. The Cidade das Pedras (City of Rocks) forms the rim of the Brazilian Central Plateau, and look like the silhouettes of a medieval city.
Mystical and mysterious
Several websites reveal that Chapada dos Guimarães is one of the most mystical locations in the world. Located at the 15° parallel south of the equator, like the cities of Brasília and Porto Seguro, Chapada may contain beneficial energies. According to the prophecies of the Italian priest Don Bosco, a perfect civilization may erect here, probably in the third millennium. In the late eighties of the past century Chapada attracted a considerable number of hippies, new agers, and artists.
Map of the park (click here for a larger map,
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Text by Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom, photography by Eva Santos
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator.